Applying for the MSW@USC

Do I need a bachelor's degree in social work?

No. Students can have a bachelor's degree awarded from any regionally accredited college or university in any interdisciplinary liberal arts background, including the social, behavioral and biological sciences.

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What grade point average do I need?

We review a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better; however, we take into consideration your entire application. Specifically, we look for students from diverse backgrounds whose academic background, career goals and leadership potential can meet the demands of the program. If a student has below a 3.0 GPA, we take a closer look at the academic performance in the last 60-90 credit hours, letters of recommendations, statement of purpose and resume. Students are also assessed for their commitment to social work values, sensitivity, self-awareness and experience in providing human services. Overall, we accept applicants who have the best potential to be great social workers.

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Is there an entrance exam?

No. You do not need to take any entrance exams to apply for the program.

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Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required to apply to the MSW@USC?

No, the GRE is not required for admission.

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Are there additional application requirements for international students?

Beginning in fall 2014, the MSW@USC will begin accepting international candidates for our part-time program. U.S. citizens living abroad will also be eligible to apply. If you are an international candidate from a country where English is not the native language, you will be required to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. You will also need to submit your transcripts to World Education Service (WES) for review.

For students whose native language is not English, the TOEFL or the IELTS exam is required. You will need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores in order to complete an application and be reviewed for admission to the MSW program.

The USC School of Social Work will only accept the internet-based TOEFL test and requires all applicants to submit a minimum score of 100, with no less than 20 in each category. Applicants who choose to take the IELTS must achieve a minimum total score of 6.5, with no less than 6 points on each band score. TOEFL/IELTS tests must be taken within the last 2 years and scores must be submitted electronically directly from testing service. Failure to meet the USC school of Social Work's English proficiency requirements will result in your application not being reviewed for admissions. Contact your admissions counselor to learn more.

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How competitive is admission?

The USC School of Social Work has a very competitive admissions selection process. The school is top-ranked by U.S. News and World Report among all accredited social work graduate schools. Our high standards ensure that admitted students are able to handle the graduate level of study, as well as create an environment where students are studying with peers of equally high-caliber and who exhibit the same enthusiasm for learning and a drive to succeed.

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How do I apply to the program?

We accept applications on a rolling basis. There are application deadlines for each cohort. You can start your application by visiting the admissions section of our website.

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Is the application process entirely online, hard copy or both?

The entire application process is online; however, official transcripts must be mailed to the Maryland admissions office. Please refer to the admissions section of our website.

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Can I submit my application before I send in my transcripts and my letters of recommendation are completed?

Yes, you can submit your application before those items have been received; however, we will not be able to review your application without your official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

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Can the application fee be waived?

Yes. To request an application fee waiver, you need a letter from either your undergraduate financial aid office or an official government agency documenting that paying the application fee would cause financial hardship. The documentation should include your name, application ID # (found on your USC application) and program of interest. Fee waivers are determined on a case-by-case basis, and submission of documentation does not guarantee your eligibility.

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Once I submit an application, when will I receive a decision about acceptance into the program

The timing for application review and feedback varies depending on the time of year and number of other applications currently under review. The faculty comprehensively reviews all applications, and our goal is to provide a response within four to six weeks.

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Can I defer my acceptance?

Yes, you can defer your acceptance into the MSW@USC up to one academic year and start the program with a different cohort. Contact your Admissions Counselor or Student Support Advisor to explain your options and the process for making this request.

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If I have not yet finished my bachelor's degree but I will be completing it soon, can I apply to the program now?

You can apply one year prior to completing your undergraduate degree to begin the program as soon as possible upon graduation. Bachelor degree verification is required before you enroll in the MSW program.

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Can I switch from the on-campus program to the MSW@USC?

It is possible depending on the desired MSW@USC cohort. Requests to switch from the on-campus program to the MSW@USC must be approved by the school in order to ensure that proper coursework aligns with the MSW@USC semester schedule.

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What's the typical background of an admitted MSW@USC student?

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Can I talk to former/current MSW@USC students to learn more about the program?

We can refer you to other students by request, and if you follow our Facebook and Twitter pages, you can meet other students online and solicit their feedback.  We also have an MSW@USC blog that will feature students writing about their experience in the program. You can comment to their posts and engage with them online.

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