Top 10 Best Online Masters in Social Work (MSW)

Masters in Social WorkThe Masters in Social Work degree is designed to offer advanced knowledge of the area of social work through upper-level education and practical experience. Online MSW programs provide students with the opportunity to become social workers if their educational background is in another field. Current social workers may enter a MSW program to gain additional education and field experience within a specific concentration area.

Online programs are more flexible in their course offerings and are designed for individuals who have other obligations, but want to change their current career or become more specialized. In contrast to the traditional brick-and-mortar programs, students may not have structured class times, and need to be self-motivated to complete assignments on time and earn their degree. There are many online MSW programs that are reputable and fully accredited. Furthermore, some have earned notoriety from prominent rankings such as U.S. News and World Report.

10 Best Masters in Social Work (MSW) Programs Online

The following ten MSW programs offer students a quality education in an online or hybrid format. Most programs offer variations of the curriculum for students with or without a BSW, full-time and part-time students. All information on tuition is for the 2012-2013 academic year, unless otherwise stated. Additional costs for fees and books are not included.

Fordham University

Executive Summary: The MSW program is available to individuals who reside in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York, within 50 miles of the campus. FU’s social work programs are ranked 11th by U.S. News and World Report. The program is available on a part-time basis to traditional MSW students, and a modified program structure is available to students with advanced standing.
Tuition: $836 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work.

University of Southern California

Executive Summary: USC offers their virtual MSW program to meet the needs of students from any location. The program diligently works with students and agencies to find field placement sites near the student’s location. USC’s program is regarded as one of the top graduate programs in social work, by U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $42,708 per year, full-time; $17,901 per year, part-time.
Concentrations: Families and Children; Health; Mental Health; Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA). Any concentration can include a sub-concentration in Military Social Work.

Boston University

Executive Summary: The BU online MSW program is offered to individuals who are located within the vicinity of the university. The program is only offered on a part-time basis, which is specifically geared toward individuals who currently have job demands or other obligations. The MSW can be completed in two to three years.
Tuition: $650 per credit hour, part-time only.
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work Practice; Human Service (experienced applicants only).

Florida State University

Executive Summary: The online MSW program at FSU is limited to students located in specified cities or counties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Prospective students must have completed a BSW or are transferring from a traditional MSW program after the first year. The program is only available for part-time enrollment and can be completed in two years.
Tuition: $558.70-$625 per credit hour, depending on location.
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work.

University of New England

Executive Summary: UNE offers a MSW program for students new to the field and those with social work experience. Students with a BSW and significant experience can enroll in their Advanced Standing Track to complete their MSW in less time. The university is recognized as one of the best northern schools by U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $810 per credit hour (2013-2014).
Concentrations: Individuals, Families and Group Practice (IFG); Organization and Community Practice (OCP).

Saint Leo University

Executive Summary: SLU’s online MSW program was established in 2010 and is expected to receive full accreditation in 2013. Students can expect to complete the program in two years of full-time study, and individuals with a BSW can enroll in the Advanced Study Program to complete the program in one year. Part-time enrollment is also available, and can be completed in three years. All students are expected to complete one on-campus course, which is held on a weekend during the summer term.
Tuition: $408 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Advanced Clinical Practice.

Rutgers University

Executive Summary: RU offers the option for a completely online MSW or a hybrid program. Students in any location can enroll in the online program, whereas students located within the vicinity of RU can enjoy a combination of online and on-campus instruction.
Tuition: $7,512 in-state/$12,300 out-of-state per year, full-time; $626 in-state/$1,025 out-of-state per credit hour, part-time.
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work; Non-Profit and Public Management (hybrid program only).

Michigan State University

Executive Summary: MSU offers the option of a hybrid weekend MSW for students that prefer the combination of traditional coursework, combined with online courses. Traditional courses are offered on the weekend. Students who have other obligations during the week are not limited to a program that is strictly online. The program is designed to be completed within three years, on a part-time basis.
Tuition: $597.25 in-state per credit hour; $1,173.25 out-of-state per credit hour.
Concentrations: Organization and Community Leadership.

University of Louisville-Kent School of Social Work

Executive Summary: UL’s MSW program holds the distinctions as being the third best program by U.S. News and World Report. Students without a BSW can apply for their standard MSW program, whereas students who have earned a BSW may pursue an advanced track. Students may only apply for fall admission.
Tuition: $660 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work.

California State University-Long Beach

Executive Summary: CSULB offers their online MSW program using a two-way interactive format, where students attend satellite locations at Sonoma State University or Ventura College. Students have the opportunity of increased flexibility, while being able to interact with the professor and other students in real time. The program is offered on a part-time basis, and can be completed in three years.
Tuition: $1,953 in-state, up to six units; $3,369 in-state, more than six units. An additional $372 per unit for out-of-state students is added onto the base tuition rates.
Concentrations: Children, Youth and Families.

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