50 Best Online Master’s in Social Work


Let's face it – the world needs more caring and helping individuals. With so many problems rising every day throughout the world, we need people who can help children and families cope with the trauma and the depression they are facing. We need people who can put a smile on a person's face. We need people who are willing to go out into the world and make it a better place. We need people who can help those who have suffered through abuse as a child and/or adult. We need people like YOU. People who can make a difference in society and change the way others live for the better. By choosing a school from the 50 Best Online Master's in Social Work, you are taking a big step in helping communities who are suffering from abuse, oppression, health problems, and poverty. Social workers are one of the fastest growing professions in the country. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to see a 16% growth over the next ten years. There are lots of opportunities being presented for graduates. There are not many professions where you see so much rapid growth in the job department. Here's your chance to be a part of the change and make a difference in the world.

Why Become a Social Worker?

With social workers on the rise, so is the pay. Each year in a social work position, your salary would be expected to rise by at least $419, according to SocialWorkers.org. There are a lot of different types of positions a person with a Master's of Social Work can apply for. A basic social worker makes close to $50,000/year, according to BLS. Those with a Master's in Social Work receive more than $13,000/year than those with only a Bachelor's in Social Work, according to SocialWorkers.org. Those who work in International Affairs and National Security within Social Work make up to $70,000/year with an MSW, according to SocialWorkers.org. Those in elementary and secondary education make $60,000/year, and those in hospitals and healthcare settings make $56,000/year. If you decide to upgrade to a doctorate after your MSW, you can see a pay increase of $20,000 to $25,000/year, according to Social Workers.org. The 16% increase in jobs is also expected to continue to go up along with the salary because of the growing need for social workers in society.

The best part about an MSW is that students get real-world experience in school. Every school listed in our 50 Best Online Master's in Social Work requires multiple field internships and practicums, partnering a student with an agency to give them hands-on experience in the field and the opportunity to work with others in the community. This fieldwork allows you to put your learning in the classroom to work and help with the growth of yourself and others. According to SocialWorkers.org, there is a high demand for social workers in big cities, and most of the schools on our list are in – or in close proximity to – a big city. By doing much of the coursework online, it allows students to be flexible in their schedule and work around their jobs, student life, and campus life. Most all MSW degrees have an Advanced Standing Program that provides a shorter path to the degree with a Bachelor's in Social Work. 

How to Choose a Master's in Social Work

Social Work Degree Guide is here to help you find the perfect program for you. We factor in Student Satisfaction and Affordability as our primary metrics, at 30% of the total ranking each. From there, Alumni Salaries, SAT Scores, and the school's retention rate each represent 10%. For more information on how SWG ranks Social Work degrees, please visit our About Us page.

 

#50 Texas State University – San Marcos, TX

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $6,556 (in-state); $14,856 (out-of-state)

Score: 86.95

Unique Features

Known for its diversity, a majority of students at Texas State University are minorities and study one of its 205 degrees offered. The Master's of Social Work program, with a concentration in Advanced Practice Leadership, can be taken fully-online and gives students the opportunity to study issues concerning the population and the tools needed to help improve society. The MSW degree offers two tracks: a Foundation track for students who do not hold a bachelor's degree in the social work field, or the Advanced Standing track, which is for graduates from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited BSW program. The Foundation track includes a 62-credit curriculum while the Advanced Standing track requires just 36 credits. Both degrees offer full-time and part-time coursework options with a webinar and two practicums. The office of admissions requires students to upload their application along with official transcripts and GRE test scores. TSU ranks No. 176 on the list of Best National Universities, according to Washington Monthly

#49 Walden University – Minneapolis, MN

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $ 11,739

Score: 87.26

Unique Features

Walden University is a fairly new school established in 1970 that offers predominantly online courses for its undergraduate and graduate students. The Master's of Social Work is an online graduate program that gives its students real-world training while preparing them for the state licensure examination. As part of the coursework, students will have the opportunity to take part in virtual reality scenario sessions and study award-winning custom case studies. The degree offers concentrations in Advanced Clinical Practice, Military Social Work, Social Work in Healthcare, and Social Work with Children and Families. The 92-credit curriculum includes core coursework, elective coursework, and field experience that can be taken full-time or part-time. As part of the coursework, students will do two 6-week skill labs that must be taken both in-person and online. As part of the admissions requirements, applicants must provide official transcripts alongside a professional resume that details educational and work history. WU ranked No. 19 on the list of Best Colleges for Adult Learners back in 2016, according to Washington Monthly. 

