Student Experience

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) program combines online learning, virtual and in-person field education and comprehensive support services to help our graduates become practitioners and leaders in the field. 

Explore the MSW@USC

USC's Digital Campus

The MSW@USC fosters an environment of collaboration, where you will build real connections with students and faculty inside and outside of the classroom.

On the MSW@USC online platform, you can meet for group discussion and team projects, and you can keep in touch about classwork and personal interests through the platform’s discussion wall. You are also able to form groups in the virtual campus, which means you can find classmates with similar interests or students who live in your local area.

Live Online Classes

Taught by USC professors, seminar-style classes are kept small — with an approximate 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio — to encourage conversation and collaboration. In the MSW@USC classroom, there is no back row: you will actively participate in discussions with your professors and peers.

Recordings of live class sessions are available 24/7 so students can revisit concepts and classroom conversations.

Immersive Course Content

Between live class sessions, you complete online coursework — including video case studies, readings and research — to apply your skills and foster class discussion. Coursework is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection, through a mobile app or you can download content to view offline.

Through our interactive learning platform, you can engage with your classmates and professors on assignments in real time, online: provide and receive feedback, contribute to conversations and ask questions.

Field Education

In the MSW@USC, you will spend the majority of your time completing field education, virtually and in person. Your field education will begin with Virtual Field Practicum (VFP), a small-group, faculty-supervised online course in which you work with an actor playing the role of a client to simulate real-world situations.

After you complete 210 hours of VFP, you will be placed by the MSW@USC field team in an agency in or near your community.

Learn more about field education.

Take the Next Step

Request information today to see how the MSW@USC can bring you closer to tackling today’s social work challenges.

What USC Graduates Are Doing

Graduates of the MSW@USC are making a difference in communities around the world.

Elizabeth Steffel, MSW@USC '15

A survivor of child abuse and homelessness, Elizabeth Steffel knew she was meant for a career in social work so she could help others struggling in the foster care system. She chose to earn her Master of Social Work online from USC to continue her advocacy work in her hometown.

Motivated by her experiences, Elizabeth wrote a grant proposal in partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay to create a program that increases college retention rates for former foster care children.

Today, she is a contributor to Foster Focus magazine and the National Association of Social Workers, and she advocates for children who are homeless or in foster care.

Tara Moore, MSW@USC '14

Tara Moore’s career began in information technology, but she felt she could be doing more meaningful work. She started volunteering at a local nonprofit, working with teen mothers to ensure their access to services and resources during and after their pregnancies. Tara was inspired by the experience.

“An internal yearning to offer myself to community service was unexpectedly kindled, and my life had a new purpose. I was then led to pursue a life of service and applied for the USC MSW program.

Tara is now helping kids through her work at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, loving her career in social work.

Join the Trojan Family

As a USC student, you will build relationships with faculty members and classmates. Upon graduation from the program, you will join the global USC alumni network, which supports more than 100 affiliated alumni organizations, including regional, alumnae (women's), generational, affinity and school-based groups, and industry networks.

WeWork Global Access Membership

WeWork is a global community of workspaces with more than 240 locations in more than 20 countries. As a student, you will be granted a complimentary WeWork Global Access membership, giving you the convenience to work and study anywhere with a WeWork location.

Your membership will provide opportunities to expand your network and attend exclusive WeWork events while utilizing amenities such as workstations, Wi-Fi, printers, private phone booths, refreshments and on-site support staff. You'll also be able to connect and collaborate in person with other local students.

Currently, WeWork locations are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will have access to all workspaces through the WeWork app and website.

LinkedIn Premium Career Access

Strengthen your professional network through complimentary access to LinkedIn Premium Career. You’ll be able to:

  • See who’s viewed your profile and how they found you.
  • Directly message prospective hiring managers and recruiters, helping you keep your name and resume top of mind.
  • Learn how you compare to other applicants and gain instant access to salary insights without sharing your personal data.
  • Practice for interviews and optimize your resume.
  • Sharpen your professional skills through LinkedIn Learning, a library of short videos and courses.

Student Support

Support services begin the moment you inquire about the MSW@USC program. From the start of the application process to graduation, students are supported with technical assistance, academic advising and field placement.

  • An admissions counselor will answer your questions and remind you of important deadlines.
  • Your academic advisor will discuss your academic plans and career goals one on one through the online platform.
  • Our student support team will help you acclimate to our virtual campus and offer technical support when needed.
  • Our extensive library resources and knowledgeable librarians are available for your use.
  • Our field placement team works with you to find internship opportunities in or near your community.

Career Development Services

As a student in the MSW@USC program, you gain access to services provided through the Office of Career and Professional Development.

Whether you need help landing your first social work position or enhancing your on-the-job skills, we are dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to realize career success, including the following:

  • Career-building tools, such as resume and cover letter samples, weekly job postings and announcements on various industry topics.
  • Courses and classes, including the Professional Development and Alumni Resources Course, which can be accessed anytime through the Learning Management System.
  • Live sessions on a range of topics, from resume building to interview preparation to evaluating job offers and negotiating salary.
  • Career appointments with a USC career advisor who can discuss your goals, job search, application materials and more.
  • Alumni panels that allow you to learn from USC-educated social workers practicing in the field.
  • Employer spotlights where hiring managers and recruiters tell you what they are looking for in a great candidate.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work a top school of social work in 2019.1
1 The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report Return to footnote 1 reference