2021 Most Affordable Online Master of Social Work Programs (CSWE-Accredited)
If you’re interested in pursuing your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree online and aren’t sure where to begin your school search, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of the top online MSW programs across the country that can help you reach the next step in your social work career.
All programs on this list are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which is critical if you want to earn your MSW to be a practicing social worker. According to the CSWE, all U.S. states and D.C. require that a social worker sitting for a licensure exam graduate from a program that has CSWE accreditation.
These online MSW programs are ranked in increasing order of tuition for the entirety of the standard master’s program, not including fees. Below, you can find information about each school’s online MSW program, including the types of courses you can take, how long your studies will last, tuition rates, and more.
If an accelerated MSW is offered for those with advanced standing, this may be noted in the program description below but was not used in this affordability ranking. Typically, an advanced standing student may substantially save on tuition and time to completion for the MSW—possibly by half, but not always. Research your particular school of interest if you are interested in the advanced standing program.
How We Chose and Ranked These MSW Programs
We began with a list of all Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited MSW programs that were identified as online programs. Our editorial team validated that the program was all or mostly online and researched each program’s published tuition as of early 2021, excluding student fees or room and board.
We ranked these online MSW programs in ascending order of total tuition required to take all credits for the degree. In cases where there was different tuition for state residents and non-state residents, we selected the in-state tuition for ranking purposes. Similarly, for different published tuition for MSW students entering with advanced standing versus for students of a traditional MSW program, the traditional MSW curriculum tuition was used. For several of these online MSW programs, our team was unable to find accurate published tuition figures; these programs are listed separately.
Online MSW Programs
The MSW program at Valdosta State University prepares you for advanced generalist practice, and it’s available on campus or in a hybrid format. The faculty is full of professional social workers, and you complete two different year-long practicum placements to gain invaluable field experience during the program. You can also participate in the My Friend’s House and South Georgia CARE-NET programs, focusing on those with Alzheimer’s and dementia and supporting caregivers, respectively.
The hybrid program is a combination of in-person and web-based learning. In the hybrid program at VSU, you attend five weekend classes each semester and complete the rest of your coursework online.You have the option of a standard program and an advanced standing one. The standard option, for those without BSWs, takes 60 credit hours to complete. The advanced standing program is available on-campus or online if you earned a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited school within the past five years. The program requires 33 credit hours to graduate. Both require practicums.
The hybrid and advanced standing options are highly competitive. Apply early, especially if you’re interested in their study abroad program in Mexico.
- Standard: $15,780 for the entire program ($263 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $8,679 for the entire program ($263 per credit hour)
Univerity of Arkansas’s Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences offers several different MSW programs, among them a fully online advanced standing MSW program that takes 12 months to complete. All 39 credits can be completed over 12 months of full-time study without ever visiting the Fayetteville campus, including required field placements. The program administrator will work with you to find a suitable fieldwork location near your place of residence. In addition to the required practicum, all learners also complete a capstone research project or a thesis.
The program welcomed its first group of students in 2016 and now accepts a new cohort once annually. Courses required as part of the degree plan include advanced practice using the multi-system life course perspective, social work research and technology, advanced practice with adults using the MSLC perspective, and evidence-based social work.
Students must receive admission to both the university and the College of Arts & Sciences. Requirements for consideration include a regionally accredited BSW, 3.0 or higher GPA, personal statement, social needs paper, three professional references, a basic statistics course, resume, and evidence of computer literacy. The department offers several graduate-level scholarships to help students who demonstrate academic merit and financial need manage their costs.
$16,796.91 for the entire program ($430.69 per credit hour)
Missouri State University offers an advanced generalist MSW program. This is to allow students to take on various careers upon graduation, from those working with children to those in elderly services.
The regular full-time program is designed for those who have a degree in something other than social work. To graduate from this program, you need to complete 62 credit hours, including two field practicums. In the first year of the program, you’ll take generalist courses, and in the second year, you’ll take classes at the advanced generalist level. The part-time program has the same requirements, but the degree will take longer to complete.
No matter which online program you select, you’ll have help securing your field placement from the MSW department at Missouri State. They will go over your practicum goals and help you find a field placement that matches those goals.
- Regular: $19,158 for the entire program ($309 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $10,506 for the entire program ($309 per credit hour)
The School of Social Work at Texas State University provides an online MSW with two concentrations: foundation and advanced standing. The foundation track supports students who possess a bachelor’s degree but not in social work. It consists of 62 credits and takes three years of full-time study to complete. The advanced standing track supports those who graduated from a BSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education within the last decade. This option comprises 36 credits and takes two years to complete.
New students enter the program as part of a cohort, taking each of their classes with the same group of learners throughout their time at TSU. You can choose from both part-time (two courses per semester) and full-time (three courses per semester) c, depending on your schedule. The department accepts new degree seekers once annually in the fall semester.
Some of the courses you’ll take include human behavior in individual and family social environments, advanced social policy and social justice, and advanced program planning and grant-based resource development. Regardless of which track you choose, the final year is devoted to two advanced practicums.
- Resident Foundation: $21,535 for the entire program ($347.34 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $12,504.24 for the entire program ($347.34 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Foundation: $46,896.08 for the entire program ($756.34 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $27,228.24 for the entire program ($756.34 per credit hour)
UA Little Rock offers an online MSW that helps existing social workers gain the skills and qualifications needed to take on advanced practice and leadership positions. The degree comprises 60 credits and takes two years to complete. The last year is devoted to internship requirements. Although the degree exists fully online, only residents of Arkansas are eligible to apply at this time. Fieldwork placements must be done in-person.
New students are accepted for the fall and spring semesters. Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree with a liberal arts perspective, overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, a narrative statement of professional goals, three letters of recommendation (can be from volunteer, academic, or professional colleagues), a list of volunteer, employment, and relevant life experiences that speak to your career choice, and official transcripts.
UA Little Rock’s program maintains accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education. Courses covered include assessment and differential diagnoses, statistics for social work, social work research methods, and advanced direct practice. You can also select from a variety of topics to fulfill six required elective credits. Students must also complete at least 1200 approved practice hours before graduating.
- Civilian: $22,980 for the entire program ($383 per credit hour)
- Military or Veteran: $22,980 for the entire program ($320 per credit hour)
If you live within 500 miles of the Texas A&M Commerce campus, you may apply to attend their fully online MSW program, which began in fall 2019. They offer a 48-hour foundation option for those without BSWs, taking two to four years based on attending full or part time, and a 36-hour advanced standing/advanced generalist option for those with BSWs, taking about one year full time.
This generalist program’s goal is for its students to graduate ready to take on any social work career, though the school focuses on diversity and equity.
Foundation students complete 260 practicum hours during the spring semester of their first year and 640 hours over the following three semesters. The advanced standing students simply complete the 640-hour requirement. These internships are general, meaning you’ll work with everyone from individuals to groups to communities.
- Resident Foundation: Approximately $23,155 for the entire program (based on 12-hour semesters)
- Resident Advanced Standing: Approximately $9,262 for the entire program (based on 12-hour semesters)
- Nonresident Foundation: Approximately $46,795 for the entire program (based on 12-hour semesters)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: Approximately $18,718 for the entire program (based on 12-hour semesters)
Note: You must live within 500 miles of the Texas A&M Commerce campus to be eligible for this program.
The Ohio University offers two online MSW programs. The advanced practice MSW is available for those with BSWs. If your degree is in another subject they also offer a foundational MSW. These programs can be taken online and focus on issues facing rural communities, such as mental illness, addiction, poverty, abuse, and injustice.
OU offers three start dates for those who want to earn their degree online, and courses are asynchronous. The 39-credit advanced practice track can be completed in six semesters (about 24 months), and the 62-credit foundational track can be completed in as few as ten semesters.
Graduates of both programs typically go on to work in a few areas:
- Adult mental health (e.g., substance abuse counselor, geriatric social worker, and crisis counselor)
- Child, family, and schools (e.g., child protective services caseworker, foster care social worker, and eating disorder therapist)
- Social policy (e.g., nonprofit executive director, community outreach specialist, and grant writer)
- Resident: $23,544 for the entire program
- Nonresident: $24,228 for the entire program
If you’re looking for an online MSW with no residency requirements, the University of Nevada offers this type of program. Designed to prepare graduates for licensure, specialization options exist in children and families, gerontology, substance abuse, and mental health.
The traditional program consists of 62 credits and takes two years to complete, including summer classes. The advanced standing program incorporates 32 credits and takes 15 months to complete, including a summer session.
All students’ concentration courses include therapeutic interventions with families, practice and program evaluation, advanced multidimensional assessment, and therapeutic intervention with individuals.
Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0 or 3.25 in the final 60 credits of undergraduate coursework, three recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal statement. Advanced standing students must also supply a fourth recommendation letter from an undergraduate field instructor and evidence of outstanding performance in your field experience.
- Resident Traditional: $24,412 for the entire program
- Resident Advanced Standing: $12,682 for the entire program
- Nonresident Traditional: $46,112 for the entire program
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $23,882 for the entire program
As one of the oldest MSW programs in the country, the University of Alabama has been preparing advanced social work practitioners since 1965. The traditional program requires 60 credits and takes three years, while the advanced standing program consists of 42 credits and takes two years. The department also makes available an MSW/JD and an MSW/MPH dual degree with higher credit requirements. Regardless of your chosen track, you can concentrate your studies on adults and their families or children, adolescents, and their families.
Required core courses include models and social work practice methods with children and adolescents in mental health, evaluation research, and advanced clinical social work practice. The advanced standing track requires 500 clinical hours completed during a fieldwork placement; the traditional track requires approximately double that number. New students enroll as part of a cohort.
