Mar 27, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

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MSW graduates celebrate in front of Tommy Trojan.



     Courses of Instruction    




The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is a leader in social work and nursing education, training and research. These MSW graduates celebrate in front of Tommy Trojan. Photos by Wallis Photo LLC.









The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work champions social justice for the well-being of individuals, families and communities through innovative teaching of evidence-informed and practice-based skills, pioneering transformative research and cultivating leadership for social change.

The school’s programs equip students with a broad background of knowledge about health and social welfare problems, programs, services and policies designed to prevent and address those problems and existing and emergent trends and issues. Across all programs, students are professionalized and encouraged to develop professional philosophies and approaches that are in harmony with the basic tenets of their chosen professions. At the same time, students share the desire and calling to prevent and mitigate severe social and health problems that challenge the viability of culturally diverse and complex urban settings; to build on the strengths of individuals, families, and communities; and to lead the scholarly search for innovative, efficacious and just solutions.


Montgomery Ross Fisher Building 214
(213) 740-2711
Admissions: (213) 740-2013
FAX: (213) 740-0789




Sarah Gehlert, PhD, Dean

John Clapp, PhD, Executive Vice Dean

Devon Brooks, PhD, Associate Dean for Curriculum

Joshua Watson, EdD, Assistant Dean, Student Services

Suzanne Wenzel, PhD, Associate Dean for Research

Anne Marie Yamada, PhD, Associate Dean of Inclusion and Diversity

Michael Hurlburt, PhD, Director, Doctoral Programs

June Wiley, PhD, Chair, MSW Program

Michelle Zappas, Program and Clinical Placement Director, MSN-FNP Program

Ruth Supranovich, EdD, Director, Field Education



Dean and Ernest P. Larson Professor of Health, Ethnicity, and Poverty: Sarah Gehlert, PhD

Dean’s Professor of Social Work and Business: Michàlle E. Mor Barak, PhD

Frances L. and Albert G. Feldman Endowed Professorship in Social Policy and Health: Lawrence Palinkas, PhD

Richard M. and Ann L. Thor Professor in Urban Social Development: Suzanne Wenzel, PhD


Professors: Carl Castro, PhD; John Clapp, PhD; Benjamin Henwood, PhD; Yuri Jang, PhD; Michàlle E. Mor Barak, PhD; Lawrence Palinkas, PhD; Eric Rice, PhD; Avelardo Valdez, PhD; Suzanne Wenzel, PhD; Maria Aranda, PhD, MSW, MPA, LCSW

Associate Professors: Cleopatra Abdou, PhD; Concepcion Barrio, PhD; Devon Brooks, PhD; Julie Cederbaum, PhD; Alice Cepeda, PhD; Michael Hurlburt, PhD; Karen Lincoln, PhD; Dorian Traube, PhD; Shinyi Wu, PhD; Ann Marie Yamada, PhD

Assistant Professors: John Blosnich, PhD; Robynn Cox, PhD; Jordan Davis, PhD; Daniel Hackman, PhD; Elizabeth Kim, PhD; Jungeun Olivia Lee, PhD; Hans Oh, PhD; Monica Perez Jolles, PhD; Rebecca Rebbe, PhD

Teaching and Field Education Professors: Rafael Angulo, MSW; Margarita Artavia, MSW; Judith Axonovitz, MSW; Annalisa Enrile, PhD; Stephen Hydon, EdD; Tyan Parker Dominguez, PhD; Renee Smith-Maddox, PhD

Teaching and Field Education Associate Professors: Rosamaria Alamo, PhD; Estela Andujo, MSW; Juan Araque, PhD; Karra Bikson, PhD; David Bringhurst, PhD; Ruth Cislowski, MSW; Terence Fitzgerald, PhD; Pamela Franzwa, MSW; Kim Goodman, MSW; Suh Chen Hsiao, DPPD; Maria Hu, DSW; Dawn Joosten-Hagye, PhD; Terri Lee, MSW; Jennifer Lewis, PhD; Omar Lopez, MSW; Renee Michelsen, MSS; Sam Mistrano, JD; Christina Paddock, MSW; Erik Schott, EdD; Michal Sela-Amit, PhD; Melissa Singh, EdD; Ruth Supranovich, EdD; Vivien Villaverde, MSW; Benita Walton-Moss, PhD; Deborah Waters-Roman, EdD; June Wiley, PhD;; Lisa Wobbe-Veit, MSW; Kathleen Woodruff, DNP; Michelle Zappas, DNP

