One of the nation’s first schools of social work, the University of Southern California – School of Social Work (USCSocial Work) is now “the first among elite research universities” to offer its highly regarded Master of Social Work degree online. USCSocial Work’s Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services was the first endowed center for interdisciplinary social work research and remains a pioneer in translational science – the acceleration of research findings into practice settings. MSW@USC is accredited, with a very competitive admissions policy, though no GRE is required. Applicants must have a bachelors degree, a GPA of 3.0, and a commitment to social work values such as belief in the dignity and freedom of all people. USCSocial Work also stresses the importance of maturity, emotional stability, social sensitivity, and self-awareness in its applicants, and states that experience in providing service is strongly encouraged.
The stated mission of USCSocial Work is “to improve the well-being of vulnerable individuals and communities, advance social and economic justice, and eradicate pressing societal problems in complex and culturally diverse urban environments throughout Southern California, the nation and the world.” Through the launch of the Virtual Academic Center, it can expand that mission to a national level. USCSocial Work prepares its students to take on leadership roles in both public and private service organizations, and offers the only military social work curriculum track program in the U.S., preparing students to meet the needs of veterans and their families.
USC’s Master of Social Work is among the top-ranked Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News and World Report. MSW@USC continues that honored tradition, blending online and field work, including community immersion experiences in local urban neighborhoods in the students’ foundation year, then again in the concentration year. Students have the option of completing the degree track in 2, 3, or 4 years, depending on how much time they have to devote to studies. The rigorous program requires a time commitment by the student of 75 – 90 minutes per class per week, plus 20 hours per week during the field work segments. Students must accumulate 1,000 hours of hands-on experience prior to graduation. Top students may be eligible for the Advanced Standing program, in which they take three 2-unit “bridge” courses in their first semester, then complete the entire program in 3 – 5 semesters. Only students with bachelors degrees in social work, with an overall G.P.A. of at least 3.25 and a minimum G.P.A. of 3.5 in all social work courses, may apply for the Advanced Standing program.
USCSocial Work accepts up to 12 hours of coursework for transfer credit, so long as it meets admission guidelines. Multiple start dates for its online programs make enrollment more accessible. Current students have access to tutoring and library resources to assist them with career advice and registration aid, and technical support is available 24/7. USC faculty provide both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and are available through email and by telephone. In addition, they hold regular on-line office hours. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.