To receive admissions consideration, you must show evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school, a 3.0 or higher GPA, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume. Both programs accept new students in the summer and fall terms.
- Traditional: $25,200 for the entire program ($420 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $17,640 for the entire program ($420 per credit hour)
Note: Costs for the MSW/JD and MSW/MPH tracks are currently proposed but not finalized. Contact the school for the most recent tuition prices.
The Ohio State University has full-time, part-time, on-campus, or online MSW options. Their MSW program has been ranked sixth in the nation among public schools by U.S. News & World Report. Both their advanced standing and traditional MSWs are available entirely online and open to students nationwide.
OSU’s advanced standing MSW program, for those with BSWs, requires 43 credit hours to graduate, beginning in a summer semester. It takes one year if you are full-time or two years if you are part-time.
Their traditional MSW takes 63 credit hours, beginning in a fall semester, and can be completed in two years if attending full time or three to four years if enrolled part time.
The advanced standing and traditional programs require fieldwork, 248 hours in generalist work, and 672 hours in advanced work for the traditional path and solely the latter amount for the advanced standing one. The Ohio State is partnered with 800 agencies nationwide and will help you find a place to do this work.
Both programs allow online students to pursue the following areas of emphasis:
- Aging and health
- Mental health and substance misuse
- Child and youth services
Their on-campus program offers an additional community and social justice specialization.
If you attend the program as a non-Ohio resident, be sure to check your state’s licensure requirements for social workers to ensure OSU’s program meets those requirements.
- Traditional Full-time (Two Years): $26,000 for the entire program
- Traditional Part-time (Three Years): $49,000 for the entire program
- Traditional Part-time (Four Years): $51,000 for the entire program
- Advanced Standing Full-time: $19,500 for the entire program
- Advanced Standing Part-time: $33,000 for the entire program
The College of Social Work at Florida State University (FSU) provides an online MSW program. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in social work or an entrance exam like the GRE for entry, and the average program completion time is three years. All programs are designed with working professionals across the country in mind.
The traditional MSW program is clinically focused and available to residents of any state. Two field placements are required for a total of 61 credit hours. In this part-time program, you take two online courses each semester. There are two mandatory campus visits, which occur on weekends.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited school and a 3.0 GPA or higher, you may apply for the accelerated advanced standing program. The advanced standing MSW requires 39 credit hours and a single field placement, which most students complete in two years.
- Resident Traditional: $27,084 for the entire program ($444 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $17,316 for the entire program ($444 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Traditional: $38,125 for the entire program ($625 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $24,375 for the entire program ($625 per credit hour)
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) offers a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program that prepares you for advanced practice with the Latino community. Distance education courses are available at the Edinburg and Laredo campuses.
The school offers a traditional track for those who don’t have a bachelor’s in social work, which takes 63 hours to complete over two years.
The accelerated advanced standing program is also available online, taking 33 credit hours and beginning in spring and summer semesters. If you’re in this program, you’re also able to apply to enter the Sustainable Community Health Promotion in Social Work certificate program, which lasts for an additional 12 credit hours.
UTRGV’s advanced standing program offers concentrations in administration and community practice and direct practice with Latino individuals, families, and groups. Coursework varies based on your focus, though both include classes like:
- Social work with diverse populations
- Social work practice with Latinos
- Electives in child welfare and spirituality and social work
Both concentrations require the completion of practicum hours for hands-on experience.
- Traditional Track: $27,999.72 for the entire program ($444.44 per credit)
- Advanced Standing: $14,666.52 for the entire program ($444.44 per credit)
Please click the links above for tuition information about each program.
At Colorado State University’s School of Social Work, the programs center around social justice, anti-oppression, equity and equality, and enhancing human health and well-being. CSU provides bachelor’s and master’s level programs that are fully accredited by CSWE. The MSW program started in 1984, and there are full time, advanced standing, and distance options available. The school also offers a unique Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health dual degree.
The MSW degree focuses on advanced generalist practice. CSU teaches you how to make a difference in global and local communities, focusing on your location’s evolving needs. It’s one of the most well-established MSW programs in the West. The distance program is available part-time through CSU Online, which generally takes three years to complete. Their hybrid online learning model requires you to take classes online and attend in-person on the weekends in Denver, Boulder, or Fort Collins. Field placements take place in-person as well.
Distance students have the option to complete the degree in two years if you have a bachelor’s in social work already. You can also earn a graduate certificate with your two-year MSW program concurrently.
- Resident, Traditional: $28,051.20 for the entire program, plus $584 for each fieldwork credit hour (varies)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $17,520 for the entire program, plus $584 for each fieldwork credit hour (varies)
- Nonresident Traditional: $68,774.40 for the entire program, plus $1,430.80 for each fieldwork credit hour (varies)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $42,985 for the entire program, plus $1,430.80 for each fieldwork credit hour (varies)
Note: See the added Graduate Differential Tuition for a summer MSW Social Work program.
The School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) focuses on addressing the social service needs of vulnerable, oppressed, or diverse people. They provide BASW and MSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
CSULB’s distance MSW program, focusing on child and family wellbeing, is hosted by Santa Rosa Junior College and Ventura County Community College until 2022. Classes are held on Saturdays over three years and occur via teleconferencing, with some in-person visits from CSULB faculty throughout the program. The intensive classes with hands-on instruction take place in person, as do two field placements.
$28,500 for the whole program
San Jose State offers MSW hybrid programs for their standard (two years or 60 units) track. You’ll complete courses fully online, although their field experience will take place in person in the area where they live. Only residents of California are eligible for these programs.
The school was founded to educate social workers who planned to work with Spanish-speaking populations. They’ve expanded upon that goal by focusing their programs on working with Latinos, minority groups, and others who are disenfranchised in some way.
Classes include asynchronous and synchronous instruction, with scheduled classes taking place during weekday evenings. Expect to spend about 45 hours in lectures and on assignments per each three-credit-hour course you take. SJSU mandates you spend 16 hours per week on your internship. Though the program is designed to be available to students who are working professionals, you need to consider this program carefully, as it’s full time and internships need to occur during business hours.
If you already have your BSW, consider taking the hybrid advanced standing program instead.
$28,500 for the entire program ($475 per unit)
The College of Social Work at the University of Utah (U of U) has seven different program options to earn your MSW. You can take in-person courses in Salt Lake City or St. George or take advantage of the fully online two-year MSW degree. Their faster advanced standing program is only available in person, so if you already have a BSW, this may not be the right online option for you. Students can’t mix and match online and on-campus programs at U of U, though you make a one-time switch from one option to the other if needed.
The new online two-year MSW is a full-time program with 60 credit hours occurring over two years. You must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school and at least a 3.0 GPA to apply. The program specializes in mental health in social work, and the first year consists of generalist courses. The second year is when the mental health focus comes in, but you must have at least a C+ or better to be admitted to that year of study.
The MSW program encompasses 15 credit hours per semester. Courses take place online whenever learning is convenient for you. Required practicum hours take place in-person two or three days per week throughout the two years. Most placements occur during regular business hours, but some agencies might have flexible hours available for online students. The university practicum coordinator will work with you to find a suitable placement, no matter where you live.
- Resident: $28,506.92 for the entire program ($7,126.73 per semester)
- Nonresident: $78,167.29 for the entire program ($19,541.82 per semester)
Note: Online students pay an additional $60 per credit hour.
81% of students who graduate with their MSW from the Metropolitan State University of Denver pass the Association of Social Work Boards Examination (ASWB) clinical exam. Only 66% of people who take the exam pass, highlighting the quality of MSUD’s program. Priority is given to in-state students, and non-residents are considered on a case-by-case basis.
It’s not just the exam’s success rate that makes MSUD’s MSW program stand out—they also offer a fully online program with both asynchronous and synchronous elements. Your synchronous work includes assignments or fieldwork completed on specific days and times, usually with other students and faculty in your cohort.
The program takes a holistic approach to social work called “integrative practice.” This means students can take on versatile roles when they enter the workforce, whether as clinicians, therapists, leaders, organizers, and activists.
You can pursue a regular, 60-hour program or a 38-hour advanced standing program if you have a BSW. The advanced standing option begins in summer semesters, while the regular program begins in the fall. Both allow the following pathways:
- Children and families
- Children and youth
- Gerontological social work
- Leadership and management
- Mental health
- School social work
- Resident/WRGP Regular: $28,686 for program total ($478.10 per credit hour)
- Resident/WRGP Advanced Standing: $18,167.80 for the entire program ($478.10 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Regular: $40,164 for the entire program ($669.50 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $25,437.20 for the entire program ($669.50 per credit hour)
The School of Social Work at the University of Maine provides an online MSW in a blended format. Only residents of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont can currently apply to this program at the current time.
The regular program includes 63 credits and takes three years to complete; the advanced standing includes 46 credits and takes two years. Cohorts meet twice per semester on a Saturday, and faculty will visit you at your field placement once per semester throughout the experience.
Some classes you can expect to take include social welfare policy for advanced generalist practitioners, advanced social work practice with communities and organizations, and advanced generalist practice with individuals. You’ll also select three elective courses to help focus your studies in areas of children and youth, trauma, and group care. Most classes are asynchronous, but you may need to do some synchronous work as well.
Upon graduating, newly minted social workers often take up jobs in education, healthcare, policy and advocacy, substance abuse, and private practice. They qualify to sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam after meeting all degree requirements.
- Resident Regular: $29,043 for the entire program ($461 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $21,206 for the entire program ($461 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Regular: $36,288 for the entire program ($576 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $26,496 for the entire program ($576 per credit hour)
The School of Social Work at Boise State University prepares you to support your community’s most vulnerable people. The school offers an on-campus MSW as well as a fully online degree program, meant to be taken over two years. They even have an advanced program in professional practice with individuals and families to work with those populations.
