Best Online Master's in Social Work 2021

Professionals in the field of social work address social problems and improve quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. The field integrates concepts of psychology and sociology to directly assist diverse client populations. Social workers provide a variety of services and assist many types of clients, including children and families, military personnel, immigrants, and individuals with substance abuse issues.

A master of social work (MSW) helps students build advanced skills and prepare for high-level management and clinical practice positions. Earning an MSW can lead to increased earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that social workers earn a median salary of $50,470 per year. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 13% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

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Most students complete their MSW program in 2-3 years, and programs generally do not require applicants to hold a bachelor's in social work. This guide provides an overview of online master's in social work programs, including admission requirements and typical courses. The following sections also explore scholarship opportunities and professional organizations for social work graduate students.

What Can I Do With a Social Work Degree?

While earning a master's degree in social work, students build advanced knowledge in social work theory and practice. Graduates often pursue clinical and leadership roles. While not required to enter the field, an MSW often leads to a wider selection of career opportunities than a bachelor's. Additionally, some career paths require an MSW, such as clinical social worker positions. MSW-holders can also pursue advanced management roles, training social workers to lead organizations and shape social work policy and practices.

Master's programs in social work often offer specializations in certain areas of the field, such as children and families, addiction counseling, school social work, and military social work. Pursuing a specialization can lead to additional career opportunities and advanced positions. Practicing social workers often earn a graduate degree to advance in their current career, while other candidates may pursue an MSW to enter the field.

Accreditation for a Social Work Degree

Students considering pursuing a master's degree in social work should ensure that each prospective school holds accreditation. The accreditation process involves regular evaluation by a third-party agency. Accreditation demonstrates that the school or program meets set standards of academic quality and prepares students for professional roles. Many employers and institutions only recognize degrees and credits earned from accredited schools.

Colleges and universities can earn national or regional accreditation. Trade and vocational schools typically receive national accreditation, while academic-oriented schools generally earn regional accreditation. Nationally accredited institutions do not offer master's in social work programs, so learners pursuing an MSW should only consider regionally accredited schools.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. Reputable social work programs should also hold programmatic accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

FAQ

Question Answer
How much does a master of social work cost? Tuition costs vary among online master's in social work programs. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a graduate degree in any subject was about $17,900 for the 2015-16 academic year.
How long is the master's program for social work? Degree-completion time varies by program. Learners can complete some accelerated, advanced-standing programs in one year, while part-time programs may require 3-4 years.
What can I do with an MSW besides social work? After earning a master's degree in social work, most graduates pursue careers in counseling or social work. Graduates can also pursue doctoral studies in social work or a related field.
What is the best degree for social work? A bachelor's in social work directly prepares students for master's studies in the field, and most schools offer advanced-standing options for social work majors. However, most MSW programs admit students of all academic backgrounds.

What Are the Requirements for a Social Work Degree?

While admission requirements vary, all MSW programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. Advanced-standing programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's in social work, but other programs often accept students with unrelated undergraduate majors.

Applicants to MSW programs must typically submit recommendation letters from professors or supervisors. Many MSW programs also require graduate test scores, most commonly GRE scores. However, some programs waive this requirement for students with certain backgrounds or GPAs. Most programs also require an admission essay detailing the student's motivations for pursuing a graduate degree.

Courses in a Social Work Program

While earning an online master's in social work, learners build advanced skills necessary for direct clinical social work and administration. Most programs emphasize both practical and theoretical skills. Coursework may explore factors that contribute to social problems, theories and approaches to social work, and strategies for effective interventions and clinical practice. Nearly all MSW programs include a significant practicum component, which allows students to apply classroom knowledge to direct practice in a social work environment.

The following list highlights five courses common to MSW programs. While exact course titles and content may vary, most social work curricula cover these key topics.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Social work programs build on foundational knowledge in the social sciences. Almost every MSW program includes an introductory course that explores human behavior in the context of families, groups, organizations, and society. This course commonly highlights the biological, psychological, and social aspects of behavior. Students examine the intersection of these factors with human development and dysfunction in relation to social work. Coursework draws connections between theoretical perspectives and social work strategies and practices.

