Dean's Welcome

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the nation's first schools of social work, USC has always been a trailblazer. And this time in our history is no exception. Still one of the best social work graduate programs in the nation, USC is heralded by agency, policy and academic leaders for its rigorous career preparation. But you no longer need to live in Southern California to benefit. While the school now graduates nearly 40 percent of all social workers in California, with the launch of our full web-based Master of Social Work degree program (MSW@USC), we have become the first truly national program in the profession.

The school has also attracted national attention with our military social work program, the first of its kind at a civilian research university and the first to use virtual patients to train future social workers. Having achieved another milestone with three Congressional appropriations, we established the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families to focus on the mental health needs of service members.

A campus exemplar for our research efforts, our funding exceeds $35 million. Our own Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services was the first endowed center for interdisciplinary social work research at any university. Now a leader in the evidence-based decision-making and practice movement, the center continues to expand with the recruitment of nationally recognized faculty and newly established research cores and institutes in aging, child welfare, homelessness, veterans and military families, and severe mental health. This makes for an ideal learning environment for PhD candidates. Our extraordinarily selective doctoral program enables us to admit only the finest students who receive attentive hands-on mentoring and a substantial financial package of $200,000 over four years, one of the highest in the nation!

It's a fascinating time to be a social worker. Never have we needed more educated, principled and resourceful leaders who can anticipate emerging issues and lead social work innovation at the local, national and global levels. And never has their educational preparation been so thorough or so crucial. We welcome your interest in the USC School of Social Work and invite you to explore our website to learn more about our dynamic community.


Marilyn Flynn, PhD
2U Endowed Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work
Dean and Professor of Social Work