What is the MSW@USC and the Virtual Academic Center?

The USC School of Social Work provides students a choice of settings to pursue the Master of Social Work degree. In addition to our physical locations at University Park in Los Angeles and our local academic centers in Irvine (Orange County), West Los Angeles and San Diego, students can now earn their MSW degree online through the Virtual Academic Center.  The MSW@USC gives students the opportunity to earn the same quality education on-campus students receive. Our robust virtual environment provides the latest web-based technology for a highly interactive experience that mirrors the stringent curriculum of the onsite MSW program delivered by the same faculty.


What is the difference between the MSW@USC and the MSW?

They are the same degree; the only difference is in how they are delivered.  The MSW@USC admissions standards, graduation requirements and coursework are identical to the on-campus program. When Virtual Academic Center students graduate, their diplomas will say Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California.

However, tuition, fees, scholarships and federal loan eligibility may differ for MSW@USC students, so please review the financial aid section of the website for specific information.


Will my transcript or diploma indicate I was enrolled in an online program?

No. When you graduate, your diploma and transcript will say Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California, the same as students who attend the University Park campus or one of our other academic centers.


If I enroll in the MSW@USC, am I considered a USC Trojan just like an on-campus student?

Yes. Students enrolled in the MSW@USC enjoy all the benefits of USC Trojan life, with unlimited access to our libraries, career planning and placement services, and a support network of 230,000 alumni. And, you’re always welcome to attend any of our special events in Southern California, including graduation, and even participate virtually in student organizations.


Is the MSW@USC program accredited?

Yes, the MSW@USC, like our flagship MSW program, is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC). Accreditation is a rigorous process that verifies degree programs meet the high standards considered essential to providing a quality social work education and ensuring that every student graduating from a social work program has the same requisite skills and knowledge.


Will this degree allow me to pursue licensure in any state?

Licensure requirements differ by state, so we encourage you to research the requirements in your state.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of earning a master’s in social work online?

Online programs can be structured in a number of ways, but most require you to be motivated, self-disciplined and capable of working both independently and as a part of a team. You will be the one responsible for setting the pace of your learning experience, including prioritizing your time and finishing assignments. The most positive aspect of an online program is the flexibility that allows you to connect from your home or office, enabling you to advance your education without relocating. In addition, if you live far away, an online program can provide you access to a world-class education and quality instructors you might not have at home. Also, highly evolved technology now offers innovative and fun, new ways of presenting course material while still fostering active and collaborative learning. This gives students an even more interactive and fulfilling experience than a traditional classroom.


How do I find out more information about the MSW@USC and the Virtual Academic Center?

You can contact Abe Perry, director of Virtual Academic Center recruiting, in our Admissions Office atabe.bates or call 877.700.4MSW or request information here


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