Boise State’s online program is highly recognized for its valuable education and affordability. The online MSW degree, which requires completion of 61 credit hours, is available entirely via the internet, and there is no additional out-of-state tuition.
You could choose between the full foundation program or the advanced standing program if you earned a bachelor’s degree in social work within the last seven to 10 years (based on practical experience). The programs include required fieldwork practicums in-person under the supervision of an experienced agency social worker. However, if you’re taking courses online from out-of-state, you may want to look into licensure information based on your location.
$30,195 for the entire program ($15,598 annually over 2 years, or $495 per credit hour)
UCF Online offers a fully online Master of Social Work taught during seven-week terms. The traditional program consists of 62 credits, while the advanced standing track requires the completion of 32 credits. The latter takes three years to complete, while the former requires just one year. Both use a cohort model to move through coursework and are taught on a part-time basis to accommodate busy schedules. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, UCF’s offering brings together the latest research taught by experienced academic practitioners.
Classes taught in both tracks include practice with families, diverse client populations, and clinical social work practice with LGBTQ+ communities. Graduates go on to work as clinical social workers, counselors, child welfare caseworkers, and therapists. Services available specifically to online students include success coaching, academic advising, a student academic resource center, and the university writing center, among others.
New students can apply three times annually for admittance during the summer, fall, or spring semester. When it comes time to complete field placements, program administrators work with you to find an approved site within a 45-mile radius of where you live.
- Traditional: $30,221.90 for the entire program ($487.45 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $15,598.40 for the entire program ($487.45 per credit hour)
At the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), social work programs develop a strong workforce to help with the under-served locations in Iowa. The distance MSW programs focus on students with barriers or other challenges to in-person learning. Many students join the MSW program at UNI because it’s the only program in the state to offer the cutting-edge Trauma Informed Care (TIC) concentration in Iowa—the only concentration available.
UNI has two tracks for MSW students, based on your previous undergraduate study. The foundation MSW, which runs for 60 units with two to three classes per semester, is for students without a bachelor’s in social work. In this program, you follow the same course load as the on-campus program without the need to ever head to campus. The courses are online via the Blackboard online learning management system, and most classes meet on Tuesday evenings via video.
If you earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the CSWE, you could enter the 37-unit advanced standing program.
A few of the classes both tracks have in common are:
- Introductory and advanced social work research
- Primary and secondary trauma
- Trauma informed practice I and II
Both programs also complete internships in the state. The UNI Department of Social Works partners with over 150 quality locations in 40 Iowa communities to help you find the right internship.
In their FAQs, UNI’s social work webpage advises students to plan to spend at least 36 hours per week studying. Internships need to occur between 8:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday, with the first lasting 12-13 hours and the second consisting of 15-16 hours each week, both over two semesters.
- Foundation: $30,540 for the entire program ($509 per graduate credit unit)
- Advanced Standing: $18,833 for the entire program ($509 per graduate credit unit)
Note: Expect costs to rise each May.
Humboldt State University’s Department of Social Work has online distributed learning programs available—but it’s only open to students who live in California and plan to practice social work in the state after graduation.
The online MSW program is part-time, follows the same curriculum as the on-campus program, and has a small student to teacher ratio. You can take it over the course of 3.5 or two years. Most coursework takes place asynchronously, though there are live webinar sessions each Thursday. You’re also required to go to campus for orientations at the start of the program and once per year afterward. Finally, the field experience requirement takes place in person. The school helps you secure your field placement in the local community.
$30,600 for the entire program ($510 per credit hour)
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (EU) has a nationally recognized and affordable MSW program. You can choose from hybrid or fully online programs. The curriculum at EU focuses on trauma-informed family practice. You gain experience working in settings like mental health agencies, schools, addiction treatment centers, hospitals, rehabilitation and correctional facilities, veterans’ agencies, foster care and adoption agencies, nursing home, and more.
At EU, you earn your MSW degree and obtain licensure from your state board. The number of internship hours required will vary based on your state, and online students are required to keep track of their total number of completed hours.
EU’s advanced standing program is available to those with a bachelor’s degree in social work and at least a 3.0 GPA, and it takes about 15 months to complete. For students who have bachelor’s degrees in fields other than social work, the standard program takes about two years. The school is currently offering transfer credit for field education requirements to advanced standing students affected by COVID-19.
- Resident Standard: $30,960 for the entire program ($516 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $17,028+ for the entire program ($516 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Standard: $34,080 for the entire program ($568 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $18,744+ for the entire program ($568 per credit hour)
Whether you live in Alaska’s wilds or the burgeoning city of Anchorage, you can take advantage of UAA’s online MSW. Starting in 2016, the program went entirely online, with no on-campus option remaining. The school offers an advanced generalist program aimed at allowing graduates to work in a variety of careers.
The traditional path comprises 61 credits over two to four years, while the advanced standing track requires only 34 credits taking one to two years to complete. The College of Health offers several different timelines, allowing you to graduate within one to four years after enrolling. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the curriculum incorporates cutting-edge research and best clinical work practices.
Courses taken include human diversity in social work practice, foundation research methods, transformational leadership in social work practice, and program evaluation. The final portion of the program focuses on two practica. Upon meeting all requirements, graduates qualify to sit for the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) examination.
The traditional path’s admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies, completion of prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official transcripts. If you’re going for the advanced placement option, you need to meet those criteria, plus have earned a 3.5 in BSW courses, an A in all fieldwork, and completed that undergraduate program in the last five years. All applicants must also reside in the state of Alaska at this time.
You can also take advantage of an MSW/MPH dual degree or undertake a school social work specialization.
- Traditional: $31,293 for the entire program ($513 per credit)
- Advanced Standing: $17,442 for the entire program ($513 per credit)
Note: You must reside in AK to undergo this program. Contact the school to ensure you qualify for resident pricing.
Louisiana State University offers an online MSW that takes between two and four years to complete, depending on if you attend the program full or part-time. The program does not adhere to the typical semester system. Instead, it divides the curriculum into seven-week modules. If you take one course during a module, you are considered a part-time student. If you take two, you’re considered a full-time student.
The school offers a standard 60-hour program for those without BSWs and a 40-hour advanced standing program for those who have those degrees. The standard program can be begun five times per year, and the advanced standing one accepts students twice per year.
The program is asynchronous, but you should expect to spend about 15 hours, minimum, on schoolwork per week. Additionally, you’ll need to complete field education, which must be done in person at a location near you during normal business hours for the equivalent of two days each week.
The LSU staff encourages you to complete a thesis, though it’s not mandatory.
- Standard: $32,340 for the entire program ($539 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $21,560 for the program ($539 per credit hour)
California State University, Chico offers over 340 affordable academic offerings. Among the programs is a distributed learning program through the School of Social Work, where you can earn a BSW or MSW. Graduate students gain advanced generalist practice experience in a mostly online setting.
The MSW distributed learning program takes one (34 credit hours, full-time) or three (70 credit hours, mostly part-time) years to complete. The one-year program is more for those with a social work background, while the three-year program is for newcomers.
The curriculum occurs in a hybrid format, with a combination of online and in-person coursework. You attend regularly scheduled sessions online using Zoom and attend courses on campus two or three weekends each semester. You must complete 1,200 hours of a field practicum to work in the Chico State service area, but the school helps with placement.
There is also an accelerated MSW Advanced Standing program that takes a year, but only a select few get in. Spots only become available for this program every three years.
- One-Year Program: $13,866 for the entire program ($4,622 per semester)
- Three-Year Program: $32,459 for the entire program ($4,622 per semester of more than six credits; $3,116 per semester of six or fewer credits)
Arizona State University (ASU) has one of the country’s largest and most diverse social work programs. The Online MSW program prepares you to work with people of all ages in pressing societal issues. The prestigious faculty include field experts in common areas like child welfare and administration or unique areas like forensic social work, water scarcity, and borderland issues. Each class takes 7.5 weeks, and you are ready for graduation after you have successfully completed all 20 courses (60 total credit hours), which typically takes either 2 or 3 years (both curriculum plans are available). Graduates may earn professional licensure and certification in Arizona or through reciprocity agreements with other states.
The MSW program includes synchronous learning and two seminars. You’ll also participate in 960 hours of field education in addition to courses like social policy and services, micro and macro human behavior, assessment of mental disorders, and diversity and oppression in a social work context. These hours are split between two different internship locations, and the School of Social Work’s Education Office also helps you find internships in your area.
$32,580 for the entire program ($10,860 annually over 3 years, or $543 per credit hour)
Campbellsville University is a Christian university “where learning, faith, and passion go hand-in-hand.” The school is ranked fourth most affordable among the Christian colleges in the U.S. Theironline MSW program prepares you to move out of an entry-level position in social work, with a curriculum rooted in ethical ideals.
The MSW program takes place entirely online and allows you to participate in foundation, advanced standing, clinical, or addiction programs. If you’re not in the advanced standing program, you’ll complete 60 hours of training over about two years. Advanced standing students study for 30 hours over one year. A faculty of expert practitioners teach the courses, and there are optional areas of focus available in clinical mental health or addiction services.
The only in-person portion of the program includes your field practice hours. Campbellsville University requires you to earn a total of 900 hours to earn your degree. However, if you have a BSW, you may count your practicum hours from that program toward this total. You must find and secure your field placement on your own.
$33,540 for the entire program ($559 per credit hour)
The University of Iowa provides a mostly online MSW program for students living in Iowa or a surrounding state. It accepts new students every two years, with the next cohort beginning their studies in the summer of 2022.
