CSWE-Accredited Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs

Looking to earn your master’s in social work (MSW) online? There is a wide selection of online MSW programs to choose from—many of which are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Keep reading to discover program options, potential MSW careers, and learn about scholarship opportunities available to you.

Below, review accredited online MSW programs categorized by different factors: online MSW programs with a clinical or mental health focus, advanced standing online MSW programs, and accelerated online MSW programs. If you’re not seeking a particular category of programs, skip ahead and review our list of all CSWE-accredited online MSW programs.

Sponsored Online MSW Programs

Sponsored Online MSW Programs
University Name Online Class Type GRE Requirement Campus Visit Requirement Field Placement Support Learn More
Baylor University
Master of Social Work
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available MSW@Baylor
Case Western Reserve University
Master of Science in Social Administration
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available Online Social Work at CWRU
Fordham University
Master of Social Work
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available OnlineMSW@Fordham
Simmons University
Master of Social Work
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available SocialWork@Simmons
University of Denver
Master of Social Work
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available MSW@Denver
University of Southern California (USC)
Master of Social Work
Live No No Visit Required Online Team Available MSW@USC

Sponsored

Online MSW Programs with a Clinical or Mental Health Social Work Focus

Clinical MSW programs are designed to prepare students to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Programs with a clinical focus (informally called LCSW degree programs) include foundational social work courses, that allow students to build the skills needed to provide psychological services, treatment to individuals (children, youth, and adults) and small groups (couples and families) and make diagnoses.
Depending on your state, MSW degree programs can equip you to receive a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) certification immediately following graduation. Similarly, you may pursue a mental health-focused program to engage directly with clients on ways to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Below is a table that includes all online MSW programs with a clinical social work or mental health focus.

Online MSW Programs with a Clinical or Mental Health Social Work Focus
University Name Location GRE Requirement GPA Requirement Full-Time/Part-Time Traditional/Advanced Standing
Boise State University Boise, Idaho Not required 3.0 Preferred Offers both Offers both
Boston University Boston, Massachusetts Not required No requirement for traditional track applicants, 3.0 for advanced standing applicants. Part-time Offers both
Campbellsville University Campbellsville, Kentucky Not required No requirement for traditional track applicants, 2.5 Full-time Offers both
Columbia University New York, New York Not required No requirement (average 3.5) Offers both Offers both
Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida Not required 3.0 Part-time Offers both
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Not required 3.0 Offers both Offers both
Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Jersey Not required 3.0 Part-time Offers both
Simmons University
Sponsored
Boston, Massachusetts Not required 3.0 Offers both Offers both
The Catholic University of America Washington, D.C. Not required 3.0 preferred Offers both Offers both
University at Buffalo (SUNY) Buffalo, New York Not required 3.0 Part-time Offers both
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida Not required No requirement for traditional track applicants, 3.3 for advanced standing applicants in last 60 hours of BSW Part-time Offers both
University of Houston Houston, Texas Required 3.0, conditional admission if applicant GPA between 2.6 and 3.0 Part-time Offers both
University of New England Portland, Maine Not required 3.0 Part-time Offers both
University of New Hampshire Durham, New Hampshire Not required 3.0, 3.2 for advanced standing applicants Full-time Traditional
University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee Not required 2.7 for undergraduate work and 3.0 for graduate work, 3.0 for both undergraduate and graduate work for advanced standpplicants Offers both Offers both
Widener University Chester, Pennsylvania Not required 3.0, plus 3.3 for all prior social work courses for advanced standing applicants Part-time Offers both

Advanced Standing MSW Programs Online

Those who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program may be eligible to pursue an advanced standing MSW program online. Advanced standing MSW programs are typically more competitive than traditional programs. They tend to have stricter admission criteria and requirements and accept fewer students.

Below is a table that includes all online CSWE-accredited advanced standing MSW programs.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs Online

University Name

Location 

GRE Requirement

GPA Requirement

Full-Time/Part-Time

Concentration

Adelphi University Garden City, New York Not required 3.0 Part-time No concentrations
Baylor University
Sponsored
Waco, Texas Not required No requirement Offers both Clinical Practice or Community Practice
Boise State University Boise, Idaho Not required 3.0 Preferred Offers both Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
Boston University Boston, Massachusetts Not required 3.0 Part-time Clinical Social Work Practice
Campbellsville University Campbellsville, Kentucky Not required No requirement Offers both No concentrations
Case Western Reserve University
Sponsored
Cleveland, Ohio Required for GPA below 2.7

