Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work

Exploring Tools, Resources and Guides for Social Work Students

Find a Program for You

Social workers dedicate their careers to the service of others and can make a distinct, critical difference in the lives of countless people. A bachelor’s degree program in social work will provide students a combination of social work theory and hands-on field training. Both teach students advanced clinical skills in fields like social and economic development, mental health, advanced clinical social work practice, policy practice and contemporary social issues. Explore these degree programs, course requirements and the career options for bachelor’s in social work graduates below.

2017 Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work

Students interested in exploring different bachelor’s degree programs in social work can get a jump start on their research here. This list of the best online bachelor’s in social work degree programs for 2017 pinpoints several factors critical to a student’s experience, including student teacher ratio, clinical experience offerings, the school’s graduation rate and tuition cost. Students can use these rankings as guidelines, as they investigate a school’s curriculum, faculty expertise and how courses match their career goals.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1The University of Alabama Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 99.80
Read more

As one of the pillars of academics at the University of Alabama, social work programs are offered through a dedicated department. In 1965, UA’s school of social work was created through a statewide initiative to answer the growing problem of untrained social workers in Alabama. Since then, the school has generated the much-needed workforce to service all of Alabama’s communities and more. Today the school of social work provides bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees available on campus, and the option to complete an online MSW program.

The bachelor of social work program prepares students to serve in a variety of settings such as hospitals, government agencies, schools and colleges, and court systems. Students learn to work within various environments to better an individual’s or a community’s quality of life. The program incorporates nine credits of hands-on, experiential learning at a predetermined location, where students complete 450 hours of clinical work. Students must apply to the clinical portion of their coursework and interview at the location where they have been paired. An internship placement in Washington, D.C. at either the Department of Defense or Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is offered to qualifying students who have at a least a 2.25 GPA and are enrolled in a prerequisite course. Students can also participate in faculty-led research and gain experience working with community-centered campus organizations. The University of Alabama operates a research center, the Youth Services Institute, from within the school of social work. This center facilitates three assistance programs for children and teens throughout the state, providing boundless research and career opportunities for students.

While classes for this program are offered on campus, many courses can be taken online or at night to meet the needs of working students. UA’s school of social work offers financial aid and scholarships to students specific to their degree program. The bachelor of social work program has continually been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2University of Alaska Fairbanks Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
43%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 98.29
Read more

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, students can earn an undergraduate degree in social work that specializes in managing the socioeconomic, environmental or domestic problems that are unique to Alaska’s interspersed population. UAF’s Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is a well-rounded program that prepares graduates for employment as social workers in agencies that promote mental health, family and child services, Alaska native organizations or senior citizen centers. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the program requires 120 credits for completion and is comprised of general electives, behavioral science studies and fieldwork experience. During students’ final year in the program they begin experiential work, helping indigenous tribes living in the remote regions of the Alaskan wilderness. Students must first apply and prove they are ready for their fieldwork experience before being placed within an organization. Students then complete a minimum of 400 hours working alongside practicing social workers during their internship, and have two semesters to meet this requirement. UAF’s undergraduate social work program is designed as a traditional degree, however a number of social work courses are offered online each semester. Students majoring in other fields at UAF can also earn an undergraduate minor.

Undergraduate students enrolled in the BSW program have financial aid and scholarships available, as well as differentiated tuition rates benefitting native Alaskans and other Pacific coast students. Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange, students living in 14 western states are eligible for a significantly discounted non-resident tuition rate. Undergraduate students who are Alaska residents receive a competitive in-state rate that increase as a student progresses to higher levels of education. This is applicable to non-residents as well.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3Washburn University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
58%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
34%
Ranking SCORE 95.89
Read more

Practicing what they preach, Washburn University aims to help students struggling to find ways of earning their undergraduate degree succeed. The university’s Bachelor of Social Work program teaches students to value justice and to be the people who fight for disadvantaged citizens. Washburn University offers both a BSW and MSW degree program, taking a versatile approach to undergraduate learning. The BSW program allows students to gain experience practicing many different forms of social work to give a generalist education and the chance to specialize at the graduate level. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Washburn’s BSW program integrates real-world social work experience into the learning curriculum. Upon reaching the final phases of their undergraduate educations, students are required to complete a practicum. Students undergo an interview process and are assigned a field placement based on their academic performance. In this practicum, students have the chance to observe and work with experienced social workers in the field. Students must reach at least 480 hours of practicum work, with at least 240 hours completed each semester during their senior year.

While most required courses in the BSW program are offered on campus, Washburn has a select number of undergraduate social work classes available 100 percent online each semester, so students can create flexibility in their education and work schedules. In addition, all face-to-face learning at Washburn uses online resources for course materials so student always have access to information. After finishing all degree requirements, students must pass the examination from the Association of Social Work Boards to become a licensed social worker. Washburn BSW graduates currently have a 91 percent pass rate, compared to the 71 percent average across North America in the most recent academic year.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
4University of Utah Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
41%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.34
Read more

While requirements for professional social workers vary by state, at the University of Utah graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work degree have the necessary foundation to find employment in 30 states. To become a social worker in Utah, a license is required and academic degree programs offered in the state aim to satisfy the licensing requirements. The social work programs offered by the University of Utah are accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, including the school’s online BSW option. One of a select number of accredited online BSW programs, this degree program is fully online. General education and lower division courses should be completed before applying to the online BSW degree and transfer students may check to see how their credits stack up at the University of Utah. The online portion includes 48 credits of upper-level coursework, completed over three to four semesters. Students must also complete a mandatory fieldwork experience to graduate from the program at a site pre-approved by the university. Currently there are more than 150 certified practicum locations for BSW students in Utah, across the country and abroad. Both online and campus-based students must clock 450 hours of internship experience and coordinate their experience with the on-site instructor. The opportunity to work with experienced social workers gives students a mentor-mentee relationship, which can be valuable in their post-graduation endeavours.