The cohort comprises 25 students and allows practitioners and peers to build meaningful professional relationships while enrolled. In addition to general studies, you can select from concentrations in either family-centered practice or integrated practice. The department hosts info sessions multiple times per year, allowing you to learn about its offerings without visiting campus.
They offer a standard, 60-hour program for those without BSWs and a 48-hour program for those with BSWs.
Though it’s an online program, courses meet synchronously via Zoom every week, so be sure to build that into your schedule. As of May 2020, class times were Thursdays, 5:30-8:00 PM CST. You should also plan to attend a two- to three-day summer institute in Iowa City each summer and to meet with your nearby students at least once per semester. You’ll work with a program field administrator to find practicum placements within your area.
To receive admissions consideration, you need to live in Iowa or a neighboring state, possess a four-year degree in social work or another topic from an accredited institution, 3.0 or higher GPA, letters of recommendation, evidence of work experience, and a personal statement. UI’s program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.
- 60-hour Program: $33,600 for the entire program ($560 per credit hour)
- 48-hour Program: $26,880 for the entire program ($560 per credit hour)
Note: Tuition caps at $5,039.50 for nine or more hours per semester.
Indiana University touts its beautiful campus as one of the reasons you should consider earning your degree there. Of course, you probably don’t care about that if you’re seeking an online master’s degree in social work—but luckily, IU offers that too!
While some MSW programs are highly specialized and lead to a career in a very specific social work field, your career options may be more diverse as an IU graduate.
This is because IU’s MSW program, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, is referred to as an “advanced generalist” track. Your courses will be broken down into two categories: social work core courses, such as research foundations and social policy and analysis, and “special practice” courses, like military social work and mental health. Upon completing the required 30 credit hours in both areas, you’ll be ready to work in many social work sectors.
- Resident: $35,820 for the entire program ($597 per credit hour)
- Nonresident: $42,960 for the entire program ($716 per credit hour)
The University of Missouri provides several different MSW options, including a part-time online MSW for both traditional and advanced standing students. Residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee can enroll in UM’s offering.
Designed to support degree seekers who need to continue working full-time while pursuing advanced education, all classes are taught asynchronously. While students from the above-listed states qualify for the MSW, they must live within the school’s region to complete their practicum.
The 60-credit hour regular standing course consists of two classes per semester for three years, while the 39-credit hour advanced standing requires two classes per semester for two years. The regular standing online option begins in the summers, while the advanced standing path starts in autumns.
Classes taught in both programs include large group theory, social work skills, and social policy and service delivery in social work. You can select a specialization in either clinical practice or policy, planning, and administration in human services.
Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree, 3.0 or higher GPA, completion of a statistics course, and official transcripts from any schools previously attended.
- Regular Standing: $35,886 for the entire program ($11,962 per year)
- Advanced Standing: $23,924 for the entire program ($11,962 per year)
The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work offers a hybrid MSW that can be undertaken by students across the Hawaiian Islands. The department also provides an online BSW. Students participate in interactive television lessons, computer-based learning, several visits to the Manoa campus, and a yearly meeting in Oahu. The televised lessons must be taken at an approved satellite campus one weeknight per week—so you need to live in Hawaii to complete the program.
Some of the topics you’ll explore in this program include social work practice with families and groups, social and cultural aspects of aging, and introduction to scientific methods and principles in social work practice. The department also offers several different electives each semester to help students concentrate their knowledge in a particular discipline area.
Both traditional (57 credits) and advanced standing (30 credits) options exist and last between one and three years. If following the advanced standing track, you must have completed your BSW within the last seven years. Each cohort consists of no more than 30 students, providing an intimate learning experience. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, evidence of personal qualifications and/or social work experience, GRE scores, transcripts, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL/IELTS scores. You can take advantage of several different info sessions throughout the year to learn more.
- Resident Traditional: $37,050 for the entire program ($650 per credit)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $19,500 for the entire program ($650 per credit)
- Nonresident Traditional: $79,901 for the entire program ($1,402 per credit)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $42,060 for the entire program ($1,402 per credit)
The School of Social Work at the University of Georgia recently developed its online MSW program. Designed to prepare graduates for leadership roles, the degree offers a micro specialization for clinical work. Though a new program, UG’s offering maintains accreditation via the Council on Social Work Education.
Taught in a cohort model, you’ll complete social work courses with groups, assessment and psychopathology, advanced social practice with individuals, and social welfare policies, programs, and issues. You must be able to complete 912 supervised field practice hours at an approved facility within a 60-mile radius of the Georgia state line.
You can plan to graduate after eight semesters of study spread over three years (summer courses are required each year of enrollment. Admission requirements include a resume or curriculum vitae, statement of purpose, narrative statement, MSW supplemental form, transcripts, and recommendation letters. New students start the program each fall.
$37,740 for the entire program ($629 per credit hour)
The School of Social Work at West Virginia University (WVU) is committed to educating students to become generalist social workers. They have a BSW and an MSW program for practice with individuals, families, communities, groups, and social administration. Both programs promote social and economic justice for everyone, intending to prepare social workers for roles in small towns and rural areas.
The MSW program specializes in advanced integrated practice. Courses incorporate the skills needed to work in a wide range of practice areas. The school divides the program into regular standing and advanced standing options, the latter for those who earned a BSW in the last eight years. Both are only available online part-time, with the regular standing option taking 60 credit hours over three years and the advanced standing track requiring 36 credit hours over two years.
- Regular Standing: $37,980 for the entire program ($633 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $22,788 for the entire program ($633 per credit hour)
The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is the highest-ranked school for social work in Virginia and among the best in the nation, according to a 2019 U.S. News & World Report. VCU recently reduced tuition rates for out-of-state students, making it an excellent school to earn your online MSW from anywhere in the country. The School of Social Work at VCU prepares social workers as practitioners, scholars, and leaders in the field. The 60-credit-hour curriculum promotes social justice, diversity, human rights, cultural competence, and ethical practice.
The online MSW program may be perfect if you need flexibility in a program. If you don’t have a BSW, you can complete your degree by studying full time for 16 or 24 months or part time for three to four years. If you have a BSW, you can participate in their one year advanced standing program. Additionally, your fieldwork can be completed near your home—though it must be done during business hours.
- Resident, Traditional Track: $38,040 for the entire program
- Resident, Advanced Standing: $26,628 for the entire program
- Nonresident, Traditional Track: $45,000 for the entire program
- Nonresident, Advanced Standing: $31,500 for the whole program
The University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work provides an online MSW accredited by the Council on Social Work Education that requires no visits to the Lexington campus. With more than 80 years of experience educating future social workers, the department has earned three national diversity awards in recent years. The department also ranks first in Kentucky for licensing exam pass rates.
The advanced standing program consists of 30 credits, while the traditional requires 60 credits. Topics taught include understanding theory in social work practice, psychopathology for social work practice, and applied research methods in social work. You can choose from either full- or part-time learning options. In addition to generalist master’s studies, you can pursue a clinical social work certificate, substance use disorder certificate, or individualized plan of study.
Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0 or higher, two letters of recommendation, a four-page personal statement, a 250-word writing sample, and official transcripts.
- Traditional: $38,340 for the entire program ($639 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $19,170 for the entire program ($639 per credit hour)
Note: Tuition caps at $6,223 for nine or more hours per semester, which can save you up to 40%.
Earn your online CSWE-accredited Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville) for ultimate flexibility and affordability. The College of Social Work offers the MSSW program in-person at the Knoxville and Nashville campuses or fully online for remote students.
The degree can be completed full-time, via extended study, or as an advanced standing program. The full-time and extended study options take 60 hours over two or three to four years, respectively. The advanced standing program includes 37 hours of study over 12 months of full-time or 18 to 24 months of part-time classes.
The same faculty teach online and on-campus classes. Both options require the exact field practice requirements and come with flexible options to complete your degree. You can enroll in the MSSW program full-time, part-time, or as advanced standing if you already have a BSW. Concentrations in evidenced-based interpersonal practice or organizational leadership are available.
The only difference is that in the online program, you may take classes in varying locations. With synchronous and asynchronous courses, you might attend some courses live online in the evening or afternoon.
- Resident Traditional: $38,340 for the entire program ($639 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $23,643 for the entire program ($639 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Traditional: $42,840 for the entire program ($714 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $26,418 for the entire program ($714 per credit hour)
Note: See your chosen degree program for specific summer semester cost information.
The School of Social Work at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) presents BASW and MSW degrees with a generalist perspective and emphasis on micro and macro practice types. The coursework is online, and the required fieldwork takes place in your community. No matter where you live, the school assists you in finding the right field placement.
The online social work program at CSUSB is called Pathway Distance Education and occurs over three academic years. This is a full-time and intensive program, so they advise students with full-time jobs consider lowering their work hours. The first two years of the program focus on general social work concepts, and students pick a specialty of their choosing during their final year.
$39,000 for the entire program ($650 per unit)
The hybrid MSW program at Eastern Washington University (EWU) trains you to work in various practice areas across urban and rural settings. Most students take courses for two years, or 90 credits, starting with a foundation year in generalist practice. The final year encompasses an advanced generalist practice curriculum, where you learn how to apply your education to a real-world environment. The field experience takes place in person, and you’ll need to complete a final comprehensive research project.
EWU also offers a full or part-time advanced standing program, the latter of which only takes around 51 credits to complete. This track is open to you if you have already completed a BSW or BASW from an accredited school. Full-time programs begin every fall or summer semester, while part-time advanced standing programs start every three years.
The part-time programs are hybrid. Some classes take place in person on the weekends of weeknights, depending on the option you select.
