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Social Work Undergraduate Admissions



In order to be admitted to the College of Social Work-BSW Program, freshmen and transfer students must meet all University and college admission requirements. Transfer students must meet all such requirements and have a GPA of 2.50 or better. Acceptance into the BSW Program with a lower division classification does not guarantee progression into the upper division BSW Major. All students in the lower division in the BSW program are subject to the following regulations:

    1. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.50
    2. All incomplete grades posted on the transcript must be removed before progression into the upper division
    3. Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all required English courses

Advanced Placement: Students must adhere to the University requirements for advanced placement in general education courses. Only those general education courses identified by the University can be used for advanced placement through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). University departmental exams may be used for advanced placement if offered by the appropriate department and if the student meets the expected testing level identified by the department.

Upper Division: Progression into upper division social work occurs primarily in the fall semester. Students who complete 39 hours of general education and wish to apply to upper division must submit a completed College of Social Work - BSW Application by the announced due dates published each year. Factors considered in the progression decision include the following:

    1. Good standing with the University and successful completion of the application process
    2. Minimum of a 2.5 cumulative USC and collegiate summary grade point average in general education and other courses
    3. A grade of “C” in their English general education course requirements
    4. Verified completion of 39 hours of general education courses at the time of application
    5. Verified completion of 54 hours of general education courses at the time of progression to upper division
    6. Verified completion of SOWK 201
    7. Meeting with their social work advisors to receive and discuss the pre-application, application packet, personal statement, reference forms, and over-all process.
    8. Completion of a statement of agreement to abide by the professional values and behavioral expectations outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics, USC Carolina Creed, and other documents found in student manuals
    9. Attendance at the BSW program and field education orientation sessions


In making admissions decisions, representatives from the BSW Program and College of Social Work form an Admissions Committee.   This committee uses a holistic approach to assess applicants for admission. Important components of this assessment include: (1) academic transcripts from post-secondary institutions, (2) the content of the personal statement, (3) the writing quality of the personal statement, (4) letters of recommendation, and (5) evidence of service/volunteer learning and organizational membership. This holistic approach of assessment enables the Admissions Committee to evaluate the applicant's potential for contributing to the profession of social work as a competent generalist practitioner.


Transcripts from prior academic work are submitted to the College of Social Work, and can be found at the university’s Office of the University Registrar. Transcripts will be analyzed based on the cumulative undergraduate GPA (must have at minimum GPA of 2.50 for admission into the BSW Upper Division major), trends in grades, and types of courses completed.


The purpose of the personal statement is to display the applicant’s professional and personal accomplishments, and ultimately present evidence that the applicant will develop into a competent social work practitioner. It is the time to let the admissions committee get to know about the applicant, including significant achievements, factors that have shaped life, interests that promote intellectual engagement and service passions, and life goals.  

Paramount to the personal statement is the applicant’s ability to comment on the primary mission and core values of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. The personal statement is also an opportunity for applicants to describe the resolution of a problem that has occurred during the college career, and discuss methods of self-care.


Letters of recommendation should come from individuals who can address the applicant’s characteristics such as maturity, self-discipline, commitment, cooperativeness, and professionalism. There is no limitation in terms of who can write a letter, but it is suggested the letters are written by individuals who can attest to the applicant’s performance in academics, employment, and/or service/volunteer experiences (e.g., professor, supervisor, or community leader), and NOT from those with a personal relationship (e.g., relative, friend, or neighbor).  


Similar to the letters of recommendation, there are no limitations for how the applicant presents volunteer/service experiences or organizational memberships. It is recommended that applicants highlight the quantity and quality of volunteer and service learning opportunities completed, noting any contributions made to the campus or community through volunteering/service or organizational membership.           


Each August, a new cohort begins the BSW Upper Division major. The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants for this cohort during two distinct times: Spring and Summer.

  • For Spring Applicants, the application packet is due in March and final admissions decisions will be made by the end of April
  • For Summer Applicants, the application packet is due in July, and final admissions decisions will be made by the end of July

Applicants will be notified about decisions by postal mail, e-mail, or both. To protect privacy, the BSW Program will not release admissions decisions over the phone, nor will the BSW Program discuss an application with anyone other than the applicant.

We’re happy that you’re interested in our program! To enroll in our program, you must be admitted to USC. If you recently received your admissions letter from USC, your next step is to sign up for an orientation.

Contact Dr. Daniel Freedman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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