Course Catalog

Social Work (Integrative Social Work) (MSW)

The program of study that leads to the Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in Integrative Social Work (ISW) (also referred to as the “ISW MSW”) consists of 42 units.

The basic generalist curriculum (typically completed in semesters one and two) introduces students to the range of social welfare problems and programs, and to the varieties of human behavior with which social work is concerned. At the same time, students learn the methods by which the social worker, the social agency and the organized community work with people and problems. Field instruction, under supervision in a social agency, is scheduled for two or three days per week for most students, enabling students to apply theory to practice. Students complete their specialized coursework and training in integrative social work practice typically in semesters three and four of the ISW MSW curriculum. When completing their specialization, students may choose a sub-specialization by selecting a track that introduces them to practice with a particular client population, setting or system.

Program Requirement (24 units)

All students are to take the following courses for 3 units each:

SOWK 506 Human Behavior and the Social Environment

Units: 3
The person-in-environment, bio-psycho-social perspective is the lens through which theories of personality, family, group, organization, community, culture and their interactions are explored.
Duplicates Credit in the former SOWK 503 and SOWK 505.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 523 Foundations of Integrative Social Work Practice I

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Principles underlying social work practice with emphasis on rapport building, engagement, assessment and contracting individuals, families and groups though a framework of social justice.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 525 Foundations of Integrative Social Work Practice II

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Principles underlying social work practice with emphasis on intervention, termination and evaluation with individuals, families and groups though a framework of social justice
Prerequisite: SOWK 523
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter 

SOWK 536 Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work

Units: 3
A study of the complex and interconnecting systems of policy, programs and communities that directly and indirectly impact Social Workers’ clients’ lives.
Duplicates Credit in the former SOWK 534.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 546 Science of Social Work

Units: 3
Introduction to the role of scientific inquiry in advancing social work goals. Inspires students to include science in their social work identity and professional decision-making.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 562.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 591 Applied Learning in Field Education I

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised beginning generalist field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 589a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 593 Applied Learning in Field Education II

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised generalist master’s level field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 591
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 589b
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 630 Diversity, Social Justice, Culturally Humble Social Work Practice

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Introduction to diversity and social justice in the context of social work practice. Enhance intercultural cultural competence by raising awareness of one’s own values/assumptions/biases.
Registration Restriction: Open only to Master Students in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

Optional Tracks

Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW) Track (18 units)

In addition to the courses listed below, students are required to take a 3-unit, adviser approved elective.

SOWK 612 Assessment and Diagnosis of Mental Disorder

Units: 3
Assessment of mental disorders, and the rationale and organization of the system for diagnosis. Emphasis is on developing differential diagnostic skills.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 643 Social Work Practice in Integrated Care Settings

Units: 3
Social work processes and skills required for the implementation of short-term interventions in medical, behavioral health and integrated care settings with individuals, families and groups.
Prerequisite: SOWK 544 and SOWK 637 
Registration Restriction: Open only to master students in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 647 Advanced Practice with Complex Social Work Cases

Units: 3
Introduction to advanced practice concepts essential to understanding engagement, assessment and diagnosis with complex social work cases from a meta-framework perspective.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506 and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 635 and SOWK 637 and SOWK 638 and SOWK 643 and SOWK 644
Registration Restriction: Open only to master students in Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 691 Applied Learning In Field Education III

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 593
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 693 Applied Learning in Field Education IV

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 691
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non- social work students may enroll.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699b 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit

Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Track (18 units)

In addition to the courses listed below, students are required to take a 3-unit, adviser-approved elective

SOWK 608 Research and Critical Analysis for Social Work with Children and Families

Units: 3
Critical analysis and application of various data, information, and evidence to understand client problems and service needs, identify appropriate interventions, and evaluate practice decisions.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 603.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

or

SOWK 627 Policy and Macro Practice in Child, Youth and Family Services

Units: 3
Provides context and preparation for social work practitioners holding policy, management and macro practice roles in communities and organizations serving children, youth and families.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 613 Social Work Practice with Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood

Units: 3
Provides understanding of the development of problems in early childhood, and skills for engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation of effectiveness for treatment of these problems.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 621 Social Work Practice with Adolescents, Young Adults and their Families

Units: 3
Intervention with adolescents, young adults and addressing their developmental problems, challenges and solutions. Engagement and evidence based intervention in working with youth will be covered.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 608 and SOWK 609 and SOWK 610
Registration Restriction: Open only to Masters students in Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 691 Applied Learning In Field Education III

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 593
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 693 Applied Learning in Field Education IV

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 691
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non- social work students may enroll.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699b 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit

Social Change and Innovation (SCI) (18 units)

In addition to the courses listed below, students are required to take a 3-unit, adviser-approved elective

