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Founded in 1880 and based in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California maintains a reputation as one of the most innovative and academically rigorous schools in the nation. Along with earning high marks for its liberal arts programs in film, music, and architecture, USC pioneered technologies such as antivirus software, DNA computing, and image compression. USC’s School of Social Work, founded in 1920 by Emory Bogardus, also stands out for its range of well-regarded online and on-campus degrees. Accreditation: USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The USC School of Social Work is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

Featured Programs in Social Work

Social Work Program Overview

The University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work advances social justice through a combination of high quality education, community outreach, and interdisciplinary scholastic work. The department has a well-deserved reputation for innovation. In 1952, it became the first western U.S. school to offer a doctoral social work degree. In 2009, the master of social work degree added an innovative veteran services degree track. A close relationship with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion informs degree curriculum. USC’s social work department currently offers five online and on-campus degrees for working professionals and recent graduates.

Online Social Work Programs

USC’s School of Social Work features three flexible online degrees: a 60-credit online master’s in social work, a 42-credit online doctoral degree in social work, and a 49-51 credit online master’s in nursing. The online doctor of social work degree requires students to attend two, six-day residencies over the course of the two year, exclusively part-time program, while the two online master’s degrees do not entail any on-campus requirements. Both online master’s degrees allow students to choose between a full- or part-time pace. The online master’s in nursing holds Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation.

On-Campus Social Work Programs

The School of Social Work offers two on-campus degrees: a 45-credit doctor of philosophy and a 60-credit master of social work. The doctor of philosophy degree holds more rigorous admission requirements than the doctor of social work, requiring a scholarly writing sample and a satisfactory GRE score. The on-campus master of social work also allows students to earn a dual degree at a partnering school.

University of Southern California Online Social Work Degree Programs

Online Master’s in Social Work

Program Overview

  • Department: School of Social Work
  • Concentrations: Adult mental health and wellness, children, youth, and families; social change and innovation, military social work track


  • Format: Online
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements

  • Prerequisites:
  • Credit Requirements: 60 credits
  • Field Education Requirements: 1,000 hours of field education

Program Length

  • Program Options: Full time or part time
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Program Start Dates: May 13, August 5, August 26

Admission Requirements

  • Application Deadline: April 1, June 17, July 2
  • GPA: 3.0 GPA at minimum
  • Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT
Read more information about Social Work Degrees and Careers in California