2.7

Part-time - Children, Youth and Families
- Mental Health with Adults
- Community Practice for Social Change
Columbia University New York, New York Not required No requirement Part-time - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice
- Social Enterprise Administration
Delaware State University Dover, Delaware Not required 2.75 N/A Advanced Generalist Practice
Edinboro University Edinboro, Pennsylvania Not required 3.0 Full-time Family Social Work Practice
Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida Not required No requirement Part-time Clinical Social Work Practice
Fordham University
Sponsored
Bronx, New York Not required No requirement Offers both - Individuals and Families
- Organizations and Community
- Evaluation
- Policy Practice and Advocacy
Humboldt State University Arcata, California Not required 3.0 Part-time Generalist Program with Focus on Rural and Indigenous Communities
Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana Not required 3.0 Part-time Advanced Generalist Focus
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Not required 3.0 Full-time Advanced Direct Social Work Practice Concentration
Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, Texas Not required 3.0 Part-time Generalist Program with Emphasis on the Hispanic Community
Simmons University
Sponsored
Boston, Massachusetts Not required 3.3 in BSW coursework, 3.0 overall Offers both - Practice with Groups & Families
- Mental Health Practice
- Trauma Practice
Texas State University San Marcos, Texas Not required 3.0 Part-time Administrative Leadership
University at Buffalo (SUNY) Buffalo, New York Not required 3.0 Part-time Evidence-Based Practice with a Trauma-Informed and Human Rights Perspective
University of Alaska, Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska Not required 3.25 in BSW coursework, 3.0 overall Offers both Advanced Generalist Focus
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas Required for GPA below 3.0 3.0 (for last 60 credit hours of bachelor’s degree) Full-time No concentrations
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida Not required 3.3 (for last 60 credit hours of bachelor’s degree) Part-Time Behavioral Health and Child Welfare Services
University of Denver
Sponsored
Denver, Colorado Not required N/A Offers both - Mental Health and Trauma
- Health and Wellness
University of Houston Houston, Texas Required 3.0 Part-Time Clinical Practice: Health and Behavioral Health
University of Nevada, Reno Reno, Nevada Not required 3.0 overall or 3.25 in last 60 hours (“B-” in each social work course) Offers both Advanced Generalist Practice Focus
University of New England Biddeford, Maine Not required 3.0 preferred Part-time - Clinical Practice: Individual, Families, and Groups (IFG)
- Community Practice: Organizational and Community Practice (OCP)
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota Not required 3.0 Part-time Advanced Generalist Focus
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida Not required 3.0 Offers both - Adult Mental Health and Wellness
- Children, Youth and Families
- Social Change and Innovation
University of Southern California
Sponsored
Los Angeles, California Not required 3.25 (3.5 in Social Work Courses) Offers both - Adult Mental Health and Wellness
- Children, Youth and Families
- Social Change and Innovation
University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee Not required 3.0 Offers both - Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice (Clinical)
- Management, Leadership and Community Practice (Macro)
University of Texas, Arlington Arlington, Texas Required for GPA below 3.0 3.0 Offers both - Mental Health/Substance Abuse
- Children and Families
- Aging
University of Texas of the Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, Texas Not required 3.0 Full-Time - Administration and Community Practice
- Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families and Groups
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Kentucky Not required 3.0 for last 60 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate degree Offers both Advanced Generalist Practice Focus
Widener University Chester, Pennsylvania Not required 3.0 overall, 3.3 for your major courses Part-time Clinical Social Work Specializing in Trauma

Accelerated Online MSW Programs - In as Little as One Year

Accelerated online MSW programs allow students to receive their degree in as little as one year. This option is ideal for students who want to receive their MSW in the shortest possible period of time, and are capable of handling the rigor of a condensed program.

Below is a table of CSWE-accredited, accelerated online MSW programs.