Social Work Research

The field of social work increasingly employs evidence-based practice, using research to guide administrative policies and clinical practices. This course introduces the major principles of quantitative and qualitative research. Students develop a broad understanding of typical research processes and their role in shaping social work practices. Common course topics include scientific inquiry, cause-and-effect relationships, research methods and design, and research theories.

Social Work Policy and Program Analysis

Social welfare policy significantly impacts the practice of social work. This course introduces foundational concepts for analyzing broad policies and specific programs. Coursework often highlights public and private funding sources for social programs, and learners examine the impact of these arrangements on policy issues, organizational management practices, and direct clinical practice. Students explore the role of policy analysis in reducing poverty, cultivating social justice, and increasing community access to services.

Clinical Social Work Practice

Clinical social work encmpasses direct services in a variety of settings, including government organizations, private agencies, and community and group practices. Many MSW programs emphasize the role of clinical social work practitioners, and learners in this course develop advanced knowledge and skills they can apply to roles in various social work settings. Coursework emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to client services, often highlighting services for traditionally underserved client populations.

Fieldwork/Practicum

With few exceptions, online master's in social work programs include a significant experiential component. Students work in social services agencies and other organizations, where they observe, analyze, and participate in professional social work practice. MSW students complete hundreds of hours of fieldwork, typically over multiple semesters. Programs often pair the practicum experience with an integrative seminar, during which students discuss their field experience and draw connections between theoretical coursework and professional practice.

How to Become a Social Worker

While individuals can enter the social work field without a degree, most positions in the field require at least a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's in social work qualifies graduates for a variety of administrative and direct-practice positions, and employers often hire candidates with degrees in other relevant fields, such as psychology and sociology.

A master's degree in social work generally serves as the minimum education requirement for clinical practice positions and high-level administrative and management roles. Candidates for clinical positions need a master's degree and a state social worker license. Licensure requirements vary by state, but candidates for clinical social work licensure in any state need at least two years of postgraduate supervised clinical experience.

Certifications and Licensure for Social Work Majors

Social workers demonstrate clinical proficiencies by obtaining licensure and certifications. Some credentials, such as the licensed clinical social worker credential, are necessary to pursue many high-level positions in the field. Candidates can also pursue voluntary certifications to specialize their skills and increase professional prospects. See below for three popular licenses and certifications for social workers.

Licensed Professional Social Worker

Although requirements for social work licensure vary by state, candidates typically need a master's in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Candidates must also complete a certain number of clinical practice hours. The Association of Social Work Boards regulates licensure requirements for several states, but applicants should consult their state's social work board for specific requirements.

Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager

This specialized credential demonstrates advanced skills in social work case management and the ability to meet complex client needs. Candidates need an MSW and a current MSW-level social work license. They also must have completed at least two years of postgraduate social work employment.

Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco, & Other Drugs Social Worker

This certification demonstrates proficiency in treating clients who have drug, alcohol, and tobacco dependency issues. Candidates need skills in needs assessment, resource development, and interventions. They also need an MSW, a current social work license, at least two years of postgraduate work experience, and at least 180 hours of relevant continuing education

Professional Organizations for Social Work Students

Social work students can benefit from joining professional organizations, which generally offer networking opportunities, mentorship, career connections, and scholarship opportunities. The list below highlights four popular professional organizations for social work students.

National Association of Social Workers

The world's largest professional social work organization, NASW offers career assistance, continuing education, and credentialing. The organization also advocates for social workers on policy and political issues. NASW offers discounted student membership to learners in CSWE-accredited bachelor's or master's programs.

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American Board of Clinical Social Work

Serving clinical social workers and graduate students, the ABCSW offers both free and paid student memberships. Free members can access mentorship opportunities and an online community. Paid members receive professional liability insurance, scholarship opportunities, and access to digital social work publications.

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International Federation of Social Workers

With member organizations around the world, IFSW emphasizes social work action and mutual support for members. The organization hosts an annual conference, where social work professionals from around the world share knowledge and pursue social progress.

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National Association of Black Social Workers

NABSW is a membership organization for Black social work professionals and students. The association offers networking opportunities, career support, scholarships, continuing education, and student awards. NABSW operates chapters across the country, and members can attend annual state, regional, national, and international conferences.

