Admissions Requirements

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 traditional program on the Traditional 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)

You must upload a resume to the Employment Information section of the online Graduate Admission Application. The school requires a resume that specifically highlights your social work-related experience.

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

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:

  • Describe your understanding of the social work profession and its core values. How have you incorporated social work 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 and desired department within the school (CYF, AMHW or SCI). 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. 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.

When requesting application items, please be aware that we only accept official electronic transcripts sent to

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your college or university utilizes National Student Clearinghouse to process electronic transcripts, you will need to follow the instructions outline below:

  • 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.

Instead, select one of the following options:

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

Then provide the following email as the recipient address:

Once your order has been placed, please forward your order confirmation directly to your admissions counselor for tracking purposes.

Alternatively, your school can e-mail official, password protected electronic transcripts directly to: or mail them to the address below:

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

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.

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.

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.