Accelerated Online MSW Programs
University Name Location GRE Requirement GPA Requirement Length (in months) Concentration
Boise State University Boise, Idaho Not required 3.0 Preferred 16 months Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
Edinboro University Edinboro, Pennsylvania Not required 3.0 ~ 1 year (5 quarters) Family Social Work Practice
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Not required 3.0 1 year (3 semesters) Advanced Direct Social Work Practice
University of Alaska, Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska Not required 3.25 in BSW coursework, 3.0 overall 1 year - Advanced Generalist
University of Southern California (USC)
Sponsored
Los Angeles, California Not required 3.25 (3.5 in Social Work Courses) ~ 1.5 years (three semesters) - Families and Children
- Health
- Mental Health
- Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA)
University of Tennessee at Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee Not required 3.0 1 year (Summer, Fall and Spring) - Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice (Clinical)
-  Management, Leadership and Community Practice (Macro)
Western New Mexico University Silver City, New Mexico Not required 2.75 1 calendar year - Advanced Generalist with electives

42 CSWE Accredited Online MSW Programs

Determining whether or not you meet the admissions requirements for the programs that interest you can help narrow down your options—and ensure that you make an informed decision. Below is an alphabetical list of all CSWE-accredited online MSW programs, their admissions requirements, and other important program information.

Adelphi University

Garden City, New York

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 64 credits
  • Internship Hours: 1,200 Hours, Advanced Standing 600 hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a strong background in the liberal arts and sciences. A CSWE-accredited BSW for Advanced Standing.
  • GPA Requirement: A minimum 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA on a four-point scale. For Advanced Standing (for those who hold a BSW), GPA of 3.0 or better on a four-point scale in all social work courses.
  • GRE Requirement: No GRE Required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Two professional letters of recommendation for Advanced Standing students.

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 60 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 960 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Regionally accredited bachelor’s degree or international equivalent
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate coursework
  • GRE Requirement: GRE Required if last 60 credits GPA is 3.2 or lower
  • Essay/Recommendations: Statement of educational or career goals and professional references required

Sponsored

Baylor University

Waco, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Standard Program: 60 credits, Advanced Standing 32 credits
  • Internship Hours: 550 hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: 3.0 or higher
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: High-quality letters of recommendation, written by academic and professional references who can speak directly about your preparation for graduate school

Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 61 Credits, Advanced Standing - 37 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1000 Hours or Advanced Standing - 600 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: A bachelor’s degree with liberal arts and social science courses for traditional standing admissions or a BSW from a CSWE accredited university for advanced standing admission
  • GPA Requirement: GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last two years of your bachelor’s degree or an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal essay and three recommendations, at least one from a previous instructor and one from a supervisor

Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional and Human Service Experience (HSE) Track - 65 Credits, Advanced Standing Track - 43 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Track - 1200 Hours, HSE and Advanced Track - 1000 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, preferably in the liberal arts for traditional and HSE applicants. For advanced standing MSW students, applicants must have an undergraduate social work degree from a CSWE program.
  • GPA Requirement: A minimum undergraduate academic GPA of 3.0 for advanced standing track applicants only.
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and three references
  • HSE Experience Requirement: HSE applicants must have at least two years of supervised human service experience for consideration. An employment verification form is required.

California State University, Northridge

Northridge, California

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 60 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 900-1,300 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, liberal arts of related
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and three recommendations

California State University, San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 90 Quarter Credits
  • Internship Hours: 1080 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with a preferred academic background in behavioral and social sciences
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Autobiographical statement

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 60 Credits, 30 Credits in the Advanced Standing track
  • Practicum Hours: 900 Hours (for Advanced Standing, BSW practicum hours are counted towards the 900)

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 2.5 for the Advanced Standing track (Received No Ds, Fs or Us)
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three recommendations

Sponsored

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 credits, Advanced Standing - 24 credits
  • Internship Hours: 900 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Traditional Standing - Two-part essay that includes a Personal Statement and Analytical Essay. Advanced Standing - in addition to the two-part essay, you must also include a description of your previous field education experience. Provide three recommendation letters from references who can speak to your qualifications for this rigorous program and your potential for the field of social work. Ideal references include professors, direct supervisors or volunteer coordinators.

Columbia University

New York, New York

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 60 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 1200 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA Requirement: An academic record proving capability of performing at the graduate level of grade B or higher
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three essay questions as three essays or combined into one. Three professional references, at least one from your most recent employer or volunteer supervisor

Delaware State University

Dover, Delaware

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional - 60 credits (48 credits of academic work, 12 credits of supervised field practicum), Advanced Standing - 30 credits (24 credits of academic work, 6 credits of supervised field practicum)
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours, Advanced Standing - 500 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Completion of 15 credit hours and Advanced Standing Seminar with a 3.0 GPA
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your potential for graduate study.