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Scholarships for Social Work Students

Social work graduate students can fund their studies through loans, grants, and scholarships. Scholarships do not require repayment. The list below highlights five scholarships for social work students, including details about each opportunity's requirements.

Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports social work master's students who demonstrate a commitment to serving American Indian, Alaska Native, and/or Hispanic populations. Candidates must hold NASW membership and be in good standing.

Amount: $4,000

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Verne LaMarr Lyons Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Learners pursuing a master's in social work who demonstrate a commitment to working with African American communities can apply for this award. Candidates must hold NASW membership and must submit a biographical essay and two recommendation letters.

Amount: $5,500

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Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund

Who Can Apply: Full-time social work students in their final year of bachelor's or master's studies can apply. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to equity and social justice and need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Amount: $500

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National Association of Black Social Workers Scholarships

Who Can Apply: NABSW offers a variety of scholarships for Black students pursuing undergraduate or graduate programs in social work. Specific requirements and award amounts vary, but all applicants need NABSW membership and must submit a statement of purpose and two recommendation letters.

Amount: Varies

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The Melanie Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students in CSWE-accredited master's or doctoral programs. Candidates must be studying a field related to mental health, such as social work. Applicants must demonstrate involvement in community or extracurricular activities and must submit a short essay, a resume, and two recommendation letters.

Amount: $2,500

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Best Online Master's in Social Work 2021

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Ranked among the country's top social work programs, USC serves students from its campus in Los Angeles and through an extensive distance education program. The school offers an online master's degree in social work with traditional and advanced-standing tracks. Enrollees can choose either part-time or full-time enrollment.

USC's social work program emphasizes core competencies along with strategies for interventions, effective collaboration, and leadership. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in social work can typically enter the advanced-standing track, which requires just 37 credits to complete. The 60-credit traditional track serves bachelor's degree-holders who lack a social work background.

Social work candidates must choose from one of three focus areas: adult mental health and wellness; children, youth, and families; or social change and innovation. The program also offers optional concentrations in military social work and school social work.

2 Colorado State University-Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A major state college based in Fort Collins, CSU offers a master's degree in social work that ranks among Colorado's top programs. The curriculum centers on major themes of direct services, social policy analysis, community and organizational practice, and social work research.

Candidates with a bachelor's in social work can enter the program with advanced standing, which requires 40 credits of courses and 675 service hours. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in another subject enter the traditional track, which requires 60 credits and 945 service hours.

Alongside the master's degree, candidates can earn a graduate certificate in one of five specialty areas: advanced clinical behavioral health, conflict resolution and mediation, military and veteran culture, nonprofit administration, or preK-12 school social worker.

3 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Based in Columbia, Mizzou hosts a top-ranked master's degree in social work that trains enrollees for advanced roles in clinical practice, policy, planning, and administration. All coursework occurs entirely online. Online learners can also take advantage of in-state tuition rates regardless of residency.

Mizzou offers traditional and advanced-standing tracks. The advanced-standing track requires 39 credits, while the traditional track requires 60 credits. Advanced-standing candidates typically complete the program in two years of full-time enrollment, while traditional candidates typically take three years to graduate.

The traditional curriculum includes 21 foundation credits, 30 concentration credits, and 6-9 credits of electives. Advanced-standing candidates skip over foundation courses. Candidates can choose from concentrations in advanced clinical practice or policy, planning, and administration.

4 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Home of one of the country's top online master's in social work programs, KU emphasizes the relationship between social work and social justice. The master of social work (MSW) program uses a blended format that combines online courses with campus sessions held every other week. In-person courses occur at KU's Lawrence campus, Edwards campus, or partnership sites in Garden City or Pittsburgh. KU offers both advanced standing and traditional enrollment options. The program accepts applicants of all academic backgrounds.

The MSW program features concentrations in direct social work practice and macro practice focused on administration and policy. Candidates in the traditional enrollment track complete 64 credits divided between a 36-credit classwork section and a 28-credit field practicum section. The first-year curriculum includes foundation courses such as social work policy and program analysis, social work research, and social work practice. The second year focuses on concentration courses.

5 University of Denver Denver, CO Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Ranked among the country's top online master's in social work programs, DU offers a progressive perspective on social work, giving students the tools needed to empower communities and build equity through social change. The master of social work (MSW) program offers advanced standing and traditional tracks, serving both social work bachelor's degree-holders and students of other academic backgrounds.