Graduates of the program typically find employment at schools, correctional facilities, child services organizations, nursing homes, addiction centers and many other agencies dedicated to to preserving and restoring social justice and bettering a person’s quality of life. Social work students are eligible for scholarship opportunities administered through the college of social work. Most recently, the college awarded more than $250,000 in financial aid distributed among 95 students. Tuition rates are lower for Utah residents, while out-of-state students both on campus and online pay a higher fee.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5Western New Mexico University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
16%
Ranking SCORE 95.25
Read more

Recognizing the projected national need for qualified, sound social workers, Western New Mexico University aims to graduate social workers equipped with the tools for direct employment. To accomplish this goal, the online undergraduate social work program provides a broad foundation to working in many diverse environments of social work. WNMU’s Bachelor of Social Work graduates may find themselves working in prisons or juvenile correctional facilities, hospitals, addiction treatment centers, mental health facilities or in government or nonprofit agencies. Social work courses at WNMU are kept to intimate class sizes and are instructed by professional social workers with years of experience in the field. To enter the program, students must be accepted to WNMU and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Unfortunately the school does not accept or award any credit for prior work experiences as the program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSEW) and all students must meet the CSEW’s criteria to earn the degree.

This degree program is open to students around the country and is offered as an entirely online degree. Occasionally synchronized learning may be required such as a telephone conference class. Some courses are offered in accelerated formats during the spring semester, and all courses are eight weeks long in the summer. As part of graduation requirements, students must complete an internship in the field during their senior year of studies. This experiential learning can be conducted within the student’s geographic region and faculty within the department work with students to find a suitable location. Western New Mexico University is a part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which is a tuition agreement among 14 states. Through this initiative, students who have not yet earned their bachelor's degree living in the west have access to discounted out-of-state tuition rates at universities across the region. Students applying from states outside of this agreement pay full out-of-state tuition costs at WNMU.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
6Wayne State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
80%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
28%
Ranking SCORE 95.03
Read more

Social work students at Wayne State University have access to flexible learning, with courses offered on campus, at branch centers, at night and on the weekend, and 100 percent online. The university’s Bachelor of Social Work program can be completed based on a student’s needs—in-person, totally online, or through a combination of both. To start the program as a distance learner, students must have earned, or be about to earn, 60 college credits, either at Wayne State or another accredited institution. A minimum 2.5 GPA is also required to enroll in the online Bachelor of Social Work program and students take 15 professional credits over four semesters to complete the program. For all students in the BSW programs, online and on campus, a clinical field experience is required to finish the degree. This hands-on experience is conducted during the senior year and Wayne State connects students to a number of organizations performing social work in the community. The university tries to place students in urban environments and at agencies that help people suffering from socioeconomic problems, including at-risk juveniles and minorities. While earning their degree, social work students at Wayne State can gain additional experience in service and community outreach through participation in campus-based organizations, such as student government.

The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is affiliated with the National Association of Social Workers Michigan Chapter. By Michigan state law, social workers must be licensed in order to serve their communities. After completing all BSW coursework, graduates can take the initial exam for a limited practicing license. Once a professional social worker has clocked 4,000 hours of post-graduation experience in the field, he or she can apply for a full social work license valid in Michigan. Students should note that each state has different laws governing social worker licensing.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7Viterbo University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 94.81
Read more

At Viterbo University the objective is to prepare students for licensing as qualified social workers. The university provides undergraduate students with two routes towards earning their degree in social work, either a BA or BS program. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the national standard for training and education in the field, the social work curriculum consists of traditional face-to-face courses and a 450-hour practicum completed in the final semester of the program. This practicum is the grand finale to the student’s studies in social work and can only be undertaken after all professional courses have been completed. To begin their practicum, students must be in good academic standing and submit a practicum application to the department. Once reviewed and accepted, students are placed at one of Viterbo’s certified social work agencies located in the region. With more than 25 organizations participating, students could complete their practicum at centers that cope with child and youth services, drug and alcohol abuse, at-risk youths, healthcare and assisted living, among other situations. Students spend 30 hours a week working at their practicum location, entirely during the last semester of their program.

As the BSW coursework prepares students for a broad, entry-level understanding of many areas of social work, students can pair their degree program with a minor to gain more expertise in a certain field. Viterbo offers undergraduate minors geared to complement social work education in gerontology, family studies, diversity studies and substance abuse counseling. Students can also choose the social work in healthcare track which prepares students for focused careers in social work. Graduates have typically found employment at cancer centers, rehabilitation facilities, emergency rooms, mental health hospitals and more. After students successfully complete their BSW degree program, they go on to take a licensing exam to become state-certified social workers. Although requirements vary by state, post-baccalaureate certification is required in Wisconsin to practice social work.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8Colorado State University-Fort Collins Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 94.71
Read more

The Colorado State University-Ft. Collins is preparing undergraduate social workers for a jack-of-all trades career. With the university’s Bachelor of Social Work program, students learn how to facilitate the care and management of people experiencing diverse issues that affect their well-being. The goal of the program is for students to protect and support social justice on a worldwide scale, starting with the individual. The program follows a generalist social work curriculum and requires 120 credit hours for completion. The BSW degree is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and adheres to the organization’s protocol in order to fully develop students’ skills in social work. As core components of the program, students examine behavioral sciences, conduct research and practice social work through a practicum or internship. While students may be eligible to transfer college credits earned elsewhere to their BSW degree, no credit is given for volunteer or other prior work experience related to the field. This program is offered on campus while the school’s Master of Social Work program can be completed through distance learning.

CSU provides undergraduate social work students with a number of extra-curricular and academic opportunities. Social work ambassadors is a program in which students serve as liaisons between outside education departments and students and CSU’s school of social work. Ambassadors serve as the face of social work and coordinate meeting agendas and other necessary departmental tasks. Students who have maintained a GPA higher than 3.25 in mandatory social work courses may be admitted into the social work honor society. This designation comes with benefits such as scholarship and financial aid rewards, a fellowship opportunity, and general recognition of achievement on resumes and graduate school applications. Social work students are also eligible for study abroad programs.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9Utah State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 94.38
Read more

Utah State University provides undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work as well as a non-degree program designed to license social workers. Provided as a traditional campus-based program, the Bachelor of Social Work program promotes the improvement of disadvantaged peoples and a healthier well-being of communities and individuals. Students who decide to study social work are expect to have empathetic hearts, capable of handling difficult situations with steady guidance. To that end, Utah State examines social work students as a whole person, not only their academic capabilities, to see if they are truly suited for the career. Students who are admitted into the program have several scholarship and financial aid resources available to qualifying students.