If you don’t live in Washington, the school offers informative online sessions through Zoom. They cover the application steps to join an MSW program and EWU and dive into program requirements. However, the best part about EWU is the low tuition and scholarships for students from western states.
- Traditional: $39,330 for the entire program ($437 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $22,287 for the entire program ($437 per credit hour)
Portland State University is the first school to offer an online MSW in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, they have the only such public program in the state to be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program’s goal is to produce graduates who work to dismantle racism and promote social justice at an institutional or individual level.
If you want to apply to this program, plan ahead—applications are due in early winter, though classes don’t begin until fall.
The online program courses are the same as those offered on campus, though only their 78-credit traditional program is available online—their advanced standing option is only available on campus. Portland State University’s MSW classes take 11 weeks each, and students should expect to complete ten hours of course work per week for each class. Additionally, in your second and third years, you’ll be required to undergo 16 hours of fieldwork each week.
If you select the online option from Portland State University, you’ll sometimes be expected to participate in real-time virtual meetings with instructors and your classmates. You’ll also be expected to attend in-person intensives at the start of each semester.
Online students may choose between practice and leadership with communities and organizations or health across the lifetime concentrations.
- Resident: $39,702 for the entire program ($509 per credit hour)
- Nonresident: $57,408 for the entire program ($736 per credit hour)
Note: Cost may vary if you’re able to take more than 12 credits in a semester.
Unlike some of the schools on this list, Morgan State’s MSW program has a narrow range of focus. Graduates from their MSW program should ideally be trained to improve life for residents of urban areas who suffer from poverty, violence, substance abuse, and mental health disorders.
The requirements and curriculum in the online programs mirror the face-to-face options the school offers. Options include a 60-credit hour regular and a 30-credit hour advanced standing MSW program.
If you want to earn your degree part-time, this is not the school for you—they require their online students to take a full course load and graduate after two years, just like the students who earn their degree on campus. For each class, you have seven days to complete all work for that week, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous work required.
$40,000 for the entire program
If you’re looking for an online MSW with part-time learning options, the School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo has you covered.
The traditional online MSW for students lacking a social work degree consists of 60 credits and takes three years to complete. The 35-credit advanced standing program takes 18 months to complete and admits learners who already graduated from an accredited BSW program. Some of the classes you’ll take include perspectives on trauma and human rights, diversity and oppression, and advanced interventions.
Fieldwork placement requirements vary by track. The traditional program consists of 900 hours, while the advanced placement requires 480 hours. Regardless of the track you follow, placements are completed over two semesters and require you to work a minimum of 15 hours per week. These hours can’t be done at a past or present place of employment or volunteer work.
UB’s distance learning program includes synchronous and asynchronous course formats and works diligently to ensure all offerings work with students’ busy and varied schedules. Admission requirements include application and application fee, letters of recommendation, transcripts, information on transfer credits, and English proficiency scores if you’re an international student. The department doesn’t require GRE scores at this time.
If you want to skip over the MSW step and go straight to your doctorate in social work or love attending UB and want to continue—they also offer an online DSW.
- Resident Traditional: $42,000 for the entire program ($700 per credit)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $24,500 for the entire program ($700 per credit)
- Nonresident Traditional: $48,540 for the entire program ($809 per credit)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $28,315 for the entire program ($809 per credit)
Western Kentucky University (WKU) has an exciting MSW program to prepare you as an integrated social work practitioner. WKU graduates go on to find careers in a wide range of roles, such as:
- Alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment
- Child welfare, protection, adoptions, foster care
- Churches and church-related agencies
- Community organizing
- Correctional systems
- Employee assistance programs
- Health and hospice
- Mental health
- Nursing homes and senior services
- Public defenders and prosecutors
WKU graduates come from various locations outside of the state, including internationally. You can choose between hybrid and online programs and traditional vs. advanced standing options. For those without BSWs, the traditional route takes 60 hours and can be taken full- or part-time if hybrid or part-time if online. If you have a BSW, you may be eligible for the 33-hour advanced standing program, which is available full- or part-time online and in a hybrid format.
In the MSW program, you take courses in social work practice and complete two field practicums. Online MSW classes take place using Adobe on Tuesday or Thursday evenings every week. The program prepares you for licensure in your state. However, you should check to make sure there are no additional coursework expectations for licensure.
- Online Traditional Track: $42,420 for the entire program ($707 per credit hour)
- Online Advanced Standing: $23,331 for the entire program ($707 per credit hour)
Note: Contact the school for more detailed information if you choose the hybrid option.
The School of Social work at the University of Illinois provides two tracks in their iMSW program. They offer a hybrid program with an advanced clinical concentration and a fully-online program with a leadership and social concentration that can be completed without ever visiting campus. If you choose the advanced clinical concentration (with additional focus areas in mental health, healthcare, schools, or children, youth, and family services), you’ll need to take part in some campus-based sessions.
If you enter the program with an existing BSW, you’ll complete 44-56 credits. If your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated subject, you must take and pass 72 credits. Both tracks require fieldwork placements to graduate. Some of the topics explored in both include leadership and social change, managing human service organizations, inequalities in a diverse society, and social work and the law. You must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the length of the program.
UIUC’s program ranks high against other institutional offerings, with MSW graduates enjoying a 92% ASWB exam licensure passage rate and a 95% employment rate at graduation. The department works diligently to help current social workers complete field placement requirements at their current workplace whenever possible. Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree, 3.0 or higher GPA, and 20 prerequisite credits in social and behavioral sciences, biological sciences, and humanities. The department doesn’t require GRE scores.
- Traditional: $43,056 for the entire program ($598 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $26,312 – $33,488 for the entire program ($598 per credit hour)
The online Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) offered by the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work is 100% online, supporting professionals interested in working as effective change agents on behalf of others. With start dates in the spring, summer, and fall, you can find a time that works best with your scheduling needs.
The department offers several innovative specializations, including alcohol and drug counseling, gerontology, mental health, military social work, and psychosocial oncology. The advanced standing program consists of 30 credits, and the regular track requires completion of 60 credits. Foundational courses include issues in policy and service delivery and social justice practice, while advanced courses touch on social work and human sexuality, death and grief, and psychopathology. You’ll complete 900 hours of fieldwork in your state. Check their website to see if their program will fit your needs if you’re not a resident of Kentucky.
Required application materials include a $65 fee, official transcripts, three recommendation forms, an admissions essay, an addendum to admissions essay (if your GPA falls below 3.0), and a resume. You must also provide evidence of additional BSW completion if applying to the advanced standing program. Admissions decisions usually arrive within six to eight weeks after submission.
- Regular Track: $44,220 for the entire program ($737 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $22,110 for the entire program ($737 per credit hour)
- Active Duty Military Traditional: $15,000 for the entire program ($250 per credit hour)
- Active Duty Military Advanced Standing: $7,500 for the entire program ($250 per credit hour)
Walden University (WU) offers real-world training to prepare you for social work licensure in most states. The CSWE accredits the online MSW program, and the school has award-winning case studies to enrich your learning experience.
WU has three different ways to earn your MSW:
- Standard option: You can enroll in the standard option, where you take one or two online courses per term for a total of 90 credits to graduate.
- Accelerated: The accelerated track is for 90 credits of full-time study. You take three courses in most semesters under the accelerated option.
- Advanced standing: The advanced standing 55-credit-hour program is available to skip the intro-level classes if you have a BSW and graduated with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The online MSW has concentrations in:
- Advanced clinical practice
- Military social work
- Social work in healthcare
- Social work with children and families
WU is an excellent choice for online studies. You work at your own pace to meet course deadlines and interact with faculty and peers through online discussion boards. Thanks to the virtual reality scenarios, you can practice real-world situations without leaving your couch. The school’s two skills labs also provide MSW program students with online tools and practice to prepare them for licensing exams and field practicums.
- Standard and Accelerated: $44,344 for the entire program ($482 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $26,510 for the entire program ($482 per credit hour)
Michigan State University offers two types of blended programs: regular and advanced standing, and both allow you to choose between a clinical practice and organizational community leadership (OCL) concentration. You need to attend a Summer Institute at the Kellogg Hotel and Convention Center in East Lansing each August for either route.
The traditional option occurs part time over three years. You complete 57 credits and four semesters of field hours for a total of 960 hours of hands-on work. The fieldwork must occur during normal business hours for 16 hours per week.
For advanced standing, expect to earn at least 38 credits and spend three semesters (600 hours) in the field. This path takes two years and is only available part time.
These programs are considered blended because while most classes can be taken online, your fieldwork is done in person, and some classes may need to be taken on campus.
MSU created a handy table showing in which states you can practice after earning your MSW from Michigan State. Because each state has its own licensing requirements, it’s helpful to know which states accept your license after completing your program.
- Resident Traditional: $44,787.75 for the entire program ($785.75 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $29,858.50+ for the entire program ($785.75 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Traditional: $88,008 for the entire program ($1,544 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $58,672 for the entire program ($1,544 per credit hour)
The California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is well-known for its graduate-level social work programs that focus on urban settings. The school is in the Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, providing you with the opportunity to help at-risk and vulnerable populations. Thanks to the program’s generalist approach, however, you have many career possibilities after graduation. Students go on to work in areas like:
- Individual/family (micro)
- Group/community (mezzo)
- Societal/policy (macro)
The fully online MSW program is available in a two- or three-year format. The shorter program has a full-time curriculum and helps you enter the field in less time. The three-year program is ideal if you prefer to learn at a less intense pace. Both programs require you to complete online assignments and meet for an online session one weeknight each week. All the classes are asynchronous except for your fieldwork. Field classes meet in-person for an hour each week.
