Best Online
Social Work Master’s Programs

2017_MastersDegree.com-best-online-programs-social-workA Master in Social Work (MSW) is a dexterous degree. With it, graduates are qualified to work with children, adults, families and institutions; they can help build individual skills, connect others to vital services and outreach programs and create positive change. Some MSW students are already working in the social work industry, while others are just beginning to pursue a career in this field. Either way, many social work students are required to complete experiential work during normal business hours; for this reason, many degree programs for social work are held in the evenings, on the weekends and through distance learning.

Online education is perfect for those who do not want to compromise on the quality of their education, but who also have part or full-time commitments that make a traditional college experience inconvenient.

Healthcare fields—including social work, psychology and counseling—were among the most popular majors online students pursued in 2014. MSW students can choose to pursue their degree completely online or in a hybrid learning environment, but it is important to approach the journey to a Master’s in Social Work knowing that extensive volunteer service is a major component to earning this degree.

Using our standard methodology, the schools below have been ranked for convenience. The following schools appear in this list for their proven commitment to quality social work education, the strength of their online programs, outstanding faculty and their commitment to producing knowledgeable leaders in social justice and clinical health services.

Our Methodology

Our rankings methodology begins with two crucial factors:

The school's commitment to consistently rewarding degrees - We pit the number of students awarded a master's degree in the most recent academic year against total graduate student enrollment for the same year. The more degrees awarded, relative to the student population, the more the school prioritizes helping their students complete programs and obtain degrees.

The school's commitment to online graduate education - We look at the total number of master's programs offered by a school compared to the number of online master's programs offered. This tells us the school is committed to providing a quality, online program that compliments, or even goes beyond, their on-campus graduate offerings. It is also an indicator of the school's commitment to working students who need no small amount of flexibility in order to pursue an education and advance their career.

From there, we confirmed that the school offered the following services, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS):

  • Academic/Career Counseling Service
  • Employment Services for Students
  • Placement Services for Completers

These services are the essential indicator that a school understands how to bridge the gap between their online master's programs and the working world. Any school lacking in these basic services was not included in our final list.

All data referenced above is sourced from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, overseen by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Social Work Resources

  1. 1

    Campbellsville University

    Location

    Campbellsville, KY

    Tuition

    • $7,920 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • The 60-credit MSW at Campbellsville University's Carver School of Social Work and Counseling is a hybrid degree program designed with those who are already employed in a social work occupation in mind. Courses are offered in eight-week terms, and students attend class on-campus as few as one night a week and online.

      • To enroll in this program, students must complete and submit an application packet and meet all standard eligibility requirements.
      • If prospective students already possess a BSW, they may qualify for the Advanced Standing track, which only requires 30 credit hours to complete.
      • There is a $125 additional fee assessed for online courses.
      • Students who do not hold their BSW can complete this program in one year of continuous study.
      • Courseloads per term can be adjusted to meet scheduling needs.
      • Enrolling in one or two foundation courses per term, a student will take at least two years to complete the program's requirements.

    The Online Environment

    • The online portion of CU's blended MSW degree program is delivered through Moodle learning management system. Students have access to a system tutorial to acclimate them to how classes and discussions function on this LMS. They can also access a help desk if they have difficulties with any of the online features. Online students receive tutoring help through SmarThinking. Coursework includes surveys in policy and practice, human development, grant writing, psychopathology and cultural competency.

    • The Carver School program taught me practical skills that I could use and how to apply it. I was challenged not just to be able to read and to put it down on a piece of paper. I was challenged to read it and see, ‘Does this really comply with my belief system?' The education that I received at the Carver School has been priceless in regards to my clients and to myself as a therapist.

      Chandra Heath, graduate of the Carver School of Social Work and Counseling
  2. 2

    University of Alaska Anchorage

    Location

    Anchorage, AK

    Tuition

    • $7,820 annually-in-state
    • $15,980 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NCCU

    What to Expect

    • The University of Alaska at Anchorage accepts students into its distance learning MSW program every odd-numbered year (e.g. 2015, 2017). The school provides two ways for future social workers to earn their MSW online: a part-time program or an advanced placement program.