The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSEW) and maintains a generalist social work education model. This approach to education prepares social work graduates for positions in diverse agencies managing child services, mental health patients, and criminals among many more. As part of CSEW standards, students are required to complete fieldwork during the last stages of their degree program. Before beginning their hands-on learning, students at Utah State have to apply for advanced standing in social work and be sure they meet the minimum criteria to work in the field. After passing this step, students are placed in a variety of organizations surrounding the Logan campus. Students may complete their experiential learning in medical social work, mental health, corrections, child welfare, disabilities, or another available sector. The practicum allows students to gain more expertise in a particular field of social work that they can pursue post-graduation. After graduating from the BSW program, students must obtain licensing to work in the state of Utah. To receive social service workers licensing, students must pass the State of Utah Law and Ethics and the National Basic Social Work exams.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10Northern Arizona University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 93.38
Read more

Northern Arizona University gives social work students the chance to earn their Bachelor of Social Work degree entirely online. The program prepares students to enter the workforce in several environments where social workers are needed, such as military and veterans centers, healthcare centers and hospitals, child welfare centers, and hundreds of other agencies that support the care and well-being of those in need. Upon graduation, students will be able to take examinations for social worker certification in Arizona and many other states. Students can also choose to continue their education at the graduate level and can benefit from a slightly accelerated bachelor's-to-master's degree transition. For those who pursue their Master of Social Work, advanced licensing can be achieved to prepare for careers such as health care coordinators, therapists, lawyers and university instructors.

The online BSW is a 120-credit hour program, allowing a maximum of 64 transfer credits. To earn a bachelor's degree at NAU, students need at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and to have earned 30 minimum credits at NAU. The social work degree is designed as a generalist program, creating social workers with versatile experience. At NAU, students gain specific experience working with the native tribes of Arizona and elsewhere in the southwest and the plight of poverty, rural living and suppression. As such, students complete a mandatory practicum working with vulnerable populations at a social work agency. Students also have the option to participate in research, gaining valuable work experience with faculty members. Online students are treated to a tuition rate that is much lower than what campus-based students pay and is the same cost for all residents. The BSW degree program can also be completed through face-to-face learning at the Flagstaff campus. NAU’s undergraduate social work programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11Prairie View A & M University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
35%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 93.11
Read more

Continually accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for more than 30 years, the undergraduate social work program offered at Prairie View A&M University follows strict guidelines set by the organization. To ensure that social work students are meeting the required competencies set by the CSWE, students must pass several assessments throughout their education. In the last academic school year, PVAMU students surpassed all minimum exam qualifications. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program is campus-based and prepares students for an entry-level career in social work. The BASW degree is designed as a generalist program, providing students with a multifaceted social work education. Social work students learn methods of problem solving, behavioral science and develop the know-how to aid individuals struggling with economic or other disadvantages and poor environmental situations. The degree consists of 120 total credit hours, with 42 core curriculum credits and the completion of volunteer and internship experiences. To appropriately prepare students for the real-life scenarios they face after graduation, PVAMU requires hands-on experience as part of the social work curriculum. During their education, students will complete 56 hours of volunteer service and at least 400 hours working alongside professionals at a social work agency. This practicum experience can be completed at organizations such as government agencies, public welfare offices, nursing homes, mental disability centers and many other centers serving young children to elderly adults. While on site, students report to a supervisor who judges performances and offers professional advice.

BASW students have a host of student-centered organizations available on campus, including clubs, honor societies and a committee. Students who have achieved at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA upon graduation are invited to join one of two honor societies for social work majors. Additionally, as PVAMU is an historically black college, a student chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers (Texas) has open enrollment to all students seeking a social work degree. As a member of the NABSW, students may be eligible for scholarships offered through the organization.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
12Spring Arbor University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 93.07
Read more

At Spring Arbor University, undergraduate social work students can earn their degree when and where they want. The university offers an entirely online Bachelor of Social Work program that utilizes the school’s Christianity as a backdrop for some guiding principles within the program. The same courses, same requirements of the online BSW program are also offered as a traditional on-campus program that can be earned from one of nine locations sprinkled across the state of Michigan. For those who want to learn both online and face-to-face, SAU gives students the flexibility to create a hybridized program using both learning formats. Regardless of which delivery method a student prefers, they can rest assured of the program’s quality and accreditation. All formats of the BSW program are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. With this strict standard, BSW students must pass a series of benchmarks throughout their education, and upon successful completion, meet the criteria necessary to test and certify as social workers in Michigan.

SAU campus-based students who are ready to study social work first need to apply to the program and complete two preliminary courses within the field. Students need to earn at least a 2.5 GPA in these courses to be considered for admission to the major. Online BSW students must apply and also have at least 58 college credits that transfer and apply to program. While credit is not awarded for work experiences, students with technical training could apply up to 40 hours towards their degree. Online students also must write a personal statement for faculty review to be admitted. Many courses within the program, 52 credits worth, are offered in accelerated formats with varying time frames. Courses last from five to seven weeks and all students must complete an internship that last 15 weeks.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13Union Institute & University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
27%
Ranking SCORE 93.04
Read more

Union Institute and University specializes in non-traditional learning, developed for working adults trying to fit their education into a busy life. Since 1964, UIU has employed distance learning formats to make learning as flexible as possible for students. With centers located in three states and a vast supply of online courses and programs, UIU students have the benefit of working a degree program around their life, not the other way around. For future social workers, UIU offers an online Bachelor of Social Work program structured with accelerated classes that begin every eight weeks. The program is also offered at learning centers in Florida, Ohio, Vermont and California for students interested in studying on campus or through a combination of online and face-to-face classes. Students can choose to be a full or part-time learner, and for those with prior college experience, up to 90 credit hours are eligible for transfer to the BSW degree program.

The 120-credit hour program finishes with a senior capstone project. This project is comprised of two practicums and a seminar course in fieldwork. After completing all the professional social work courses, students put their knowledge to practice in their on-site practicum experiences. BSW graduates apply their education to a wide range of social work fields. Post-graduation students may find themselves in careers at mental health and long-term care centers, correctional facilities, and at child and youth services organizations among many others. The online BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and students can check their state’s laws for licensing social workers. UIU is a member of National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), a national organization to promote the seamless flow of online education across state borders. Through this membership, UIU is able to offer its online degree programs to residents of most states, although some restrictions apply.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
14The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 92.97
Read more

Students planning for a career in social work can start on their journey with an undergraduate degree in the field from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The university has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 2007 to offer a Bachelor of Social Work program. The undergraduate program in social work fulfills the minimum requirements necessary for employment post-graduation. Students complete fieldwork experience, undergo continual assessment throughout the program and are generally held to a higher standard than other initial post-secondary degree programs. At UTPB, students can state their intention to enter the BSW program early on in their education and become a pre-social work major. Once pre-social work major students meet all of the admission requirements, they can then fully apply to be enrolled in the program. Prerequisites to admittance include good academic standing, the completion of a minimum 45 college credits, and the completion of a few preliminary social work courses. Transfer credits may be applied towards the degree program after review, however the university does not except any work experience as credit. Students must complete 30 credit hours at UTPB to earn their BSW from the university.