CSUN is an excellent school if you’re new to online learning. The best part about taking online courses with CSUN is that the faculty receives training to ensure effective distance learning. CSUN students also receive support from Tseng College’s distance learning staff. If you live out of state, you may need to complete licensure requirements for social work practitioners in your location.
$45,120 for the entire program
Capella Universit offers an accredited online MSW degree with a generalist practice approach. The degree allows you to help people in a variety of social service settings. It takes place both in-person and online, and there is a required internship. The internship covers 1,000 hours of field education each term. The school also has an advanced standing MSW program available if you already have a bachelor’s degree in social work.
The unique curriculum comes from a faculty of scholar-practitioners who have real-world industry experience. At Capella, you take one to three classes every 10 weeks. You also gain tons of support. Capella University will help you complete the licensure application process and assist any way they can, even after your graduate.
$23,100-$45,675 for the entire program, depending on transfer credits
The Department of Social Work at George Mason University offers on-campus or online MSW programs. Both follow an initial year of generalized study, followed by a year of specialized coursework in the fields of either children, youth, and families or in adults and healthy aging. The curriculum applies to the 600 hours required for clinical licensure in Virginia.
If you don’t take a practicum, you can take the licensing exam. However, you still need to complete the number of supervised clinical work required in your state before licensure. Keep this in mind if you live out of state.
The fully online MSW program comprises 60 credit hours and focuses on social justice through courses like human behavior and social systems or influencing social policy. Some classes are entirely online, while others are hybrid, with most class time scheduled online. The program also comes with two supervised field practicums for hands-on experience.
$46,500 for the entire program ($775 per credit hour)
Salisbury University (SU) offers an online MSW in addition to having four satellite campuses across Maryland that offer hybrid learning. In these programs, instruction comprises in-person education and interactive online lessons led by SU’s highly regarded faculty.
Their online option, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, allows students to learn in a student-centered environment. The program is currently only offered to residents of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, D.C., New Jersey, and New York because Salisbury University’s curriculum prepares you for licensure in these states only.
Like many schools, Salisbury offers a traditional program (62 credit hours, 14 of which are fieldwork) and an advanced standing program (32 hours, eight of which are fieldwork). The traditional program takes two to four years, and the advanced standing option lasts one to two years, depending on if going full-time, part-time, or via a satellite program.
Once you have completed your MSW with Salisbury, you’ll be prepared for jobs in the following locations/fields (depending on your concentration):
- Adult and juvenile justice
- Child welfare
- Community organization/development
- Domestic violence
- Geriatric populations
- Homelessness and housing
- Medicine and mental health
- Resident Traditional: $25,730 for the entire program ($415 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $13,280 for the entire program ($415 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Traditional: $46,252 for the program ($746 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $23,872 for the entire program ($746 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Regional Hagerstown Traditional: $30,752 for the entire program ($496 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Regional Hagerstown Advanced Standing: $15,872 for the program ($496 per credit hour)
- Online Traditional: $47,430 for the entire program ($765 per credit hour)
- Online Advanced Standing: $24,480 for the entire program ($765 per credit hour)
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) provides many possibilities for your education in social work. You could earn an online bachelor’s or MSW, with the MSW available through an advanced generalist program for those with bachelor’s in other fields or an advanced standing program for those with BSWs. No campus visits are required.
The online MSW at UNH allows you to focus on specializations like:
- Addictions and substance abuse
- Children, youth, and families
- Health and mental health
The advanced generalist curriculum teaches you advanced intervention with varying client types and settings. The program consists of 62 credit hours, which takes around 28 months of full-time study to complete. At UNH, you’ll learn from a faculty of experts. You can attend full-time or part-time, and there are both hybrid and fully online options available.
The program requires two field internships, which takes place in a local setting. If you live out-of-state, you must find an acceptable field site in your community.
The online advanced standing MSW may allow you to cut your program down to 16 months. This degree is available if you graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work within the previous five years and maintained a GPA of 3.2 or higher. To graduate from an advanced standing program, you need a minimum of 35 credits and one field placement.
Some of the classes the two options have in common include:
- Human behavior and the social environment
- Data analysis and statistics
- Advanced generalist practice IV: community and administrative practice
- Resident Advanced Generalist: $47,670 for the entire program ($785 per credit hour)
- Resident Advanced Standing: $27,475+ for the entire program ($785 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Generalist: $53,630 for the entire program ($865 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Advanced Standing: $30,275+ for the entire program ($865 per credit hour)
Touro College’s Graduate School of Social Work offers a 65-credit MSW. Their flex option is a hybrid method, with students only required to go to their Manhattan or Brooklyn sites every Sunday—so be sure you’re within easy commuting distance if you choose Touro. This program takes two years to complete, thanks to their abbreviated summer semesters.
The first year of studies focuses on foundational coursework such as foundations of social work, human behavior and the social environment, and social work research. The first year also requires a fieldwork position. The second year emphasizes an advanced curriculum in topics such as issues and perspectives and psychopathology, values and ethics for social work practice, and strategies and skills. The second year also includes fieldwork focused on clinical level interventions. You can also apply to add a specialization, including those in the aging population, when veterans come home, and mental illness.
Admission requirements include a completed application, 3.0 or higher GPA, official transcripts, a written essay, letters of reference, and evidence of being able to complete a daytime field placement consisting of 21 hours per week.
$49,400 for the entire program ($760 per credit)
Note: Cost may vary if you add a specialty, though specialty costs are at a reduced rate
Our Lady of the Lake University, or OLLU, features an online MSW offered through the Worden School of Social Service. This program stands out because it’s one out of only three national programs to focus on issues facing Hispanic communities.
OLLU offers a 57-credit hour foundation MSW and a 30-credit hour advanced standing MSW program, taking 24-38 months and 12-20 months, respectively. Both require fieldwork and interesting courses like:
- Hispanics in the U.S.: policies and programs
- Social work with Hispanic elders
- Social work with Hispanic youth
Their online option is available to full-time students who want to earn their degree entirely from a distance. If you choose this option, you’ll be expected to complete one course every seven weeks. To graduate (and earn your license, in most states), you need to complete a field practicum. OLLU helps you find such an experience in the area where you live.
Online students in the MSW program are granted access to a virtual LMS. Most of your classes will be asynchronous and accessible at any time of day or night, though your assignments will be due on specific days and times set by the instructor.
- Foundation: $52,725 for the entire program ($925 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $27,750 for the entire program ($925 per credit hour)
No matter what MSW program format you’re looking for, Rutgers most likely has it. They offer six choices for their MSW students:
- Blended online
- Dual degrees (with Master of Public Health, Master of Public Policy, Master of Divinity, Juris Doctor, Master of Arts in criminal justice, and Ph.D.)
- Fully online
- Intensive weekend
- Professional credit (non-degree) courses
- Traditional on campus
The 60-credit blended online learning MSW program takes three years to complete. All classes in your first two years are online and asynchronous, with assignments due at specific times throughout your coursework. During your last year, you’ll take both online and on-campus courses. Your face-to-face classes can take place during the day or in the evening, depending on your schedule. Furthermore, you can take your on-campus classes in New Brunswick, Camden, or Newark.
Their 100% online MSW also takes three years to complete—unless you take their 39-credit advanced standing program, which isn’t available in a blended format—and is best suited for students who excel at self-directed learning. Classes are asynchronous, though assignments have specific due dates. Online standard program students are eligible to participate in the Violence Against Women and Children Certificate program if desired.
Both programs require field experience. The blended program mandates you start your fieldwork in your third semester and finish when you complete your degree. The fully online option requires you to complete two field experiences. One is at the general level and lasts for three semesters, and the other is at the advanced level and lasts for four semesters.
- Resident Blended: $44,340 for the entire program ($739 per credit hour)
- Nonresident Blended Program: $75,360 for the entire program ($1,256 per credit hour)
- 100% Online Traditional: $54,000 for the entire program ($900 per credit hour)
- 100% Online Advanced Standing: $35,100 for the entire program ($900 per credit hour)
Note: Blended program students’ costs may vary if able to take more than 12 hours in a semester
Adelphi University (AU) offers a range of online and blended degree or certificate programs, including an online MSW program from their School of Social Work. This program is part-time, to be completed over three years, with two campus visits each year (though this in-person requirement has moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Coursework combines theoretical study with real-world experience to bring you diverse opportunities. The faculty delivers mandatory synchronous sessions online each week offered Thursday evenings. You’ll also need to complete fieldwork hours for hands-on experience. Students with relevant experience may select to earn their MSW with a concentration for Human Service Professionals.
As an Adelphi Online MSW student, you gain complete assistance with finding locations to complete your 21 hours per week field placements no matter where you live. AU offers additional courses to prepare you for exams and unique opportunities to get ready for licensure.
If you already have a bachelor’s in social work, you can opt for the advanced standing online MSW to earn your degree in half the time. Adelphi offers the option of either a fall semester start or spring semester start.
$54,720 for the entire program ($18,240 annually over 3 years, or $855 per credit hour
Boston University’s social work curriculum focuses on ethics, diversity, at-risk populations, and economic and social justice. The innovative online MSW program from Boston University is part-time, with majors available in macro or clinical practice. There are three main track options: traditional, human service experience (HSE), or the advanced standing track. The traditional and HSE tracks require 65 credit hours each.
The short program takes six to nine consecutive semesters to complete in the traditional track. All students take courses online asynchronously (one course per seven weeks) with one weekly Live Classroom (synchronous) session. You’re also required to take an internship or two, depending on the track. Field internships are 14 credits or 480 hours. If you major in clinical practice, you can become licensed to practice in your state of residence through this program.
The faster tracks, HSE and advanced standing, are open to you if you have full-time human services experience or an undergraduate degree in social work from an accredited school. In addition to classwork, you’ll complete a single 1,000-hour field internship. Additionally, a two-credit field-related capstone project comes with the HSE track.