#48 Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $12,217 (in-state); $25,032 (out-of-state)

Score: 87.51

Unique Features

Virginia Commonwealth University is an ever-growing school, establishing campuses in other parts of the world, such as Qatar, and growing to a population that makes it the second-largest college in Virginia, as well as the most diverse, representing over 100 countries. The Master's of Social Work is an online graduate program that emphasizes critical thinking, self-awareness, data-based decision making, and ethical integrity. The 60-credit curriculum offers both part-time and full-time tracks and includes concentrations in Clinical Practice and in Administration, which is to be taken over the final 30 credits of coursework. Students will have the opportunity to take courses in social work practice, human behavior, social policy, social justice, research, and field instruction. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate coursework and have taken one of the prerequisite courses listed on the school's website. VCU ranks No. 25 on the list of Best Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#47 University of Missouri–Columbia – Columbia, MO

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,822 (in-state); $24,156 (out-of-state)

Score: 88.58

Unique Features

The University of Missouri-Columbia has some of the most established faculty in the nation, including 2018 Nobel Prize winner George P. Smith. As a graduate of the Master's of Social Work program, students will have the opportunity to aid children, families, or groups and get the most out of their opportunities for change. The program has a 39-credit track for those who already have a bachelor's degree in the social work field and a 60-credit track for those new to the program. The program is 100% online and virtual, with no campus visits required, and includes concentrations in Advanced Clinical Practice and Policy, Planning, and Administration. Prior to earning the degree, students must complete two practicums: one in an agency inside Missouri or a qualified state and another in an agency in or outside the region. Applicants that apply online are required to submit their official transcripts along with GRE test scores. UMC ranks No. 78 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

 

#46 West Virginia University – Morgantown, VA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $9,990 (in-state); $25,776 (out-of-state)

Score: 88.58

Unique Features

West Virginia University sporting teams are known as The Mountaineers and have a mascot that fires off a rifle during a score at every home football game, which provides one of the best home environments in the nation. The Master's of Social Work program at WVU can be taken fully-online and offers an advanced integrated practice curriculum with an emphasis on effective models of rural service delivery that prepares students to build upon what they learn and use it in real world practices. The 12-course curriculum is offered only on a part-time basis and is for students who received a Bachelor's in Social Work or a qualifying field. Students who apply must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75, but the admissions office states that it prefers a 3.0. Official transcripts are also required to be submitted. WVU ranks No. 70 on the list of Best Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#45 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville, TX

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $5,720 (in-state); $13,190 (out-of-state)

Score: 89.27

Unique Features

Part of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's vision is to support and develop its community, particularly for international students, so they can be agents of change throughout the world. The Master's of Social Work goes a long way in meeting that vision, providing students with the leadership skills to improve human agencies in at-risk Latino and other minority communities. Once completed with the program and after passing the final exam, individuals will have Licensed Master's Social Worker credentials and have the ability to work in a social service organization, policy or advocacy organization, or community action agency. Students will take 11 core courses, which include 500 hours of Macro Practicum work in the field. The office of admissions requires applicants to submit their official transcripts, GRE test scores, and three letters of reference. 

 

#44 Our Lady of the Lake University – San Antonio, TX

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $16,326

Score: 89.84

Unique Features

A small Catholic university of just over 3,000 students, Our Lady of the Lake University provides students with a cozy setting while giving them the chance to explore the beautiful Riverwalk of San Antonio. The Master's of Social Work is an online program which prepares students to change the lives of children and families in need. OLLU was recognized by U.S. News & World Report in 2016 and College Choice in 2017 as a top social work program. The MSW has a relevant focus on the Hispanic population and offers two different programs: the Advanced Standing program and the Foundation program. Both programs will prepare students for the licensure exam at the end of the coursework. The 13-course Advanced Standing curriculum and 20-course Foundation curriculum both include seminars and fieldwork as part of the track. The office of admissions requires the submission of official transcripts, a resume, three letters of reference, and a personal statement. 

 

#43 University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,226 (in-state); $21,964

Score: 89.87

Unique Features

Known as the Fighting Hawks, the University of North Dakota athletics has produced 26 conference championships and 14 Division-II national football championships over the years. Among its many degrees, the school offers the Master's of Social Work that provides students the leadership skills to help improve lives, prevent social problems and suffering, improve systems, and redress injustices. The 36-to-60 credit curriculum offers a Distance or On-Campus Concentration for those students who already have a BSW and a Foundation Concentration for students without a BSW. UND ranks No. 7 on the list of Best CSWE Accredited Online MSW Degree Programs, according to The Social Work Degree Center. As part of the application requirements, applicants are to submit a three-to-five page personal statement that describes the motivation for receiving an MSW and a personal resume that outlines all work and educational experience. 

