Important Dates & Upcoming Events

Online Information Session: July 24, 2024
Virtual Application Workshop: June 25, 2024
Final Application Deadline: July 16, 2024
The next start date: August 26, 2024

Completing your Application

1. Begin the Online Application

Initiate the application process by creating your login credentials for the USC online application portal. You may complete the application at your own pace and in any order.

2. Personal Information, Academic History, and Support Information

Submit the required personal information, academic history, and supporting documents. For personal information, provide a release statement; biographic, contact, and citizenship information; race and ethnicity;  other personal and financial aid information; and USC background information. Academic history should include details on high school and college attendance, GPAs, educational gaps, and standardized test scores. If applicable, include supporting information such as experiences, achievements, conferences attended, memberships and relevant documents.

3. USC MSW Program Questions

Please respond to the questions that are specific to admission to the MSW Program, including questions related to program length and location (if applicable), application history, academic background, and personal and transfer student information. These questions also include the following important questions about your educational and career goals:

  • What motivates you to pursue a career in social work, and how do you plan to make an impact in this field?
  • Describe a challenging situation you faced in a work or volunteer setting related to social work. How did you address it?
  • Reflect on an experience where you worked with a diverse group of people. What did you learn about equity and inclusion from this experience?
  • Considering the core values of social work, which one resonates most with you and why?

The questions primarily aim to assess two key areas:

Personal motivation and values in social work: These questions explore why you are drawn to social work and which core values of the field resonate most deeply with you. Understanding your personal connection and ethical alignment with the profession helps us evaluate your foundational motivations.

Problem-solving and adaptability in diverse environments: The questions also explore how you handle challenges and collaborate with diverse groups. This helps us assess your practical skills in managing real-world issues and your ability to foster inclusivity and equity in professional settings.

When answering the short-answer questions, please respond directly to what is being asked of you, while ensuring that your responses demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and professionally in writing. Pay close attention to organization, grammar and syntax.

4. Add your Resume

For admission, experience in the field of social work is preferable but not required. Applicants are expected, however, 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). Applicants should submit an up-to-date resume highlighting their educational, professional and leadership experience and achievements, as well as their capacity to work effectively with a variety of populations. Resumes should include the following:

  • Academic Experience
    Please describe your academic background and experience relevant to the field of social work. Include the following details for each degree obtained or currently being pursued: institution name, degree type (e.g., BA, BS, MSW), major or focus, dates of attendance, and any relevant coursework or research projects. If applicable, also include information about any academic honors or distinctions received.
  • Professional  Experience
    Please describe your professional experience, emphasizing any paid positions in social work or related fields. Include the following details: agency/organization name, position/title, dates of employment, and responsibilities.
  • Internship and Volunteer Social Work Experience
    Please describe any internships or volunteer work specifically related to the field of social work. Include the following details: agency name, position/role, dates of work, frequency, and responsibilities.
  • Leadership Experience
    Please indicate the length of time of leadership experience, the agency or community where leadership efforts occurred and a brief description of leadership activities.
  • Miscellaneous
    Please provide details of affiliations with professional organizations (e.g., National Association of Social Workers), honors or recognitions received, and special achievements.

5. Request Two (2) Recommendations

In the online application portal, you will be asked to send electronic recommendation requests. We require two (2) recommendations. Applications without two recommendations will be considered incomplete and not reviewed. 

Only professional and academic references are acceptable. This includes recommendations from academic instructors or professionals who have supervised you in a social work related position or capacity. Personal recommendations (e.g., friends, relatives, therapists) will not be considered.

Once you have saved an electronic recommendation, an email request will automatically be sent to the recommender on your behalf. Please advise your recommender to look for this email in their inbox, as well as their spam or junk-mail folder, as emails do occasionally get filtered out.

6. Request your Official Transcripts from All Previously Attended Postsecondary Institutions (Undergraduate and Graduate)

Electronic or hard copy transcripts are accepted. Applications with missing transcripts will be considered incomplete and not reviewed.

Electronic: Please have electronic transcripts sent to both your email address and 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.

PLEASE NOTE: The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work does not offer in-person interviews as part of the application. However, some applicants may be asked to complete a short virtual interview or phone call if needed for clarification purposes.

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Contact Us

For any admissions-related questions or application assistance, please reach out to your admissions advisor or call 855-725-4-MSW.

Important Dates & Upcoming Events

Online Information Session: July 24, 2024
Virtual Application Workshop: June 25, 2024
Final Application Deadline: July 16, 2024
The next start date: August 26, 2024