Completing your Application
- Begin the Online Application
Create a username and password to log in to the online application portal. You may complete the application at your own pace and in any order.
- Add your Resume
For admission, experience in the field of social work is preferable but not required. Applicants are expected to have experience in environments such as human services (e.g. nonprofit organization, public health, healthcare, etc.) and education. These experiences may include those in the workplace or in academic settings (e.g. internships). Students should highlight their leadership, advocacy, and capacity to work with a variety of populations.Submit a resume through the online application portal that details the following:
- Current Work Experience
Please describe your current or most recent professional paid position. This position does not have to be social work-related. Include the following details: company name, job title, dates of employment and responsibilities.
- Professional Social Work Experience
Please describe any work you have done professionally in the field of social work or related fields. Include the following details: agency name, position/title, dates of employment and responsibilities.
- Volunteer Social Work Experience
Please describe any work you have done as a volunteer or intern related to the field of social work. Please include the following details: agency name, dates of volunteer work, frequency and responsibilities.
Please indicate any of the following: affiliations with professional organizations (e.g., National Association of Social Workers) or honors/recognitions received.
- Leadership Experience
Please indicate the length of time of leadership experience, the agency or community where leadership efforts occurred and a description of actual leadership activities.
- Request Two Letters of Recommendation
Apply your recommender’s name and email address to the Evaluations tab of the application. Your recommenders will receive an email invitation to submit their recommendation online. You do not need to wait for your recommenders to complete their evaluations in order to submit your application. Your application will automatically update once letters are received.
You are required to submit a minimum of two recommendations; a third recommendation is optional. Preferred recommendations are those that come from academic instructors or professionals who have supervised you in a social work-related position (paid, volunteer or internship). Personal recommendations are not acceptable.
We prefer recommendations submitted in formal work/business letterhead and with the use of an email address that has your work/business domain name in it (e.g. TommyTrojan@usc.com).
- Write a Statement of Purpose
You must upload a Statement of Purpose to the Supporting Documents section of the online Graduate Admission Application. Your Statement of Purpose must be five double-spaced pages in length, with one-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman font. You must address all topics below:
- Why did you choose social work as opposed to another field? How have you incorporated social work core values in your human service experiences and interactions with others?
- What significant relationships and life experiences have you had that motivated you to enter the field of social work?
- What type of societal concerns interest you in the social work profession? What type of barriers or successes have you witnessed in your area of interest?
- Please discuss your career goals. Include why the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is a good fit for your goals.
This is our opportunity to get to know you and evaluate your preparedness for graduate-level writing. The Office of Admissions strongly recommends that you take the time to proofread and collect feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, or mentors, prior to submission.
The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work does not offer in-person interviews as part of the application. Please note some applicants may be asked to complete a short virtual interview or phone call if needed for clarification purposes.
- Request your Official Transcripts from All Previously Attended Postsecondary Institutions (Undergraduate and Graduate)
Electronic or hard copy transcripts are accepted.
Electronic: Please have electronic transcripts sent to both your email address and firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have received the transcripts, upload them to the Academic History section of the application for admissions review purposes.
Hard copy: Please scan and upload your official transcripts directly to the Academic History section of the application portal. Opened, scanned and uploaded transcripts are acceptable for admissions review purposes. Once admitted, you will need to submit electronic transcripts or sealed, official transcripts from your degree-conferring institution to USC.
- Complete the Short Answer Questions
Upload your responses to the following Short Answer Questions under the “Documents” tab in the application portal.
- Please describe how you personally have coped with a challenging life situation. What lessons can you apply in your social work career? (150 word max)
- In a professional context, you will face challenging individuals and/or events. At times, these situations can be stressful or triggering as you try to care for clients. Describe your strategies and supports to protect your wellbeing as you navigate these complex challenges. (150 word max)
- As part of your fieldwork, you may be required to work with diverse populations including survivors of all types of traumas, individuals who have abused children, and individuals dealing with mental health and substance use challenges. Do you believe you would have any challenges in working with any particular population? (150 word max)
- Submit your Online Application
Sign up for updates and reminders about the application process for the online Master of Social Work program:
If you are ready to begin your application now, click the button below.
For any admissions-related questions or application assistance, please reach out to your admissions advisor or call 855-725-4-MSW.