 

#42 Temple University – Philadelphia, PA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $16,488 (in-state); $22,698 (out-of-state)

Score: 89.90

Unique Features

With over 40,000 students and 3,800 faculty members, Temple University is the second-largest school in Pennsylvania, behind only Penn State. Students who study a Master's of Social Work can obtain the degree fully-online and receive the necessary skills that will help them in the fight for social and economic justice. As part of the program, students will get real-world experience from one of over 500 human service and social change organizations throughout the state. Students can specialize in Children and Families, Health and Mental Health, or an approved individualized option. Based on a student's academic history and whether or not they received their bachelor's in a social work field, they can choose the 35-credit path or the 60-credit path, which can be completed in one to three years. TU's admissions office requires applicants to submit an official Social Work Degree application along with official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and three letters of reference. TU ranks No. 59 on the list of Best Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#41 University of New Hampshire-Main Campus – Durham, NH

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $13,840 (in-state); $27,130 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.12

Unique Features

Just an hour away from Boston, Portland, Maine, and The White Mountains, the University of New Hampshire has three award-winning dining halls and offers over 200 degree programs. The Master's of Social Work is a 62-credit curriculum that can be taken over the span of 28 months and trains students to be able to work with diverse children, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Those who earn the degree can choose a career that includes being a medical social worker, public health administrator, school social worker, community health worker, or child welfare caseworker. Part of the coursework includes four field internships and classes in social work welfare, social work practice, research methods, and studying social and human behavior. Applicants are required to submit to the admissions office their official transcripts, three reference letters, a personal statement and essay, a resume showing significant volunteer experience, and GRE test scores. UNH ranks No. 46 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#40 Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $10,214 (in-state); $25,050 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.27

Unique Features

Ram Pride. Students at Colorado State love their school and adore the mascot, Cam the Ram. They are proud of their school and its traditions. The university has a part-time Distance Hybrid Master's of Social Work program that takes approximately three years to complete. Students can take all courses online and show up on-campus two weekends a semester for an intensive learning course. The 64-credit curriculum includes field placement courses, community practice courses, and a final research and capstone project. Those with a BSW will not have to complete the full 64 credit hours and can choose a dual degree in the Public Health field if they wish. CSU's Social Work program ranks among the top 15% of all graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The office of admissions requires students to submit official transcripts along with a professional resume and three letters of reference.

 

#39 Tulane University of Louisiana – New Orleans, LA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $52,856

Score: 90.38

Unique Features

Ever want to visit Mardi Gras? Well, here's your chance. Tulane University is just a few blocks from the infamous celebration in downtown New Orleans giving students a great opportunity to take a break from their rigorous studies and enjoy one of America's biggest parties. On the academic side of things, TU gives students the chance to study a Master's of Social Work, a program that ranks No. 36 on the list of Best Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The goal of the MSW is to teach its students the value of human diversity and help them engage with others in the community to promote social and economic justice. Students can take courses online and finish the program anywhere from 16 to 32 months, depending on the pace at which they choose to study. As part of the curriculum, students must complete 948 hours of field education, giving them real-world practice and experience in the social work field. One of the application requirements includes a five-page personal statement that describes a student's motivation for working in the field, their experiences thus far, and how it's helped them grow as a person.

#38 University of Maine – Orono, ME

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $7,902 (in-state); $25,740 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.54

Unique Features

The University of Maine is one of America's most respected schools. They were recently featured in The Princeton Review and The Fiske Guide to Colleges advertising the nation's best universities. They were also ranked as one of America's top-50 green colleges, according to The Princeton Review. The Master's of Social Work at UM prepares its students to successfully serve children, families, organizations, and communities that need help. The Advanced Standing Online program is a 46-credit curriculum for students who obtained a bachelor's degree in Social Work or a related field. Students will complete coursework, take on multiple practicums, conduct research, develop their skills through field practice, and join in on seminars. The Online-Hybrid program, which is for students who did not receive a bachelor's in a social work field, consists of 63 credit hours. Applicants are required to take the GRE and submit their test scores to the office of admissions, along with sending official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume.