Students can choose from two concentration options: mental health and trauma or health, equity, and wellness. Traditional students begin with a foundation curriculum before moving into concentration courses, while advanced-standing students complete a smaller selection of foundation courses and move into the concentration section earlier in the program.

The advanced-standing track requires 54 credits and 500 hours of direct field practice, typically taking 18 months of full-time study to complete. The traditional track requires 81 credits and 900 hours of direct field practice, typically taking 21 months to complete.

5 Wayne State University Detroit, MI Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public college based in Detroit, Michigan, WSU hosts one of the state's top master's degree in social work programs. The program offers a 60-credit traditional track and a 38-credit advanced-standing track for candidates with a bachelor's in social work. Students can choose from two concentration options: innovation in community, policy, and leadership or interpersonal practice.

The program comprises foundation core and concentration courses. Advanced-standing candidates skip over many of the foundation courses, moving directly into the advanced curriculum.

WSU offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options. Full-time candidates complete courses on campus and online, spending two days per week in class and two days working in the field. Full-time candidates can graduate in two years, while part-time candidates typically graduate in 3-4 years.

7 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of Florida's top public colleges, USF serves more than 50,000 students across multiple campuses and a major distance education program. The school's online master's degree in social work prepares students to lead organizations and assist individuals, families, and communities. The program uses a cohort format in which candidates complete most courses together in a set sequence, building relationships with peers and faculty members.

USF offers both traditional and advanced-standing enrollment options. Traditional candidates complete 60 credits total. Advanced-standing candidates need a bachelor's in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. These candidates complete 35 credits total, graduating in three semesters of full-time enrollment. Regardless of their academic background, all applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

8 Simmons University Boston, MA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A Boston-based private college, Simmons offers undergraduate programs exclusively for women, as well as coeducational graduate programs. The school's master's degree in social work offers traditional and advanced-standing enrollment options.

Focused on clinical social work practice, the master of social work (MSW) program takes anywhere from 16-32 months to complete, depending on academic standing and enrollment status. Regardless of their program track, all candidates complete courses including social welfare policy, substance use and social work, and evaluation in social work practice.

All candidates also complete two major field work placements. The first placement occurs as part of the generalist curriculum. The second field experience occurs at the specialized level, taking place at an approved social work agency.

9 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of North Dakota's top public colleges, UND also hosts one of the state's best online master's in social work programs. The degree offers traditional enrollment and advanced standing for social work bachelor's degree-holders. The traditional track typically takes about three years to complete, while the advanced-standing track takes 1-2 years.

Traditional candidates complete 60 credits total, while advanced-standing candidates complete 32-34 credits. The traditional track features 24 credits of foundation courses on topics like human behavior in the social environment, generalist practice with individuals and families, and social policy. All candidates complete advanced concentration courses, which explore topics such as research methods and analysis, tools for policy, and practice with treatment groups.

UND offers both thesis and non-thesis options. Thesis candidates complete an original research project, while non-thesis candidates complete an independent research capstone.

10 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located about 130 miles south of Chicago, U of I hosts one of the Midwest's top online master's in social work programs. Emphasizing flexibility for students of all backgrounds, the degree offers a fully online format and a blended option that combines on-campus and online courses. U of I admits applicants of all academic majors, with advanced-standing options available for social work majors. The program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.

Traditional master of social work candidates complete 72 credits total, while advanced-standing candidates complete 42 credits total. The program offers concentrations in advocacy, healthcare, youth and family services, school social work, and mental health.

Typical courses include inequalities in a diverse society, social work and the law, social welfare planning, and international social work and development. All candidates complete a comprehensive field practicum and integrative seminar that builds clinical experience.

11 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of the country's largest colleges, ASU offers an online master's degree in social work that ranks among the best in the United States. Emphasizing social justice and evidence-based solutions to social issues, the program uses an advanced generalist approach, training candidates for effective, culturally competent social work service.

The 60-credit program covers topics such as social policy and services, assessment of mental disorders, program evaluation, and policy practice. Learners also examine topics such as human trafficking, forensic social work, and borderlands issues.

