PhD in Social Work

The dual MSW/PhD degree program is offered to exemplary students seeking advanced research-based study in social work. Typically, the program attracts applicants without a master's degree in social work or with a master's degree in another field and prepares them for academic research and teaching careers.

Prospective students must meet both the MSW and PhD admission requirements to be considered for admission to the dual-degree program.

To enroll in the MSW/PhD dual degree program, you must apply separately and be admitted to both the MSW and PhD schools. We strongly recommend that you apply to both schools at the same time, even though the application processes are completely separate and may have different timelines and requirements. It is important that you contact the other professional school to which you are applying to find out its deadlines and requirements.

You must complete both Part I and Part II for both the MSW and PhD application process (the PhD Program must receive ALL application materials by December 1 deadline to be considered priority applications), in addition to the following special instructions:

Online Graduate Admission Application: You must create and submit two online applications to USC (one for each school). However, you only need to pay the application fee once - for whichever application is submitted first. For the application submitted second, you may waive the application fee in the "Application Information" section (question 11), by selecting the "I am applying to a dual degree program" option.
Transcript(s): You do not need to submit academic records directly to the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; we have access to the documents you send to the USC Graduate Admission Office. If the other school to which you are applying also does not require academic records to be sent directly, then you will only need to send one set of transcripts to USC. Applicants for the MSW/PhD dual degree should submit two online applications - one to the MSW program and one to the PhD program.


Once admitted and before the fall semester of their first year, students will develop an individualized study plan with their mentor to identify courses they plan to take in their first and second years. Students also will create a second plan with their mentor in the spring semester of their second year to identify courses and tutorials they will take in their third and fourth years. A total of 90 units is required for the dual degree (exclusive of SOWK 794 Doctoral Dissertation). The program can be completed within four years, and students may choose any of the school's departments of study. View the MSW/PhD course requirements for a breakdown of the MSW/PhD curriculum schedule.

Degree Requirements
42 units: MSW Program
48 units: PhD in Social Work Program

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
PhD Program Office of Admission

669 W. 34th Street, Suite 214
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411



Malinda Sampson

Malinda Sampson
PhD Program Manager