A core component and capstone experience for BSW students is a field practicum. During the senior year, students are placed into two practicums to gain on-the-job training and experience from established social workers. While working in live public and private agencies, students are supervised by a field instructor. Students earn 12 credit hours for their fieldwork and must clock at least 480 hours to satisfy degree requirements. Through hands-on and traditional classroom learning, students learn how to handle crisis situations, communicate with the public, solve problems effectively and use case management skills. Although this program is centered around face-to-face learning, UTPB offers approximately 10 online courses in social work each semester.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15Briar Cliff University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 92.95
Read more

Students seeking an online bachelor’s program in social work can find what they’re looking for at Briar Cliff University. This Catholic liberal arts institution has offered an accredited social work program since 1974 – that’s over 40 years of education in the social work field that is now available online for students who need more flexibility than the classroom can offer. Both the online bachelor’s degree in social work and the face-to-face program are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Students begin their online journey with a readiness assessment to ensure they really are great candidates for distance learning. Online students have the advantage of weekly one-on-one virtual sessions with a mentor to help ensure they stay on track with their studies. Though courses are asynchronous, students are required to adhere to weekly deadlines to help ensure their progress. For practice courses, students must meet with their practice instructor via online means once per week to address any potential issues.

Students must complete 47 credit hours for graduation; as this is a degree completion program, students will be expected to enter the program with at least 77 credit hours or an associate degree in social work or human services. The program can be completed in two years as long as the student takes courses year-round, including during the summers.

The rigorous coursework culminates in a 450-hour field placement, which gives students the required supervised experience necessary to seek entry level positions in the world of social work. This placement can happen in the student’s local area; the field director and student will meet with a local practicum supervisor via web conferencing to work out the pertinent details and ensure all requirements are met for the purposes of graduation and eventual licensure.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16Missouri State University-Springfield Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 92.69
Read more

The School of Social Work at Missouri State University – Springfield is dedicated to helping others through education, research and service. The Bachelor of Social Work, fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, prepares students to become generalist professionals in the field and allows them the opportunity to move into graduate studies. The program begins with informational meetings, designed to inform students about the major and assign advisors to those who choose to move forward with application to the program.

Students in this major can follow the four-year plan or the transfer plan. The four-year plan allows students to begin taking prerequisite courses for the major as early as their first semester of their sophomore year. Along the way, students must earn a “C” or better in certain prerequisites, such as Introduction to Social Work and Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services. The transfer plan assumes students will come into the program with several general education courses already met, then complete certain social work courses prior to being accepted into the major.

All students must complete the field experience, or practicum, which consists of a minimum of 450 hours over the span of 15 weeks (an average of about 30 hours per week). For some, a current place of employment might serve as a practicum site. Students will go through a pre-placement orientation that helps them determine the best options in the local community, as well as express any concerns or preferences to the field coordinator.

Students who choose to take their social work education even further can opt for the master’s program, which might take one year to complete with Advanced Standing. Students pursuing this degree can choose between full-time and part-time options. Missouri State University – Springfield currently offers social work programs in on-campus format only.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17Indiana Wesleyan University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 92.48
Read more

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education for over 25 years, the bachelor of social work at Indiana Wesleyan University is a great way for students to prepare for entry-level work in the field, as well as earn a stepping stone to the master’s program if they so choose. Offered through the College of Adult and Professional Studies, the bachelor’s degree is designed for working professionals and other busy college students who need the flexibility of online learning. Not only does the program instruct students on the theory and practice of social work, but it does so with the strong Christian foundation that permeates all programs at Indiana Wesleyan University.

The bachelor of social work begins with admission to IWU as a pre-social work major. Students can enter with at least 45 credits that transfer; 40 of those are eligible to be earned through learning assessments. However, life experience – such as working in a social work agency – does not qualify for credit at IWU. Students who are approved for the pre-social work major begin their journey with the Introduction to Social Work, which provides a broad overview of the field and allows students to begin the application for the major. A follow-up course allows students to complete the application, engage in an interview with the program director, and get all their questions answered before moving full-speed ahead into the social work major.

Program classes begin every two to three weeks year-round. Since the classes build one upon the other to form a strong foundation in social work studies, online students will take courses one at a time on a strict schedule. All major coursework will be completed before students begin the field placement with an appropriate social work agency or closely-related organization. Four hundred hours of supervised field experience is required for graduation, as well as a 2.5 overall GPA and a 2.7 GPA in all social work courses. Students will ultimately complete 120 semester hours of study within the major and 30 hours of general education to earn a degree.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18Brescia University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
89%
TOTAL
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2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
46%
Ranking SCORE 92.10
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Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky is proud to offer online programs for those who need the kind of flexibility simply not offered by the traditional classroom model. And with several social work programs, ranging from the bachelor’s to the master’s and fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the school is poised to help students move into generalist work, licensed social work and related fields. While the traditional Bachelor of Social Work is offered at the Kentucky campus, the Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion and the Master of Social Work are both offered online.

The Bachelor of Social Work programs, whether in person or online, prepare students for generalist, entry-level positions in social work and related professions. Besides that, students will have the strong foundation necessary to move into the graduate program if they choose to do so. Those seeking application into the social work major must demonstrate a GPA of 2.5 or higher, have recommendations from former professors, colleagues or coworkers, and complete an application packet and an autobiographical video that introduces them to the social work faculty. Those who choose the on-campus program can earn their general education credits at Brescia; those who opt for the degree completion program will come in with at least 45 credit hours already completed, and thus jump right into the social work major courses. All students will engage in the field experience, totally 450 hours, which will be completed at an appropriate social work agency or organization.

Those pursuing the online program can choose from one of five different start dates throughout the year. Most students complete their 36 hours of major coursework, the field experience and six hours of electives in two years. Courses are provided in an accelerated, eight-week format. The financial bottom line is easier on the student as well, given that Brescia University has frozen tuition rates for online students through spring 2022.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19Thomas University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
14%
Ranking SCORE 91.83
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With a student-faculty ratio of 15 to one and a variety of learning options, the Bachelor of Social Work at Thomas University allows students to get personalized attention, even if they are learning online. The growing undergraduate program, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, is great for those who want to work as generalists in the field, or those who hope to move into the master’s degree level through Advanced Standing.

