Doctor of Social Work (DSW) Research: DSW Capstone Projects

This guide provides links to resources available at USC Libraries for researchers working in the area of social work.

Finding DSW Capstone Projects

You can access past DSW capstone projects from the USC Digital Library: 

  • Go to the USC Digital Library
  • Under the search box there are different collections, look for the "USC Scholarship" section
  • Select "University of Southern California Dissertations and Theses"
  • Search "doctor of social work" (use quotations) or search by title/author if you're looking for something specific
  • You can change how the results are displayed using the View & Sort menu 
  • The screenshot below shows the filters to use in the View & Sort menu to find most recent capstones

Submitting your capstone to the USC Digital Library

Once you have passed SOWK 725c and your capstone project has been approved by your Capstone Faculty (SOWK 725c), you need to submit it to the USC Digital Library to archive it, and make it accessible for future scholars. 

Benefits to submitting your capstone to the USC Digital Library:

  • Provide part of the evidentiary record that you received a degree in a particular field
  • Fulfill the Library’s mandate to preserve the academic record of USC
  • Fulfill the Library’s mandate to make accessible the research performed at and supported by USC
  • Provide access to that research for future scholars to build upon that work
  • Get your work cited by other authors.
  • Greater exposure = more chance of collaboration and further publication options.

The DSW Capstone Project submission process is detailed below:

Step 1: Student receives confirmation from Capstone (SOWK 725c) Faculty that their project is ready to be archived.

Step 2: Capstone (SOWK 725c) Faculty notifies the DSW Program Office of students who are ready to submit their capstone projects to the USC Libraries system.

Step 3: The DSW Program Office emails students, and copies the USC digital library team to confirm the students that will be submitting their capstone projects.

Step 4: After receiving that email from the DSW Program Office, the student completes the publishing information form on the library website:, including agreeing to allow USC to store, reproduce, and make the work publicly available. This creates an account in the USC Libraries system. You will then be sent an e-mail asking you to confirm your account. The e-mail will come from and have the subject USC Libraries ETD submission login confirmation

Step 5: Once registered for an account, the student inputs metadata including:

  • name & e-mail
  • document title
  • defense date
  • school
  • program
  • abstract
  • advisors' names
  • limited restrictions, if any: selection of  0, 6, 12, 18, or 24 month restriction

Step 6: Student uploads approved PDF. Approved files in other formats such as .mpeg or .avi may also be uploaded.

Step 7: After the student uploads the approved PDF, the account is closed and an automated e-mail is sent to librarians in the USC Digital Library to review the submission.

Step 8: The librarians check the validity/completeness of the uploaded file and make any needed modifications to the metadata (such as spelling corrections, normalization of names, and capitalization).

Step 9: If all is in order, the librarians approve the submission and the capstone is available in the Digital Library.

Step 10: The student and the DSW Program Office are sent an automated e-mail indicating the student’s capstone has been submitted and they are clear to graduate.

If you have any questions regarding these procedures, contact the USC Digital Library at