All candidates complete a minimum of 960 hours of field education at two distinct professional sites. Online learners work with the ASU Field Education Office to arrange local field placements.

11 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of Iowa's major public colleges, UI offers a master's degree in social work that admits applicants of all academic backgrounds. The program uses a primarily online format with occasional in-person sessions. UI admits approximately 25 students each year, and the program uses a cohort format. Courses use a mix of synchronous and asynchronous elements, with some live meetings held on weekday evenings.

While courses for the master of social work occur primarily online, applicants must live in Iowa or a bordering state and be able to travel to the school's Des Moines, Iowa City, Quad Cities, or Sioux City campuses. Twice per year, online learners come together for regional in-person sessions, working with local social work practitioners and performing other experiential learning activities. Students must also attend an annual summer session in Iowa City, which lasts 2-3 days.

13 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A major state college located in Vermillion (about an hour south of Sioux Falls), USD offers a master's degree in social work that emphasizes organizational planning, community development, social policy analysis and advocacy, administrative supervision, and clinical and therapeutic services. The program offers both traditional and advanced-standing enrollment, admitting students of all backgrounds.

The master of social work program meets the social work licensure requirements for South Dakota. USD is one of only 11 colleges in the country to offer a designated path to licensure program. The licensure pathway includes 500 hours of field education, automatically qualifying graduates to sit for the master's-level social work licensure exam. USD reports a graduate pass rate of 84% on the exam -- about 17% higher than the national average.

13 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A member of the University of Texas system, UTA serves more than 40,000 students annually. The school's fully online master's in social work ranks among the best in the country, with direct practice specializations available in three areas: children and families, mental health and substance abuse, and aging populations. Candidates can select from accelerated or full-time enrollment, with admission options available for students of all academic backgrounds.

While courses occur fully online, the program generally only admits applicants who reside in Texas. The school offers exceptions for Texas residents serving in the military who currently reside outside of the state. These candidates can perform clinical experiences locally, though they must work closely with advisors to determine appropriate internship locations.

15 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Based in Richmond, VCU offers a top-ranked master's degree in social work that prepares graduates to serve as social work practitioners, leaders, and scholars. The program centers on human rights, social justice, cultural competence, diversity, and ethical practice. VCU serves students around the country using a fully online format that requires no campus visits. Distance learners complement online coursework with local field placements.

The master of social work program offers three annual start dates. Candidates can choose from several enrollment pathways, including full-time, part-time, and accelerated options. Full-time candidates can complete the degree in 16-24 months. VCU also offers a one-year advanced-standing track for candidates who hold a bachelor's in social work.

16 University of Louisville Louisville, KY Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of Kentucky's major public colleges, UofL offers an online master of science in social work that ranks among the best in the state. The fully online program features five concentrations: alcohol and drug counseling, gerontology, mental health, military social work, and psychosocial oncology

UofL offers both a 60-credit traditional option and a 30-credit advanced-standing option for social work bachelor's degree-holders. Traditional candidates typically graduate in 4-8 semesters, while advanced-standing candidates can graduate in 2-5 semesters.

Traditional candidates complete 30 credits of foundation courses, 21 credits of advanced courses, and nine credits of advanced electives. Advanced-standing candidates skip over foundation courses. All candidates take courses on topics like social justice policy and advanced research practice. They also complete an advanced social work practicum.

17 University of Maine Orono, ME Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The flagship campus of the University of Maine system, UMaine serves more than 11,000 students annually from its campus in Orono and through a major distance-education program. The school's online master's degree in social work covers clinical practice, research methods, human behavior, social environments, and social work policy. The program only admits residents of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The program offers two tracks: a 63-credit, three-year regular curriculum and a 46-credit, two-year advanced-standing option for candidates with a bachelor's in social work. Courses feature both synchronous and asynchronous elements, with some live class sessions required. All students must visit the UMaine campus twice per semester for in-person cohort sessions, typically held on Saturdays.

18 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private college based in New York, Columbia hosts one of the country's top online master's in social work programs. The master of social work (MSW) features rigorous academic standards, strong student advising services, and high-level professional connections befitting the school's Ivy League status. Candidates can complete their studies entirely online or through a hybrid format that mixes distance education with occasional campus courses.