Students who want to move into the social work program must meet certain requirements before declaring their major. These include a minimum of 48 hours of general education studies, maintaining a minimum 2.5 GPA overall, writing a personal statement, obtaining two letters of recommendation, completing the application and attaching all appropriate transcripts. The application is best completed during the spring semester of the sophomore year, so students can jump into the major at the start of their junior year.

The upper division courses will cover 60 semester hours; the remainder of the required 120 hours will be filled with field experience. Students will complete 400 hours of supervised practice in an appropriate organization in North Florida or South Georgia. It’s important to remember that even those who choose the flexible online options for the bachelor’s in social work program will need to complete the field experience in the area near Thomas University.

Like many other university systems that embrace community colleges, Thomas University has an agreement with the University Center at Tallahassee Community College that allows students to take courses there to apply toward their bachelor’s degree. Those who have already earned their associate degree through the community college can apply all credits toward the general education requirements and in most cases, move into the major immediately upon transfer to Thomas University.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20California State University-East Bay Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
52%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 91.74
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Students who choose to enter social work through California State University – East Bay can rest assured their hard work will help them be strong advocates for social change, more culturally responsive, and able to spot social injustice – and just as importantly, understand the inequalities of class and identity that so often lead to that injustice. Students who enter the Master of Social Work program will choose between concentrations in Children, Youth and Families, or Community Mental Health. In each concentration, students will have hands-on work with clients in a variety of situations, thus preparing them for work as a social worker in the state of California and beyond. Currently, students at CSUEB only have the option of the master’s program; there is no bachelor’s program available.

The journey to the degree begins with informational sessions, which help students by answering questions and assisting them with navigating the in-depth applications for their chosen concentration. Students jump into field experiences immediately, alternating two days of fieldwork per week with two days of classroom time. Once a student reaches the second year the work schedule ramps up, with students in class for two days and in the field for three. It’s important to remember that while some online classes are available to allow for more flexibility, the majority of the courses required must be completed on campus.

Graduation requires 60 semester units, including 32 units of core courses, 20 units of concentration courses, 4 units of electives and 4 units that result in a graduate research paper. A minimum 3.0 GPA in all courses is required to graduate. Those who choose the Children, Youth and Families concentration might qualify for the Title IV-E stipend, which can help pay for school. The social work program at CSUEB is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
21Brigham Young University-Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
36%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 91.62
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Students who seek a generalist social work degree – one that will allow them to go into entry-level work in a variety of agencies, settings and clinics that serve their greater community – can find what they need through the Brigham Young University – Idaho bachelor’s program in social work. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the Baccalaureate Social Work program at BYU – Idaho also ensures graduates are prepared to move into the master’s program in social work or a closely related field if they choose to take their education even further.

The program is open to application from sophomores who have completed at least 34 of the 40 required foundation credits for the general education segment of the program, as well as courses in psychology and sociology that are required for admission into the major.

The social work program at BYU – Idaho is quite robust, with numerous courses that must be taken in a particular order for a student to build the proper foundation of study. Given this tight schedule, it’s strongly recommended that students meet with their academic advisors on a regular basis to ensure they are on the right track with courses taken at the appropriate time.

Part of the tight scheduling is the fact that students must complete 500 hours of fieldwork – more than is expected at most other social work programs – which is divided into two 250-hour internships. Breaking the fieldwork into two parts allows for a broader range of experience in agencies or organizations students might be interested in.

The university offers plenty of guidance along the way, including the aforementioned academic advisors, an Internship Fair where students can learn more about field experience opportunities and apply for those that interest them, and the Social Work Society, a group that looks out for the unique needs of social work students, promotes strong networking opportunities and provides other assistance for students to help them reach their professional goals.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
22Mercy College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
88%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
34%
Ranking SCORE 91.56
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Students in the career-oriented Bachelor of Social Work program at Mercy College will graduate prepared to move into the working world as a generalist social worker. Though the program does focus on preparing students to enter the workforce immediately, those who desire a master’s degree will also be prepared for the rigorous study and experience necessary to earn their higher credential. In fact, graduates of the BSW program will be ready to enter the Master of Social Work as an Advanced Standing student. The program is currently on campus only. The BSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is home to the Bachelor of Social Work program. Before entering the major, students must meet with the director of the social work program for an interview; this will help determine whether they are a good fit for the requirements of the major. Many students choose to declare pre-social work as their major as early as their freshman year, then take all the prerequisite courses necessary to move into the major during their first junior semester. Students must maintain a 2.7 GPA overall if they intend to move into social work at Mercy College.

Students will work toward 60 credits in general education, 42 credits in the social work major and 18 electives, which can be used to develop a related minor or specialize in a particular area of social work (though a concentration is not officially offered). Because the program moves quickly, it’s important to take courses in the proper order to ensure a strong foundation along the way; academic advisors are valuable in helping with this. Once students are admitted to the major, the requirements for the minimum GPA rise to 2.8 in all social work courses.

Students will also engage in field experience, which requires 550 hours of fieldwork divided into two semesters. Though this is a higher number of hours than required by many other schools, it is in keeping with the Mercy College plan to prepare students to move into generalist work immediately upon graduation.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
23Salisbury University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
61%
TOTAL
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4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 91.52
Read more

Salisbury University offers an opportunity for aspiring social workers to earn their undergraduate through the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Those who choose the BSW will be prepared to work as generalists at entry-level positions for a variety of agencies, or will be ready to begin their graduate studies. The social work program is offered at the main campus in Salisbury in addition to four other locations across the state of Maryland, so students can choose the campus that best suits their schedule.

Applications for the BSW program are typically expected during the first semester of the junior year. At this point students should be fully engaged in the prerequisite courses for the major, which must be completed or in progress when the application is submitted. Basic requirements include completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours in general studies, an overall GPA of 2.5, an overall GPA of 2.7 in any social work course, as well as the application itself with any supporting documentation. Students should note that the personal statement is quite important for this program; it is expected to be a clear self-assessment of a student’s social work knowledge and their respect for diversity.

Students will complete numerous research-based courses during their final year, as well as the required field experience. That fieldwork includes a minimum of 16 hours per week in an appropriate agency, under close supervision by seasoned social workers. Students are usually assigned their agency; however, some are allowed to choose their own agency. Students should speak with an advisor to ensure they are on the right track with field experience.

