10 Best Campus-Based MSW Programs

by Editor on February 11, 2013

Below are our picks for the best MSW programs offered on traditional brick-and-mortar campuses. The ranking is based on information from other rankings and reviews from U.S. News & World Report, The Social Psychology Network, and other credible national publications, as well as our own editorial judgments regarding each program’s reputation and quality.

Featured Online MSW Programs

As with all college and graduate program rankings, this MSW program ranking should be used in conjunction with other tools and considerations regarding which MSW program is best for each individual student. If you’re interested in online MSW programs, be sure to check out our ranking of the top online MSW programs.

#1. University of Michigan School of Social Work

The University of Michigan School of Social Work has been offering graduate degrees in social work for over 60 years. The School of Social Work has enjoyed recognition as one of the best graduate program in social work in the U.S., and graduates typically go on to hold high positions in organizations aimed at bettering the community.

MSW Program Overview
University of Michigan’s School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program consisting of 60 credit hours that can be completed over the course of two years of full time attendance. Students are given the option to specialize in child welfare, community health, mental health or aging populations, and the curriculum weighs heavily on clinical work to give students the knowledge and skills necessary to find a position in social work after graduation. An advanced program for students holding a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) allows select students to reduce the length of the program based on past academic experience.

Accreditation
The University of Michigan School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#2. University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

The University of Chicago has been a leading academic institution for over a century and it’s School of Social Service Administration is among the oldest and most respected schools of social work in the United States. The school’s committed academic culture has also made it one of the most selective schools in the nation.

MSW Program Overview
The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration offers one of the world’s best Master of Social Work programs. The MSW program, which lasts two years, fully prepares students for an advanced professional practice. The first two quarters consist of a core curriculum that introduces students to the fundamentals of policy and administration. The core curriculum also teaches students how to work with individuals, families, and communities. Students later choose to concentrate on either clinical practice or social administration. Field placements supplement students’ core curriculum and concentrations.

Accreditation
Since 1919, the Master of Social Work program at the University of Chicago has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and its predecessors.

#3. Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work

The Brown School of Social Work has been a part of Washington University in St. Louis for 100 years, and the Master of Social Work program has been available through the university since 1945. Seminars and professional development workshops in social work keep the university connected with the local community.

MSW Program Overview
Washington University in St. Louis’s Brown School of Social Work offers a flexible Master of Social Work (MSW) program that is aimed at providing students with a comprehensive education either full time or part time. The 60-credit MSW program includes coursework in research, social entrepreneurship and management, and dual degree programs are available for students who want to combine their social work degree with one in business, Jewish studies, architecture, law, public health or divinity studies. Over $4 million in social work scholarships are available to students in the program.

Accreditation
The Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

#4. Columbia University School of Social Work

The Columbia University School of Social Work has the distinction of educating students and empowering them to better their communities for over 100 years. Graduates of the program have been able to use their education to help build a better community in the U.S. and abroad, and the program is currently ranked among the top MSW program by all the major rankings.

MSW Program Overview
Columbia University’s School of Social Work allows students to complete a Master of Social Work (MSW) program within two years of full-time attendance. An accelerated program that gives students the opportunity to complete the program within 16 months is available to students who are able to attend throughout the year. Students with a bachelor’s degree in the major may be able to apply undergraduate credits to the MSW program, and concentrations in clinical work, administration, policy and practice are available.

Accreditation
The Columbia University School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

#5. University of Washington School of Social Work

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington in Seattle has since risen to prominence as the premier research institution in the Pacific Northwest. The UW School of Social Work was established in 1934, growing to become one of the most recognized and respected schools of its kind.

MSW Program Overview
The Master of Social Work degree program at UW prepares students to deal with families and children, mental health issues, anti-poverty programs, policy practice, and more. Students begin their coursework with a foundation year that builds a basis of knowledge for solving complex social problems. The advanced year prepares students for jobs and leadership positions in social work. Busier students can take advantage of the MSW Extended Degree Program. The EDP at the University of Washington is more flexible, allowing students to reduce work hours as needed. The MSW curriculum is constantly evaluated and revised to ensure that students’ skills are up to date.

Accreditation
The Master of Social Work program at the University of Washington is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

#6. Case Western Reserve University School of Applied Social Sciences

The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University has been providing students in the Cleveland area with a solid foundation in the field of social work since 1915. Several other national rankings place Case Western Reserve University School of Applied Social Sciences as one of the 10 best social work schools in the U.S., and the university is consistently highly ranked by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

MSW Program Overview
Case Western Reserve University’s School of Applied Social Sciences offers an on-campus Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) program that prepares students for a career in either clinical or administrative social work. The 60-credit program is traditionally finished over the course of two years, but students who work full time or have other obligations can enroll in a weekend-only program that lasts three years. Field education is a major portion of the program, and community development is emphasized.

Accreditation
The Case Western Reserve University School of Applied Social Sciences is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

#7. Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

This prestigious Jesuit educational institution consists of 10 nonprofit schools and colleges in New York City. Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service has been regarded among the very best school’s of social work since its inception in 1916.

MSW Program Overview
Fordham University students can obtain a 66-credit Master of Social Work degree from the Graduate School of Social Service. The degree program consists of social work courses and practical assignments in the field. Students may attend the university part time or full time. They can choose to specialize in research, children, the elderly, global service, administration or law. Weekly classes are held at four of the university’s campuses. It’s possible to begin earning a degree in the spring or autumn.

Accreditation
Fordham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits the Master of Social Work degree and the Graduate School of Social Service.

#8. University of Southern California School of Social Work

As one of the West Coast’s most prestigious colleges, the University of Southern California has maintained its reputation as an innovator in social work education since it became the first West Coast university to offer a full-time social work degree. The Master of Social Work program available at the university has consistently been placed in the top 10 of programs of its kind by U.S. News and World Report and other MSW rankings.

Program Overview
University of Southern California’s School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) program that may be completed over two, three or four years to accommodate the schedules of students in the program. Concentrations available through the university allow students to choose a path related to child welfare, mental health or social work as it relates to global business. On-campus programs in social work are available at USC locations in Los Angeles, Irvine and Rancho Bernardo.

Accreditation
The University of Southern California School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#9. Boston University School of Social Work

Boston University is a world-class private university in urban Boston with over 150 years of history. The BU School of Social Work has been in operation since 1937, offering one of the most highly regarded and MSW degree programs in the country.

MSW Program Overview
The Master of Social Work program at Boston University is designed to prepare students for rewarding careers in the field of social work. The degree program begins with a foundation year. The typical foundation year includes 27 semester credits in coursework and six credits of field education. The advanced curriculum consists of 24 semester credits in coursework and eight more in the field. Students who stick to the recommended course schedule can complete the program in eight semesters. Part-time students can complete coursework in three years with summers or four years without summers. The course load for part-time students is either two or three courses per semester.

Accreditation
The Boston University Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#10. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work has gained recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the best schools for a Master of Social Work in the U.S. Clinical practice has remained a key part of the social work curriculum at the school, and the faculty members in the School of Social Work are known around the world for their work in the field.

MSW Program Overview
Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work offers a 60-credit on-campus Master of Social Work (MSW) program that is completed in approximately two years. Students can choose a concentration in clinical social work or administration. Internships are completed in the selected field of concentration, and graduates of the program go on to work in mental health facilities, hospitals, schools and local government offices.

Accreditation
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education.

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