      • Students who have already earned a BSW may qualify for advanced placement.
      • If admitted into the advanced placement program, students will complete six credits of coursework during the summer semester then begin the second "concentration" year of their studies, including some mandatory on-campus sessions.
      • Students who study online are required to attend a 3-4 day intensive orientation on-campus in Anchorage at the beginning of each semester.
      • Non-advanced placement students follow a part-time program plan which allows them to finish their degree within four years.
      • The University of Alaska's School of Social Work offers many program-specific scholarship opportunities.
      • There are also scholarships available at the University of Alaska-Anchorage through the College of Health, the UAA and the UA.

    The Online Environment

    • Online students access their classes and course resources through Blackboard, as well as via teleconference and web-centered learning modules. On-site field education is key during the second year of this program; however, advisors and faculty will work with students to create a learning partnership that is located within a convenient proximity to the student's geographic location.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • The graduate program in social work at University of Alaska was ranked 104th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
  3. 3

    Fordham University

    Location

    Bronx, NY

    Tuition

    • $28,080 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • MSCHE

    What to Expect

    • Available to New York City residents and those in the surrounding New Jersey and Connecticut is an entirely online Master of Social Work program from Fordham University. This asynchronous program, with a focus on clinical social work, is offered on a part-time course of study, and takes 3.5 years to complete.

      • The program is 66 credit hours, 18 of which consist of practical experience in social work.
      • The program offers several different concentrations and an advanced placement option.
      • There is also a hybrid learning option available at Long Island's Molloy College campus.
      • Students currently employed as social workers may be qualified to complete the mandatory field instruction requirements of this program at their own place of employment.
      • Advanced track distance learners can expect to complete their online MSW within 1.5 years.
      • Courses are eight weeks in length, and students typically take two consecutive courses per semester.

    The Online Environment

    • Students can expect to participate in classroom discussions and assignments via Blackboard, a learning management system. Regular class participation is expected online, as is a fieldwork component, to be arranged by the Field Instruction Department.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • The graduate social work program at Fordham was ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
  4. 4

    The University of Alabama

    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    • $9,450 annually-in-state
    • $23,950 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • Offered in a hybrid learning format, MSW students at the University of Alabama are asked to complete extensive field work, as well as some lab-based, face-to-face learning, along with their online courses.

      • Students with bachelor's degrees in a non-social work field amy enroll in the 60-Credit Hour Program, for which they are expected to complete 1,000 clock hours of fieldwork; students can complete their degree in roughly four semesters.
      • For students who already have a BSW, the Advanced-Standing Program may be a good fit.
      • The advanced program consists of 42 credit hours, demands 500 clock hours of fieldwork and can be completed in as little as three semesters when done full-time.
      • Students of both tracks must complete practicum requirements by mid-August before the end of the second summer semester.
      • At least half of these field hours need be completed during normal business hours - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
      • MSW students online are encouraged to explore scholarship opportunities from the College of Continuing Studies, which is sensitive to the challenges of financing post-secondary education as a working or mature student.
      • Distance students can choose from one of two concentrations for their MSW program: Children, Adolescents and their Families, ideal for those interested in working with juveniles and family units, and Adults and their Families, which is concentrated around work with adults and their families, including geriatric and adult mental/behavioral health.

    The Online Environment

    • The "Bama by Distance" program offers students a primarily online learning format. Students are required to meet on-campus for skills labs at one of several regional campuses during select Saturdays.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • UAB was ranked in the Top 100 Universities in the country, and their graduate program in social work was rated 52nd in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
  5. 5

    Texas State University

    Location

    San Marcos, TX

    Tuition

    • $4,997 annually-in-state
    • $11,369 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • Students interested in Texas State University's MSW online program can select a Regular or Advanced Standing Program study track, both of which are pursued online and on a part-time schedule. The Regular Track program consists of 62 credit hours and can be completed in four years, while the Advanced Standing program has 36 credit hours and takes two years to finish.

