At the beginning of the program, you will choose a department in which to concentrate your studies. By choosing a department, you customize your curriculum and receive more intensive preparation to better serve the populations in need in your community. The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work includes three departments:
Mental health issues affect one in five American adults,1 and social workers are one of the largest groups of clinically trained mental health providers in the country. Social workers must prepare to work with adults from 18 years old to end of life, helping with issues ranging from drug abuse to elder care to health care policy.
As a student in the Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness at USC's online MSW, you will study subject areas such as:
Health and wellness
Substance abuse and recovery
Behavioral health care
Integrated care and health care policy
The Adult Mental Health and Wellness curriculum explores human behavioral theory with an emphasis on clinical practice and policy. You will consider the role of neuroscience as it relates to the mind-brain-body system as well as social systems, such as family, culture and community.
Courses blend evidence-based research with hands-on experiences in clinical settings. You will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork.
Optional Program Track
If want to work with active duty military members, veterans and their families, you may choose to supplement your program with the Military Social Work track. You will be required to complete two additional courses focusing on treating this population.
Graduates from the department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness are prepared to work in a range of settings:
Community service organizations
Treatment and recovery programs
Take the next step toward helping adults in your community improve their mental health.
Children, Youth and Families
Issues such as poverty, homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction can leave entire family units in need of services and support. Social workers who are trained to work in direct practice with families can help them rise above adversity and get their lives back on track after crisis.
As a student in the Department of Children, Youth and Families at USC's online MSW, you will study subject areas such as:
Adolescent and transition age youth
Child development and early childhood education
School social work
The Children, Youth and Families curriculum prepares practitioners to advocate for and intervene on behalf of children and youth in the social environments in which they live. These social workers also create service programs that support families of diverse backgrounds.
Your coursework will consider findings in neuroscience and evidence-based research. You will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork.
Optional Program Tracks
If you have an interest in serving specific populations, you may choose to supplement your program with a Military Social Work or School Social Work track. You will be required to complete two additional courses that focus on issues specifically affecting these populations.
The School Social Work track is currently available to California residents only.
Graduates from the department of Children, Youth and Families are prepared to work in a range of settings:
Foster family agencies and group homes
Hospitals and clinics
Juvenile courts and probation offices
Public child welfare agencies
School and early education programs
Take the next step toward helping children and their families overcome a variety of obstacles.
Social Change and Innovation
Strong communities and organizations are in need of big-picture thinkers who can solve problems while supporting the needs of individuals. Social workers are increasingly taking on that role, becoming the voice that helps large entities thrive without losing sight of those who depend on them.
As a student in the Department of Social Change and Innovation at USC's online MSW, you will study subject areas such as:
Business and community environments
Policy and advocacy
Diversity and inclusion
The Social Change and Innovation curriculum focuses on how social work innovation applies to global systems. You will explore evidence-based research in either business or community development by choosing classes that focus on either area of study.
Community Development and Social Change courses teach you to think critically about communities and organizations and to develop strategies and programs that facilitate change.
Social Work and Business courses prepare you to develop corporate social responsibility initiatives and guide business toward positive community relationships.
You will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork.
Optional Program Track
If you wish to focus your work on active duty military members, veterans and their families, you may choose to supplement your program with the Military Social Work track. You will be required to complete two additional courses focusing on this population.
Graduates from the department of Social Change and Innovation are prepared to work in a range of settings:
Employee assistance programs (EAP)
Take the next step toward driving innovation by changing policy and global systems.
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm Return to footnote reference