Edinboro University

Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 60 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 900 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum of 21 semester hours of credit within a liberal arts curriculum in humanities, mathematics, physical and biological sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and fine arts
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8
  • GRE Requirement: GRE required if GPA is below 2.8
  • Essay/Recommendations: A personal statement and two professional or educational letters of reference

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 61 Credits, Advanced Standing - 39 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 944 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution for traditional standing applicants or BSW from a CSWE accredited institute for advanced standing applicants
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: GRE required unless waiver criteria are met
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and four letters of recommendation, two personal and two academic references

Sponsored

Fordham University

Bronx, New York

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional - Traditional Standing - 66 Credits; Advanced Standing - 33 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1,200 Hours; Advanced Standing - 600 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional - Minimum GPA of 2.6 and a GPA of 3.0 preferred; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.0 Required
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three to five-page essay, one letter of recommendation and for Advanced Standing applicants only a mid-year evaluation from your BSW faculty advisor

Humboldt State University

Arcata, California

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 75 Units or Advanced Standing - 43.5 - 46.5 Units
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 960 Hours, Advanced Standing - 480 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a foundation in the liberal arts in addition to elementary statistics and Native American studies or a BSW from a CSWE accredited program for advanced standing admission
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in last 60 hours of coursework or 3.5 minimum GPA for advanced standing applicants
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and reference letters

Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60-61 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional - 960 Hours, Advanced - 640 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university for traditional standing. For advanced standing applicants, a BSW from a CSWE
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in final 60 credit hours or 90 quarter hours
  • GRE Requirement: Nor required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A writing sample and statement under five pages and three professional references

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credit Hours or Advanced Standing - 33 Credit Hours
  • Internship Hours: 960 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least 12 credit hours in the social and behavioral sciences and at least nine hours in the humanities. For advanced standing applicants, a BSW from an accredited CSWE social work program
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0 for regular admission or minimum GPA of 2.55 cumulative for probationary admission
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A letter of intent and three letters of recommendation, two must be academic and one professional

Our Lady of the Lake University

San Antonio, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Foundation - 57 Credits or Advanced Standing - 30 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Foundation - 950 Hours or Advanced Standing - 500 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Advanced standing applicants must have a bachelor’s in social work from a CSWE accredited social work program.
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum 2.5 for foundation program or a 3.0 GPA minimum for advanced standing
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and three letters of recommendation

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 78 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 1000 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree with a liberal arts foundation from an accredited college, university or equivalent
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 2.75 for undergraduate work or a graduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three to four-page statement of purpose and three professional references - one reference should be able to address your ability to perform work at a graduate level

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits or Advanced Standing - 39 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Advanced Standing - 885 Hours, Traditional Standing - 1125 Hours

Admissions Information

  • Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or for advanced standing applicants - a BSW from a CSWE accredited program plus a completed introductory statistics course prior to admissions for traditional and advanced
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and three current professional letters of recommendation

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Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 65 Credits, Advanced Standing - 37 Credits
  • Internship Hours:

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Statement of professional and educational intent essay. If you choose to apply to a certificate track with your MSW application, you will also need to write a certificate program essay. Two professional and/or academic letters of recommendation, a third letter of recommendation is optional.

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 34.5 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1050 Hours; Advanced Standing - 600 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional - Minimum GPA of 3.0; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.25
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: An essay of approximately 1000 words and three letters of recommendation

Texas State University, San Marcos

San Marco, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Foundation Track - 62 Credits; Advanced Standing Track - 36 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 540 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Statement of purpose and recommendations

The Catholic University of America

Washington District of Columbia

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Foundation Track - 60 Credits; Advanced Track - 30 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Foundation Track - 1080 Hours; Advanced Track - 600 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Foundation Track - Minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred; Advanced Track Standing - minimum GPA of 3.5 in all undergraduate social work courses and 3.2 in all BSW courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation

University at Buffalo (SUNY)

Buffalo, New York

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 35 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 480 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A personal statement and three professional recommendations

University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 62 Credits; Advanced Standing - 35 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 960 Hours; Advanced Standing - 480 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Standing - minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred; Advanced Standing- minimum GPA of 3.0 with a 3.5 in BSW core courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A four-page personal statement and three letters of recommendation are required
    Note: only accepts students from Alaska

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 39 Credit Hours
  • Internship Hours: 900 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours leading up to the first bachelor’s degree
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Personal statement and three professional recommendations

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Track - 62 Credits; Advanced Standing - 32 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional - 1000 Hours; Advanced - 600 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Track - No requirement; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.2 in the last 60 hours of BSW
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three to six-page professional statement and three current letters of recommendation

