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College of Social Work

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Certificate Programs

The College of Social Work offers for-credit graduate certificates and non-credit courses and certificate programs. Whether you are looking to enhance your graduate degree or simply earn new credentials in a specialized field, you can find the program to meet your needs.

For-Credit Graduate Certificate Programs

The College of Social Work offers three graduate certificate programs to provide opportunities for in-depth study in a focused field of practice. The certificate programs are intensive for-credit plans of study, designed to meet the needs for trained social workers in high-demand fields of practice.

Drug and Addiction Studies

Industry, education, social services, criminal justice, treatment centers and research institutes increasingly demand staff trained in drug and addiction studies. To meet this need for qualified personnel, the University of South Carolina offers the Certificate of Graduate Study in Drug and Addiction Studies.

The certificate provides post-baccalaureate students with opportunities to develop broad competencies in preparation for employment in a range of fields addressing alcohol and drug-related problems.

The program is interdisciplinary and involves faculty and courses from several academic departments, including criminology and criminal justice, public health, medicine, social work and psychology. The program’s faculty is composed of professionals and researchers prepared to provide students with a range of knowledge in the areas of education, prevention, treatment and enforcement in traditional classroom and experiential contexts.

The program is designed for completion of 18 hours of credit in three to four academic semesters. Students gain a broad perspective on the alcohol and drug field through the core curriculum before specializing in one of three areas of emphasis: counseling, research or prevention.

Curriculum Requirements

All students are required to take:

  • SOWK 758: Dynamics of Substance Abuse

Students are required to take two of the following:

  • SOWK 752: Social Work Intervention in Substance Abuse
  • HPEB 742: Alcohol, Drugs, and Public Health Policy
  • HPEB 540: Drug Prevention
  • HPEB 542: Tobacco Prevention and Control in Public Health
  • PSYC 503: Psychology of Drug Use and Effect
  • NPSY 760: Addictions Rehabilitation
  • NPSY 761: Dual Disorders

Note: Not all courses are offered at any given time. Please contact the department in which the course is listed. You may also check the master schedule online through the Registrar’s Office to see which semester's courses were offered in the past.

Students will take two approved electives. One-half of the courses taken for the certificate must be at the 700 level or higher.

The College of Social Work administers the Certificate of Graduate Study in Drug and Addiction Studies. Students may pursue the certificate independently or in conjunction with another graduate course of study.

Admissions Criteria

Admission to the program is on a selective basis and determined by the academic preparation and personal qualifications. The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from the undergraduate degree institution. An applicant who has not attained the required GPA and does not possess a graduate degree or significant work experience may be required to submit Graduate Record Examination scores. Successful applicants typically have a score of "4" on the analytical writing portion of the GRE. The Miller Analogies Test may be substituted for the GRE.

How to Apply

To be admitted to the Certificate of Graduate Study in Drug and Addiction Studies, the applicant must submit the following to The Graduate School:

  • Graduate application form
  • Two letters of reference from professors or employers
  • An official transcript from each college or university previously attended

If the student has already applied or been admitted to a graduate program at USC, previously submitted materials will be accepted. MSW students can request concurrent enrollment by emailing the program director Nancy Brown.

Applications should list “Certificate of Graduate Study in Drug and Addiction Studies” on the application form under degree pursued. The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Students may begin the program in the fall, spring or summer semester.

Application Deadline

The certificate does not have a specific application deadline. To ensure we can process your application in a timely manner, we suggest all documents should be received (including official transcripts from all educational institutions) at least one month prior to the desired term of enrollment.   

Gerontology - *Admission to the program remains suspended. The program is expected to transition from Social Work to Public Health. Additional information will be available in the future.*

The Certificate of Graduate Study in Gerontology program addresses the educational needs of full-time and part-time students who will be engaged in the planning, administration and provision of services for older adults. Students earning master's or doctoral degrees in related disciplines are offered the opportunity to obtain specialized preparation for career paths in the expanding fields of gerontology and geriatrics.

The certificate provides graduate students with opportunities to learn from gerontology educators within several USC academic units. The program is administered by The  Graduate School and is planned by the university's Interdisciplinary Academic Committee on Gerontology. With a commitment to excellence, the program has been developed in relation to standards and guidelines established by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Each student's individualized program of study will be sponsored by one or more departments authorized to offer graduate study. All programs of study are approved by The Graduate School.

Curriculum Requirements

The Certificate of Graduate Study in Gerontology is granted upon completion of a structured program of 21 credit hours of graduate level courses. There are four required courses (three credit hours each) in the core curriculum:

  • PSYC 700 (equivalent to SOWK 771): Psychosocial Approaches to Gerontology
  • MEDI 700: Health Aspects of Aging
  • SOWK 772: Programs and Services for the Elderly
  • Practicum/Field Instruction or Supervised Research

Students can meet the practicum requirement through a departmentally approved residency, field instruction or supervised research course, exclusive of the student's thesis or dissertation. Social work students may apply one semester of field instruction in an approved aging agency setting to meet the requirement. Health administration students may complete the practicum through a public health residency.

