Best Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Degree Programs
Study.com is here to guide you through the process of choosing the right online Master of Social Work degree program for you and your career goals. The schools we've included in the list below have met our high standards, which include being accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), offering special social work concentrations, providing their online learners with plenty of support services, and helping you finance your online MSW degree.
Study.com's online degree rankings are unique in that they emphasize accessibility, affordability, and quality of education, which we considered the most important attributes in our school rankings. It's important to note that the amazing programs on our list offer online classes but will also require field placements that allow you to put all you learn online to work in the real world.
1. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, which is located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, takes the top spot on our list with their outstanding, fully online Master of Social Work degree program, which won't require any on-campus visits, only field work right in your own community. This top online CSWE-accredited MSW program has a trauma-focused curriculum that will help prepare you for state licensure. Understanding the unique financial challenges of out-of-state students, this online MSW program offers a helpful tuition waiver of up to $2,500 for field experience courses, which means your education will be more affordable.
2. Concord University
Located in Athens, West Virginia, Concord University boasts an online Master of Social Work program that features an amazing rural practice specialization that will allow you to take classes on Appalachian culture and rural research. This online program has two great options as well, with a generalist 2-year program and an advanced standing program for those who already have a Bachelor in Social Work degree. To help you afford your online MSW degree wherever you are in the country, Concord University offers both West Virginia and non-West Virginia resident scholarships and tuition reduction programs that are top-notch.
3. Our Lady of the Lake University
With a campus in San Antonio, Texas, Our Lady of the Lake University has a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work program that features an excellent advanced program as well an impressive foundation program for those without a background in social work. This online program has a special and unique focus on the Hispanic population, and it is one of only three programs in the nation that offers this concentration. At this university, you will be treated exactly like an on-campus student with a ton of resources you can take advantage of, including academic advisors, attentive professors, and 24/7 technical support.
4. Simmons College
Simmons College, located in Boston, Massachusetts, boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program that offers you almost unlimited ways to earn your degree, including full-time and part-time options, an advanced standing option, and an accelerated option. You can also choose from four outstanding specializations: health and aging, mental health and addiction, trauma and interpersonal violence, or child and family. This online cohort program features live classes that average only 17 students and allow you to interact with your peers and professors through screen sharing, live chats, small breakout rooms. On top of all those great features, this university partners with WeWork, which means you can access free study and work spaces that are located near you.
5. University of New England
In Biddeford, Maine, the University of New England offers an advanced standing and traditional standing online Master of Social Work degree that has the great advantage of requiring absolutely no campus visits. With both options, you can choose the concentration that best fits your career goals, either community, integrated, or clinical practice. The University of New England is also super dedicated to giving you all the support you need on your way to earning your online MSW degree, including an enrollment counselor that will guide you through the admissions process and a student support specialist, who will be your go-to for any questions, concerns, or worries you have about your classes or financial aid.
6. Campbellsville University
At Campbellsville University, which is located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, you can earn an exceptional online CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work degree. This online program features quick 8-week classes that will allow you to complete your non-advanced standing degree in only 2 years and includes a clinical track that will prepare you for a career in a clinical-setting working in the mental health field of social work. This university also has the distinction of participating in the Yellow Ribbon program that helps service members and veterans afford their online MSW degree.
7. Widener University
Widener University, with a campus in Chester, Pennsylvania, takes a unique approach to the administration of their online Master of Social Work degree program, requiring that you take only one class at a time in a traditional semester system so that you won't be overwhelmed with juggling coursework. This amazing online program also makes sure that your fieldwork experiences enrich and enhance your education by offering you opportunities to intern where you work, intern outside of traditional work hours, and take extra semester hours to complete your placement. In this program, you could also earn a trauma certificate, which is a great addition to your online MSW degree and will give you that added credential you might need when job searching.
8. Aurora University
Located in Aurora, Illinois, Aurora University makes our list with their outstanding online Master of Social Work program, which has quite a few desirable tracks, including forensic social work, health care, faith-based social work, professional educator social work, and leadership administration. Just one of the many standout features of this online program is that it is one of the few social work programs that will accept transfer credits, which will help you finish your degree more quickly. Aurora University also has an amazing open resource program for the online MSW degree that doesn't require that you buy any expensive textbooks; instead, you get to use free, open-source materials for your classes, saving you a ton of money.
9. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley boasts two online advanced standing Master of Science in Social Work degree programs that feature two different concentrations: Administration and Community Practice; and Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families and Groups. Both of these online social work degree programs feature 7-week-long courses and can be completed in only one year, which is a huge plus for those who want to earn their degree quickly. More notable features include the university's scholarship opportunities, especially the new graduate student scholarship that awards $1,000.