      • Prospective students hold bachelor's degrees and meet the requirements set forth by the school.
      • Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores.
      • The School of Social Work offers a correspondence course entitled "Human Biology for Social Workers" via its Office of Continuing Education; this class may stand as a substitute for the school's human biology requirement.
      • Students spend their first year studying foundation courses, which focus on 29 credit hours of theoretical, textbook-style learning.
      • During subsequent years, field work and concentration courses become the bedrock of this MSW education.
      • Information about scholarship opportunities for graduate students interested in the MSW Program is available online.
      • There are restrictions on how many out-of-state students TSU can admit to their distance programs. Contact the school for more details.

    The Online Environment

    • Online students can expect to supplement self-paced coursework with hands-on learning in the field. In some cases and where appropriate, the School of Social Work may be willing to accept field experience arranged at a student's place of employment. TSU utilizes the TRACS learning management system to help professors create class websites, deliver course materials and communicate with students.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • The graduate program in social work at Texas State was ranked #148 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  6. 6

    Our Lady of the Lake University

    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    • $13,680 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • Our Lady's Worden School of Social Service has been educating social work leaders since 1942, when it became the first school of its kind in Texas. OLLU has a robust Hispanic community, representing 63% of its student body. For this reason, and because Hispanic citizens are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, the MSW at OLLU places a bold focus on understanding issues unique to the Hispanic community. There is also a strong emphasis on service to older adults, as this is currently the largest locality of service recipients today.

      • For those students who hold a BSW, there is a 31-hour concentration program available, which focuses more on practicum and working experience than on the basic social work knowledge and theory; this track can be completed within two years.
      • The 54-hour MSW foundation program is designed for students with bachelor's degrees in a non-social work-related field, and it may be completed online in as little as three years.
      • Fieldwork education will take place during a student's second year, applying experiential learning at renowned programs such as Haven for Hope.
      • Students at OLLU are nationally recognized for their work at Haven, where they serve as volunteers and interns at this campus for the homeless.

    The Online Environment

    • Students have access to an engaging web-based classroom 24/7 through the online learning system and virtual classrooms at OLLU. Exams, homework and classroom discussions are all available via myOLLU. Students should anticipate spending 15-20 hours a week on this part-time course of study, where classes are offered one at a time.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • Our Lady of the Lake's graduate program in Social Work was ranked #104 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  7. 7

    Portland State University

    Location

    Portland, OR

    Tuition

    • $12,276 annually-in-state
    • $19,188 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NCCU

    What to Expect

    • With Portland State's 78-credit program, students can complete their MSW online in three years. The online program accepts roughly 40 students each fall, and the degree is focused on Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations. This concentration was designed for those already working as social workers who hope to gain leadership skills in their field.

      • The online program can be completed in three years, with students taking six to nine credits per term and following the Online Course Map to stay on track.
      • Transfer students may apply up to 36 credits from another accredited MSW program towards their degree.
      • Prospective students must apply and be accepted to Portland State's graduate school at the same time of application to the School of Social Work.
      • Scholarships are also available to students interested in public or tribal child welfare.

    The Online Environment

    • Portland State uses the Desire2Learn learning management system to deliver courses to distance learners. Online studies are supplemented with virtual conferences with faculty using collaborative technology like D2L. Distance learners are required to attend three days on the Portland campus at the start of the year (September) in order to facilitate community and ensure course readiness among MSW students.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • PSU is ranked among the best MSW programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
  8. 8

    Boston University

    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    • $43,970 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NEASC/CIHE

    What to Expect

    • Boston University sets itself apart from other MSW programs with its strong emphasis on courses that illuminate diversity, ethics, populations-at-risk and social and economic justice. Earning this MSW degree with a clinical focus, students will study fundamental programs.

