Military Social Work Option

Military social workers play an integral role in helping veterans, active-duty service members and military families connect to the care and support they need. These specialized social workers support military personnel facing deployment and help active-duty individuals and veterans cope with a host of physical and psychological issues including deployment, combat readiness and military sexual trauma (MST).

Military social workers provide support to military families facing emotional and financial stress, military-impacted schools and communities.

Our engagement in past, present and future wars continues to drive the need for highly skilled social workers who can provide therapy, treatment and services for veterans, active-duty service members and their loved ones.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a Military Social Work option where students explore evidence-based methods for helping those who have dedicated their lives to protecting ours. As the first program of its kind to be offered by a civilian research university, the Military Social Work option is designed to complement any department in the MSW program and prepares students to:

  • Care for service members, veterans and their families dealing with an array of physical, mental and psychosocial issues
  • Better understand military culture
  • Learn about the systems of care in place for military personnel before, during and after deployment
  • Help returning service members find health and employment services
  • Work with local agencies to identify and serve military populations in their communities

Social workers trained in the Military Social Work option work in a range of settings and offer services such as:

  • Mental health therapy for a variety of issues such as physical illness, disease, substance abuse, family issues and traumatic experiences
  • Military-to-civilian life reintegration support
  • Crisis intervention
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Resource navigation, such as financial, housing and benefit assistance
  • Aging veteran support and advocacy

Program Option Requirements

The Military Social Work option can be added to any department. Students will complete the following courses:

  • Clinical Practice with the Military Family: This course helps students understand military culture within which military families function. Students learn about stressors such as deployment, diversity within military family structures, and how a range of diversity filters can impact the military family and military culture. This course examines policies that impact military families and family life cycle interactions.
  • Clinical Practice with Service Members and Veterans: This course addresses the needs of veterans, active-duty, retired and deployed service members at different developmental phases of the military life cycle, both holistically and within the context of their families and communities. Military social work students (per CSWE 2010 guidelines) will be prepared to facilitate clients’ methods of coping with a range of physical health, mental health and psychosocial issues. Students learn to identify these concerns along with the risk and protective factors associated with navigating deployment and combat stressors.