Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Programs

While it is clear that those who hold an advanced degree in the rewarding field of social work enjoy many advantages over their baccalaureate-level counterparts, it can be slightly difficult to find high-quality affordable master’s in social work degrees as tuition expenses continue to rise.

Earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is an excellent way to compete for more advanced leadership positions, achieve a higher salary, get promoted quickly after graduation, stay up-to-date on the latest practices, enjoy increased job opportunities, and fulfill your maximize learning potential. Luckily, there are some MSW degree programs that stand out from the rest for providing students with all the benefits of a top-ranked education with the affordability needed to reduce the financial burden of pursuing a graduate degree.

Ranking Methodology

In selecting our list for the best value master’s degrees available in social work, we first looked at sources such as the top 100 graduate social work degree programs by the U.S. News and World Report. From there, we found the average in-state graduate school tuition price for each of the top schools on the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator and sorted the list from high to low to choose the 25 cheapest ranked MSW programs. Among the top 100 graduate social work degrees, the average tuition is $15,416.  As you will see, the tuition rates at the 25 most affordable master’s in social work degree programs are well below the average for the top 100.

Ranking the Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Programs

 

#25. University of Kansas: Lawrence, KS

School of Social Welfare

Master of Social Work

As a major public comprehensive research institution, the University of Kansas is nationally recognized for being the 101st best college, 47th top public school, and 15th best university for veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. With full accreditation for excellence by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Master of Social Work (MSW) program is built upon a strengths perspective to prepare graduates for clinical social work practice with individuals, families, and groups as well as social work advocacy practice at the macro level.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #26
Tuition: $8,308

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#24. University of Missouri: Columbia, MO

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work Program

Since being first established in 1839 as the first comprehensive public institution west of the Mississippi River, the University of Missouri has evolved to become the 97th best college, 44th top public school, and 12th best university for veterans according to the U.S. News and World Report. Priding itself upon being an early pioneer in social work education, the School of Social Work offers a high-quality MSW program that can be completed on-campus or off-campus with a concentration in Advanced Clinical Practice or Policy Planning and Administration in Human Services.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $8,213

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#23. University of Iowa: Iowa City, IA

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work Program

Known for being a major national research institution with a broad-based liberal arts education and a close-knit community of just over 21,000 students, the University of Iowa is ranked as the 73rd best college, 29th top public school, and 6th best college for veterans in the nation. With the goal of preparing social workers for leadership in advanced practice, the Master of Social Work (MSW) program places a strong emphasis on social change, both domestic and international.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #44
Tuition: $8,106

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#22. University of Texas – Arlington: Arlington, TX

School of Social Work

MSSW Program

As a growing national research powerhouse with more than $71.4 million annually in research expenditures for life-enhancing discoveries, the University of Texas – Arlington is an educational leader in the heart of the thriving North Texas region with nearly 26,000 students. Under the guidance of internationally recognized leading scholars and researchers, the 61-credit Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program is designed to allow students to pace their own progression through the curriculum on a full or part-time basis.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #44
Tuition: $8,000

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#21. West Chester University of Pennsylvania: West Chester, PA

Department of Social Work

MSW: Master of Social Work

Ranked as the 74th best college, 21st top public school, and 24th best university for veterans, the West Chester University of Pennsylvania is a public comprehensive institution committed to high-quality affordable education. The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is focused on connecting the theoretical contribution of the classroom with the practical world through two nine-month field education placements for a total of 1,008 clock hours of valuable experience.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #79
Tuition: $7,956

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#20. University of Indiana: Indianapolis, IN

School of Social Work

MSW Program

Distinguished as Indiana’s premier urban public institution enrolling more than 30,000 students, the University of Indiana is ranked as the 75th best college, 31st top public school, and 7th best college for veterans in the nation. Available on-campus in Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, Richmond, and South Bend as well as online from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, the 60-credit MSW program also offers students the ability to participate in the Indiana Child Welfare Scholars Program to concentrate their studies in child welfare leadership.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #26
Tuition: $7,789

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#19. University of Georgia: Athens, GA

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW) Program

Famous for making history as the first public state-supported institution in America back in 1785, the University of Georgia has grown to become the 60th best college and 20th top public school in the country. As home to the world-renowned Burn Camp that offers service-learning opportunities for social work majors to work with burn-injured children, the MSW program produces competent and creative social workers who are ready for advanced practice with a concentration area in Clinical Practice or Community Empowerment and Program Development.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #37
Tuition: $7,700