The Dual Degree Option is available to those who want to expand their social work horizons. In a collaborative program with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, students can pursue their bachelor’s degree in social work at the same time they earn their bachelor’s degree in sociology. Students who complete the BSW are eligible to apply for the Master of Social Work program, also offered through Salisbury University.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
24Presentation College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
44%
Ranking SCORE 90.94
Read more

Presentation College in South Dakota offers a Bachelor of Science in Social Work for students who are ready to start their career as generalist social workers or use the program as a stepping stone to the master’s degree. Offered through the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the BSW program is held at the Aberdeen campus. Though there are numerous courses available through online learning, fully online social work programs are not currently offered through Presentation College.

Students seeking admission to the program can declare their pre-major at any time after acceptance to the college. During this time, they can focus on taking the general education courses as well as prerequisite courses for eventual entry into the social work major. During the spring of their sophomore year, students will formally apply to the major. Admission requirements include three specific introductory social work courses, a strong liberal arts base, application form, character references, a background check and an interview with the admissions committee. This is a very competitive program.

Once enrolled, students can expect to take courses at the Aberdeen campus, as well as some that make use of video-conferencing and online learning. Students in the social work program can choose a minor from among the following options: health services administration, religious studies, criminal justice, psychology, or corporate recreation/fitness.

Students will be required to attend a social work orientation meeting at the beginning of each semester; part of the purpose is to ensure students are still on track to meet their 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students will also meet with an advisor twice each semester and are required to hold membership in the National Association of Social Workers once they are accepted into the major. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required for graduation, including a “C” or better in all social work courses, as is a minimum of 500 hours of field experience.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
25Metropolitan State University of Denver Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 90.84
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At Metropolitan State University of Denver, the social programs are so robust that there is an entire department dedicated to them. The Department of Social Work offers the Bachelor of Social Work, the Master of Social Work (both a regular and an advanced standing program) and the Social Work Minor. The programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students interested in meeting with advisors and learning more about the programs before they apply can join informational meetings held each spring prior to the entering class for the major.

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work Program can choose between taking their courses on campus and having them delivered through the fully online program. Those who choose the program online should note that there will be times synchronous learning is required; in addition, extracurricular online seminars might be required to help foster a sense of community between professors and students. Those who want to pursue the online option must make it very clear from the time of their application that distance learning is their preference. It is only available to students who reside in Colorado.

Regardless of the format, students must complete certain requirements to enter and stay in the major. Nine prerequisite courses, some in social work and some in general studies, set the foundation for the major. All of these courses must be completed with a “C-“ or greater. Students will complete 27 credits during their junior year, which includes about 60 hours of volunteer work each semester. Another 27 credits are required during the senior year, which includes 240 hours of fieldwork each semester. Overall, students must earn 120 credits for graduation.

There are numerous resources available for students, from scholarships and stipends earmarked for those in the social work programs to student organizations designed to foster networking and relationships with the greater community. A few examples of those active at MSU Denver include Building Allies of Diversity (BAD), Phi Alpha and the Student Association of Social Workers.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26University of North Alabama Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
32%
Ranking SCORE 90.49
Read more

The Department of Social Work at University of North Alabama offers an accredited bachelor’s program in social work for those who want to work as generalist practitioners in the field or seek advanced standing for entry into the master’s program in social work. Students who graduate from the bachelor’s program are fully prepared to pursue licensure as a social worker in the state of Alabama. Though the vast majority of the classwork will be offered in traditional format, some courses are available online, thus allowing for some flexibility for busy students.

Students in the Bachelor of Social Work program can expect to complete 56 hours of general education, most of which (if not all) by their junior year, when they will begin focusing on the core social work curriculum. The major courses cover 42 hours. Electives will bring the overall total up to 120 hours of study, which is required for graduation. In addition to the rigorous coursework, students can expect to devote themselves to a field internship that gives them the experience they need under the watchful eye of a seasoned social work professional.

Student engagement is encouraged at University of North Alabama. In fact, social work students contribute approximately 15,000 hours of volunteer service each semester to the surrounding area, which goes well above and beyond their required internships. Students can find even more opportunities for involvement through campus organizations, including the Phi Alpha Honor Society and the Social Work Organization. Graduates of the social work program have gone on to careers in service, with many working for Easter Seals, Safeplace, Colbert County Schools, Shoals Crisis Center and the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG).

In addition to choosing to pursue the bachelor of social work, students can also earn the Child Welfare Certificate. The certificate requires 18 hours of coursework and prepares students to work with at-risk children and their families through a variety of agencies and organizations.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
27North Dakota State University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
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PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 89.79
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Ambitious students who want to try their hand at a dual degree can do so through a special collaboration between North Dakota State University – Main Campus and Minot State University. The dual degree in Human Development and Family Science/Social Work results in a bachelor of science from NDSU and a bachelor of social work from MiSU. In addition to both schools holding institutional accreditation, the social work program is accredited through the Council on Social Work Education.

Students who choose this option will remain on the North Dakota State University campus for the majority of their coursework, while their social work courses will be offered through MiSU faculty on the NDSU campus or through interactive learning. These online courses can give students much-needed flexibility when dealing with such a heavy course load. Graduates will be eligible to sit for licensure as a social worker in the state of North Dakota.

Students must go through three application processes; the first is to North Dakota State University, the second is to Minot State University, and the third is to the social work program. Though transfer credits are accepted, it’s important to know that credit for life or work experience is not accepted, nor does that experience take the place of field education.

Those who are accepted to the dual program must complete 127 hours of coursework, minimum, in order to graduate. They must also complete a minimum of 465 hours of direct practice with a human service agency, all while being supervised by seasoned social workers. Students will work with an agency in the Fargo-Moorhead area, where there are a number of community institutions dedicated to serving families and children. Those who wish to do even more in their local communities can join student organizations dedicated to the cause, such as the Student Social Work Organization or the Human Development and Family Science Club.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
28Bemidji State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
43%
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2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
44%
Ranking SCORE 89.01
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The College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology at Bemidji State University is home to numerous options for aspiring social workers, including the popular bachelor of social work program. The program consists of two tracks: the traditional, on-campus track, which requires students to attend courses in the traditional classroom format, and the online track, which consists of mostly online courses with a once-a-month on-campus component to satisfy the hands-on portion of the program. Regardless of the track a student chooses, they will focus on the same 10 social work competencies and 41 related practice behaviors during their four years of study.

