Advanced Standing Online MSW

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers an Advanced Standing Online MSW program that incorporates the same leadership focus as the Traditional Online MSW program. 

Advanced Standing MSW Program at a Glance 

The Advanced Standing Online MSW program prepares aspiring social work leaders — who have earned a BSW within the past five years — to build on their knowledge and pursue professional licensure


Graduate-level credits


Months to complete the program


Optional program tracks


Practicum hours

 Curriculum Overview 

 If you are an Advanced Standing student, you will bypass the first year of foundational requirements and start classes at the second-year level. 

The Advanced Standing Online MSW curriculum combines courses on integrative social work practice with practicum work in community-based settings. Below is an example of the course schedule for Advanced Standing students. 

Term 1: 6 units total 

  • SOWK-511: Critical Decision-Making in Integrative Social Work Practice: 3 units
  • SOWK-525: Foundations of Integrative Social Work Practice II: 3 units

Term 2: 9 units total

  • SOWK 691: Applied Learning in Field Education III: 3 units 

Term 3: 9 units total

  • SOWK 6XX: Elective: 3 units 
  • SOWK 693: Applied Learning in Field Education IV: 3 units 

*The curriculum is subject to change each academic year. Explore the full online Advanced Standing MSW curriculum snapshot.  

Community-Based Practicum Training

Advanced Standing students gain real-world social work experience through an internship with an active social service agency. During your internship experience, you will:

  • Work with an internship coordinator to secure a placement that’s right for you.
  • Complete 650 hours of training at a community-based placement. 
  • Be supervised by a licensed social work practitioner throughout your internship experience.  

Students are also required to complete a minimum of 30 field hours through attendance and participation with their field class, and orientation and evidence-based intervention training. 

Learn more about the MSW@USC field education experience. 

Optional Program Tracks

Customize your curriculum to suit your interests by choosing one of five tracks of study, or create your own track:

Focus on the mental health and physical well-being of adults, ranging in age from young adults to seniors.

Address the needs of vulnerable children, youth and families while building supportive social environments.

Lead and drive positive change in communities, organizations, businesses and government.

Learn how to meet the unique needs of active military members, veterans and their families.

School and Educational Settings1

Prepare to help pre-K–12 students overcome external factors that hinder their ability to succeed in school. 

Undefined Track 

Create a custom track that merges two or more of the above tracks to fit your unique interests

Learn more about the optional program tracks


Acceptance into the Advanced Standing program is not guaranteed. Admission is competitive, and the MSW program only accepts a limited number of advanced standing students. No GRE is required to apply.

  • Bachelor’s degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited school of social work within the past five years 
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in all social work courses

Application Requirements

All Advanced Standing applicants must complete the online application and submit all supporting documentation by the deadline in order to be considered for admission. 

View our complete list of application requirements.

Become Part of USC’s Social Work Legacy 

If you’re ready to make a difference as a social work leader, request information about the online Advanced Standing MSW program today.

 1 Students pursuing the School and Education Setting track in the Advanced Standing program are not eligible to pursue a Pupil Personnel Services credential.