$56,875 for the entire program ($18,958 annually over 3 years), or $875 per credit hour
The MSW program from Winthrop University (WU) focuses on empowerment practice across various levels. The online program prepares you for positions in practice areas like:
- Child welfare
- Healthcare social work
- Justice and corrections
- Mental health
- Policy planning
- Community organizing
- International social work
You could complete your online MSW in around three years of a traditional, 60-credit-hour program or two years in an advanced standing, 39-credit-hour program. The traditional program is for students without an undergraduate degree in social work, while the advanced standing option is for those with BSWs.
In both programs, the courses are 100% online using the Blackboard learning management system. Both programs must take at least one field placement for approximately 12 hours per week. Classes they have in common include:
- Advanced practice in micro and macro systems
- Psychopathology and empowerment practice
- Social welfare policy
A specialist helps you find your field placement and makes sure it aligns with your career goals. Graduates from the online MSW program at WU see higher than average national licensure exam pass rates. However, the state licensure requirements in your state may vary.
- Traditional: $57,000 for the entire program ($950 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $37,050 for the entire program ($950 per credit hour)
Temple University offers an online MSW for students who want to attend school part-time. Their online classes are taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus, and classes are typically limited to 15-20 students.
The 60-credit online option from Temple takes between three and four years. Courses are live-streamed, and assignments are asynchronous. The only time you are expected to visit campus is for a three-day residency in Philadelphia between the first and second years of your program. You’ll also spend 1,050 hours in the field at one of more than 500 relevant organizations and institutions.
The school focuses on human rights, diversity, policy, and more—basically, if a social worker does it, you’re likely to learn about it at Temple.
In addition to this traditional program, Temple offers a unique option allowing online MSW students to earn a dual master’s degree in social work and public health.
If you are a student outside of Pennsylvania, keep in mind your licensure requirements may not be met by Temple’s program—so be sure to check your state’s requirements before you apply. Temple participates in SARA, the “State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement,” meaning they have agreements with other states in which they accept each other’s licensures.
$58,500 for the program ($975 per credit hour)
At the School of Social Work from Widener University (WU), you should learn the impact of trauma and understand how it becomes a factor in substance abuse, mental health, the quality of life, and other socio-emotional issues.
The theme of trauma reoccurs in all MSW program coursework. The MSW is available 100% online. It’s available in a traditional admission 64-credit-hour option or a 41-credit-hour advanced standing track for those with a BSW degree. WU also offers a rare three-year dual degree in Master of Social Work / Master of Education, Human Sexuality Studies (MSW/M.Ed.), with the MSW portion online and the M.Ed. completed in a hybrid format. There’s also a trauma graduate certificate available.
Most MSW classes take seven weeks or two courses per semester, which means the program takes two to four years to complete. Regular admission MSW students may be able to take more classes per semester during the second year if you want to graduate sooner. The two fieldwork placements take place outside of school hours.
- Traditional: $58.624 for the entire program
- Advanced Standing: $37,556 for the entire program
- Dual MSW/M.Ed.: $92,164 for the entire program
The School of Social Work at the University of New England (UNE) has tons of options to earn your MSW. UNE Online offers the first 100% online CSWE accredited asynchronous MSW program in the nation.
The UNE Online MSW comes in two track options: traditional and advanced standing. Both are 100% online, with no campus visits. The traditional route takes 64 credit hours to complete or about three semesters. If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can complete the 35-credit-hour advanced standing program in as few as 16 months. Online students also receive access to the Vision Blog, full of resources for social work students.
The faculty is full of practitioners, researchers, and educators in the field. Traditional coursework includes a year of generalist study followed by field experience and specialization courses, while the advanced standing option starts with the specialization courses and fieldwork. These courses include, but aren’t limited to:
- Contemporary theory of social work practice: children and families
- Leadership, administration, & supervision in social work
- Advanced psychosocial assessment
The MSW program aligns with Maine’s licensing requirements for social work, so you may want to research local requirements if you live or plan to practice in another state.
- Traditional: $60,800 for the entire program ($950 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $33,250 for the entire program ($950 per credit hour)
Loyola University Chicago has three options for students who want to earn an MSW: a standard MSW (60 credit hours), an MSW advanced standing (28 credit hours) for those with BSWs, and an MSW evening program (60 credit hours). Some of the courses required for their MSW are offered online or as blended learning (where students do some work online and some in person). When you’re done with your degree, you’ll have completed all requirements for an LSW and LCSW.
This school is unique in its online options. While you can’t earn the standard or advanced standing MSWs fully online, you can go for a bilingual Spanish/English MSW (standard or advanced standing) or Master of Arts in public service leadership (30 credit hours) virtually.
The school also offers dual degree programs in partnerships with other departments, including:
- MSW/Juris Doctor
- MSW/Master of Arts in social justice
- MSW/Master of Arts in women’s studies
- MSW/Master of Divinity
- MSW/Master of Jurisprudence in child and family law
- MSW/Master of Public Health
LCU’s typical MSW program has two tracks: clinical and leadership and development.
The curriculum for the MSW with a clinical focus includes foundational courses and advanced practice courses. Human behavior, research, and social juice are among the topics you’ll study for the foundational part of your degree. The advanced practice courses include health systems, sexual dysfunction, and advanced family treatment—though you have many more to choose from.
The leadership and development in social services (LDSS) track offers the same courses, but three of your core courses must be related to LDSS, and two need to focus on policy. You must also complete a fieldwork practicum or integrative practice seminar.
- Traditional: $61,500 for the entire program ($1,025 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $28,700 for the entire program ($1,025 per credit hour)
Yeshiva University (YU) is a school built on Jewish values. The CSWE-accredited school has an online MSW program that teaches practical and clinical social work. At YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, you could earn optional specializations in gerontology and palliative care or addiction counseling, which may increase your earning potential.
The fully online MSW program covers the primary clinical education and field-based knowledge you need to create lasting social change. Choose from full or part-time course loads for your 60-credit-hour traditional or 30-credit hour advanced standing program, with the latter requiring students to have a BSW. Advanced standing students may also choose to take an extra three-credit elective to earn a certification in gerontology and palliative care or a credential in alcoholism and substance abuse counseling.
The faculty encompasses work-renowned practitioners and researchers in the field. The innovative course work is available online anytime, and the curriculum focuses on:
- Cultural diversity
- Psychosocial pathology
- Social welfare
- Traditional Track: $63,000 for the entire program ($1,050 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $31,500 for the entire program ($1,050 per credit hour)
Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service is ranked among the top 25 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. The esteemed school teaches you the skills required to practice in many social work contexts, and they offer a new future-focused online MSW program for students in any state.
The school’s 66-credit hour traditional online MSW program is for you if you have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. The coursework is a mix of generalist and advanced practice, which takes around 16 months of full-time or 24 to 32 months of part-time study.
The advanced standing online MSW is open to BSW degree holders. If you already completed your first year of foundation coursework in an MSW program, you may also apply. This accelerated path allows you to earn your advanced degree in as few as eight to 16 months.
What makes Fordham University utterly unique lies in how you tailor your experience—the curriculum is entirely customizable. You create your study path with an academic advisor’s help, and classes take place virtually every week. Both on-campus and online students must undergo a field placement. The online program partners with agencies around the country to help you find a faculty-approved location in your community.
- Traditional: $63,558 for the entire program ($963 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $31,779 for the entire program ($963 per credit hour)
The Catholic University of America (CUA) is considered one of the top Catholic Schools for social work degrees. They offer on-campus or asynchronous online MSW programs. Both options include small class sizes and a responsive faculty. The MSW program is comprehensive in clinical social work, designed to prepare you for a career in:
- Child welfare
- K-12 social work
- Medical/public health
- Mental health
- Substance abuse
As an online student at CUA, you have 24/7 access to your courses. You learn at your own pace, with no set times to log in or attend campus. The Online MSW curriculum gets you ready for advanced clinical practice through courses like:
- Cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic theories
- Treatment of mental illness
- Clinical work with adults, children, and families.
You have the option to take classes full-time, part-time, or in an accelerated format. The advanced standing program is available if you have an MSW degree from an accredited school. CUA also prepares you for licensure exams in any state, and the Field Education Office even helps you find an internship to cover your field education wherever is most convenient for you.
- Traditional: $67,200 for the entire program ($1,120 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $33,600 for the entire program ($1,120 per credit hour)
Offering both online MSW and DSW degrees, the School of Social Work at Tulane University provides several different academic pathways. The online MSW program consists of 60 credits, with traditional students (those who don’t possess a BSW) spending 16 months enrolled on a full-time basis or 32 months on a part-time basis.
If you’re eligible for advanced standing, you can plan to complete your 48 credits in 12 or 24 months, depending on how quickly you move through the coursework.
In addition to the MSW path, you can opt for a dual degree program allowing you to earn both your MSW and an M.S. in disaster resilience leadership (MS-DRL). This is also available online and requires 51 social work and 24 MS-DRL credit hours of study.
Some of the topics you’ll learn about in the MSW program include social work history and policy, organizational and community practice, and theories of human behavior across life. To qualify for graduation, you must complete at least 948 hours of field-based education via several practicums.
The department accepts new students once annually during the spring semester. It doesn’t require GRE scores at this time, but you should plan to supply evidence of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, 3.0 or higher GPA, current resume, five-page statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. You can also include an optional additional statement.