10. University of Nevada - Reno
The online Master of Social Work degree program at the University of Nevada - Reno is a real standout not only for the amazing fact that it has no GRE requirement for admission but also because it features a generalist practice curriculum, which means it will help prepare you for a social work career in a wide range of different settings, both urban and rural, and with families, individuals, groups, and couples. You will be able to finish the traditional online program in only 15 months and won't need a bachelor's in social work to apply.
11. University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire - Main Campus in Durham, New Hampshire boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program that features the huge benefits of no required campus visits and intensive help setting up and coordinating your field placements within your own community. Another reason this online program makes our list is their generalist social work curriculum that prepares you for just about any social worker job in any setting. On your journey to earning your first-rate MSW degree online, this university will give you all the help you need with online library access, an online writing lab, and a career and professional success center.
12. University of Arkansas
At the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, you will be able to earn an advanced standing Master of Social Work degree completely online and in only 1 year. This remarkable online program will require no campus visits but has the advantage of a cohort model that allows you to interact with and get support from your peers and may allow you to complete your required internship right in your place of work. The University of Arkansas is also great at helping their online students with any issues or concerns they may have with a dedicated Student Liaison Office that is always there to help you with enrollment, technology problems, or general questions.
13. San Jose State University
In San Jose, California, San Jose State University offers a noteworthy online Master of Social Work degree program that consists of online classes that are easy to fit into your busy schedule as they are usually held on weeknights and field education experiences that can take place right where you live. This excellent online program also will let you choose between a children, youth, and families focus; aging focus; or a health/mental health focus, depending on your specific interests. After you've earned your online MSW degree, you can join the Social Work Alumni Association that promotes the social work profession and offers networking opportunities.
14. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida, which is located in magical Orlando, boasts a superb online CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work degree program that won't require out-of-state students to pay anymore than their in-state peers. This remarkable online program will feature 7-week terms that will allow you to take one class at a time so that you can concentrate on all that you're learning. With both the advanced standing and part-time tracks, this program will aim to place you within a 45-mile radius of where you live, which makes for a convenient and easy field placement experience.
15. Western New Mexico University
At Western New Mexico University, you will be able to pursue either an online advanced standing or non-advanced standing Master of Social Work degree, both of which feature synchronous online classes that utilize web-conferencing technology that makes it feel like you are right in the classroom. The program also offers field placements in your local area as well as a ton of fantastic support services for their online students, including access to the library, technical support, and live, online tutoring services.
16. New Mexico State University
The online Master of Social Work degree program at New Mexico State University located in Las Cruces, is a phenomenal generalist track program that uniquely focuses on populations located in the Southwest. This top-notch program offers both a regular and an advanced standing track, with each featuring synchronous and asynchronous online classes that give you the right mix of live classes and assignments you can complete on your own time. You will also get unparalleled help choosing your field placement. On top of all those great features, active military members can attend this online program at a reduced cost.
17. Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU, which is located in Richmond, Virginia, boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program in a clinical specialization that can be completed either on a full- or part-time basis. Coursework is offered online, though each class requires live video sessions. In this online program, you will be taught by expert professors who have real-world experience in the major metropolitan area of Washington D.C. This university also offers incredible scholarships, research assistantships and awards.
18. Louisiana State University
In Baton Rouge, LSU has a fully online Master of Social Work degree program that has the enormous benefit of short 7-week classes. This excellent program has multiple start dates throughout the year so that you can jump right into earning your online MSW degree, and you will be able to finish in 2 years or even 9-12 months if you already have a bachelor's degree in social work. This university also cares about supporting their online students, and you will be assigned an enrollment concierge and a learner concierge, both of whom will guide you through your online degree program.
19. Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis
With a campus in Indianapolis, IUPUI boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program that features an advanced generalist track that prepares you for a variety of different social work careers. In this outstanding online program, you will get to learn from the same professors that teach on-campus and will have a ton of great access to faculty and your peers. This university also offers academic and support services that will help you successfully complete your online MSW.
20. Portland State University
Located in Portland, Oregon, Portland State University offers a phenomenal online Master of Social Work degree that features 100% online classes that offer you face-to-face time you're your professors and a 2-day annual on-campus community building seminar that allows you to meet and get to know your faculty and peers. This superb online program will help guide you in choosing a local field placement right where you live. This university will also fully support you as an online student, giving you access to tutoring, academic advising, the library, and even career services.
