Student Affairs

In preparation for the beginning of your academic career in the program, you should familiarize yourself with all school policies, procedures, guidelines, and program requirements, as well as the USC Catalogue and SCampus.  Additionally, you will have access to an academic advisor who will provide professional guidance, mentoring and assistance to help you understand our academic expectations and how to navigate programs of study, as well as monitor your progress to ensure completion of required coursework.

In addition, every student is a member of the Social Work Student Organization. Student Organization fosters communication and cooperation among students, faculty, and administration on issues important to the field of social work and social work engagement.  Therefore, you are encouraged to be part of one of our student caucuses or interest groups to enrich your student experience.

Graduate students of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work must enter the profession meeting the highest professional and academic standards. Consequently, the school bears a responsibility to ensure students meet the standards for acceptable professional and academic performance. As defined by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, five areas comprise satisfactory professional and academic progress:

• Abiding by the USC Student Conduct Code
• Abiding by the USC policies regarding academic integrity
• Maintaining an acceptable cumulative grade point average
• Acting in accordance with professional ethics
• Mastering professional competencies.

If you need assistance, email us at 

Incoming Student FAQ's

When is the MSW orientation?
MSW orientation will take place the week prior to the start of the fall semester. Students will be notified through their USC email address for specific dates when they are published.

What days of the week will students be in field placement?
All first year full-time students will be in field placement on Mondays and Wednesdays.

How many internship hours will need to be completed for first year internship?
All students are required to complete 16 hours of field each week. 

When will students begin field placement in the fall semester?
All students going into field placement in the fall semester will begin during the third week of classes.

When will students be notified of their field placement?
Incoming full-time students will be notified of their field placements starting in July. 

Can a student change their department selection?
Please contact your Admissions Counselor at 213.740.2013 to change your department selection.

When do three year students begin field placement?
Three-year students will begin field placement in their second year of the program.

Can students select their own field placement?
Students will not select their first-year placement. The Field Placement Committee will select your first-year field placement based on your department choice, prior experience, expectations, specific circumstances, and geographic location. 

Can students do fieldwork at their current place of employment?
Incoming full-time students are not permitted to complete fieldwork at their place of employment. For additional information, please contact the Field Education Office at 

As a MSW student, what courses will I take in the fall semester?
4 Semester students:
SOWK 506: Human Behavior and the Social Environment
SOWK 536: Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work
SOWK 544: Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
SOWK 546: Science of Social Work
SOWK 589A: Applied Learning in Field Education

6 Semester students:
SOWK 506: Human Behavior and the Social Environment
SOWK 536: Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work

What days are classes offered?
Classes are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and/or Saturdays from morning to evening. Saturday classes are only offered at the USC City Center location. 

How likely are students to get the schedules they want on registration day?
It is highly recommended that students have at least 3 scheduling options in the event that their preferred schedule is unavailable. 

What is d-clearance?
D-Clearance is department clearance to register for courses and/or specific sections of courses. These courses are determined by your department and program length selection. The Social Work Registrar will automatically provide you with D-Clearance for your required classes at your designated appointment time. You can review your D-Clearance on registration day by clicking on the Cleared Sections tab under MyInfo on Web Registration.

Where is the USC City Center location?
USC City Center, which is an extension of the main UPC campus, is located at 1150 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. The location is approximately 2-3 miles from main campus. We offer MSW courses at the USC City Center location. We also offer a complimentary shuttle during the semester to and from USC City Center. 

Can 6 semester students take additional courses during the first year?
The MSW curriculum is extremely structured and all students must follow the course sequencing (based on their program length) as exactly outlined on their department-specific curriculum snapshot.

What is the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC)?
The PPSC is a type of credential that is only available to CYF students who are interested in being a social worker in the K-12 school setting. The PPSC is considered a track in the CYF department and requires two electives which will be taken in the second year of the program. MSW students will need to complete additional field hours in order to obtain the PPSC. Students may contact the PPSC Director, Dr. Steve Hydon, at for further information.

Where can students find a book list needed for each course?
Students can find a book list on OASIS, which is accessed through MyUSC.