      • This part-time program takes three years to complete online, including summer semesters.
      • Classes are taken two or three at a time per semester. If students do not wish to enroll in summer classes, the program takes approximately four years to complete.
      • Students with two years of supervised experience in social work may apply to the Human Service Experience Track, which is a one 1,000 hour field-based internship program.
      • There is also a Traditional Program Track, which consists of two separate internships and a total of 1,200 hours of service-learning.
      • Students can enroll in Boston University's online MSW program with three different start dates: September, January and May.
      • At present, the online program is available to all U.S. students except those in Maryland, New Hampshire and within the Massachusetts Route 128 corridor.

    The Online Environment

    • Students study using Blackboard Learn for their work on BU's online MSW degree. The first year of this program is largely instruction-based. Field experience is just as vital to Boston's national, part-time degree track as it is on-campus. Students online are required to attend synchronous live classroom sessions on some Sunday or Monday evenings from a remote location.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • The social work grad program at BU was ranked 16th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  9. 9

    University of New Hampshire

    Location

    Durham, NH

    Tuition

    • $13,500 annually-in-state
    • $26,200 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NEASC/CIHE

    What to Expect

    • The online MSW degree at UNH is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and courses are designed and often taught by the professors and faculty in charge of the on-campus program.

      • The two mandatory field work/internships will be completed by first spending two days a week (16 hours) on site for four e-terms to learn generalist skills, then three days (24 hours) a week on site for four e-terms to gain advanced generalist skills.
      • The Department of Social Work's field office will assist students in finding a suitable internship.
      • Scholarships may be available to students who choose to attend this program, including scholarships which involve a pledge of up two years of service following graduation.
      • Online students seeking to become Licensed Clinical Social Workers in the state of New Hampshire are required to spend one academic year on campus for "a minimum of 12 graduate credits of face to face, on-site interaction over two or more semesters."
      • At this time, the dual degree programs and Advanced Standing options are not available to MSW students online.
      • Students can, however, earn a Graduate Certificate in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities while completing their online MSW degree.

    The Online Environment

    • No campus visits are required to complete UHN's traditional 60-credit program. The curriculum relies on learning management tools such as Blackboard, and uses software like Blackboard Collaborate and Skype to facilitate face-to-face interaction between students and faculty. Courses are available in five annual eight-week terms, and students typically take two to three courses at a time. The online program requires roughly 28-29 months to complete.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • University of New Hampshire was ranked among the Top 100 universities in the country and the grad program in social work was ranked 130th among all higher learning institutions by U.S. News & World Report.
  10. 10

    Western New Mexico University

    Location

    Silver City, NM

    Tuition

    • $2,719 annually-in-state
    • $8,730 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NCACS/THLC

    What to Expect

    • Western New Mexico University's online MSW program places focus on a liberal arts foundation and is designed to develop social workers for leadership roles as they provide service to individuals, families, organizations and communities in a rural setting. Students' skills are built in intimate class sizes, influenced by knowledgeable faculty and expanded through vital pre-professional and community service experiences. Most of the social work coursework is available to students online and in a hybrid learning environment.

      • The college offers two and three year 66-credit programs in social work, as well as a 45-credit one year Advanced Standing program available to those who have previously been awarded a BSW.
      • This program does not offer credit for life experience.
      • The school does not require a comprehensive exam of students enrolled in the Master of Social Work program.
      • There are Spring, Summer and Fall semester start dates available.
      • WNMU offers a number of private scholarship opportunities to students to help offset tuition costs.
      • Required field work practicums will take place in the student's geographic region and may be chosen with the help of an MSW advisor.

    The Online Environment

    • Much of the coursework for the MSW is offered online. Classes that are unavailable online will be accessible via desktop web conferencing similar to Skype on evenings and weekends as part of an effort to accommodate working students. To access course materials, students use WNMU's learning management system, Canvas.