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University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Program - 81 Credits; Advanced Program - 54 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Program - Two Internships at 10.5 Hours Per Week and 12 Hours Per Week; Advanced program - One Internship

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Program - Minimum GPA of 2.5 with focus on last 60-90 undergraduate credits if GPA lower than 3.0; Advanced Program - Minimum GPA of 2.5 with focus on last 60-90 undergraduate credits if GPA lower than 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: At least a five-page career goals statement and two letters of recommendation

University of Houston

Houston, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 63 Credits; Advanced Standing - 38 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 480 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0. Conditional admission if your GPA is between 2.6 and 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three to four-page personal statement and three professional recommendations

University of Nevada, Reno

Reno, Nevada

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 62 Credits; Advanced Standing - 32 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 450 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: 3.00 overall GPA or 3.25 in last 60 credit hours
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Essays and three letters of recommendation

University of New England (UNE)

Portland, Maine

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 64 Credits; Advanced Standing - 35 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1120 Hour; Advanced Standing - 560 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: One to two paragraph professional statements and two letters of reference

University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 62 Credits; Advanced Standing - 35 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1240 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.2 in undergraduate coursework for advanced standing admissions
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Four to five pages double spaced personal statement and three professional references

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 36 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 950 Hours; Advanced Standing - 500 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or a GPA of 3.0 over the last two years of undergraduate courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: One to two-page personal statement and three letters of recommendation

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 35 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 460 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: A 3.0 average or higher
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Two essays: life experiences and social problems; 500 words each with three recommendations, one academic and one professional

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University of Southern California (USC)

Los Angeles, California

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 37 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 790 Hours; Advanced Standing - 790 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Standing - minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred, and no less than 2.8; Advanced Standing - minimum GPA of 3.0 required for all undergraduate and social work courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A statement of purpose and two letters of recommendation with an optional third letter

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Semester Hours; Advanced Standing - 37 Semester Hours
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1024 Hours; Advanced Standing - 672 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Standing - Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 and 3.0 for any graduate work; Advanced Standing - Minimum undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Professional statement and at least one academic reference

University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional - 61 Credits, Advanced Standing - 38 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional - 960 Hours, Advanced Standing - 480 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional - Minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred and no less than a GPA of 2.7; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.0 required in the last 60 credit hours
  • GRE Requirement: Not required - if an applicant in the traditional program does not meet the minimum 3.0 GPA, the GRE is required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Narrative and three letters of recommendation for traditional applicants only
    Note: Only accepts students from Texas

University of Texas of the Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: 33 Credits
  • Internship Hours: 500 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Minimum GPA of 3.0 and minimum GPA of 3.2 required in social work core undergraduate courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Three references from professional and academic sources

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Program - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 33 Credits

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Program - Minimum GPA of 2.75; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.0 over last 60 credit hours
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A personal statement and three letters of recommendation or one letter of recommendation for Advanced Standing

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, New Mexico

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 60 Credits; Advanced Standing - 39 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 900 Hours; Advanced Standing - 450 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: At least a 3.0 for all social work courses by overall 2.75 accepted for most recent 64 credit hours or graduate coursework
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: A personal statement and a minimum of three letters of reference that are professional/academic

Widener University

Chester, Pennsylvania

Program Overview

Program Requirements

  • Credits Needed: Traditional Standing - 64 Credits; Advanced Standing - 41 Credits
  • Internship Hours: Traditional Standing - 1100 Hours; Advanced Standing - 680 Hours

Admissions Information

  • GPA Requirement: Traditional Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.0; Advanced Standing - Minimum GPA of 3.0 and minimum GPA of 3.3 for social work courses
  • GRE Requirement: Not required
  • Essay/Recommendations: Statement of purpose and two recommendations

More Information About Online MSW Programs

In addition to our listings of online MSW programs, we’ve compiled additional information to assist aspiring social workers like you in selecting a program. As you read through the next couple of sections, remember that finding the best MSW program for you depends on being aware of all the possibilities that come with the degree and an MSW career. Once you’re informed about these possibilities, you can decide which degree program best fits your career goals and needs.


Online MSW vs. On-Campus MSW

Working professionals can benefit from the flexibility of an online MSW degree program. Some students may also have a variety of life circumstances preventing them from enrolling in an on-campus program. Online programs typically offer the same curricula as in-person programs and have the same admissions requirements and results too. But they cater to student’s unique needs through added convenience. The benefits go on and on, but many online programs may offer the advantages of saving time and money. They also enable students from all geographical locations to pursue their MSW without having to relocate.


