Academic Curriculum

The MSW@USC curriculum reflects the evolution of and innovations in the field of social work. The coursework explores emerging needs in the field to prepare a new kind of social worker who can meet the demands of 21st-century society. The online MSW program at USC features a rigorous curriculum that is the same as that of the on-campus program. Courses are delivered online and taught by our award-winning faculty.

The traditional program track is designed for students who hold an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than social work. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.

If you hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited institution, you are eligible to apply for the advanced standing program.

Structure and Emphasis

The school's departments house large, broad areas of interest. As an MSW@USC student, you will choose a specific department of study when you begin your classes:

You will begin your studies with a foundation in social work principles and practice and then build on that core knowledge to support your learning in one of the three departments. You will then practice what you learn in class through field education.

The MSW curriculum explores content relevant to today's employers, expanding on the program's historic strengths while increasing emphasis on:

  • Early intervention, prevention and wellness
  • Leadership and effective collaboration
  • Implications of new findings in neuroscience
  • Core competencies (evidence-based practices, evidence-informed interventions)

Field Education

Hands-on experience is an integral part of any MSW curriculum. Throughout the program, you will spend more than 1,000 hours completing field education — online and offline. Learn more about field education.

Cross-Program Enrollment

MSW@USC students also have the opportunity to take courses from other online graduate programs delivered by top-tier colleges and universities. You can learn more about cross-university courses here.