  11. 11

    Florida State University

    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    • $9,684 annually-in-state
    • $24,116 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • The online MSW degree program is available part-time to students in specific regions of the United States. This flexible master's degree has a clinical concentration which prepares students for advanced, results-based clinical social work.

      • Program participants are expected to complete courses online, in addition to mandatory field work.
      • All field work must be approved by the FSU College of Social Work.
      • The 39-credit Advanced Standing MSW online is available exclusively to students who have obtained a prior BSW, as well as to transfer students from other MSW programs who have already completed their first year of studies.
      • Traditional Standing MSW students are asked to complete 61 credits.
      • MSW distance learning is available in limited coverage areas, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

    The Online Environment

    • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), the online program at FSU has start dates in the Spring and Fall semesters. Course work in the MSW program is asynchronous, and students access all classes via the Blackboard learning management system. Field placement assistance is available, and an online database of practicum locations are easily accessible online.

      Students can expect to commit to four weekends of intensive skills building sessions during their program of study. These intensive weekends are offered in locations outside of the Tallahassee campus for student convenience and are within driving distance of the school's coverage areas.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • Florida State is distinguished as a Top 50 public university by U.S. News & World Report, as well as having a social work program ranked among the Top 50 in the United States.
  12. 12

    University of Southern California

    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    • $36,864 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • WASC/SCUC

    What to Expect

    • Graduates pursuing their MSW online at USC may choose from five degree concentrations: Families and Children; Health; Mental Health; Social Work and Business in a Global Society; and Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA). Several sub-concentrations, such as Military Social Work, are also available and are unique to this college.

      • During their foundational year, students are assigned 450 hours of service work by a Placement Committee.
      • During a student's concentration year, 550 hours of service based on a student's interests and geographic location are completed as a condition of graduation.
      • The school offers multiple, convenient start dates to its social work students.
      • This college is known for its intimate class sizes; even online, the student-teacher ratio at USC is just 9:1.
      • Traditional standing students are required to complete 60 credit hours.
      • Advanced standing students, who already possess a BSW in social work, must complete 35 credit hours.
      • All students must complete the field practicum in their locale around the United States.

    The Online Environment

    • Through the school's learning management system, Blackboard Learn, online students will have access to video conferences, study groups, chat sessions and other valuable online classroom networking opportunities. Field education is the most common thread of any social work program, and USC's MSW students are required to spend 1,000 hours practicing field education, both offline and online. USC allows MSW students to take more than 50 courses from other online, graduate-level universities, thanks to an affiliation with a technology partner, 2U, Inc.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • USC's online MSW program is ranked highly by the U.S. News & World Report.
  13. 13

    University of Louisville

    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    • $10,788 annually-in-state
    • $22,446 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • The MSSW degree offered at the University of Louisville will give students an education focused on children and families, physical as well as mental health and community and international practice. Teaching methods in this curriculum draw on Cognitive Flexibility Theory, the "Critical Thinking" model and the Bruner's Spiral format.

      • The Standard 60-credit hour program can be completed in two to three years and is ideal for prospective students who have bachelor's degrees in other fields.
      • Students who have earned a BSW are eligible to apply for the 30-credit Advanced Standing program, which takes roughly one year to complete and has start dates in the Summer and Fall semesters.
      • Students can, but are not required to, choose a degree concentration.
      • There are a diverse range of electives that represent a number of interests and specialties, and students can enjoy these courses regardless of their major.
      • Students will spend 16 hours weekly at their fieldwork placement site, and can expect to invest a total of 225 hours each for the Fall and Spring semesters' field work, totalling 450 hours of practicum work each year.
      • The college encourages students to make arrangements with their employer to adapt work schedules.
      • Current employers are not eligible to provide students with practicum experience.
      • Students must complete field work, in keeping with traditional practicum work, at a public or private non-profit agency.
      • Students are encouraged to apply for available scholarships designed for MSSW graduates interested in working in the areas of gerontology, policy making or legislature.