Accreditation

MSW degrees are generally offered through designated social work schools, many of which are at prominent universities. In addition to determining which university program is the best option for you, understanding CSWE accreditation may be astep in your decision-making process—and a variable factor to keep in mind throughout your search. CSWE-accreditation signifies the quality, standards and rigor of a program, but it’s more than just a question of prestige. Accreditation is a factor for MSW graduates entering the professional field and seeking out a role. Often, employers will require that their candidates hold a degree from an accredited program. For your convenience, all programs that we’ve included on this page are accredited.


MSW, MSSW and MSSA

There are three program designations to consider when deciding on a master’s in social work pr/but all three are considered equal and harbor no great differences. The three designations include MSW (Master of Social Work), MSSW (Master of Science in Social Work), and MSSA (Master of Science in Social Administration). These designations may be tied to the history of a specific university’s program, but they do not hold significance beyond that. As we mentioned above, the most important factor to keep in mind when deciding where to earn your MSW is accreditation. The CSWE recognizes and accredits programs that meet their educational standards across all three designations.


Structure and Length of Online MSW Programs

There is a wide range of online MSW programs, including options of varying lengths, formats, and structures. Below, find descriptions of online MSW programs categorized by the following differentiators: full-time vs. part time, traditional vs. advanced standing, cohort model vs. flexible scheduling, and synchronous vs. asynchronous. With so many different options and variations to choose from, you can find a program that fits your circumstances and schedule—and set yourself on a path for a potentially fulfilling career. 

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Programs

Master of Social Work programs require both in-class instruction and field work, so a full-time program may not be an option for students who are committed to a full-time job, have caregiver responsibilities, or other familial or financial obligations. Part-time online MSW programs offer these students the opportunity to complete their degrees with flexible scheduling, and typically range from two to four years in duration. On the other hand, full-time online MSW programs offer students with more bandwidth the option to focus all of their time and attention on their studies while still reaping the benefits of online learning. The majority of full-time programs can be completed in two years.

Traditional vs. Advanced Standing

Advanced standing MSW programs online are designed for students who have already Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate degree program. Often, advanced standing admission requirements are different (and stricter) than those for traditional programs, but the specific criteria varies greatly by program. In addition, advanced standing MSW programs may accept fewer students than traditional programs. Depending on whether a student enrolls full-time or part-time, an advanced standing online MSW program can typically be completed in anywhere from one to two and a half years. Both traditional and advanced standing programs require field education, which typically takes place at a local health services agency, but advanced standing programs tend to require more hours of fieldwork. Depending on which program you choose, the total number of hours of fieldwork required to graduate can range from 450 to 1000 hours and may include one to two internships.

Cohort Models vs. Flexible Scheduling

Many online MSW degree programs follow a cohort model of instruction. This simply means that students enter as a group and take a predetermined schedule of classes to fulfill the program requirements and receive their degree. Alternately, a flexible scheduling model allows students to self-select the classes they’d like to take each quarter, semester, or designated academic period. Few online MSW programs follow this flexible model. While students in cohort-model programs may have options regarding their concentration or pre-established elective blocks, they’ll otherwise follow a standard curriculum. The plus side is that cohort students won’t experience the dilemma of missing out on a spot in a required class. To determine which model is best for you, consider what your personal preferences and circumstances require.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous

Synchronous and asynchronous are terms that you’ll likely come across a lot during your program search. But what do they mean and why are they important? Synchronous instruction methods are seen in programs that require all students to attend classes in “real-time,” on a pre-set class schedule. This means students log on at the same time for live classes, study sessions, or projects. Some programs will require this more frequently—perhaps daily or weekly—and others may only require this a couple of times per semester. The specifics will vary by program, but students will be made aware of the schedule in advance.

On the other hand, asynchronous programs do not require students to log on at specific times to attend real-time classes. Instead, students are given deadlines to watch lectures, complete assignments, and catch up on class material. Essentially, you determine your hours and coursework schedule. Keep in mind, asynchronous doesn’t mean complete isolation—depending on the program, there are still opportunities to interact with teachers and classmates, such as communicating in real time through the school’s online learning portal.