Admission to the program begins as students take the introductory social work course for the major. Students must complete a statement of interest and a writing assignment, submit two references, earn a minimum 2.5 GPA in all social work courses, and participate in an interview with a social work faculty member.

Upon admission, students will complete 69 credits of social work and related courses, including those in psychology and biology (in addition to the credits already earned in general education). Students will also complete a 480-hour internship in a social work organization. This can be done either full-time during one semester or part-time during two semesters. Those who choose the online track can complete their field requirements in their home community, based on faculty approval.

During their time at Bemidji State University, students will engage in volunteer work, including a 60-hour field experience that puts them in touch with the local community. Field expeditions into the Twin Cities are also a popular option.

In addition to earning the bachelor’s degree in social work, students have other options within the department, such as the Chemical Dependency Minor, Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate and the School Social Work Preparation and Licensure Certificate.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29University of Wisconsin-Stout Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 88.67
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Students at University of Wisconsin – Stout can take a unique road to licensure as a social worker through the Social Work On Campus Certificate. The program consists of five social work courses, and is taken in conjunction with one of several undergraduate programs in a related field. Upon graduation with both the degree and the certificate, students can apply for the Wisconsin Social Worker Training Certificate, which can eventually lead to the bachelor’s level certification with the state. Students can also use the certificate, on its own, as a professional development tool or a complement to other majors.

Students in the certificate program are encouraged to find a major closely related to social work, and that might be suitable to grant them admission to a master’s in social work program if they so desire. Options suggested include the bachelor of science in psychology, criminal justice and rehabilitation, applied science, or human development and family studies. Students who graduate from one of these programs enjoy a 95 percent or greater employment rate, and work at places like the Mayo Clinic, Medtox, Regions Hospital, Anoka County and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

Students earning the Social Work On Campus Certificate can expect five in-depth courses, including Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare Policy, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, and Social Work Practice Methods: Individuals. Students are also required to gain field experience in social work, which allows students to put the theories they learn in class into practice.

As the name of the program implies, this program is available only on campus. However, for those who already hold an undergraduate or graduate degree, the Social Work Professional Online Certificate allows busy working individuals the opportunity to earn a higher credential through distance learning.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30Brandman University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
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PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
N/A
Ranking SCORE 87.94
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The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at Brandman University prepares students to move into generalist work in a variety of settings, including community outreach, nonprofit organizations, clinical research and government positions. Students will take a rigorous course load that prepares them for positions in the world of social work and related fields, including child and family social work, gerontology, probation and correction treatment, social and community service, substance abuse treatment and mental health care.

Admission to the bachelor’s program in social work begins with a minimum 2.0 GPA in all coursework, 12 or more bachelor’s level credits that can transfer into the program, and a completed application (including all parts). Please note that only credits from a regionally accredited school are eligible for transfer. In addition to earned college credits, students can also use military service and coursework, alternative credits and equivalencies, and the “Brandman Track” to get the required credits. This online certificate allows students to quickly earn the 12 credits necessary to apply for admission to the university.

Students will earn 42 credits through core social work courses, including the social work practicum of 400 hours. They will earn another 48 through social work electives. In addition, students can choose a minor in an area closely related to social work, such as social welfare. The minor will consist of 18 credits.

Students can opt to complete their program either in a hybrid format (with some courses taken at the campus in California and others taken online) or a program that is entirely online. Given that Brandman University is designed for the non-traditional student, even hybrid programs can be expected to allow for plenty of flexibility. Students who complete the bachelor’s program and choose to enter the master’s in social work will find even greater flexibility in the graduate program, where it is assumed they will also be working full-time while they continue their education.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
31University of Maryland-University College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
4%
Ranking SCORE 86.73
Read more

Social work programs through University of Maryland – University College are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, thus ensuring that graduates are prepared to seek licensure in social work upon completion of their program. Offered by Salisbury University and administered by UMUC Europe, students in the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work are prepared to either move into the working world immediately or take the next step to the graduate degree.

Those in the social work program will complete 120 credits, the minimum required for graduation. Of those 120 credits, 54 credits will be in targeted social work courses to satisfy the major, as well as six credits made up by the field experience requirement during the senior year. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits, which means students can jump right into their junior year or later and begin taking social work courses as soon as they are admitted to the college.

Before gaining admittance, students will have to complete certain prerequisite courses, including those in psychology, statistics, sociology and human behavior. Students will need a 2.5 minimum GPA overall as well as a 2.7 GPA or greater in social work courses in order to be considered for the major. Upon completing those courses and reaching junior status, it’s time to get in touch with an advisor to start the application for the major.

The program in social work through University of Maryland – University College offers students the option of choosing hybrid courses blended with online courses, or pursuing the degree entirely online. Other options are also available in hybrid or online formats, such as the Master of Social Work and several graduate certificates that complement either the bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes

Search Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs

Social work is a growing field, and students may need to apply to a number of programs in their search. The following tool gives students broad perspective on the number of bachelor’s programs in social work that are offered around the nation, with categories to help narrow down the search.

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Timeline: Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Online

Online bachelor’s degree programs provide social work students with the necessary skills to become an entry-level social worker in about four years. Online students take courses remotely, but may opt for completing field instruction requirements at participating organizations within their communities. From continued practical application to professional development, students will learn skills applicable to a variety of fields within social work. Use this step-by-step timeline to pinpoint the major milestones a bachelor’s level social work student might meet throughout schooling.

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Application Process

Each online bachelor’s in social work program will ask for their own respective requirements, although students may find many schools require similar steps when applying to their programs. Here is a list of these common steps:

Submit College, High School Transcripts

Evaluate each social work program’s prerequisites for admission, and be in good standing. Bachelor’s level students must submit prior college or high school transcripts along with their application. Many online bachelors’ in social work programs ask students for this to ensure the student meets minimum GPA requirements.

Gather Letters of Recommendation

Applicants can expect to provide two or three letters of recommendation when applying for a bachelor’s program in social work. These should be from mentors or educators that know the students’ professional and academic characteristics, along with their community services. Remember that letters of recommendation take time; contact educators and employers as soon as possible in the application process.

Familiarize with the Program

Students should look into the course requirements as they begin applying for online bachelor’s programs in social work. Most provide some form of orientation or advising sessions to help students answer questions.

Double-Check Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, so be sure to double check before submitting applications. Late submissions will likely be disqualified.

