No GRE required

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Five optional, specialized tracks


The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work seeks aspiring social work leaders to join our next cohort in the Online Master of Social Work program. 

If you’re ready to take the next step toward your professional success, we’re here to answer your questions and guide you through the admissions process.

Information about our upcoming start term, application deadlines and information sessions can be found on this page under “Important Dates & Upcoming Events.” Please contact us if you are interested in applying for our next start, or have questions about a future term.

Depending on your educational background, admitted students will enter either the Traditional Online MSW Program or the Advanced Standing Online MSW.

Traditional Online MSW Program Admissions

If you earned a bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible for our MSW program.

  • As few as 16 months to complete
  • 48 graduate-level credits
  • Offered full and part time
  • No GRE required

Advanced Standing Admissions

If you earned a Bachelor of Social Work, you may be eligible to start classes at the second-year level with our Advanced Standing program.

  • As few as 12 months to complete
  • 24 graduate-level credits
  • No GRE required

Admissions Requirements

Traditional Master of Social Work:

  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum of 18 units of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework, spanning both social and biological sciences
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale) for the full-time, 4-semester program. Prospective students with a cumulative undergraduate GPA below 2.8 will not be considered.
  • Strong academic promise to perform successfully at the graduate level
  • Experience in providing service to people preferred
  • Potential for professional competence; strong interest and motivation; and commitment to social work values such as:
    • Appreciation for cultural and ethnic diversity;
    • Belief in the dignity and freedom of every individual;
    • Promotion of social justice and equal access to resources, and;
    • Institutional responsiveness to human needs and social change
  • Personal attributes such as sensitivity and responsiveness in relationships, capacity for self-awareness, and concern for the needs of others 
  • Strong abilities in abstract reasoning, conceptual thinking and interpersonal communication

Advanced Standing:

  • Bachelor’s degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited school of social work earned within the past five years
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in all social work courses

If English is not your native language, you are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.

Application Materials

Complete and submit your Graduate Admissions Application online. Within the application, you will need to provide the following application materials:

  • Resume: Up-to-date professional resume highlighting your educational, professional and leadership experience and achievements, as well as your capacity to work effectively with a variety of populations. Experience in the field of social work is preferable but not required.
  • Recommendations: Two (2) recommendations from academic instructors or professionals who have supervised you in a social work-related position or capacity (paid, internship or volunteer). Personal recommendations are not considered.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from each post-secondary institution (undergraduate and graduate) you have attended. Additional information on transcript submission can be found here.
  • USC MSW Program Questions: Short answer questions specific to admission to the MSW Program. Responses should demonstrate your understanding and interest in social work, your problem-solving abilities, and your capacity to communicate effectively and professionally in writing.
  • Application fee: Applications must be submitted with a $90 application fee. Fee waiver eligibility information is located here.

Licensure and Credentialing

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at USC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and designed to help meet the eligibility requirements for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) and Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination to obtain licensure. The MSW program provides a pathway to licensure, but does not satisfy all requirements for licensure upon completion of the program.

Requirements for licensure, including levels of licensure, vary by state and students should review the USC Licensure and Certifications site for state-specific MSW course requirements and restrictions. Students interested in pursuing licensure should also contact the licensing board for the state in which they hope to become licensed to determine specific requirements for licensure, including any requirements that are beyond the scope of the MSW program.

How to Apply

Ready to start your application? Additional information on how to complete your application can be found here.

Applicants should note that USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is not currently accepting applications  from New York to the Online MSW program. Visit this page for more information on state authorization.

The Online Master of Social Work program does not qualify to issue Form I-20 to international students. If you are interested in the hybrid or on-ground Master of Social Work at USC, you can learn more here.

If you are interested in joining us from outside of the United States, please connect with your admissions advisor to ensure that we will be able to find a field placement for you.

International Applicants

For students whose native language is not English, the TOEFL or the IELTS exam is required. You will need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores in order to complete an application and be reviewed for admission to the online MSW program.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will only accept the internet-based TOEFL test and requires all applicants to submit a minimum score of 100, with no less than 20 in each category. Applicants who choose to take the IELTS must achieve a minimum total score of 7, with no less than 6.5 points on each band score. 

TOEFL/IELTS tests must be taken within the last 2 years and scores must be submitted in electronic format and directly from the testing service. Failure to meet the school’s English proficiency requirements will result in your application not being reviewed for admission.

Verification of all previous post-secondary degrees earned outside of the United States is required. Students who have earned a degree from an institution outside of the United States must engage the International Education Research Foundation. Please review this service’s requirements and fees on their special USC web pages and follow their instructions. The evaluation service will send a verification report directly to USC.

Please note that graduate coursework at USC is viewed cumulatively. This means that if you have prior coursework at USC that falls below a 3.0 GPA, it will be calculated into your overall USC graduate GPA and you may be on academic probation until your overall USC graduate GPA rises to a 3.0.

After You Apply

Check your email regularly, as you may receive important communications from the Admissions Office and/or our processing team regarding your application.

Contact our Admissions Office with any questions at 1-855-725-4-MSW or email us.

Important Dates & Upcoming Events

Online Information Session: May 20, 2024
Virtual Application Workshop: April 30, 2024
Priority Review Deadline: May 21, 2024
Final Application Deadline: July 16, 2024
The next start date: September 3, 2024
More Info