Some programs even combine synchronous and asynchronous instruction methods, providing a unique, varied class experience.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements will vary depending on the institution and program, but the majority of traditional online MSW programs require standard applicants (non-advanced standing) to meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Meet the minimum GPA requirements (will vary by program)
  • Complete specific prerequisite classes during the undergraduate degree program (will vary by program)
  • Submit an official undergraduate academic transcript
  • Submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation
  • Pay the required application fee (will vary by program)
  • Meet the technical requirements (like having computer and internet access) to ensure you can effectively learn online

In addition to the above, some programs may require applicants to have accumulated work experience in a related field. If this is required, it will be noted on the program website, and will include details regarding the specific qualifications.

Is GRE Required?

The majority of online MSW programs no longer require the GRE test for admission. If GRE testing is required, it’s typically only for applicants that do not meet the minimum GPA threshold required for admission—offering them an additional avenue to qualify for admission. There are, however, still certain programs that require the GRE regardless of GPA, so be sure to do your research if you’re set on a specific program but aren’t sure of the requirements.

What about GPA?

The GPA requirement determines whether or not an applicant must also submit GRE scores. That too, varies by university. Depending on the school, it can range from a 2.5 to a 3.0. This doesn’t mean you cannot get in with a lower GPA—but you may need to meet alternative requirements. If you’re ever unsure about what’s required, visit the program website or get in touch with an admissions representative. Being proactive is the best way to ensure you’re prepared to meet the requirement criteria when it comes time to fill out your applications.


Online MSW Concentrations

When it comes to choosing a concentration for your online MSW, there are plenty of options to take into consideration. Some social workers work at the micro level—interacting directly with individual patients—while others work at the mezzo or macro level, treating larger groups or populations and implementing frameworks on a broad scale. Some common MSW concentrations include:

  • Clinical or direct practice social work
  • Advanced generalist social work
  • Community development
  • Management/administration
  • Policy

Each of these concentrations may also contain more specific concentrations, such as child and family welfare, school social work, substance abuse work, or military social work.

*ODG to include USC Military Social Work CTA here*


Coursework

A traditional, CSWE-accredited MSW program will typically follow three stages: foundational curriculum, concentration curriculum, and one or two local field internships. Find below an overview of each stage:

  • Foundational curriculum. Courses in this stage will focus on developing an understanding of the ethics, theories, and history of the social work field and profession. The introductory classes will cover topics like human behavior and social systems, and will instill the core research skills you’ll need for the remainder of your program.

  • Concentration curriculum. Courses in this curriculum will delve deeper into the particular focus, topic, or specialty you choose to pursue. For an overview of the concentrations that may be available to you, see the program tables above.

  • Fieldwork or internship. This supervised experience is an opportunity to develop and apply your skills in the real-world and engage with your community. Learn more about fieldwork and internships below.

Fieldwork & Internships

As previously stated, accredited MSW programs require an internship, or fieldwork. This experience is an essential part of all MSW programs, both online and on-campus. Sometimes taken concurrently with classes, fieldwork provides students with an opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom setting to real-world situations and scenarios. Internships usually take place at a local health services agency, with highly qualified field instructors who have attended CSWE-accredited programs themselves. Toward the end of your education, this experience and training is critical to prepare you for a career in social work. A number of MSW programs—both on-campus and online—have a team or office dedicated to approving agencies, assisting in student placement, and ensuring that field instruction meets CSWE accreditation standards.


Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

As a prospective MSW student, choosing the best program for you involves research/information. Some prospective students may seek financial aid or scholarship opportunities. Your options and eligibility for scholarships will vary by university and program, which is why it is important to reach out to your university’s financial aid department or graduate studies for information.

To learn more about general student funding opportunities available to MSW students, you can visit the CSWE’s student funding opportunities page. This way, you can stay informed about all of the opportunities you may qualify for. The CSWE page outlines general scholarships, contests, awards, fellowships, and grants available to social work students all around the country and across different levels of education. In addition to reviewing these opportunities and contacting your university’s financial aid department, you can also seek information from your local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.


Pursuing Licensure

Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) requires you to graduate from a CSWE-accredited MSW /complete the clinical social work licensing and examination required in your state. These requirements vary by state, and each state has its own licensing board that determines them. But most include a passing score on a state-determined licensure exam and meet a minimum number of hours of professional experience to pursue licensure.

It is important to check and confirm you meet the requirements in the state where you intend to practice.

