20 Best Online Social Work Colleges
Social Work Salary and Job Growth Information Best Online Social Work Colleges Ranking Criteria Degree Requirements
20 Best Online Social Work Colleges: Ranking
1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)The Master of Social Work at USC can be fully completed by participating online through their Virtual Academic Center while working with real-life clientele through one of USC’s selected agencies or organizations in your community – there is no need to relocate to campus. US News and World Report named the MSW at USC one of the top twenty Schools of Social Work in 2016. A student may choose to focus in one of several specializations, including but not limited to:
* Mental Health * Community Organization * Planning and Administration * Families and Children * Military Social WorkThe MSW at USC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC).
2. Boston University (Boston, MA)BU is a private research university, and the school of social work from Boston University has been in existence for nearly a century. BU offers two online MSW majors: Clinical Social Work (CSW) and Macro Social Work. Clinical Social Work focuses on developing social workers to operate in hospitals, child welfare, children’s services and more. Macro Social Work develops skills necessary to champion change initiatives and tackle the root causes of social problems. BU has several track options to the MSW degree depending on the level of experience and education of the applicant. Each involves online classroom credit hours and a rigorous field education within or near your geographic area. The BU MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
3. Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)Ranked in the top 12% of “Best Grad Schools” by US News and World Report, Rutgers offers one of the nation’s largest schools of social work. They do not require the GRE for admission, and offer an Advanced Standing track, which allows qualified students to complete their degree in four semesters. Some course offerings include Psycopathology, Social Welfare Policy and Services and Field Education Practicums. Rutgers now offers an online Violence Against Women and Children certificate, which is also offered as an area of specialization. The Rutgers MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
4. Fordham University (Bronx, NY)Fordham University’s online MSW program is offered to students in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, because while the classes are online, the field experience and requirements are throughout that specific region. Fordham also offers a hybrid program through a collaboration with Molloy College that combines the traditional classroom experience at the Molloy campus with online courses. The current online program was designed by the faculty of the then-ranked #11 in the nation traditional MSW program. Fordham offers either a full- or part-time option for completing their degree, which includes concentrations in Clinical or Leadership and Macro Practice. There is also an “advanced standing” option for students who have related experience or degrees from other accredited programs. Each course is eight weeks, and students may enroll in up to four courses in the fall and spring, and as many as two courses over the summer. According to those timelines, a student may complete the MSW in two to four years.
5. University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)The University of New Hampshire offers a 28-29 month long MSW program, with a requirement of 62 credit hours to completion. Each credit hour comes at a cost of $770 to $845 per hour. The degree can be completed through online courses and two required nine-month field internships, which can be within your geographical area. Most of the courses offered can be completed at your own pace, but some of the courses are offered as a live class, which would require virtual attendance at a certain time each week. The UNH degree offers four fields of practice:
- Health and Mental Health
- Addictions and Substance Abuse
- Children, Youth and Families
UNH is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the UNH MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
6. Baylor University (Waco, TX)Baylor started a new online MSW program in 2014 which could be a good fit for students on an Advanced track (having already completed a BSW), or students who have already completed their first year of MSW study at another CSWE accredited school. The online degree offers two concentrations: Clinical or Community Practice concentrations. Courses are completed online at designated times. Baylor does not require applicants to have taken the GRE. Baylor integrates faith into their curriculum, and their courses incorporate a Christian worldview, though a student’s faith (or non-faith) is not a requirement. The BU MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
7. University of New England (Biddeford, ME)The University of New England (UNE), which has been recognized by the US News & World Report as one of the “Best Universities in the North”, offers both a full- and part-time option for earning their 100% online MSW. The program is offered in two tracks – “Traditional”, which requires no prior experience or education, and “Advanced Standing”, which is intended for students who have already completed a BSW. Within the tracks are three concentrations: Clinical, Community and Integrated Practice. Their courses are asynchronous, meaning there is not a set time students are required to log in for particular classes. The UNE MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
8. Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)IU calls their online MSW program the “MSW Direct”, and offers a both full- and part-time options for “Advanced” (having completed a BSW within the past five years) and “Regular Standing” students. Advanced standing students must complete 39 credits, and regular standing will complete 60. Students are allowed five years once they have entered the program to complete it. IU requires one initial orientation visit to campus. Other than that, the program is completed entirely online and through practica. All required courses are offered in each sixteen-week semester and thirteen-week summer semester, which allows for a student to “step out” of the program, then step back in if need be. The IU MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and has maintained that accreditation continually since 1923.
9. Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)FSU was the first school to offer an online MSW, and is ranked the #1 MSW program in the state of Florida. They are also recognized by US News & World Report in the top 50 grad schools. There are two degree options: Advanced, which is tailored to students who have completed a BSW from a CSWE accredited school, and Traditional, for students with a bachelors degree in another concentration. Their degree is clinically focused, and allows for asynchronous course work. The Advanced degree requires 39 credit hours and is typically completed in an average of two years, and the Traditional, 61 credit hours and a three year completion time. These courses are completed two per 16-week semester, or 12-13 week summer semester. The Advanced degree requires one field placement, while the Traditional route requires two field placements, and two total weeks on campus during a student’s second and third semesters. Tuition is broken down between the two types of programs and for in-state and out-of-state residents. Advanced:
- 39 credit hours
- In-State: $560/credit hour, approximately $21,800 annually
- Out-of-State: $625/credit hour, approximately $24,400 annually
- 61 credit hours
- In-State: $559/credit hour, approximately $34,100 annually
- Out-of-State: $625/credit hour, approximately $38,100 annually
10. Purdue University Global (West Lafayette, IN)Purdue University Global, a member of the Purdue University System, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Human Services in Youth/Family Services and Administration. The 180-credit program blends theory and practice. Course topics include criminal justice, domestic violence, family welfare, and administrative skills. Students also can complete an optional internship. The program meets Council of Standards in Human Service Education standards. Graduates meet requirements to sit for the Center for Credentialing & Education’s Human Services – Board Certified Practitioner exam. The Higher Learning Commission provides Purdue University Global with accreditation.
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia is the largest private, non-profit university in the nation, and the largest university in Virginia, with a total enrollment of over 110,000 students. Online enrollment makes up over 94,000 of those students. The university offers a faith-based, online BSW which requires one “intensive” time period on campus. The degree has a total of 120 required credit hours, some of which include core courses like Intercultural Communication and Engagement, Chemical Dependency, and Ethics in Professional Helping. The degree also requires nine hours in the category of “Christian Life and Thought”.
12. Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA)Humboldt State offers online options for both bachelor and masters degrees. HSU calls online course work “DL”, or Distributed Learning. Distributed Learning students follow the structure of the traditional courses offered on campus, and additionally participate in an online weekly class at a specific time once per week during the semester. All students accepted into the DL program are required to attend a one-week orientation that is on the HSU campus in Arcata, California. Students are also required to attend annual Campus Intensives every January. HSU offers an Advanced and a Traditional option for earning their BSW degree online. In addition, each of those offers both a full- or a part-time option. The Advanced program requires two field placements of 240 hours each, for a total of 480 hours. Traditional Students participate in four 240-hour field placements for a total of 960 hours. For each degree path, students are assisted by HSU professionals in finding a placement in their own community. Advanced Degree:
- Full-time degrees can be earned in one year (three semesters), with an estimated cost of $11,500
- Part-time students can earn their degree in two years (six semesters) at an estimated cost of $22,200
- Full-time can be completed in two years (four semesters) at an estimated cost of $16,800
- Part-time, the degree can be earned in 3.5 years, or ten semesters at an estimated cost of $38,250
The BASW degree at Humboldt State University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
13. Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion, IN)Indiana Wesleyan offers their traditional BSW program in an online format in order to best meet the needs of their students. Their program has a Christian focus, and is comprised of a combination of “classroom” experience, volunteer activities, and field work. The degree requires a total of 400 field hours for graduation, 120 semester hours and 30 hours of general education. The online option has multiple start dates to best accommodate the student. Some of the social work classes include Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Social Research, and Social Welfare Organization.
Indiana Wesleyan’s BSW has been accredited by CSWE for over 25 years.
14. Wayne State (Detroit, MI)Wayne State University requires a minimum of 120 credit hours to be completed for their degree. Two-thirds of those hours are professional courses, and one-third are co-requisites and electives. The program is centered around four main focuses:
- Values and ethics
- Social justice
- Oppression and discrimination
- Human behavior and social environment
- Social work practice
- Social welfare policy and services
- Research methods
- Field education