Top 5 Excellent Social Work Master’s Degree Online

An accredited social work master’s degree online program can set you up for an exciting career change.

This comprehensive list of online schools was curated to provide the most accurate and helpful information on all types of accredited social work master’s degree programs online.

social work master’s degree online
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In order to help you find the right MSW program for you, we’ve listed all programs on several different factors, including duration of the program, cost/fee, and benefits earned.

1. App State Online Master of Social Work

  • Host institution/university: Appalachian State University
  • Duration of program: Two years
  • Total credit hour: 33
  • Cost/Fee: $266 per credit hour
  • Official website: App State Online Master of Social Work

A hybrid master’s degree in social work at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, offers an advanced standing program, accepting applicants who already have a degree in social work.

Distance learners choose between two concentrations: individuals and families, and community and organizational practices. All students take core courses in the practice of social work and human behavior, followed by specialization courses.

The master’s candidate must also complete two field and seminar courses. These courses require each participant to complete 480 hours of supervised work experience.

Each candidate must have earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree of at least 3.2 GPA. If the applicants have not obtained this minimum GPA, they must take the GRE.

Interested students should also submit a personal statement and three reference letters.

2. Boise State Social Work Master’s Degree Online

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At Boise State University, students can pursue an online master’s degree in social work that allows them to enroll either full-time or part-time, and either as regular or advanced standing learners.

Students need to complete up to three full days of work in their field during the weekdays, while full-time candidates may need to pursue other programs.

At Boise State, online courses usually follow an asynchronous format. Distance learners need to meet deadlines, but they can work at their own pace.

Interested individuals may apply if they hold a GPA of at least 3.0.

Each advanced applicant must have a bachelor’s degree in social work, while all other applicants may hold undergraduate degrees in any field.

3. The Columbia School of Social Work Online MSW

Columbia University’s School of Social Work offers a number of degrees on its Manhattan campus, but students can also enroll in a distance learning master’s degree in social work.

Online students can complete a full-time two-year program, and those with a bachelor’s degree in social work can pursue an accelerated advanced standing program to graduate in one year.

Students choose between three concentrations: advanced clinical practice, policy practice, or social enterprise management.

Learners can also opt to follow a field of practice, including wellness, mental health and disability, or family, youth and child services.

Courses adopt a synchronous model in which students can listen to live lectures online. For fieldwork requirements, each student must work at the placement site three days a week in each semester.

In order to apply to this online MSW program, each candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and an “academic record indicating the ability to excel in graduate studies.”

4. Master of Social Work Traditional Online MSW Program

Based in Tallahassee, Florida State University (FSU) offers an online master’s degree in social work that prepares students for a social work license in all 50 states.

FSU provides two different paths for this program: advanced status for new students with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a standard course for those with a bachelor’s degree in other fields.

Courses explore the basics of social work, psychology and dealing with individuals during their lifetime.

While students mainly complete coursework online, those studying on the traditional track also engage in two compulsory on-campus skills training sessions.

At the end of the day, each advanced student must complete one fieldwork placement, while the traditional enrollee must participate in two.

Students may apply if they have received at least 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of their undergraduate degree.

5. USF Online Master of Social Work

  • Host institution/university: University of South Florida
  • Duration of program: Two years
  • Total credit hour: 35
  • Cost/Fee: $460 per credit hour
  • Official website: USF Online Master of Social Work

At the University of South Florida’s main campus in Tampa, students enrolled in an online master’s degree in social work can take two different paths: the traditional track or the advanced standing track. The advanced standing track allows students to get a jump start, but only if they already have a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minimum of 3.0 GPA.

Both programs follow a synchronous format, which means that students must log in to stream courses at specific times, usually twice a week in the evening. During the day, the learners must complete their monitored fieldwork.

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Standard track students conduct 12-15 hours of study per week, which adds up to 900 hours to the time they graduate. Full-time advanced candidates complete 20 supervised fieldwork hours, while part-time candidates work for 10 hours per week. All students must also complete capstone projects in order to qualify for graduation.

The applicant should have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 3.0 GPA, ideally with an undergraduate biology degree and behavioral sciences.

Final thoughts

There are a few main considerations to bear in mind when choosing between a conventional MSW program or a Social Work Master’s degree online:

  • Duration: CSWE-accredited MSW programs, whether on-campus or online, usually offer the same completion times. As part of the MSW accreditation, a full-time program must be completed in two years and a maximum of four years for part-time students.
  • Coursework: In general, the coursework in the online MSW program is as extensive as the coursework in the traditional program. But you might find that some traditional MSW programs offer more curriculum options than their online counterparts, or varying concentrations. Although this gap is starting to decrease as social work master’s degree online programs become more common, it is important to ensure that the program you are pursuing matches up with your career plans.
  • Cost: Just as price varies between universities, the cost of an online program may differ from that of a traditional one. Although some social work master’s degree online programs might be more accessible than their on-campus counterparts, there is no guarantee. There are a range of considerations to be taken into consideration when determining the feasibility of the MSW system, so be sure to do your homework.

When it comes down to it, the student’s preferences vary. To certain graduates, the variables we’ve just discussed may be exactly what makes it possible for them to receive an MSW.

No matter which MSW program you choose, the goal is that you grow as your knowledge and skills and emerge ready to pursue opportunities in the field.

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