School Welcomes Largest Ever Class of Online Graduates to Campus

May 19, 2014
Graduates at the 2014 USC School of Social Work Commencement ceremony

The USC School of Social Work reached a new graduation milestone on Friday with its largest class of students graduating from its innovative online Master in Social Work program, the MSW@USC. The USC School of Social Work celebrated a graduating class of more than 1,300 students between its on-campus and online MSW@USC programs. Of this class, more than 160 graduates traveled to Los Angeles from across the country to celebrate their achievement. This is the third year the USC School of Social Work has brought together students from both programs to walk together at commencement.

This year’s MSW@USC graduates hail from more than 30 states. While MSW@USC online students have developed strong virtual relationships with faculty and peers through the program’s use of live online classes and a robust interactive learning platform, for many this was the first time meeting in person. The online students walked in commencement and participated in graduation ceremonies alongside the school’s other 600 on-campus graduates.

“I’m proud to have so many graduating social workers from both our web-based program and our traditional program join us on campus to commemorate this milestone in their lives together,” said Marilyn Flynn, dean of the USC School of Social Work. “USC is now graduating one out of every 20 social workers in the United States, demonstrating that we have a true national presence and impact on the next leaders of our profession.”

For many MSW@USC students limited by geography or work and family commitments, the online option has made graduate school possible.

“I am an Army wife, so the MSW@USC program appealed to me, not only because of the caliber of the program and the military sub-concentration, but the ability to take classes wherever we are stationed," said Amy Duncan, an MSW@USC graduate with a concentration in Community Organization Planning and Administration and a sub-concentration in Military Social Work and Veteran Services.

MSW@USC students also must complete 1,000 hours of hands-on fieldwork at a placement site in their local communities, giving them real-world experience and valuable networking. Approximately 24 percent of MSW@USC students are employed by their fieldwork placement sites.

Job prospects for social workers continue to remain positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, market demand for social work practitioners is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

The University of Southern California School of Social Work is the first among elite research universities to offer its highly regarded Master of Social Work degree online.

For more information on the USC School of Social Work, visit usc.edu/socialwork. For more information on the MSW@USC, visit msw.usc.edu

About the USC School of Social Work
The University of Southern California's School of Social Work ranks among the top accredited social work graduate programs in the United States. A recognized leader in academic innovation, experiential learning, online education and translational research, the school prepares students for leadership roles in public and private organizations that serve individuals, families and communities in need. USC is dedicated to reinventing the profession, furthering knowledge and changing social institutions locally, nationally and globally. The school has made innovation a signature feature of its academic and research enterprise, leveraging technology in social work education, clinical practice, research and community development, as evidenced through the creation of an advanced online platform for distance learning, virtual humans for graduate-level teaching, and a university-based clinic offering mental health services over the Internet.