15 Best Online MSW Programs for Students 2023

According to BLS, social work employment is projected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026 due to the demand for healthcare and social services. Because of this, enrolling in the MSW program is expedient to join this emerging workforce.

An online Master in Social Work program prepares students to work in different clinical settings, even in schools.

Actually, to work in clinical, specialist, and advanced practice roles, students must earn an MSW degree from an accredited program.

In this article, we will explain the15 best Online MSW Programs for Students 2023 and the program link.

How Long Will it take to get an Online Masters’s in Social Work?

A typical online MSW program requires students to earn 36 to 60 credits. This depends on whether the student is taking the traditional program or advanced student learning.

A full-time student can earn an online master’s degree in social work in about two years. Part-time students can earn the online MSW degree in about three to four years.

Learners with advanced standing, those with a bachelor’s degree in social work, or those who have earned graduate credits as an undergrad can complete an MSW online in about one year.

What Are the Requirments for Online MSW Programs?

The admission requirements for an online MSW program depend on the university. However, most programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree that meets a minimum GPA requirement.

GRE and GMAT test requirements vary by school. Well, one of the schools on our list, the University of South Florida, doesn’t require a GRE score.

Additionally, some students must have completed prerequisite classes to apply.

How Do I Identify the Right Online MSW Program for me?

Many universities offer online MSW programs, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

These are some of the tips that can help you determine the best MSW option.

See also: 13 Best DNP Programs for Students


Accreditation status is one of the most important considerations. Choose colleges for your online MSW program that a recognized body has accredited.

We bet you didn’t know that accreditation affects credit transferability and students’ eligibility for financial aid. Therefore, ensure that the program has either federal or national accreditation.

Online Coursework

The core courses in a master’s in social work should teach interpersonal and behavioral skills, clinical and therapeutic services, community development, social justice and integrity, organizational planning, and social policy analysis.

Ensure that these are covered in the online MSW program you’re going for.

Degree specializations

Most online MSW programs start with core foundational courses. They have the opportunity to specialize in the final year.

Some specializations are;

A clinical concentration majors in individuals and groups’ mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being. This leads to a career in community mental health centers, primary health care clinics, and private practice settings.

Management and community concentration prepares social workers for leadership positions. It prepares for jobs in policy and advocacy programs, community-based agencies, and educational facilities.

Policy, planning, and administration allow social workers to work on a macro-system level in policy-making, social service organizations, and political and governmental settings.


MSW online programs usually require students to undergo internships. Most online degrees offer this locally as internships provide hands-on training.

Choose na online program that allows for internships.

What can you do with a master’s in social work?

You can work in diverse fields with a degree from an online MSW program. Some of them include;

  • Employee assistance program counselor
  • Hospice social worker
  • Medical social worker
  • Social worker
  • Social work supervisor

15 Best Online MSW Programs for Students 2023

The following are the best online masters for social work MSW programs in 2023;

#1 Florida State University

The online masters for social work programs at FSU are available in all 50 states to residents.

FSU has a part-time online MSW program for professionals who work.

The curriculum attempts to prepare graduates for social work licensure. The 61 credits of required coursework and two field assignments in social work are completed by part-time students in this program.

Students at FSU pursuing an online MSW typically complete the program in three years and take two courses every semester. Each course has a 16-week duration. 12 or 13 weeks are the length of some summer courses.

There is an advanced MSW program for people with a bachelor’s in social work. This can be completed in two years.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits the online MSW program.

Visit Program Link

#2 University of Central Florida

UCF serves over 68,000 on-campus and online students.

There are two social work master’s online programs available at UCF. Both of them have .concentrations in behavioral health and child welfare services.

The 62-credit MSW, designed specifically for students without a BSW, delivers courses in two seven-week terms each semester. Students with a BSW earned within the last six years can enroll in the 32-credit, advanced standing MSW program.

Learners progress through the degree in cohorts, taking one asynchronous course at a time with the same classmates. Students also complete a field experience at a service provider in their local community. Graduates of these programs meet the educational eligibility criteria for Florida state licensure. All online MSW students pay the same tuition rate.

The Council of Social Work Education accredits the online MSW programs. UCF holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Link

See also: 15 Best Programs Like Americorps

#3 University of South Florida

The USF is located in Tampa Bay Area, Florida. The university offers 130 graduate programs, of which the online master’s in social work program is part.