Online students who reside outside of the New York area complete a field experience at a social work agency within their own community, typically arranged through the school's Field Education Department.

Columbia offers extensive support for online MSW candidates, including writing tutoring, academic advising, career counseling, and online library services. The school also pairs each student with a professional from the social work community who offers advice on academic goals, field work placements, and career goals.

19 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of Arkansas' top public colleges, UA enrolls more than 27,000 students annually from its campus in Fayetteville. The school's master's degree in social work prepares candidates for advanced practice, leadership and administration, and doctoral study. All applicants to this advanced-standing program need a bachelor's in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students must enroll full time, graduating in one year.

The 39-credit program covers topics like social work research and technology, advanced practice with children and youth, and advanced practice with adults. The program stresses experiential learning and professional practice, with practicum and fieldwork seminar courses forming most of the curriculum. All candidates complete a year-long internship, which requires 22 hours of fieldwork per week and may occur at a student's current place of employment.

20 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Florida's oldest Catholic college, Saint Leo serves around 2,400 students each year. The school offers a top-ranked master's degree in social work that emphasizes services for diverse populations, including children and adolescents, military personnel, first responders, and vulnerable populations at large.

The program runs primarily online, requiring only a few campus visits. Courses use a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous content, with live class sessions held in the evenings each week. All candidates must attend one clinical residency on campus. This weekend session offers opportunities for experiential learning, clinical practice, and meetings with peers and faculty.

21 University of New England Biddeford, ME Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private college based in Biddeford, Maine, UNE offers the country's first fully online, fully asynchronous master's degree in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program explores the development and evaluation of social practices and policies, along with the social, economic, cultural, and political factors that affect social services.

UNE offers both traditional and advanced-standing enrollment options. The 64-credit traditional track typically takes around 36 months to complete, while the 35-credit advanced-standing track takes 16 months to complete.

Candidates in both tracks take courses covering topics including integrated clinical/community practice frameworks, administration and supervision, and advanced psychological assessment. All candidates also complete a social work practicum at an approved site.

22 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of West Virginia's major public colleges, WVU offers an advanced-standing social work master's degree online. Open to applicants who already hold a bachelor's in social work, the program features a specialization in advanced integrative practice. The program emphasizes effective models for rural social services. Students must enroll part time, typically graduating in two years.

Applicants need a bachelor's in social work completed in the past eight years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Applicants also need a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, though the school recommends a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 GPA in all undergraduate social work courses. Candidates with a GPA below 2.75 may be considered for conditional admission.

23 Campbellsville University Campbellsvill, KYe Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

One of Kentucky's top Christian colleges, CU serves more than 12,000 students annually. The school offers one of the state's best online master's in social work programs. The program takes a trauma-informed approach to counseling and professional practice, training students for leadership in social work agencies.

CU offers both traditional and advanced-standing enrollment. Students can choose from nine-credit concentrations in addiction or clinical practice. Regardless of their concentration, all students take courses on topics such as program evaluation, psychopathology, and advanced practice with children and families.

24 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The flagship campus of the Indiana University system, IU enrolls more than 43,000 students annually through on-campus and online programs. The school hosts one of Indiana's top online master's in social work programs, training students for advanced social work practice in a variety of agencies. The program uses a fully online format with no required campus visits, enrolling students from around the country.

IU offers a traditional admission pathway that serves students of all academic backgrounds. Candidates complete 60 credits total, divided evenly between core courses and special practice courses. The program core introduces key topics such as clinical theory and practice, social policy analysis, and assessment in mental health and addictions. The specialization section features courses such as military social work, telebehavioral health social work, and addictions practice.

25 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private Catholic college based in San Antonio, Texas, OLLU offers an online master's degree in social work through the Worden School of Social Service. The master of social work program is one of just three in the country to focus on social services for the Hispanic population, the fastest-growing population in the United States. OLLU offers both foundation and advanced-standing admission tracks.

The 57-credit foundation track takes 24-38 months to complete, while the 30-credit advanced-standing track takes 12-20 months to complete. The foundation track begins with introductory courses such as social work research, human behavior and the social environment, and principles of generalist social work practice. Advanced-standing candidates begin with specialized courses such as social work practice with Hispanic families and social work with Hispanic youth.