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#18. University of Wisconsin – Green Bay: Green Bay, WI

Professional Programs in Social Work

MSW Program

With the reputation for being the 65th best college and 17th top public school in the Midwest by the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay offers a wide array of undergraduate liberal arts and select master’s level programs. In a recent collaboration with the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, the MSW program prepares social workers for leadership in direct practice or administration/management by spending 16 hours a week in an approved field placement setting.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $7,640

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#17. University of Maine: Orono, ME

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Situated along the banks of the Stillwater River within just 60 miles from the beautiful Atlantic coastline, the University of Maine is ranked as the 167th best college and 92nd top public school in the nation. With the goal of preparing proficient ethical social work practitioners committed to social change in a variety of specializations, the Master of Social Work (MSW) program is offered in full and part-time options at Orono, the Hutchinson Center of Belfast, and other satellite locations.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $7,524

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#16. North Carolina State University: Raleigh, NC

Department of Social Work

MSW Program

As the 101st best college, 47th top public school, and 8th best up-and-coming school in the nation, North Carolina State University is an internationally renowned institution for its innovative research and great value. Recently celebrating its 40th anniversary of being accredited by the respected Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the two-year full-time MSW degree program equips students with the skills needed for advanced generalist social work practice with sensitivity to social, economic, cultural, and demographic contexts.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #79
Tuition: $7,173

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#15. Louisiana State University: Baton Rouge, LA

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Nestled near the Mississippi River as one of only 25 public institutions nationwide holding both land-grant and sea-grant status, Louisiana State University is acclaimed as the 135th best college and 68th top public school in the nation. Recognized for having an above average passing rate of 89% on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Licensure Exam, the 60-credit MSW program is highly successful at preparing graduates for making valuable contributions to communities through direct practice, research, social policy analysis, leadership, and advocacy.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #79
Tuition: $6,937

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#14. University of Central Florida: Orlando, FL

School of Social Work, College of Health and Public Affairs

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Currently ranked as the 170th best college, 94th top public school, and 14th best up-and-coming school in the nation, the University of Central Florida is spread across the middle of the “Sunshine State” as the nation’s second-largest university with over 51,000 students. As a part-time program designed for working professionals, the MSW program prepares students for advanced social work practice with courses held on one or two evenings each week.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $6,916

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#13. San Diego State University: San Diego, CA

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work

With an enrollment of over 31,000 students as the largest institution in the San Diego region less than an hour from the Mexican border, San Diego State University is ranked as the 152nd best college and 81st top public school in the country. Since being founded in 1963 as the first school of social work in the statewide campus university system, the MSW program has trained approximately 4,500 licensed social workers who carry professional leadership responsibilities in the social service arena around the world.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #60
Tuition: $6,738

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#12. California State University – Long Beach: Long Beach, CA

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean as a vibrant urban public institution, CSULB is currently ranked as the 32nd best college and 5th top public school in the West. Recently redesigned to provide students with an innovative academic experience that prepares them for excellence in an ever-evolving multicultural society, the 60-credit Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers opportunities for specialized practice in Child and Family Wellbeing, Adulthood and Aging, and Integrated Health.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $6,738

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#11. California State University – Los Angeles: Los Angeles, CA

School of Social Work

MSW Program

Setting a record of outstanding academic achievement for more than 50 years with internationally recognized scholars, California State University – Los Angeles is a comprehensive public institution of over 19,000 students in the entertainment capital of the world. Designed to prepare skilled professionals for practicing in socially, culturally, and economically diverse urban communities, the MSW program is comprised of 90 rigorous quarter units that can be concentrated in Children and Youth, Aging and Families, or Forensics in a state-of-the-art crime laboratory.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $6,738

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#10. San Francisco State University: San Francisco, CA

School of Social Work

MSW Program

Positioned in one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities with the largest number of international students at any public institution in the nation, San Francisco State University is recognized as the 54th best college and 16th top public school in the West by the U.S. News and World Report. With the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area providing a rich opportunity for students to learn culturally sensitive techniques to meeting serious social challenges, the MSW program requires students to complete two advanced specialized internships.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $6,738

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#9. San Jose State University: San Jose, CA

School of Social Work

Masters of Social Work (MSW)

As a major public institution located in the scenic California Bay Area of Silicon Valley, San Jose State University is currently ranked as the 36th best college and 8th top public school in the West. Uniquely committed to promoting a trans-cultural perspective through its full-time 63-credit curriculum, the MSW program also offers specializing training opportunities for students in its on-campus Child Welfare Title IV E Program and Mental Health Initiative Program.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $6,738

