Admissions Requirements

Application Deadlines

We offer start dates throughout the year. Please refer to application deadlines below.

January 2024

Early Action Deadline
August 28, 2023
Priority Deadline
September 18, 2023
Final Deadline
October 9, 2023
Classes Begin
January 2024

The following components are required for an MSW application to be considered complete.

1. Online Graduate Admission Application (including non-refundable application fee of $90)

The USC Graduate Admission Office has developed an online application system that allows you to login anytime to continue your application and track your application status. For the online MSW program, you must upload the Statement of Purpose and a resume to the online application (see below for more instructions). Read more about the application process, requirements and application deadlines for the online MSW program on the Online MSW Program Admissions page.

2. Transfer Applicants

To apply as a transfer student, please review the additional application requirements.

3. Supplemental Form: Social Work (complete on the online application)

A required part of the online Graduate Admission Application is the Supplemental Form: Social Work. These additional questions provide the school with information specific to the online MSW program.

4. Resume (upload to the online application)

For admission, experience in the field of social work is preferable but not required. Applicants are expected to have experience in environments such as human services (E.g. Nonprofit organization, public health, healthcare, etc.) and education. Students should highlight their leadership, advocacy, and capacity to work with a variety of populations. Your resume will assist the admissions committee in assessing your level of knowledge, experience, and preparation for graduate social work education at USC. These experiences may include those in the workplace or academic settings (E.g. Internship).

Submit a resume through the online application portal that details the following:

Current Work Experience

Please describe your current or most recent professional paid position. This position does not have to be social work-related. Include the following details: company name, job title, dates of employment and responsibilities.

Professional Social Work Experience

Please describe any work you have done professionally in the field of social work or related fields. Include the following details: agency name, position/title, dates of employment and responsibilities.

Volunteer Social Work Experience

Please describe any work you have done as a volunteer or intern related to the field of social work. Please include the following details: agency name, dates of volunteer work, frequency and responsibilities.


Please indicate any of the following: affiliations with professional organizations (e.g., National Association of Social Workers) or honors/recognitions received.

Leadership Experience

Please indicate the length of time of leadership experience, the agency or community where leadership efforts occurred and a description of actual leadership activities.

5. Statement of Purpose (upload to the online application)

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work does not offer in-person interviews as part of the application. Please note some applicants may be asked to complete a short virtual interview or phone call if needed for clarification purposes. This is our opportunity to get to know you and evaluate your preparedness for graduate-level writing. The Office of Admissions strongly recommends that you take the time to proofread and collect feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, or mentors, prior to submission.

You must upload a Statement of Purpose to the Supporting Documents section of the online Graduate Admission Application. Your Statement of Purpose must be five double-spaced pages in length, with one-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman font.

You must address all topics below:

  • Why did you choose social work as opposed to another field? How have you incorporated social work core values in your human service experiences and interactions with others?
  • What significant relationships and life experiences have you had that motivated you to enter the field of social work?
  • What type of societal concerns interest you in the social work profession? What type of barriers or successes have you witnessed in your area of interest?
  • Please discuss your career goals. Include why the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is a good fit for your goals.

6. Recommendations (submitted online; two required, third optional)

You are required to submit a minimum of two recommendations; a third recommendation is optional. Preferred recommendations are those that come from academic instructors or professionals who have supervised you in a social work-related position (paid, volunteer or internship). Personal recommendations are not acceptable.

Recommendations must be submitted online through the online Graduate Admission Application. Each recommender must have a valid email address and internet access in order to use the online recommendation system. We prefer recommendations submitted in formal work/business letterhead and with the use of an email address that has your work/business domain name in it (e.g. If your recommender strongly prefers to submit a paper form or letter, please contact us at 877-700-4679.

7. Official Transcript(s)

We recommend a sense of urgency when requesting transcripts from your undergraduate university as the turn around times vary from school to school.

USC requires an official academic record from each postsecondary, regionally accredited school you have attended. Your school(s) can email official, password-protected electronic transcripts directly to, or mail them to:

University of Southern California (USC)
Application Processing Center
PO Box 30096 024-007
College Station, TX 77842

If you, or your school, will be sending transcripts via UPS, FedEx, or DHL Priority Mail, we request that you use the following alternate address, as these services do not deliver to a PO box:

University of Southern California (USC)
Application Processing Center
211 Quality Circle
Box 30096 024-007
College Station, TX 77842

If you request your transcripts through a vendor like National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment or another third party servicer, do not select ‘University of Southern California’ as the recipient. This selection will send your transcript to the incorrect location and you may need to reorder these documents as a result. You may need to select one of the following options to input the above email or mailing address:

  • Send to self
  • Not in list
  • Send to employer

Please note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided to you by the issuing university.

Concurrent Enrollment

If your official transcript does not include a degree conferral date, you must submit an additional form. This form acknowledges that you have read and will abide by the University of Southern California’s Concurrent Enrollment policy. You can find the form online here (PDF, 63K) or reach out to your Admissions Counselor for assistance.

International Degrees

Verification of all previous post-secondary degrees earned outside of the United States is required. Students who have earned a degree from an institution outside of the United States must engage the International Education Research Foundation. Please review this service’s requirements and fees on their special USC web pages and follow their instructions. The evaluation service will send a verification report directly to USC.

Please note that graduate coursework at USC is viewed cumulatively.  This means that if you have prior coursework at USC that falls below a 3.0 GPA, it will be calculated into your overall USC graduate GPA and you may be on academic probation until your overall USC graduate GPA rises to a 3.0.

8. TOEFL or IELTS Score (if applicable)

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 online MSW program.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck 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 7, with no less than 6.5 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 school’s English proficiency requirements will result in your application not being reviewed for admissions.

9. Policy on Background Checks and Disclosure

Review the Policy on Background Checks and Disclosure, then on the application check the box confirming that you read the memo.


The GRE is not required to apply to the online MSW program.

Note: You do not need to mail any documents directly to the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.