The Council on Social Work Education is the accreditation body. At the same time, USF holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

This advanced program needs applicants who have completed the bachelor’s in social work program BSW with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. This is one of the online MSW programs that do not require a GRE score.

Through sequential course work, the cohort approach used by the USF Online MSW program enables students to connect with and develop relationships with both their professors and classmates.

Students can access course materials online and engage in real-time online classroom interactions with instructors.

The 60-credit online MSW program at USF can be completed in three semesters by full-time students. It typically takes five semesters for part-time students to complete the degree.

Every course is live and synchronous, and students linearly move through the curriculum.

For the first semester, classes meet on a scheduled night on Tuesdays, and for the succeeding semesters, they meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Program Link

#4 Boston University

Boston University is a private student, and the tuition is somewhat expensive.

It has been offering graduate degrees in social work since 1918.

However, many students enrolled in the online MSW program say the cost is worthwhile.

This online master’s in social work program is part-time. Students can major in either clinical practice or macro practice.

You can enroll in this program in 3 tracks: traditional, human service experience, and advanced standing.

The traditional track requires 65 credits to finish, which can be done in nine semesters. The track for students with human service experience has the same credits and semesters but is only open to those with at least two years of relevant full-time employment. While the advanced standing route, available to candidates with undergraduate social work degrees, entails 43 credits spread over six semesters.

Live classroom sessions are required every week for all first-year online MSW students. Other coursework is self-paced. Learners take two seven-week courses per semester. This MSW program is not available to international students.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits the online MSW programs. 

Program Link

#5 University of Southern California

The University of Southern California claims that its Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is the first private research institution in the USA to offer an online social work master’s program.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits the USC online MSW program.

It is a 60-credit online program that uses both asynchronous and synchronous course formats. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as two years. In comparison, part-time students use the 3 or 4 years track.

There is an advanced track for students with a BSW degree, which lasts only one year.

For the online MSW program, students can specialize in one of three areas of study, which are:

  • Adult mental health and wellness curriculum. It explores behavioral theory and neuroscience.
  • Children, youth, and families option. This equips graduates for clinical positions in childhood and family services.
  • Social change and innovation specialization. This focuses on social policy and social work practice in business and community environments.

Program Link

#6 New Mexico State University-Main Campus

At New Mexico State Univerity, the online MSW program has a student-to-facility ratio of 16:1.

Depending on past education, full-time students can complete the online master of the social work program at NMSU in two years or fewer.

Students with social work bachelor’s degrees can finish the 60-credit master’s program in only one year.

Students can acquire a dual degree by combining the MSW and a master’s of public health. The dual-degree option has 90 credits and takes three years to complete. (billboardtarps.com)

The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare is part of the NMSU School of Social Work. The faculty researches child welfare, immigration, veteran services, and trauma-informed care in collaboration with the center. This study can be relevant to MSW students.

Program Link

#7 George Mason University

The student-to-faculty ratio of the master’s in social work program is 17:1.

George Mason’s online MSW program emphasizes empowerment and social justice.

Students prepare to serve underrepresented groups because they focus on system transformation. Their curriculum is on social policy, human behavior and clinical practice, and research methods.

Students with a BSW degree or a related one can enroll in an accelerated advanced MSW program.

The full-time online MSW program will complete 60-credit coursework.

This program is available to students in the USA.

Program Link

#8 University of Memphis

The University of Memphis has her master’s in social work in these forms; full-time, part-time, extended study, advanced learning, and distance education.

All other forms apart from advanced learning must complete 60-credit to earn the degree. Advanced learning will complete 37 credits across three semesters because they already have a bachelor’s in Social work.

MSW can take between one to four years to complete. And all the courses are fully available online.

For this program to be completed, students must fulfill all requirements to become social workers in Tennessee.

Program Link

#9 Appalachian State University

Located in Bonne, North California, the Appalachian state online MSW program equips graduates with advanced practice and intervention skills. This is to enable them to become effective leaders in social work.

MSW graduates conduct research and work as medical social workers, substance abuse counselors, child welfare case workers, and school social workers.

The tricky thing is that online MSW program enrollees may not have access to the full selection of MSW courses, but they can complete the degree online.

