Curriculum Snapshot

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work's departmental structure enables you to focus on the population that interests you most. You will choose to study within one of our three departments for the duration of your enrollment in USC's online MSW.

Your first several courses will center on general graduate-level social work principles, and the courses that follow will build on that foundation by covering department-specific topics.

General Social Work Courses

Students in the traditional program will take these courses on topics that apply to all social workers:

  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment (506)
  • Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families and Groups (544)
  • Science of Social Work (546)
  • Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work (536)
  • Applied Learning in Field Education (589A)
  • Applied Learning in Field Education (589B)
  • Diversity, Social Justice and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice (630)
  • Integrative Learning for Social Work Practice (588)

Advanced Social Work Courses

All students in the traditional and advanced standing programs will take these higher-level courses as they develop their base of knowledge:

  • Advanced Applied Learning in Field Education (699A)
  • Advanced Applied Learning in Field Education (699B)
  • Integrative Learning for Advanced Social Work Practice (698A)
  • Integrative Learning for Advanced Social Work Practice (698B)
  • Leadership and Management in Social Work (611)

Adult Mental Health and Wellness Courses

The Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness prepares you to address the mental and physical health and well-being of young adults, adults and seniors. If you choose this department, you will take the following courses:

Required Courses

  • Policy in Integrated Care (638)
  • Research and Evaluation for Social Work With Adults and Older Adults (635)
  • Assessing Wellness to Improve Recovery in Integrated Care (637)
  • Explanatory Theories of Health and Mental Health (644)
  • Social Work Practice in Integrated Care Settings (643)
  • Advanced Practice With Complex Social Work Cases (647)

Sample Elective Courses

  • Advanced Theories and Clinical Interventions in Health Care
  • Brief Therapy and Crisis Intervention
  • Clinical Interventions: Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings
  • Group Psychotherapy in Mental Health Settings
  • Loss, Grief and Bereavement
  • Diagnosing Psychopathology: Introduction to DSM IV-TR
  • Social Work With Older Adults
  • Spirituality, Religion and Faith in Clinical Practice
  • Substance-Related and Behavioral Addictive Disorders and Recovery
  • Systems of Recovery From Mental Illness in Adults

Children, Youth and Families Courses

The Department of Children, Youth and Families prepares you to address the needs of vulnerable children and youth while building strong social environments to support them. If you choose this department, you will take the following courses:

Required Courses

  • Research and Critical Analysis for Social Work With Children and Families (608)
  • Introduction to Social Work Practice With Children, Youth and Families (609)
  • Social Work Practice With Children and Families Across Settings (610)
  • Social Work Practice With Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood (613)
  • Social Work Practice With Adolescents, Young Adults and Their Families (621)
  • Policy and Macro Practice in Child, Youth, and Family Services (627)

Sample Elective Courses

  • Consultation, Coaching and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Domestic and Intimate Partner Abuse
  • Global Dimensions in Social Policy and Social Work Practice
  • Violence Against Women: A Transnational Perspective
  • LGBT Psycho/Social/Political Issues
  • Mental Health Practice With Children and Adolescents
  • Social Work in Juvenile Justice Settings
  • Spanish for Culturally Competent Services
  • Substance-Related and Behavioral Addictive Disorders and Recovery

Social Change and Innovation Courses

The Department of Social Change and Innovation prepares you for a career implementing social change on a large scale by working with communities, organizations, businesses and government entities. If you choose this department, you will take the following courses:

Required Courses

  • Research and Evaluation for Community, Organization and Business Environments (629)
  • Management and Organizational Development for Social Workers (648)
  • Social Work and Business Settings (672)
  • Policy Advocacy and Social Change (639)
  • Community Practice for Social Change (684)
  • Grant Writing and Program Development for Social Workers (665)

Sample Electives

  • Consultation, Coaching and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Domestic and Intimate Partner Abuse
  • Global Dimensions in Social Policy and Social Work Practice
  • Violence Against Women: A Transnational Perspective
  • LGBT Psycho/Social/Political Issues
  • Media in Social Work
  • Spanish for Culturally Competent Services
  • Substance-Related and Behavioral Addictive Disorders and Recovery

Sample Schedules

Your course sequence and the amount of time it takes to complete the MSW@USC will change based on your program, the department you choose and the number of courses you take per term.

Download sample schedules for the traditional and advanced standing programs (PDF).

Take the Next Step

Get in touch with an admissions counselor to discuss your goals and how the MSW@USC can help you lead positive change.