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Admitted advanced standing students begin the program by taking three two-unit bridge courses in their first semester. Upon successful completion of the bridge courses (students must earn a grade of B or better in each bridge course), students advance to the Families and Children concentration curriculum. Students who do not earn a B or better in the bridge courses will be automatically removed from the advanced standing program. However, they may be able to enroll with the next cohort of the traditional 60-unit Seneca MSW@USC program.

Families and Children Curriculum

All Seneca MSW@USC students, including advanced standing, will participate in USC’s Families and Children concentration curriculum. This concentration prepares students for practice in multicultural urban communities with children, youth and adults within the context of their families, who are facing challenges resulting from issues of poverty, social injustice, lack of education, school failure, lack of employment and employment skills, mental illness, homelessness, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, community violence, substance abuse, immigration issues, or grief and loss.

Our curriculum addresses this range of social, educational, health and mental health, economic and social justice needs while promoting an understanding of issues of diversity. Coursework reflects a synthesis from theories supporting family-centered practice; work with children, adolescents, parents and older adults in intergenerational family units; and best practices from allied fields including child development, psychology, education, medicine and nursing. Recognizing the reality of practice in many agencies and the needs of students preparing for licensure, the strengths-based curriculum supports skill development in mental health assessment and diagnosis and intervention and treatment of children, adolescents and families.


Bridge Courses

Assessment in Social Work Practice (2 Units)

Provides a review of all aspects of writing a bio-psychosocial assessment including arrangement of the sections, information to be gathered, engagement with client and other informants, and clinical impressions.

Neurophysiology in Social Work (2 Units)

An exploration of the mind-brain-body connection with emphasis on how events in the developmental years impact brain structure and how, as adults, people can take advantage of neuroplasticity to make healthy changes in the brain.

The Role of Evidence Based Practice in Social Work (2 Units)

An in-depth exploration of the components of a research paper and study proposal including writing research questions, performing literature reviews, and synthesis of the information. The role of EBP in life-long learning and an introduction to motivational interviewing is emphasized.


Concentration Courses

Advanced Theories and Clinical Interventions with Children and Adolescents (3 Units)

Advances students’ knowledge and clinical skills working with children and adolescents. Emphasis is on challenges affecting children, including developmental derailments and disruptions.

Advanced Theories and Clinical Interventions with Families (3 Units)

Advances students’ knowledge and clinical skills working with diverse urban families experiencing various stressors. Explores application of a range of family therapy models.

Merging Policy, Planning & Research for Change in Families and Children’s Settings (3 Units)

Supports the development and evaluation of service programs for children and families incorporating social welfare policy, macro practice and research skills. Taught by Seneca’s research director to integrate learning into work at Seneca Family of Agencies.

Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice (3 Units)

Through didactic and experiential methods, students learn to interpret and apply leadership theory and research. Covers skills of effective leadership at all organizational levels.

Elective Courses

Three elective courses (9 units) are required, which includes the required Seneca-specific independent study elective: Unconditional Care and Integrated Treatment Model (3 Units).


To find out more about USC's top-ranked MSW program, click here.