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#8. California State University – Sacramento: Sacramento, CA

Division of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Currently ranked as the 66th best college and 22nd top public school in the West, California State University – Sacramento is a vibrant metropolitan university of over 28,000 students that remains one of the nation’s best higher education values. As a 60-unit professional program that can be completed in two years full-time or three years part-time, the MSW program is specifically designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for multi-level practice with vulnerable life conditions, including aging, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $6,738

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#7. Rhode Island College: Providence, RI

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work Program

Founded in 1854 as the state’s first public higher institution with a beautiful 180-acre campus in the Mount Pleasant area of Providence, Rhode Island College is acclaimed as the 126th best college and 40th top public school in the North by the U.S. News and World Report. As the only publicly funded social work program in Rhode Island, the MSW program has almost 30 years of experience graduating advanced practitioners, clinicians, advocates, and managers committed to enhancing social and economic justice.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $6,696

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#6. University of North Dakota: Grand Forks, ND

Department of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW) for BSW Students

Located on the eastern edge of the state within miles from the Minnesota border as a public liberal arts institution, the University of North Dakota is ranked as the 173rd best college and 97th top public school in the nation. In order to accommodate the unique learning needs of social workers who already have an accredited social work degree and wish to pursue an advanced generalist curriculum to function competently across practice levels, the MSW degree program can be completed on-campus or fully online.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $6,696

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#5. Georgia State University: Atlanta, GA

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Master of Social Work

As an enterprising public research institution that stands as a national leader in graduating students from diverse backgrounds, Georgia State University is located in downtown Atlanta within one block of the State Capital Building on a vibrant urban campus. With its unique concentration on community partnerships, the MSW degree program is focused on educating students on social issues facing urban communities through a social and economic justice framework.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #52
Tuition: $6,264

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#4. University of Utah: Salt Lake City, UT

College of Social Work

Master of Social Work Program

Known for being a center of quality academics, powerhouse sports, and innovative research, the University of Utah is currently ranked as the 121st best college and 60th top public school in the entire nation by the U.S. News and World Report. With continuous accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1951, the MSW program has partnerships with more than 300 off-campus social service agencies to offer unparalleled opportunities for students to apply their skills in preventing and alleviating human suffering.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #52
Tuition: $5,689

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#3. University of Montana: Missoula, MT

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Situated along the Clark Fork River near Mount Sentinel in the western region of the state on one of America’s most scenic campuses, the University of Montana is recognized as the 201st best college, 117th top public school, and 52nd best university for veterans in the country. Within a supportive learning environment that boasts a dedicated and accomplished faculty, the MSW degree program has a rich legacy for creating a cutting-edge learning experience that prepares social workers for 21st century challenges with a unique focus on rural social work practice.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $5,513

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#2. University of North Carolina – Wilmington: Wilmington, NC

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW) Program

Considered unique among the nation’s public comprehensive institutions due to its effective learning environments that integrate teaching and mentoring with research, the University of North Carolina – Wilmington is currently ranked as the 15th best college and 6th top public school in the South. Offering just one concentration in clinical social work practice with a special strengths-based perspective, the MSW program is known for placing students into the same field placement agency for both years of study for achieving higher levels of clinical practice.

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #89
Tuition: $4,163

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#1. University of North Carolina – Charlotte: Charlotte, NC

Department of Social Work

Master of Social Work

As a vibrant urban public research institution committed to high-quality education for its over 22,000 students on a beautiful wooded campus in one of America’s fastest growing cities, the University of North Carolina – Charlotte is ranked as the 201st best college and 117th top public school in the nation. Offering an advanced generalist concentration in advanced interpersonal practice to focus on the needs of the region’s most vulnerable populations in an engaging 62-credit full-time program, this MSW program earns the top prize for high quality standards at an affordable price!

Program Website

U.S. News Master’s in Social Work Degrees Rank: #66
Tuition: $4,008

Overall, social work is a very noble profession that enables professionals to use their skills for helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and whole communities overcome a wide range of social problems. While it is often considered one of the most rewarding mental health areas, it can also be expensive for social workers who decide to pursue a graduate degree. If you are interested in opening professional doors as a social worker to advocate for vulnerable populations, be sure to check out these affordable master’s in social work degrees for the very best value.