Best Online Master’s in Social Work MSW

Best Online Master’s in Social Work MSW

Find top-ranked online master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree programs for students wanting to qualify for careers as social workers and healthcare administrators.

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work-MSW Degrees

Pursuing a master’s in social work requires a combination of compassion, professionalism, and hard work.

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

This degree, commonly referred to as an MSW, typically consists of about 60 credits, though some programs require as few as 30 credits. Students can pursue this advanced degree either online or in person. Most students will require between two and four years to complete their MSW program.

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What topics do courses cover?

Courses cover topics such as professional ethics, systemic racism, and family therapy. Students may also choose a specialization, like clinical social work, family counseling, child development, or addiction. Additionally, many programs require a thesis and/or a practicum.

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

The MSW may qualify students for careers as social workers and healthcare administrators.

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Learn more about what you can do with a master’s degree in social work.

Best Online Master's in Social Work-MSW

30 Best Online Master’s in Social Work - MSW Degree Programs

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #7

    University of Houston

    Houston , TX
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    37K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/24

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #10

    Simmons University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 37-65
    • Completion time: 16 months
    • Format: Online
  5. #12

    Aurora University

    Aurora , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1047/20

    Online Degrees

    MSW/MPA in Social Work and Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 96
    • Completion time: 4-5 Years
    • Format: Online
    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 Years or less
    • Format: Online
    MSW/MBA in Social Work and Business Management
    • Required Credits: 96
    • Completion time: 4-5 Years
    • Format: Online
  6. #14

    University at Buffalo

    Buffalo , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/26

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #15

    Adelphi University

    Garden City , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MSW in Social Work Advanced Standing
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  8. #19

    University of Louisville

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Online Degrees

    MS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Social Work - Advanced Standing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #21

    Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/23

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work

    Concentrations

    • Children and Families
    • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/18

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 57
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
  12. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/19

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  13. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1227/25

    Online Degrees

    MPH in Social Work

    Concentrations

    • Population Health
    • Required Credits: 90
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #27

    Concord University

    Athens , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSW in Social Work Advanced Standing
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  15. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Online Degrees

    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 36-50
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • 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 some adjustment. While you’ll generally learn the same content and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, the medium will likely require you to manage much of this experience independently. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, your ability to harness the technology at your fingertips, and your ability to focus on the lectures, lessons, and assignments at hand. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take it upon yourself to build 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 is actually getting there. Taking the commute out of the equation means getting to class should be a lot more manageable. But that’s where it ends. In general, your online courses will incorporate the very same materials, concepts, and testing methods as would a traditional classroom.

And 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 or working with remote learning technology for the first time, online college may even be a little more challenging for you. For a few insights on how to manage this new 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 institutions and less-than-reputable for-profit schools. Accreditation gives you the power to differentiate between the two. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency which indicates that a college or university is meeting standards of quality, credibility, and currency. 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 which is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. When seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that students 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.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited, 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. In many cases, you will be required to navigate a bureaucracy in which some of your credits will be transferred and others will be jettisoned. However, provided that you have attended an online school with the proper regional accreditation, you should have plenty of options for transfer.

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 resume 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.

While some employers may express concern about making the adjustment from online education to in-person workplace collaboration, many other employers will 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 require some adjustment.

While there is much that can be supplanted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing which can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual classroom setting. As you make the adjustment to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face is overcoming this difference in order to the get the most out of your classes. Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. First and foremost, 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 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 Prospective Grad Students