Teaching and Field Education Assistant Professors: Danielle Brown, MSW; Laura Cardinal, MSW; Kerry Doyle, MSW; Umeka Franklin, EdD; Susan Hess, MSW; Janett Hildebrand, PhD; Harry Hunter Jr., PhD; Jane James, JD; Tracie Kirkland, DNP; Stacy Kratz, PhD; Jennifer Parga, MSW; Holly Priebe Sotelo, MSW; Cynthia Sanchez, DNP; Sara Schwartz, PhD

Lecturers: Cassandra Fatouros, MSW/MBA; Marco Formigoni, MSW; Laura Gale, EdD; Iris Gonzalez-Thrash, MSW; Robert Hernandez, DSW; Sara McSweyn, MSW; Richard Newmyer, MSW; Aimee Odette, DSW; Cynthia Rollo-Carlson, MSW; Lily Ross, MSW; Shane’a Thomas, MSW; Dorothy Nieto Manzer, MSW

Research Assistant Professors: Hazel Atuel, PhD; Sara Kintzle, PhD; Sonya Negriff, PhD; John Prindle, PhD; Harmony Rhoades, PhD

Emeritus Professors: John Brekke, PhD; Iris Chi, DSW; Helen Land, PhD; Jacqueline McCroskey, DSW, MSW Janet Schneiderman, PhD; Barbara Solomon, DSW

Emeritus Professors of Clinical Education: Anne Katz, PhD; Martha Lyon-Levine, PhD; Paul Maiden, PhD; Doni Whitsett, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Field Education: Marleen Wong, PhD


Degree and Minor Programs

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers various degree programs that lead to a Master of Social Work (MSW), Doctorate of Social Work (DSW), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work, and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as well as a number of graduate certificates. The school also offers an undergraduate Social Work and Juvenile Justice Minor.


Master of Social Work (MSW)

The Master of Social Work degree requires 42-60 semester units of course work. The program of study leads to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with a specialization in an area of advanced practice. Course requirements are organized into a generalist curriculum and a specialized practice curriculum. The generalist curriculum provides students with knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that prepare them for professional practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The specialized practice curriculum involves integration of social work knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes and demonstrated ability to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate across or within client populations, problems areas, and methods of intervention. Areas of specialization available to students include Adult Mental Health and Wellness; Children, Youth and Families; Military Social Work and Veteran Services; School Social Work; or Social Change and Innovation. 

Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW)

This curriculum prepares students to address the health and well-being of younger and older adults within families, agencies, institutions, communities, and other environments, and to eliminate disparities. Course work focuses on mental health and substance use, integrated primary and behavioral health care, wellness and recovery, promotion of healthy aging, social welfare policy, and program and policy evaluation and analysis. 

Children, Youth and Families (CYF)

This curriculum prepares students to address the needs of vulnerable children, youth, and families from the earliest years of childhood through adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Course work focuses on promoting wellness and preventing trauma, as well as which kinds of service programs are showing the best results for families with different makeups from a variety of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Students are trained to serve families in a variety of service settings, including health, mental health, early education, schools, child welfare and juvenile justice.

Military Social Work and Veteran Services

This curriculum targeting military personnel, spouses and other military dependents and military retirees who wish to maintain a post-military career affiliation with the armed forces; military veterans who wish to provide professional services to their military comrades; and civilian personnel who are committed to assisting military personnel, their families, and military veterans with adapting, coping, and managing the stresses and strains of military life and post-military life. The curriculum offers courses focusing on the needs of military personnel, veterans and their families. 

School Social Work

The school social work curriculum prepares students to practice in TK-12th grade settings across micro, mezzo and macro levels. Students learn about development as well as theoretical concepts related to working with children and adolescents in educational settings. They also learn various roles a social worker encompasses in the school setting to include leadership and system wide intervention. Course work additionally focuses on mental health service delivery and practice to include awareness of trauma informed schools, social and emotional learning, and polices that impact educational systems locally and nationally. Students have opportunities through field education to apply these concepts in school settings.

Social Change and Innovation (SCI)

This curriculum prepares students to lead bold, large-scale solutions to social problems and drive positive change in organizations, businesses, and government agencies. Course work focuses on community organization, organizational planning and development, workplace interventions, and advocacy. The community track prepares students to think critically about problems in communities and organizations, identify barriers to progress and design interventions to facilitate change. The business track prepares students for corporate settings, where they may help employees manage the demands between work and life and companies build positive relationships with their communities.    