- Traditional: $68,400 for the entire program ($1,140 per credit)
- Advanced Standing: $50,160 for the entire program ($1,140 per credit)
- MSW/MS-DRL: $85,500 for the entire program
Simmons College offers multiple online tracks to complete your MSW degree—so no matter what your schedule and goals are, Simmons may have an option that meets your needs. Their programs include:
- Accelerated: This is the best option for students who have a bachelor’s in an area other than social work and can fully commit to their MSW coursework. You are required to earn 65 credits but can earn these in as little as 16 months.
- Advanced standing: This is for students with bachelor’s degrees in social work. You are required to complete 37 credits and can complete your degree in just 16 months.
- Extended: This 65-credit option is for students who want to complete the program at a more convenient pace, taking about 32 months.
- Full time: If you want to earn your MSW with the standard course load and in a typical timeframe, this is the option for you. 65 credit hours are required to graduate, and you can complete them in 23 months.
The online MSW programs at Simmons have a clinical focus, so the degree is best for those interested in working directly with patients in clinical settings. You may also choose to pursue a certificate in a particular area of focus. Certificate options include:
- Mental health practice
- Practice with groups and families
- Trauma practice
Simmons requires its MSW students to complete more than 1,000 hours of hands-on experience, with the first term occurring in the school’s field education lab (online) and the rest in the “real world.”
- Traditional: $71,500 for the entire program
- Advanced Standing: $40,700 for the entire program
As a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program, the University of Denver’s online MSW is a great option to consider. If you follow the traditional path, plan to complete 81 quarter credits and 900 direct field practice hours over 21 months. If you qualify for the advanced standing path, you’ll undertake 54 quarter credits and 500 direct field practice hours over 18 months. Both programs also allow you to select from mental health and trauma or health, equity, and wellness concentrations.
Coursework topics explored while enrolled include evidence for practice, mental health assessment across the lifespan, leadership and supervision skills, and power, privilege, and oppression. Each class has approximately 15 learners, ensuring professors and students alike get to know each other well across the term.
New students can be admitted during the spring or summer semester, with those who apply by the priority deadline receiving a $65 application waiver. Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree, an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and official transcripts.
- Traditional: $87,966 for the entire program ($1,086 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $58,644 for the entire program ($1,086 per credit hour)
Case Western Reserve University ranks among the best grad schools for social work, according to U.S. News. The school’s Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) is recognized as an equivalent by the CSWE, other universities, employers, and state licensing boards.
The MSSA program was created in 1915, making it the first professional program in American social work. Today, the school continues to set industry standards. They offer three focus areas: children, youth and families; community practice for social change; and mental health with adults. The courses are held virtually via Zoom each week, so you don’t have to visit campus. The field education component is the only in-person section. You also receive a free LinkedIn premium subscription to assist with finding a job after graduation and complete technical support.
You can opt for a traditional track if you didn’t receive your BSW in the last seven years, which takes 60 credits, or a 21-credit advanced standing track if you have earned a BSW in that time.
- Traditional: $93,000 for the entire program ($1,550 per credit hour)
- Advanced Standing: $32,550 for the entire program ($1,550 per credit hour)
Columbia University is the first Ivy League school where you can earn an online MSW degree. The Columbia School of Social Work ranks among the top five schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The online campus follows the same high academic standards as on-campus courses, and the social work program is run and taught by specialists in the field. Earn your MSW online, in-person, or in a hybrid option. Online students are welcome at any campus events, but attendance is not required. You can even switch to the New York City campus later if you wish.
You can take this online MSW program anywhere. The online curriculum is the same, with classes scheduled at fixed times. The only difference is the online program only offers three of the four concentration areas: policy practice, advanced clinical practice, and social enterprise administration. You may also have fewer field practice options available.
You must complete the same field education requirement as in-person programs. Residential students are placed in nearby organizations in the New York City metro area, while online students complete fieldwork in their communities.
- Two-year: $105,160 for the entire program ($50,800 per year)
- Advanced Standing: $63,092 for the entire program
- Extended Online: $21,024 per year
- Reduced Residency Online: $21,024 per year
The University of Southern California (USC)’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work was the first private and elite research university in the nation to offer an MSW program entirely online.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. If that degree isn’t in social work, the traditional path is available and runs 60 units, or four to six semesters, depending on if attending full- or part-time. For those with BSWs, the advanced standing option requires 37 credit hours over three to five semesters depending on the way you attend. The online classes at USC take place online with virtual lectures and in-person fieldwork. Choose from departments like:
- Adult Mental Health and Wellness
- Children, Youth, and Families
- Social Change and Innovation
You could also add an optional program in military or school social work.
- Traditional Track, Full-time: $115,120 for the entire program
- Traditional Track, Part-time: $119,700 for the entire program
- Advanced Standing: $73,815 for the entire program
Besides providing two specializations in clinical and macro practice, you can select from tracks in health and behavioral health, social work practice with Latinos, and political social work. You can also choose the individualized specialization path to design your own concentration focused on a topic or population. Regardless of your chosen specialization, you’ll complete courses in advanced social policy analysis, confronting oppression and injustice, human diversity and development, and policy in the social environment.
If you enter as a traditional student, plan to complete 63 credits over three years. If you qualify for advanced standing, you’ll undertake 38 credits over two years. The department also offers part-time learning options. No matter what path you take, you’ll need to complete 900 hours of fieldwork. The school will work with you to find a placement.
The online program offers more flexibility than the hybrid option, but courses have firm deadlines for activities and assignments. The hybrid route has online portions in each course, and classes meet in person two Saturdays per month.
UH focuses on small class sizes, with most including 25 or fewer learners. In addition to discussions on forums, many instructors hold live office hours for learners requiring additional support. The department holds informational meetings online throughout the year, so check with a program administrator to learn when the next one takes place.
The college of social work recommends using the tuition calculator to determine costs.
The University of North Dakota (UND) is a leader in online education. The university started distance learning in 1911 with mail courses, and today, UND Online offers hundreds of online courses to students worldwide.
There are two main types of online classes: self-paced or semester-based. They take anywhere from three to nine months to complete. Established in 1989 and accredited in 1993, the MSW program at UND updates the curriculum to adhere to the highest standards.
The MSW program takes place on campus or online. The fully online foundation MSW program takes around three years or 60 credit hours. However, the online distance concentration is available only if you have a BSW degree or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The advanced generalist program was created for working and distance students. How long it takes to earn your degree depends on your program. The traditional campus-based or online concentration requires 36 credit hours and takes around a year or two to complete. You can complete your degree on-campus part-time through this option for a hybrid learning experience.
See the tuition calculator for specific cost information based on your residency and program.
The University of South Florida online MSW programs aim to prepare you for clinical practice work with individuals, families, and groups in agency and organization community settings. The curriculum focuses on the study you need to become a skilled clinical social work practitioner in the region. Advanced courses combine with an intense field practicum to help you apply the theories you learn to a real-world setting.
USF offers both a foundational and an advanced standing option. The 60-credit hour foundational model is for students who didn’t obtain a bachelor’s in social work, while the 35-credit hour advanced standing program is for those who obtained a BSW in the past five years. The former takes about eight semesters, and the latter takes three full-time or five part-time semesters. Both require a minimum 3.0 GPA from bachelor’s programs, and neither mandates a GRE.
Foundational students should expect to spend 12-15 hours engaging in field experience every week, four of which must be during normal business hours, totaling 900 hours by the program’s end. The foundational program meets live via webcam on Monday and Wednesday nights, 6:30-8:45 PM EST.
The advanced standing route meets at the same time on Tuesday for the first semester and Tuesdays and Thursdays for the rest of the program. These students need to undergo 20 hours of fieldwork per week if attending full time and 10 hours of the same if enrolled part time. Either way, at least four of those weekly hours need to be during business hours.
Some of the interesting electives offered by the school are:
- Dementia care in home and community-based service from a social work perspective
- Living Latinx: social work practice
- Women’s mental health
The online programs are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Out-of-state students should check with your state’s licensing requirements to ensure the program meets the same standards. Some courses also have synchronistic practice sessions, where you meet with professors online one or two nights per week.
See the tuition calculator for specific cost information based on your residency and program.
The University of Wyoming (UW) offers diverse career opportunities in social work through BSW and MSW programs. At UW, the faculty focuses on student success. They provide MSW students the option of attending classes in a hybrid format; there isn’t currently a fully-online option. Though you don’t need to live in Wyoming to take part in the program, you need to travel to Laramie a few times per semester.
You may participate in the MSW programs full- or part-time, and they highly recommend attending part-time if you need to hold a job while you study.
There are two graduate courses of study to earn your MSW. If you have an undergraduate degree that’s not a BSW, you can apply to the standard MSW program. The advanced standing MSW program is for you if you already have a BSW from a program accredited by the CSWE. The curriculum for both programs come with an advanced generalist social work practice concentration based on the nine core competencies created by the CSWE. You also complete a capstone project or internship, which includes conducting original research and writing a thesis.
Earn your BSW or MSW from the affordable Western New Mexico University (WNMU). Accredited since 1994, the university has a long-standing commitment to online learning and academic excellence. The School of Social Work provides flexible online or distance options to begin your program any semester.
The MSW degree is taught in small class sizes by a faculty of licensed professional social workers. The 64-credit-hour non-advanced standing is for those who haven’t received a BSW. The advanced standing MSW, taking 39 credit hours, is available if you earned a BSW within the last eight years.
This school has a unique set of course options, including:
- Human trafficking
- Practice & client sexuality
- Understanding the rural community
You’re required to take two or four field practicums, depending on your program. The practicums take place in separate semesters and prepare you for licensure through hands-on learning.
WNMU’s online selection makes it easy to earn a degree from another location as well. If you live out-of-state, check the MSW program licensing disclosure to ensure the program matches your state’s requirements.
You can also attend WNMU for graduate certificates in rural community social work services, social work services for military families, and school social work.