10 Best Online MSW Programs

by Administrator on February 11, 2013

More and more top schools of social work are offering MSW programs online, making it easier than ever for working adults to earn their MSW while maintaining their other responsibilities. Below are our picks for the best online MSW programs currently available.

Featured Online MSW Programs

Our online MSW ranking is based on information from other social work rankings and our own editorial judgments regarding each program’s reputation, quality, and value. While some online MSW programs still require occasional campus visits, we only considered programs that can be completed entirely online.

#1. University of Southern California

Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is now one of the premier private research universities in the world. Over 30,000 students currently take advantage of USC’s vibrant student life and rigorous academic standards.

Online MSW Program Overview
The web-based Master of Social Work program at USC mirrors the rigorous curriculum of the onsite program. The foundation-year curriculum teaches students the basic knowledge and skills needed to deal with people in their different environments. The second part of the curriculum offers advanced training in military social work, families and children, community organization, and more. The flexible coursework allows students to complete assignments on their own schedules. A full-time student can complete the program in four consecutive semesters. Students can also complete it in four years as part-time students or do a three-year accelerated program.

Accreditation
USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC). The school’s online Master’s in Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

[Click here to request more information about this program from the University of Southern California]

#2. Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is a research university based in Cleveland, Ohio. Considered to be one of the best academic institutions in the U.S., Case Western has had the honor of having 16 of its graduates, staff members and associates go on to become Nobel Laureates. There are currently over 5,000 students pursuing postgraduate degrees from the university.

Online MSW Program Overview
Case Western Reserve University offers an online Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) program that allows students to learn how to help individuals and families to better the community. Students are given the opportunity to choose a specialization in reducing community violence, working with aging populations or working with children and families. Depending on the amount of time dedicated to coursework, program length ranges from 12 to 16 months.

Accreditation
Case Western Reserve University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The social welfare program is also accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

#3. Boston University

Boston University is a major U.S. research institution founded in 1839. Today, Boston University consists of 16 schools and colleges and hosts more than 33,000 students from over 140 countries.

Online MSW Program Overview
Boston University has an innovative online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program through its School of Social Work (BUSSW). This part-time program allows busy professionals to pursue a graduate degree without a disruption in work or family life, and it can be completed in as few as eight consecutive semesters. The faculty members involved with the program are committed to being leaders, mentors, experts and active researchers in the field.

Accreditation
Boston University has been regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) since 1929. The online M.S.W. program is specially accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#4. Fordham University

Fordham University is a private research school in New York City with Jesuit heritage. Time Magazine includes Fordham as a member of the “Catholic Ivy League,” and U.S. News & World Report describes it as a top-tier national university.

Online MSW Program Overview
Established in 1916, Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service is ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. TheBestSchools.org ranks the GSS’s online Master of Social Work program as first among The 10 Best Online Masters in Social Work Degree Programs. The program is designed by full-time Fordham faculty members, and coursework is supplemented with excellent fieldwork opportunities. Applicants to the online program must be residents of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut and live at least 50 miles from the nearest Fordham campus.

Accreditation
Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The university’s Graduate School of Social Service is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#5. Indiana University

Indiana University is a public university that was founded in 1820 by the government of the state of Indiana. There are currently over 100,000 students enrolled in a program through the university between eight international campuses and the online school. The university awards over $1 billion in financial aid every year to assist students with the financial aspect of their pursuit of higher education.

Online MSW Program Overview
Indiana University offers an online Master of Social Work (MSW) program that allows students to complete the degree on their own schedules. Many of the students enrolled in the program are employed full time, and faculty members are available throughout the day to answer questions and help students with coursework to afford distance learners the same resources as on-campus students. Coursework focuses on generalist education in order to allow students to be accepted by employers in a variety of workplaces.

Accreditation
Indiana University is regionally accredited by North Central Association of Colleges
and Schools. The online MSW program is accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#6. Virginia Commonwealth University

Over 31,000 students attend Virginia Commonwealth University’s two campuses in Richmond, Virginia. U.S. News & World Report ranks 28 of VCU’s graduate and professional programs as among the best in the nation.

Online MSW Program Overview
Virginia Commonwealth University has been educating future social workers for almost 100 years. The university’s School of Social Work is ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. VCU now offers the full MSW degree program online. The distance education program uses the same curriculum as the onsite version. Students attend part time, completing the foundation year and concentration year of the program in two years each. Students must still attend two classes per semester on campus at the School of Social Work. Online MSW students are also required to complete assigned field internships during both the foundation year and concentration year courses.

Accreditation
Virginia Commonwealth University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) since 1953. VCU’s Master of Social Work degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#7. Texas State University

Texas State University first opened its doors in 1903 in San Marcos Texas. Students at Texas State can choose from nearly 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs at nine different colleges.

Online MSW Program Overview
The online Master of Social Work degree program at Texas State uses the same textbooks and syllabi as the onsite program. Online courses are also taught by the same core faculty. Online students can choose to complete a purely web-based program, or they can do a hybrid program by attending some classes on the San Marcos campus. The “Regular Track” of the MSW program consists of 29 credit hours of general foundation curriculum. The “Advanced Track” teaches specialized knowledge that prepares students for the professional world.

Accreditation
The Texas State School of Social Work is fully accredited until the year 2020. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited the school’s BSW and MSW programs in October of 2012. Texas State has also received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prepare graduate students to work with veterans, military personnel, and their families.

#8. Our Lady of the Lake University

Located in San Antonio, Texas, Our Lady of the Lake University is a Catholic private university with around 2,700 students. OLLU has been designated as a “Hispanic Serving Institution” by the federal government. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report added OLLU to the 1st Tier of Master’s Universities in the West. Small class sizes ensure that each student receives a personalized education.

Online MSW Program Overview
Our Lady of the Lake University’s online Master of Social Work program is one of only three in the nation that focuses on working with Hispanic families and children. Students who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in social work can complete an advanced MSW program in under two years. Students with undergraduate degrees in other subjects can take the full online program. The full program lasts about two and a half years.

Accreditation
Our Lady of the Lake University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. OLLU’s online MSW degree is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#9. Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University, a branch of the California State University system, is an innovative educational institution that offers both traditional and online graduate degree programs. The professors at the university have received worldwide acclaim and are known for providing students with opportunities for mentoring, research and field training. In addition, graduates of Humboldt State University are recognized for their ability to succeed in careers related to their degrees.

Online MSW Program Overview
Humboldt State University offers students an opportunity to receive a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree through an online program. This online M.S.W. program is designed for part-time students and can be completed in three and one-half years. The Advanced Standing program for students with a social work background begins in the summer of 2013 and can be completed in two years.

Accreditation
Humboldt State University is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC). The M.S.W. program at Humboldt is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

#10. Edinboro University

Edinboro University was founded in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, in 1857, and the primary campus consists of 43 buildings on 585 acres of open fields and woodlands. This full-service university offers over 100 traditional and online degree programs ranging from associate degree programs to master’s degree programs. Besides its spacious campus, Edinboro University is known for its seven-story, 480,000-book library and for its extensive international education program.

Online MSW Program Overview
Edinboro University offers two online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) programs through its School of Graduate Studies and Research. The regular program is 60 credit hours and is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree. The Advanced Standing program is only 39 credit hours but requires a bachelor’s degree in social work and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Both programs are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the national licensure exam for social work practitioners.

Accreditation
Edinboro University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The M.S.W. degree program first received special accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 2005.

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