21. University of Louisville
At the University of Louisville, located in Louisville, Kentucky, you can earn a fantastic online Master of Science in Social Work degree in 4-8 semesters in the regular program and in 2-5 semesters in the advanced standing program. Some of the great benefits of this CSWE-accredited program include no GRE requirement for admissions, saving you time and money studying for that test, and the acceptance of 6 transfer graduate credits, which can help you finish your degree more quickly. This online program also offers amazing scholarship opportunities for those who want to work in the policy making or gerontology field of social work as well as scholarships for those who want to work in rural Kentucky.
22. Fordham University
The online Master of Social Work program at Fordham University, located in New York City, offers two impressive options: a traditional track that can be completed in as little as 16 months and an advanced standing track that can be completed in as little as 8 months. This noteworthy online program allows you to choose from several areas of specialization, including policy practice and advocacy; individuals and families; evaluation; and communities and organizations. The MSW program at Fordham University also partners with agencies located all over the country, which means you will easily find the right field placement near you.
23. Texas State University
Located in San Marcos, Texas State University boasts an online Master of Social Work program that has both a foundation track and an advanced standing track. This outstanding online program features a unique and special advanced practice leadership concentration that will prepare you for an administrative social work career or a practice-based career. Texas State University makes sure their online students have all the resources they need to successfully complete their online MSW, including a special library website where you can conduct research as well as academic advising and career services.
24. California State University - Northridge
California State University - Northridge, with a campus in Los Angeles, offers a terrific online Master of Social Work degree that is able to be completed part-time in 3 years or full-time in only 2 years. This program features online classes with assignments you can complete on your own time and one live, online class each week that gives you access to your professor and fellow classmates. At California State University - Northridge, you will always be supported on your journey to earning your online MSW with support from a dedicated program coordinator who will be your point person for any questions or concerns you have.
25. Brescia University
At Brescia University, which is located in Owensboro, Kentucky, you will be able to attend an exceptional online Master of Social Work degree program that offers an advanced standing and regular standing track. This online program also features 15-week classes that use Adobe Connect, which allows you to have an interactive online classroom experience. Knowing that the curriculum and experience you will have in this excellent program will fully prepare you for your social work career, Brescia University will reimburse you the fee for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam when you pass it.
26. University of Houston
In Houston, Texas, the University of Houston boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program, which has the amazing feature of a cohort model of learning that allows you to take classes with the same group of peers so that you form supportive, intellectual, and professional relationships with your fellow students. This outstanding online program also feature two specialization practice areas: clinical or macro practice, which will prepare you to practice in an urban setting in an administrative or community-based role. University of Houston's online MSW program also has great opportunities for you to get involved with student organizations even as an online student, and you can join the Macro Network and the GCSW Student Association.
27. Metropolitan State University of Denver
You will be able to choose from several online Master of Social Work degree options at Metropolitan State University of Denver in Colorado, including an advanced standing option, a regular MSW option, and full- and part-time options. A noteworthy aspect of this online program is that it works with the federal government and the state of Colorado to offer stipends and scholarships that cover your tuition. This amazing online program also boasts small class sizes of only 16 students and offers plenty of ways to work and research with MSW faculty.
28. Delaware State University
Located in Dover, Delaware State University boasts a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work degree program that features the much in-demand advanced generalist concertation. This noteworthy program has the distinction of being the only MSW program in Delaware and will fully prepare you to achieve licensure in your own state of residence. Along with your online classes, you will also be able to participate in the MSW Student Councils via Skype so that you don't miss any opportunities as an online student.
29. University of Denver
The University of Denver in Colorado boasts two online Master of Social Work degree programs, including an advanced standing program that can be completed in only 18 months and a traditional program that can be completed in as little as 21 months. These remarkable online programs will also allow you to pursue a unique mental health and trauma concentration or an informative health and wellness concentration. Also, your field placement specialist will be there to help you find the perfect placement right in your own community. On top of those great features, these programs also have small 15 person classes so that you can form real relationships with your professors and peers.
30. University of Southern California
Rounding out our list is the USC in Los Angeles, which boasts an online Master of Social Work degree program that will allow you to choose the right concentration for you, either social change and innovation; children, youth and families; or adult mental health and wellness. From there you can also choose a military social work or school social work track, which makes this online program one of the best for preparing you for the exact social career you want. Other highlights of this amazing program include small class sizes of only 12, a WeWork membership, which gives you access to study spaces, and access to career and library services.
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.