SOWK 639 Policy Advocacy and Social Change

Units: 3
Analysis of efforts to improve local human services organizations and agencies with consideration of political, social, demographic and organization contexts.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 648 Management and Organizational Development for Social Workers

Units: 3
Methods and principles of management focusing on health and human service organizations, including strategic management, financial analysis, and innovative project development in social work.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506 and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 665 Grant Writing and Program Development for Social Workers

Units: 3
Grant writing and program development that are generalized to any settings and relevant to direct and macro social work practice expertise.
Prerequisite: (SOWK 503 or SOWK 506) and (SOWK 505 or SOWK 506) and (SOWK 534 or SOWK 536) and (SOWK 535 or SOWK 536)
Registration Restriction: Open only to master students in Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 691 Applied Learning In Field Education III

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 593
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 693 Applied Learning in Field Education IV

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 691
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non- social work students may enroll.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699b 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit

Military Populations and Settings (MPS) (18 units)

In addition to the courses listed below, students are required to take a 3-unit, adviser-approved elective

SOWK 590 Directed Research

Units: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Research leading to the master’s degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit
(3 units required)

SOWK 633 Life in the US Military: Foundations of Practice in Military Social Work

Units: 3
Examines the experience of military service, including challenges and theoretical and empirical foundations of military social work clinical practice.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506 and SOWK 536
Registration Restriction: Open only to master students in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter 

SOWK 691 Applied Learning In Field Education III

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 593
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 693 Applied Learning in Field Education IV

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 691
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non- social work students may enroll.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699b 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit

SOWK 600 Practice with Service Members, Veterans and Families

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Learn how to engage, assess and intervene in practice and policy with service members, veterans and their families.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506 and SOWK 525 and SOWK 536
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 641
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 608 Research and Critical Analysis for Social Work with Children and Families

Units: 3
Critical analysis and application of various data, information, and evidence to understand client problems and service needs, identify appropriate interventions, and evaluate practice decisions.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 603.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

or

SOWK 612 Assessment and Diagnosis of Mental Disorder

Units: 3
Assessment of mental disorders, and the rationale and organization of the system for diagnosis. Emphasis is on developing differential diagnostic skills.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

or

SOWK 627 Policy and Macro Practice in Child, Youth and Family Services

Units: 3
Provides context and preparation for social work practitioners holding policy, management and macro practice roles in communities and organizations serving children, youth and families.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

or

SOWK 665 Grant Writing and Program Development for Social Workers

Units: 3
Grant writing and program development that are generalized to any settings and relevant to direct and macro social work practice expertise.
Prerequisite: (SOWK 503 or SOWK 506) and (SOWK 505 or SOWK 506) and (SOWK 534 or SOWK 536) and (SOWK 535 or SOWK 536)
Registration Restriction: Open only to master students in Social Work
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

School and Educational Settings (SES) (18 units)

In addition to the courses listed below, students are required to take a 3-unit, adviser-approved elective

SOWK 608 Research and Critical Analysis for Social Work with Children and Families

Units: 3
Critical analysis and application of various data, information, and evidence to understand client problems and service needs, identify appropriate interventions, and evaluate practice decisions.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 603.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

or

SOWK 627 Policy and Macro Practice in Child, Youth and Family Services

Units: 3
Provides context and preparation for social work practitioners holding policy, management and macro practice roles in communities and organizations serving children, youth and families.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 609 Introduction to Social Work Practice with Children, Youth and Families

Units: 3
Understanding development of children and families from birth to adolescence and the developmental difficulties from an ecological perspective. Assessment/engagement of families and Interventions are introduced.
Prerequisite: SOWK 506  and SOWK 536 and SOWK 544 and SOWK 546 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 614 Social Work Practice in School Settings

Units: 3
Based on ecosystems perspectives, this course examines policies, theories and principles of social work practice in school settings.
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Letter

SOWK 691 Applied Learning In Field Education III

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 593
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non-social work students may enroll
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699a
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: In Progress and Credit/No Credit

SOWK 693 Applied Learning in Field Education IV

Units: 3
Terms Offered: FaSpSm
Supervised field seminar and field placement to develop practice skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations.
Prerequisite: SOWK 691
Registration Restriction: Priority will be given to social work students, but with instructor approval, non- social work students may enroll.
Duplicates Credit in SOWK 699b 
Instruction Mode: Lecture
Grading Option: Credit/No Credit

Minimum Units Required: 42

Course Content

The MSW@USC provides high-quality course content through engaging videos that bring social work theory to life. Our professionally produced case studies for the online MSW make learning more tangible and accessible by helping you visually experience a “client’s” full range of emotions or by watching someone model practice skills.

Supplementing materials presented in a textbook and lectures with video can truly enhance discussion in the live online classroom by offering real-world examples, illustrating key concepts and inspiring you to revisit ideas outside of class.