Field Education

Field education is the signature pedagogy for social work. Field education typically takes place over four semesters through a combination of community-based placement, classroom instruction, and training with simulated clients. The school works closely with thousands of community agencies, organizations, businesses and other field partners to ensure students receive valuable hands-on practice experience and training that complements their classroom learning. Depending on the program selected, students generally complete a minimum of either 1,000 or 1,300 field hours in order to be awarded the Master of Social Work degree. Students usually spend 16-24 hours/week in field placement and 2 hours weekly/biweekly in the classroom seminar. During their time in “field,” students are trained to apply three evidence-based interventions: motivational interviewing, problem-solving therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Community-based placement occurs in selected agencies and centers representing a broad range of social services. Placements are approved on the basis of the quality of their professional practice, commitment to social justice and to addressing social work problems, interest in participating in professional education, and ability to make personnel and other resources available. Field instructors, MSWs who are employed by either the agency or the school, are responsible for teaching students in their field placements. 

Each placement in field education is made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the following: geographic location, previous experiences, future goals, professional interests, special needs and stipend requirements. Students are responsible for transportation to their field placements and are encouraged to have access to a car. 


Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work

The Doctorate of Social Work

The Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) is a fully online program that offers an advanced practice doctorate in social change and innovation for agency and community leaders and entrepreneurs. Standard Track: 9 semesters (36 months); Accelerated Track: 7 semesters (28 months). Prospective DSW students must hold a master’s degree. This may include an MSW from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)–accredited program, any master’s degree from a regionally accredited program or any professional doctorate.


The PhD in Social Work

The PhD program prepares academics and scientists focused on the discovery of new knowledge through research. PhD candidates are interested in a career in academia, teaching or other research-intensive environments. A PhD program is centered around pursuing an original research project that culminates in a dissertation based on the original research and contribution to social work theory. The PhD program is located at the University Park Campus in Los Angeles and is full time. It requires a minimum of 45 units beyond the master’s degree and successful completion of written and oral qualifying exams and the doctoral dissertation. It typically takes four to five years to complete the doctoral program. Candidates must have a master’s degree in social work or related field, excellent undergraduate and graduate academic records, participation in independent research and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). International applicants must also have a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a 49-credit hour program. The Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares nurses to treat patients across the life span in primary care settings. The program is delivered online and is available to registered nurses across the country. It also features a virtual campus that facilitates an engaging online learning experience. Students attend live classes that are kept small to encourage collaboration and connection with peers and faculty. Students apply what they learn in class during in-person clinical placements. Clinical placement coordinators work with students to find placements in or near their own communities. The program can be completed in 21 to 33 months, depending on whether you attend as a full-time (five semesters) or part-time (eight semesters) student. Candidates must hav a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from an accredited college or university. Admissions requirements include a minimum 3.0 grade point average in the student’s BSN program, a grade of C or better in a 3-credit course in statistics, a U.S. license as a registered nurse (RN) and residence within the United States upon application, throughout the duration of the program and for one year of clinical experience.

Master of Science in in Addiction Science

The Master of Science in Addiction Science (MAS) exposes students to the biological, psychological and social aspects of substance use and addictive behaviors. Students study emerging trends in addiction studies with an emphasis on evidence-based transdisciplinary approaches to addiction science and practice addressing epidemiology, etiology, prevention, treatment, policy and harm reduction, as well as sociocultural and healthcare contexts that intersect with addiction. The MAS equips students with a solid foundation and prepares them to enter a number of fields, from treatment to recovery and research to policy work, representing critical areas of support among diverse communities in need. For program requirements, see Addiction Science (MS) 

Graduate Certificate in Law, Social Justice and Diversity

The graduate certificate in Law, Social Justice and Diversity is offered in conjunction with the Gould School of Law. For more information, see here 

Graduate Certificate in Social Work Administration

The graduate certificate in Social Work Administration is offered in conjunction with the Gould School of Law. For more information, see here . 

Social Work and Juvenile Justice Undergraduate Minor

The Social Work and Juvenile Justice undergraduate minor is designed for students who want to increase their knowledge of the juvenile justice system and service environments for diverse youth populations. This 16-unit minor completed across three semesters is fit for students in the behavioral and social sciences and any student interested in developing a broad knowledge of issues in the field of juvenile justice.


    MinorMaster’s DegreeDual DegreeGraduate CertificateDoctoral Degree


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