    The Online Environment

    • The online programs are available through the Blackboard learning management system. Students execute coursework, including cooperative learning and conversations about the materials, on this standard web-based medium.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • Ranked among the top 28 public university social work programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  14. 14

    University of North Dakota

    Location

    Grand Forks, ND

    Tuition

    • $6,626 annually-in-state
    • $17,690 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NCACS/THLC

    What to Expect

    • Prospective students of UND's online MSW program may pursue one of two tracks: the traditional program or the advanced program. Traditional students start each January and are likely to complete this distance program within three years. Students in the advanced program already possess a BSW and may complete their degree in as few as two years. The advanced program starts every May.

      • Students are required to visit the Grand Forks campus for five to six days during their enrollment in the MSW program to take part in an intensive lab session.
      • All students at UND's MSW program are able to take advantage of in-state tuition.
      • Semester-based courses online are eligible for most federal, state and institutional financial aid award programs.
      • However, online courses are not eligible for Cultural Diversity, International, Graduate or International tuition waiver programs offered at University of North Dakota.

    The Online Environment

    • Classes are taken synchronously, meaning students are required to log in to their courses at set times. Most online courses are held two to three times per week at convenient times in the evenings and on weekends. Web-based learning systems make it possible to provide student support services such as: online tutoring, library, tech support and advising services.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • Named 2007's Most Outstanding Credit Program by the Great Plains chapter of the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE).
  15. 15

    University of New England

    Location

    Biddeford, ME

    Tuition

    • $19,440 annually

    School Type

    Private (Non Profit)

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NEASC/CIHE

    What to Expect

    • UNE School of Social Work accepts students from all over the country, as well as internationally. The MSW program offers start dates in the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. MSW candidates choose between two concentrations: clinical practice with a focus on the individual, families and groups; and community practice which places focus on policy, organizations and advocacy.

      • Graduates of a CSWE accredited BSW program may take the 32-credit Advanced Standing track, which requires students to commit to 560 hours of field practicum.
      • Traditional MSW students online must take 64 credit hours at UNE, as well as complete two field placements of 560 hours each.
      • All courses are eight weeks in length and are taken two per semester.
      • GRE scores are not required for enrollment.
      • The College of Health Professions offers a Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice at no additional cost to students.
      • This program is designed to "integrate a passion for expressive arts with a passion for transformation, change and healing."
      • At UNE, $300 of each semester's tuition is included in the cost of attendance for textbooks.
      • In addition to scholarships available at the University of New England, the Community Access to Child Health in Maine (CATCH-ME) program offers a $10,000 stipend to students in their advanced year who commit to work at a site that serves those at risk for mental illness, substance abuse or engaging in harmful behaviors.

    The Online Environment

    • The online MSW program is offered via Blackboard, as part of UNE's Online Learning Worldwide (OWL). This asynchronous, nationally ranked degree program offers courses 100% online, and there are no visits to the Maine-area campus required, ever.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • According to information gathered by Payscale.com, UNE ranks in the top 15% of U.S. colleges and universities in terms of 20-year student return on investment (ROI).
  16. 16

    Virginia Commonwealth University

    Location

    Richmond, VA

    Tuition

    • $9,994 annually-in-state
    • $20,461 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • The distance program for VCU's MSW is a 60-credit hour hybrid program that provides students a generalist degree with a concentration in clinical social work. The Distance Education Program is part-time and offers degree completion in four years, including summer semesters. The program's modules place emphasis on critical thinking, evidence-based decision-making, self-reflection, self-awareness and ethical integrity.

      • Both the foundation and concentration sections of the program, each two years in length, require field work of VCU students.
      • Immersive internships are offered only in the Virginia/Washington, D.C. area.
      • Courses are prescribed in a particular order, which is available to review online.
      • Students interested in enrolling in the MSW are encouraged to consider applying for one of the scholarships offered through the School of Social Work's financial aid website.

