Nation's Largest School of Social Work Celebrates Fifth Anniversary of Online Program, MSW@USC

Nov 05, 2015, 08:30 ET from 2U from ,University of Southern California School of Social Work

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work celebrates the fifth anniversary of the MSW@USC program, an online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, and its impact on the field. The program uses innovative approaches to educate future leaders and help fill the nation's need for mental health and social work professionals.

As the largest social work school in the country, USC currently trains five percent of the nation's new professional social workers. The MSW@USC program has grown to include students from 49 states, the District of Columbia and 14 countries.

"The world needs more social workers. They are the glue that brings all parts of a society together to achieve social harmony, both in times of tragedy and trauma, as well as during periods of hyper-economic growth and prosperity," said Marilyn Flynn, dean of the USC School of Social Work. "Bringing USC's Master of Social Work online has allowed us to extend our curriculum to many more aspiring social workers – way beyond our traditional on-campus reach. We are looking forward to the continued growth of our program to address the projected 19 percent increase in social work careers over the next decade."

The MSW@USC was created to bring social work education into the 21st century by offering those bound by location, due to career or personal commitments, access to a prestigious USC graduate education online. In partnership with 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU), a leader in technology-enabled education, the school launched its online MSW program in 2010, ensuring it matched the academic rigor and quality of the on-campus master's program.

"After teaching on the ground for over 20 years, I am impressed at how effective the online experience is, not only for teaching and learning, but for creating an informed participatory intellectual community," said Michael Rank, an associate professor at the USC School of Social Work. "Those that said it couldn't be done are now witnessing the online MSW@USC program's impact."

MSW@USC students attend live weekly classes and also engage with video lectures, case studies and other interactive coursework designed to bring class discussions to life. The program's unique Virtual Field Practicum (VFP) enables students to apply classroom knowledge in a simulated clinical setting with a live actor trained to play the role of a client in crisis. This provides students with the opportunity to consider strategies of practice in a safe, supervised setting and receive in-the-moment coaching and support from faculty and classmates.

The VFP also helps to prepare students with critical clinical skills and a thorough understanding of evidence-based practices in an effort to support them in their field placements. The MSW@USC program's placement team finds these internships in students' local communities, allowing them to have a direct impact where they reside, while gaining hands-on experience and building a valuable network close to home.

To commemorate the MSW@USC anniversary, the USC School of Social Work issued an Impact Report detailing outcomes of the program. Some of the findings in the report include:

  • Since the program's inception, MSW@USC students have completed more than 3.1 million cumulative fieldwork hours in local communities.
  • The military social work specialization, which became available to online students in 2012, has been selected by more than 40 percent of MSW@USC graduates as an area of study, one of the first offered by a civilian research university.

"One unique and powerful facet of this program is the ability to network, learn from and interact with like-minded social workers and professors from all around the world," said Ashley Rhodes-Courter, an MSW@USC graduate and founder and executive director of the Foundation for Sustainable Families. "Without having to relocate, students have an opportunity to make a direct impact in their own communities with the skills and tools learned from one of the country's top social work programs."

To view the MSW@USC Impact Report, please visit For additional information on the MSW@USC, visit or follow on Twitter at @MSWatUSC.

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. For more information, visit

About 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU)
2U partners with leading colleges and universities to deliver the world's best online degree programs so students everywhere can reach their full potential. Our Platform, a fusion of cloud-based software-as-a-service technology and technology-enabled services, provides schools with the comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, enroll, educate, support and graduate students globally. Blending live face-to-face classes, dynamic course content and real-world learning experiences, 2U's No Back Row® approach ensures that every qualified student can experience the highest quality university education for the most successful outcome.

Media Contacts:

Cindy Monticue, USC School of Social Work 
(213) 740-2021

Shirley Chow, 2U
(646) 597-5850

SOURCE 2U; University of Southern California School of Social Work