Top 10 Online Msw Programs: Is a Master’s in Social Work Worth It?

Top 10 Online Msw Programs: Social workers are passionate about helping others.

Professional social workers deal with sensitive issues and underprivileged clients.

They require the necessary training and qualifications to accomplish their work well.

Social work positions are predicted to rise by approximately 19% through 2022, creating an adequate need for qualified workers.

An online master's in social work is a prerequisite for many students.

Many graduate schools offer their main curriculum online, while all need an externship or field experience.

This lets students finish classes online and focus on their externship.

Top 10 Online Msw Programs

Top online MSW programs in the U.S. Explore our rankings to find how to get your MSW online.

10. University of Central Florida

UCF's main campus is in unincorporated Orange County, northeast of Orlando and south of Oviedo.

Top 10 Online Msw Programs

  • Central Florida features nine UCF regional campuses. Part of Florida's State University System
  • UCF serves over 68,000 on-campus and online students in Orlando.
  • UCF offers two online MSW programs. Both provide mental health and child welfare concentrations.
  • The 62-credit MSW for students without a BSW has two seven-week terms per semester.
  • Students with a recent BSW can enroll in the 32-credit MSW program.
  • Cohorts of students take one asynchronous course together at a time.
  • Students also do community service.
  • These programs meet Florida's educational licensing requirements. Online MSW students pay the same fee.

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CSWE accredits online MSW programs. SACS Commission on Colleges accredits UCF.

9. Boston University

Private Boston University is in Massachusetts. Nonsectarian, but historically affiliated with United Methodist Church.

Top 10 Online Msw Programs

  • It was created by Methodists in 1839 and moved to Boston in 1867.
  • Boston University's social work program began in 1918.
  • In addition to on-campus programs, the institution offers two online MSW degrees.
  • Clinical majors prepare for social work practice and licensure.
  • Macro practice majors focus on community and organizational policy and transformation. Both majors stress economic and social justice.
  • The program has three tracks. The 65-credit conventional route can be completed in nine semesters by students without social work experience.
  • Human service experience is a 65-credit, nine-semester route for students with at least two years of supervised professional experience.
  • Advanced standing MSW requires 40-43 credits over six semesters for BSW holders.
  • The course is mostly asynchronous. Weekly synchronous class attendance is required.

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CSWE accredits online MSW programs. New England Commission of Higher Education accredits BU.

8. Florida State University

Florida State University is in Tallahassee.

  • It's part of Florida's State University System. It's the oldest continuous higher education location in Florida, founded in 1851.
  • FSU offers online, part-time MSW programs for working professionals.
  • Both the advanced standing and traditional MSW programs offer a clinically focused curriculum and field placements that lead to Florida licensure.
  • The traditional 61-credit program accepts students without BSW. Learners finish in three years.
  • In the second or third semester, a weekend residence is scheduled.
  • Students with a BSW can finish the 39-credit advanced standing option in two years.
  • Most distance learners take asynchronous, self-paced courses.

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FSU's online MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

7. University of Denver

Denver's Graduate School of Social Work provides an online MSW.

  • Two MSW choices are available. A mental health and trauma concentration prepares students for advanced clinical practice.
  • A health and wellness option emphasizes mind-body care.
  • Both concentrations develop critical cultural awareness.
  • Traditional MSW needs 90 credits for students without a BSW.

The degree takes 21-48 months to complete. BSW students can complete the 60-credit advanced standing track in 18-24 months.

6. The University of Texas in Arlington

In Arlington, Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university.

  • The university was founded in 1895 and was part of the Texas A&M University System until 1965 when it became part of the University of Texas System.
  • The Council of Social Work Education has accredited the University of Texas at Arlington's 180-degree programs, which include full-time and part-time online MSW alternatives.
  • Non-cohort and cohort paths are available at UTA, as well as expedited opportunities for advanced standing students with a BSW.
  • Web-based and face-to-face components are offered in 16-week courses in non-cohort plans.
  • Cohort plans offer a fully online curriculum in which a group of students takes synchronous courses at the same time.
  • Depending on their enrollment status and chosen plan, students can complete the program requirements in 16-26 months.
  • The accelerated option allows students to complete all coursework in 12 months.
  • Children and families, mental health and drug misuse, and aging are the three direct-practice concentrations available to online MSW students.
  • Admission to the MSW online degree program is currently limited to citizens of Texas.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has granted UTA regional accreditation.

5. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Since 1943, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the state's flagship public higher education institution, has offered social work instruction.

  • For more than four decades, the School of Social Work has offered MSW degree choices that allow students to work full-time for a social service agency or another community provider while earning their degree.
  • Students can choose between a fully online master's in social work or a hybrid program that includes both online and classroom courses.
  • Four semesters of online classes and a field practicum are required for the leadership and social change program.
  • The advanced clinical concentration is offered in a hybrid style that combines online policy and research courses with in-person weekend seminars presented once a month at either the Urbana-Champaign or Chicago campuses.
  • Since its foundation, the Council of Social Work Education has continually certified the School of Social Work.

The Higher Learning Commission has granted Illinois regional accreditation.

4. Rutgers University

New Jersey-based Rutgers University began offering social work programs in 1954.

  • Accredited by the Council of Social Work Education; the School of Social Work operates one of the largest online programs in the U.S., including two MSW online choices.
  • In the fully online curriculum, distance learners study two courses each fall, spring, and summer semester; often fulfilling all requirements in three years.
  • Students in this program may choose to attend specific courses that count toward the violence against women and children certificate.
  • The blended MSW option gives the first two years of study fully online; with the third year offering a blend of online and on-campus classes.
  • Both the online and blended programs provide an advanced standing option for students who have a BSW or comparable undergraduate degree.
  • An advanced standing program permits students to earn the degree in two years over four semesters.
  • All online courses use asynchronous delivery while giving options for instructor and student involvement via discussion threads and other web-based technologies.

Rutgers maintains regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

3. University of South Florida

USF offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 130 graduate and professional degrees, including an online master's in social work.

This advanced standing program requires a BSW with a 3.0 GPA. USF is GRE-free.

2. Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University, a pioneer in social work education since 1898, provides an online master's in social work.

Social and economic justice are emphasized for at-risk populations.

1. University of Southern California

USC is an elite research school with more than 45,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

USC provides a Council on Social Work Education-accredited online MSW.

Is a Master's in Social Work Worth It?

Learners who want to develop their social work careers and have a good impact on their communities might consider pursuing a master's degree in social work.

Students who get this degree will be prepared to work in fields such as education, healthcare, and social services, where they will be able to help others in meaningful ways.