      A progressive university that has been recognized consistently as up-and-coming, improving and committed to student success and excellence, VCU invites prospective students to connect with current program participants. Through the peer mentorship program at the School of Social Work, the university hopes to give students a clear idea of what to expect from this nationally recognized hybrid program.

    The Online Environment

    • The coursework is presented in a marriage of online and classroom-based instruction.
      Attendance of two mandatory, in-person classes at VCU is expected each semester. These classes take place on Saturdays. Orientation, which occurs in August, is also mandatory for first-year students. Online students use Blackboard learning management system to access their courses and materials.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • U.S. News & World Report ranks VCU's graduate programs 11th among the nation's top social work programs.
  17. 17

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    • $6,804 annually-in-state
    • $15,444 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • SACS/CC

    What to Expect

    • The School of Public Health and the School of Social Work have partnered at the University of Alabama Birmingham to offer a two-year, full-time, 43-credit degree. The MPH/MSW public health program aims to prepare social workers for the promotion and improvement of health in women, children and families.

      • Entrance to this program requires admission to both the UA School of Social Work for the MSW and the UAB School of Public Health's Department of Health Care Organization & Policy for the MPH.
      • Acceptance into one college does not guarantee acceptance into the other.
      • The MPH and the MSW each have unique curriculums.
      • A planning sheet is available online to help prospective students better understand the demands and expectations of the program.
      • To offset the cost of tuition, the School of Public Health offers scholarships to full-time master's degree students.

    The Online Environment

    • UAB recently made the switch from the Blackboard learning management system to Canvas, and the change has reportedly been met with enthusiasm from students. Students must receive approval to complete applicable courses of study online, although participants of the dual degree program are eligible. Field work or internships cannot be completed online.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • U.S. News & World Report ranks ten UA Birmingham programs among the top 25 graduate programs in their field.
  18. 18

    University of Iowa

    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    Tuition

    • $8,106 annually-in-state
    • $24,690 annually-out-of-state

    School Type

    Public

    Contact Information

    Career Services

    • Employment Services
      for Students
    • Placement Services
      for Graduates
    • Academic/Career Counseling
      Services for Students

    Institutional Accreditation

    • NCACS/THLC

    What to Expect

    • Through a partnership with local colleges, U of I is able to offer some flexibility to graduate students in social work. There are two concentrations available through Iowa's MSW degree program. One concentration, family-centered practice, places emphasis on acquiring the knowledge and acumen needed for advanced social work practice with families and individuals. The other, integrated practice, imparts methods of advanced practice that are designed to foster organizational and community change.

      • The Quad and Sioux Cities program are offered part-time.
      • Including summer sessions, students can obtain their degree in MSW at these locations in three years.
      • Prior to admission, students may complete as many as 12 hours of elective credits.
      • The programs in Des Moines and Iowa City are open to full and part-time students, as well as traditional (60 semester hours) and advanced track candidates (48 semester hours, for those who already possess an accredited BSW degree).
      • These programs can be completed in two-, three- and four-year increments.
      • Scholarships are available for graduate students pursuing the MSW degree at the University of Iowa.
      • Students are also encouraged to explore resources available at the Office of Student Financial Aid.
      • At this time, the MSW program is unavailable outside of Quad Cities, Iowa City, Des Moines and Sioux City in Iowa and Illinois.

    The Online Environment

    • The distance learning element of the University of Iowa's MSW program is a web-based, interactive communication system called CONNECT. Through this learning management system, web-based communications and video conferences are made accessible to distance learners. Across the state, students will have access to faculty and guest speakers through this dedicated communications system in conjunction with the MSW degree program.

    Program & Institution Accolades

    • The University of Iowa is ranked among the Top 30 public universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The graduate program in social work is ranked among the Top 50 in the nation.