Nine credit hours of electives may be selected from a broad list of graduate level courses available throughout the university. A student must take one elective outside of their academic discipline.

All health administration students are required to take HADM 764 (Long Term Care Administration). Other courses, including independent study, may be considered for elective credit.

With the approval of the academic unit concerned and subject to the regulations of The Graduate School, courses taken in the Certificate of Graduate Study in Gerontology can be applied toward a graduate degree. The College of Social Work participates in the Certificate of Graduate Study in Gerontology program, and some of the elective courses for the MSW program can be used to fulfill requirements for the certificate. Students participating in the Ph.D. program in Health Services Research in Aging may utilize some Gerontology Certificate Program courses to fulfill degree requirements.

Admissions Requirements

Students currently enrolled in graduate programs at USC and other interested individuals must apply for admission to the Certificate of Graduate Study in Gerontology program through The Graduate School. Requirements for admission include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) or a GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate coursework.
  • A written account of the applicant's past experience, including a statement of purpose for seeking the gerontology certificate and career goals.
  • Scores on the GRE, unless the applicant already has earned a graduate degree or is currently completing the requirements for a graduate degree.
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to the individual's ability to successfully undertake graduate study.
  • Official transcripts of all colleges attended.

For additional information, contact:

Katherine Leith, Ph.D., LMSW
Hamilton College
Room 113B
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: 803-777-1382
Fax: 803-777-3498

Social and Behavioral Health with Military Members, Veterans and Military Families

The College of Social Work remains committed to serving the needs of military members, veterans and their families. The Graduate Certificate for Social and Behavioral Health with Military Members, Veterans and Military Families is open to professionals in interdisciplinary field with easier access through online distributed learning coursework.

Curriculum Requirements

The Graduate Certificate Program has four required courses and two electives. We support our students in the MSW program by making it easy to complete the program with an additional nine hours of coursework, in addition to the requirements for their MSW program. Professionals who have graduated within the last five years may transfer up to nine credit hours from their graduate level program, depending on which courses taken. Generally, recent graduates are likely to transfer six of their graduate credit hours.

The Graduate Certificate for Social and Behavioral Health with Military Members, Veterans and Military Families requires three military specific courses and one course in addictions:

  • SOWK 737, Overview of Social Work with the Military, Veterans and Their Families educates students about military populations, culture and identifies the needs of active duty service members and their families.
  • SOWK 738, Military Mental Health and the Impact of Trauma explores the contemporary concerns that military members, veterans and families face in today’s world, including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, suicide and substance abuse.
  • SOWK 739, Intervention Strategies in Military Behavioral Health and Combat-related Issues examines health, behavioral health and rehabilitation issues confronting military members and veterans.
  • SOWK 758, Dynamics of Substance Abuse explores issues around drugs and addiction that are relevant to health and mental health, including classification of drugs, models of addiction and introduction to treatment and special populations

The other two courses required to complete the program are electives, chosen by the student to further their understanding of the issues facing today’s military members, veterans and their families. Courses such as “Loss and Grief,” “Psychopathology” and “Crisis Intervention” are a few examples of the electives available.


Non-Credit Certificate Programs

The College of Social Work coordinates non-credit certificate programs through the university's continuing education office. 

Psychodiagnostics and Psychopathology 

Non-credit courses will be offered online by the College of Social Work, beginning July 1, 2018. The non-credit courses will meet the requirements for Independent Level Licensure in Clinical Practice (LISW-CP). Registration is now open, and you may register for one or both. Each course is $250. Contact Rhonda DiNovo for more information.

Psychodiagnostics for Social Work

This asynchronous online course provides an understanding of mental health diagnostic assessment and testing, differential diagnosing of specific DSM-5 disorders, and a review of treatment modalities for mental disorders. The DSM-5 criteria will be utilized throughout the course, although some discussion of the ICD-10 will be referenced. This content is presented from a social work perspective but is applicable to other disciplines. Course content is especially relevant for learners who have already taken a psychopathology course and/or plan to pursue advanced clinical licensure, such as South Carolina's LISW-CP license. 

Course content includes weekly lectures, weekly quizzes, and relevant videos from a variety of sources that will help to contextualize your learning and improve your understanding of relevant issues in Psychopathology. Blackboard will track your activity in each area. 

Register Now

Psychopathology for Social Work

This asynchronous online course offered by the University of South Carolina's College of Social Work and provides the basic education for understanding, addressing and treating abnormal behavior using DSM-5 criteria.  Deeper content on assessing and diagnosing mental disorders is discussed in Psychodiagnostics.  In addition, this course includes content from different clinical perspectives that impact social work practice and human service delivery programming.

Preparing for licensure is an important process. Licensure opens doors to a variety of opportunities for professional growth and ongoing development as social workers. Licensed social workers work with a variety of populations; different settings; mental disorders and topics pertinent to client care; diagnosis, treatment and intervention; medication management, symptomatology; and other pertinent information including research. 

Course content includes weekly lectures, weekly quizzes, and relevant videos from a variety of sources that will help to contextualize your learning and improve your understanding of relevant issues in Psychopathology. Blackboard will track your activity in each area. 

Register Now