Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work

Find top-ranked online bachelor’s in social work degree programs for students wanting to become an advocate for those who need it most.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work Degrees

Why get a bachelor’s in social work?

A bachelor’s degree in social work can help you become an advocate for those who need it most.

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How long does it take to get a bachelor’s in social work?

Individuals who pursue this degree can often complete the 120 required credits in about four years.

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What will you learn while getting a bachelor’s in social work?

Offered both online and in person, courses challenge students to think critically, work well with others, and practice effective communication skills. Students will study topics like behavioral psychology, social welfare policies, ethics, and addictions. Additionally, many programs include a professional experience component, which helps students gain firsthand knowledge of the field.

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What can you do with a bachelor’s in social work?

After completing a bachelor’s degree in social work, students may qualify for careers as case workers, probation officers, and human services assistants.

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Learn more about how to major in social work.

Best Online Bachelor's in Social Work

How do we determine the best online social work bachelor's degree programs?

Methodology

Pursing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for a inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

30 Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Wayne State University

    #156 institution's historical influence
    #842 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    Detroit, MI

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Portland State University

    #539 institution's historical influence
    #448 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/21

    Portland, OR

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Simmons University

    #1147 institution's historical influence
    #754 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Boston, MA

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    Aurora University

    #2697 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1047/20

    Aurora, IL

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    University of Iowa

    #76 institution's historical influence
    #369 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

    Iowa City, IA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 121-132
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    University of Kentucky

    #199 institution's historical influence
    #541 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Lexington, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    University of Cincinnati

    #151 institution's historical influence
    #1179 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Cincinnati, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 57
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    Saint Louis University

    #352 institution's historical influence
    #714 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Saint Louis, MO

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
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  9. #9

    Our Lady of the Lake University

    #3152 institution's historical influence
    #990 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/18

    San Antonio, TX

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    Liberty University

    #988 institution's historical influence
    #116 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    75K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    Lynchburg, VA

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 3.5 years
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    Keuka College

    #2817 institution's historical influence
    #478 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    2K

    Keuka Park, NY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 56
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    Tennessee State University

    #1048 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    7K

    Nashville, TN

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #13

    Campbellsville University

    #3922 institution's historical influence
    #459 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    8K

    Campbellsville, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Northern Arizona University

    #1014 institution's historical influence
    #303 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    27K

    Flagstaff, AZ

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #15

    Troy University

    #1604 institution's historical influence
    #720 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/21

    Troy, AL

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. #16

    University of Montana

    #563 institution's historical influence
    #417 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Missoula, MT

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work 2 + 2 Program
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  17. #17

    Angelo State University

    #1680 institution's historical influence
    #1397 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    San Angelo, TX

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  18. #18

    Kentucky Christian University

    #7541 institution's historical influence
    #138 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    916/19

    Grayson, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  19. #19

    Grand View University

    #4563 institution's historical influence
    #586 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/19

    Des Moines, IA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 58
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  20. #20

    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

    #616 institution's historical influence
    #682 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/23

    Honolulu, HI

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  21. #21

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    #7251 institution's historical influence
    #1394 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    Mount Vernon, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  22. #22

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    #4571 institution's historical influence
    #92 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/19

    Waxahachie, TX

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services

    Concentrations

    • Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  23. #23

    West Texas A&M University

    #2390 institution's historical influence
    #1327 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/20

    Canyon, TX

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    Online Degrees

    BAAS in Applied Arts and Sciences

    Concentrations

    • Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  24. #24

    Moravian University

    #6312 institution's historical influence
    #728 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Bethlehem, PA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  25. #25

    University of Missouri–St. Louis

    #1979 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    Saint Louis, MO

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    Online Degrees

    BLS in Liberal Studies

    Concentrations

    • Communication
    • Gender Studies
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  26. #26

    King University

    #2744 institution's historical influence
    #1412 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/22

    Bristol, TN

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Social Work
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion time: 16 months
    • Format: Online
  27. #27

    Saint Joseph's College of Maine

    #5557 institution's historical influence
    #721 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Standish, ME

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    Online Degrees

    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  28. #28

    Ursuline College

    #5559 institution's historical influence
    #692 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1029/20

    Pepper Pike, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  29. #29

    Eastern Kentucky University

    #1559 institution's historical influence
    #888 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Richmond, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  30. #30

    Union Institute & University

    #2168 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Cincinnati, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students