Full-time students complete the course in one year. Part-time students in two years.

The online MSW program needs 33 credits to earn a degree.

You can sit for a social work license in North Carolina upon graduation.

Program Link

#10 Carlow University

The online MSW programs at Carlow University serve working professionals.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits this degree.

It takes 18 to 48 months to complete this online master’s in social work.

CSW’s curriculum is trauma-focused and has a flexible hybrid format. 

There are two concentrations; direct practice and macro practice. There are two tracks as well, an advanced standing track for people who already have a bachelor’s degree in social work and the traditional track for all students.

MSW graduates can sit for the social work licensing exam in their state of interest.

Program Link

#11 Columbia University in the City of New York

Since 1898, Columbia University in the City of New York has offered a master’s in social work. The Council on Social Work Education accredits the online program.

This program focuses on social and economics just for the at-risk population.

Students in the full-time option can compete in the 60-credit online MSW program in 2 years.

An extended program takes four years to complete and earn their degree.

Again, a reduced residence option allows students to continue with their employment, learn part-time for two years, and enroll full-time for the thirdthird year to complete the educational requirements.

Last is the advanced study option for graduates of BSW, and this takes only one year to complete the coursework.

Program Link

#12 Rutgers University

Rutgers University is located in New Jersey. They started offering social work programs in 1954.

Rutgers University School of Social Work offers one of the largest online programs in the US. They have 2 MSW online programs.

The fully online MSW program has two courses each fall, spring, and summer semesters. All the requirements are fulfilled in 3 years. Students here have a specialized elective course about violence against women and children certification.

The blended MSW program has its first two years of study entirely online, and the third year offers a blend of online and on-campus classes.

Both the online and blend programs offer an advanced study option for students with a BSW or a related degree. For this program, students can complete the online master’s in social work in 2 years over four semesters.

All the online courses use asynchronous delivery that allows students and faculty to interact through discussion threads and web applications.

Program Link

#13 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urban Champaign is the city’s flagship state public higher education. Its social work program has been offering training courses since 1943.

Likewise, the MSW degree has been on for over four decades.

Students can train using the online master’s in the social work program or a hybrid program comprisingb-based courses and classroom classes.

These are the options and how long it takes to complete them;

  • Leadership and social change program- four semesters of online classes and a field practicum.
  • Advanced clinical concentration – a hybrid format (online policy and research courses plus on-campus weekend sessions, held once per month)

Program Link

See also: 15 Best Online School Counselling Programs with no GRE

#14 The University of Texas in Arlington

The Council of Social Work Education accredits the online MSW program at The University of Texas in Arlington.

UTA offers both non-cohort and cohort tracks. This includes an accelerated program option for students with a BSW degree.

The non-cohort track involves both web-based and face-to-face components taken in 16-week courses. The cohort track is a fully online curriculum through synchronous courses. Depending on the plan and enrollment status, this program can be completed in 16-26 months,.

Students in the accelerated track can complete all coursework in 12 months.

Online learners of the MSW program have to select from three direct-practice specializations;

  • children and families
  • mental health and substance abuse
  • aging

Currently, admission to the MSW online degree program is for Texas residents only. This may change soon.

Program Link

See also: 15 Best Online Graduate Programs No GRE In 2022| Requirements, Cost, Admission

#15 University of Denver

The University of Denver provides an online MSW program through its Graduate School of Social Work.

The university offers two options for MSW concentrations.

A mental health and trauma specialization prepares students for clinical practice. This has a focus on assessment and advanced interventions.

A health and wellness option provides another approach to healthcare that emphasizes the mind-body connection. Both concentrations promote the culturally responsive critical practice.

The traditional MSW track, for students without a BSW, requires 90 credits of coursework. Learners can earn the degree in 21-48 months.

Students with a BSW can enroll in the 60-credit advanced standing track, typically completing the requirements in 18-24 months.

In addition to taking asynchronous courses, students participate in live classes for a maximum of four hours per week.

Although synchronous courses require participation at set times, online students can select from multiple class sessions to best fit their schedules.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits the online MSW programs.

Program Link


  • Online colleges – Best Online MSW Programs for Students 2023
  • Forbes – Best Online MSW Programs
  • Usnews – Online Master of Social Work Degree


1 comment

Comments are closed.

You May Also Like