LMSW vs. LCSW

While LCSW denotes a licensed clinical social worker, LMSW stands for licensed master social worker. These are both popular roles in the social work field, with a few key differentiators. The main difference is that LCSWs are “specialists” while LMSWs are “generalists.” What does this mean? As we described earlier, the majority of LCSWs work on the micro level with individual patients. LCSWs can diagnose issues, plan assessment-based treatment, and provide psychotherapy without supervision. LMSWs, on the other hand, cannot clinically counsel or treat patients, although they can still perform some forms of individualized work. This may include providing non-clinical services like case management and referrals to specialists. Instead, they tend to work on the macro level, applying their more generalized skills at the organizational and policy levels. Both are effective, essential roles—and each require their own interests and qualifications. 

Is an Online MSW Right For You?

For aspiring or practicing social workers with an undergraduate degree, earning an MSW is one way to add to your expertise. An MSW may offer greater career opportunities in clinical, specialty, and supervisory practice than what may be achievable with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to potentially qualifying you for a wider range of roles, an MSW may also help you reach a higher earning potential and position you to pursue licensure as an LMSW or LCSW. An online MSW program is a viable option for anyone who will benefit from added flexibility in their schedules—whether they are maintaining a current job, meeting family commitments, or are simply geographically distant from their desired program. Online MSW programs offer the same career benefits and opportunities that traditional in-person programs do but do so with additional convenience.

Career Options

There are a wide range of social work careers available to MSW graduates, some with specific licensure requirements. Some career paths include:

  • Child and family social worker
  • Community social worker 
  • Licensed clinical social worker 
  • Medical and public health social worker
  • Mental health and substance abuse social worker
  • Military social worker
  • School social worker

Often, people consider school counselors to fall under the realm of social work careers, but there are differences between a school counselor and school social worker. And each role requires its own unique qualifications. Similarly, while professionals in the mental social work and psychology fields work toward a shared goal of identifying and improving the mental health and well-being of individuals, they too harbor key differences and require their own separate degrees, licensures, and certifications.

Social Workers’ Salary and Job Outlook

Social work is a fast-growing field with a promising job outlook. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall employment of social workers is expected to grow 11 percent by 2028—a rate much faster than the average for all other occupations. As our population continues to age, evolve, and grow, the demand for healthcare and social services will increase, potentially leading to more and more opportunities for recent MSW graduates.

In 2019, the median annual pay for all social workers was $50,470, according to the BLS. In contrast, the median annual pay for school and career counselors that same year was $57,040. Although the job outlook for school counselors from 2018 to 2028 sees slightly slower growth than that of social workers, 8 percent as opposed to 11 percent, it’s still faster than average.

Other Social Work Degrees

In addition to the MSW degree, other social work degrees include the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and the Doctor of Social Work (DSW), which is the highest degree level available in the field.


Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW)

Social workers typically start off pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social /an undergraduate program. The program begins with essential foundational courses. During the latter part of a BSW program, students will start to take more specialized courses to become familiar with the core ethics, theories, and strategies of social work. As we mentioned earlier, holding a BSW can qualify graduates for advanced standing MSW programs.


Doctoral Social Work Programs (DSW & Ph.D.)

DSW programs offer social work professionals advanced training in a specific area of practice. DSW graduates can take on leadership and management roles. Typically, DSW graduates work in social work administration, clinical social work, and child, family, and school social work. Most DSW programs require a form of residency or a dissertation, building the necessary skills to advance professionally. Alternatively, a Ph.D. in social work is less clinically focused. Instead, it focuses on conducting research in the academic setting.

Online MSW FAQs

It’s natural to have questions as you begin to research which online MSW program is right for you. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about online MSW programs.


Can you get an MSW without a BSW?

Yes, you can earn your MSW without a BSW. In fact, many accredited online MSW programs accept bachelor degrees from related fields. The major difference is that those without a BSW will not qualify or be accepted into advanced standing programs, while those with BSWs are eligible.


How long does it take to complete an MSW?

As we described earlier on, an MSW can take anywhere from a single year to four years to complete depending on whether you decide to pursue an accelerated, advanced standing, or traditional program, and whether it’s on a full-time or part-time schedule. Once you make those initial decisions, the time frame will narrow, and you can get a better idea of how long it will take you to complete an MSW.


Are there any one-year online MSW programs?

Yes, there are online MSW programs that take just one year to complete. These accelerated MSW programs, available only as full-time programs to advanced standing students who hold a BSW from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate degree program. They may involve that you adopt a more rigorous schedule in order to receive your degree in a shorter time frame. This can involve putting in more hours per week and completing your classes and your fieldwork at the same time. Some accelerated programs may last longer than 12 months (around one and a half years).

Last updated: June 2020