Follow Up with the School

Even after students have satisfied all requirements outlined in the school’s application checklist, they may not let students know if their application is being received or processed. Students applying to bachelor’s programs in social work should consider contacting the school to ensure all required materials arrived on time.

Year 1 & 2 Milestones

Four-year online bachelor’s in social work programs divide class requirements between instructional coursework and field education. Social work curricula recommend students enroll in 15 credit hours each semester for all four years. Here are milestones to consider during year one and two:

Study Communication Basics

Since social work professionals are required to communicate well with diverse groups of people, online social work students should complete foundational communication courses to progress their interpersonal skillset during the first two years of their bachelor’s degree program.

Focus on Core Completion

The first and second year of a bachelor’s level social work program should be dedicated to completing the core coursework requirements specified for a student’s field of choice. Advisors from the social work department can help recommended core classes, or search a program’s website.

Year 3 & 4 Milestones

After completion of all pre-requisites, students in year’s three and four of their bachelor’s in social work program will start enrolling in upper-division social work classes. They should also begin to focus on a niche or specialized interests, and explore options through electives and field work. Here are some milestones to consider during the third and fourth years as social work students begin building toward graduation.

Upper-Division Course Completion

Once in the third and fourth year of their bachelor’s program, social work students will enroll in courses that build upon their core classes, becoming proficient in areas such as working with families, groups and individuals, social work research and application, community legislature and the various roles social workers have throughout society.

Field Work Experience

Most online bachelor’s in social work programs will also require students to take some on-site education classes. These may include off-campus field work assignments, which encourage students to dive into their desired specialization and experience their profession as a social worker while proactively applying their academics. Note that field work agencies must be approved by the students’ social work program.

Final Project and Capstone Conclusion

During the last two years of study, bachelor’s level social work students will begin working on final research projects and capstone coursework. Students will integrate studies in generalist social work practices, field work and academics into a variety of projects or essays to demonstrate their competency or leadership proficiency in their specialized field.

Graduation Requirements

Because of the curriculum diversity between bachelor’s programs in social work – different electives, field work and course requirements – students should talk with their advisor about compiling a graduation requirements checklist similar to the one below to make sure they are on track, completing the combination of coursework, field experience and research projects necessary to graduate.

Coursework and GPA

Complete coursework and field work hours as required for a bachelor’s degree in social work. Grades should meet the program’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirement for graduation.

Complete and remove all incompletes on the course record.

Students may be given extensions to complete incomplete courses. They should read all requirements set forth by their school of social work for getting them done on time.

Application for Graduation

Graduation is not automatic in bachelor’s in social work degree programs; students must apply for it at their school. Students are advised to meet with academic counselors prior to applying for graduation to verify all graduation requirements are completed.

What Can I do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work?

Social workers with bachelor’s degrees are employed in a wide variety of professional environments, work with vastly different demographic populations, and address a range of distinctive issues. The most general description of what social workers do, across all professional environments, is that they help people to fix and cope with problems they encounter in their everyday lives. But careers are not confined to a single job description. Here are some career options for those earning their bachelor’s degrees:

Browse Bachelor’s in Social Work Careers
Child, Family or School Social Workers

Social workers help adults, children and families to identify and address emotional, behavioral and mental issues. Licensed clinical social workers provide therapy and referrals to public resources and services that help alleviate client problems.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

6%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$42,350

Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and Family Therapists, also known as Mental Health Counselors, work in public settings and private practice to help clients resolve and manage emotional and mental disorders affecting their well-being and relationships. Counselors address issues including addictions, depression and suicidal tendencies, as well as issues with learning, families and aging.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

19%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$48,600

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral and addictions counselors provide assessment, treatment and follow-up support for clients facing addictions to alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs, food or other negative addictive behaviors. Professionals with bachelor’s degrees take career positions within public and private treatment centers, hospitals and clinics and through private practice offices.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

22%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$39,980

Social and Community Service Managers

Nearly 140,000 social and community service managers in the country combine their service experience and bachelor’s education to qualify for roles in directing program development, community outreach, staff management and funding and budgeting operations for social agencies and counseling centers. The role requires strong administrative, budgetary research and analytical skills.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

10%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$63,530

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Skills Learned During Bachelor’s Level Social Work Programs

Online bachelor’s degree programs in social work address common skills and practice principles established for the profession based on a range of factors including program accreditation, professional association guidelines and state licensing requirements. The following core principles and skills are common to studies in four-year online social work programs:

Bachelor’s in Social Work

  • Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking applies to communications between clients and social work professionals as well as to decision making in clinical practice. After their bachelor’s degree program, student should enter the field with the ability to make assessments and create practical solutions for treating client issues. The same skills apply to addressing organizational issues where social workers manage multiple clients along with completing required documentation of evidence-based procedures.

  • Professional Ethics and Demeanor

    Clients and co-workers alike must be treated professionally in the counseling workplace. Social workers must develop skills to work across diverse clinical populations and to build relationships based on empathy and communication. The National Association of Social Workers recommends that professionals “elevate service to others above self-interest,” always behaving in a trustworthy manner.

  • Cultural Competence and Social Diversity

    Students learn to distinguish problems and solutions based on the client population or core cultural issues. At the bachelor’s level, social work students learn to understand and respect differences with respect to ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, race, age, gender identity, marital status and political beliefs. They also learn when to inform co-workers and clients of potential conflicts of interest concerning their own beliefs that may interfere with proper assessment and treatment.

Additional Resources

Bachelor’s level students can receive support in the form of scholarships, research resources and employment through professional associations and organizations dedicated to the field of social work. Many of the following organizations offer special membership programs for students, and provide networking, member conferences and career development resources. Check out some options below.

The American Clinical Social Work Association

The ACSWA operates the setting of professional standards and credentialing of clinical social workers. It fosters networking among professionals and provides news on industry trends and career development.

National Association of Social Workers – Student Center

With its more than 132,000 members, the NASW is the largest professional organization supporting the career development of social workers. Find information on scholarships, grants and fellowships available to student members.

Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work

Phi Alpha is a national social work honor society providing student members and school chapters with access to scholarships, grants and local support. Each campus chapter awards two free memberships in Phi Alpha each year to participating graduate students

The Society for Social Work and Research

Founded in 1994, SSWR serves 1,300 members hailing from 45 states and 15 countries. Its membership supports professional social workers social-work students and faculty, and researchers with leadership forums, national meetings and conferences, and a social work job board.