 

#37 Widener University – Chester, PA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $22,300

Score: 90.68

Unique Features

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Philadelphia, Widener University is nationally recognized in leadership and civic engagement, both critical skills that social workers need to excel in the profession. The Master's of Social Work is an online degree which incorporates trauma into the coursework so social workers can better help organizations, families, and children who are suffering from mental health problems. Depending on a student's experience in their undergraduate studies, the program consists of anywhere from 41-to-64 credits and can be completed in as little as two years. Students will have an opportunity as part of the coursework to work in trauma centers and study the different patterns they see among struggling children and adults. WU's Social Work program ranks No. 2 on the list of Top Online MSW Programs, according to GraduatePrograms.com. Applicants can only apply if they have a 2.7 GPA in their undergraduate studies and are required to take the GMAT exam and submit a resume, official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and three letters of reference to the office of admissions.

 

#36 University of Alaska Anchorage – Anchorage, AK

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,802 (in-state); $18,504 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.71

Unique Features

The University of Alaska Anchorage connects to 250 miles of trails that give students on campus wooded seclusion and beautiful scenic views of mountain vistas and the Pacific Ocean. The Master's of Social Work with an Advanced Generalist Concentration prepares students for a lifetime of service helping out struggling children and families. Students can choose either a traditional track of 62-credits and 960 hours of field practicum or an advanced track consisting of 35 credits and one 480-hour field placement. All courses are delivered online, but students must commute for fieldwork. No GRE is required, but applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply and submit their official transcripts to the office of admissions. UAA ranks No. 27 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#35 California State University-San Bernardino – San Bernardino, CA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $7,176 (in-state); $16,680 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.86

Unique Features

California State University-San Bernardino is one of the nation's most diverse campuses, with a 63% Hispanic enrollment and 87% minority enrollment, according to its website. The Master's of Social Work degree mostly targets Hispanic children, families, and communities who are suffering from traumatic experiences and poor living environments. Courses can be completed fully-online and include two- and three-year programs. CSUSB also offers The Pathway Distance Education Program, which is for students who live too far away to attend the campus and take courses fully online. As part of the concentration curriculum, students will take courses in Advanced Micro Practice and Advanced Macro Practice alongside a Research Project and Advanced Fieldwork. While students do not have to take the GRE, they do have to have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA and have taken courses in Social Research Methods, Human Behavior, and Human Psychology before applying. CSUSB ranks No. 54 on the list of Best Regional Universities West, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

 

#34 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania – Edinboro, PA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $12,384 (in-state); $18,576 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.88

Unique Features

With their athletics known as the Fighting Scots, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offers over 200 clubs and organizations for students to get involved in a lot for what is a fairly small university. The Master's of Social Work program prepares graduates to work in a wide range of settings, including medical and psychiatric facilities, family-based and mental health agencies, schools, addiction treatment centers, hospitals, and rehabilitation and correction centers. While taking classes, MSW students are expected to be participating in Field Education internships as part of the curriculum. Students can opt to take the Advanced Standing one-year program, which is for those with a BSW, or the regular two-year program, which requires 60 credits. The office of admissions requires students to provide two reference letters, a personal statement, a professional resume, and official transcripts. 

 

#33 University of Nevada-Reno – Reno, NV

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $4,950 (in-state); $19,422 (out-of-state)

Score: 90.88

Unique Features

Located in the "Biggest Little City in the World", the University of Nevada-Reno allows students to take the Master's of Social Work program fully-online. The program is designed to prepare students for the licensure exam at the end of the coursework and develop graduates into effective leaders who are ready to go out into the community to aid those in need. The Advanced Standing Program is a 32-credit curriculum for those already with an undergraduate degree in Social Work and can be completed in as little as 15 months. The Traditional Program, which is for all other students, is a 62-credit curriculum and includes a three-day residency at the University of Nevada School of Medicine's patient simulation facilities. Students will take eight concentration courses that include Advanced Practicum I and II, and Practice and Program Evaluation. To be eligible, applicants must provide the office of admissions with three letters of recommendation and official transcripts from their undergraduate institution.

 

#32 The University of New England – Biddeford, ME

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $19,852

Score: 90.97

Unique Features

Known for being the largest private college in Maine, The University of New England has 24 beaches within a 50-mile radius of its campus, giving students a great chance to take a break from their studies in the fall, spring, and summer. The Master's of Social Work offers a specialization in Clinical Practice, Community Practice, and Integrated Practice that assists graduates to meet their personal and professional goals. Along with coursework, students will practice working in the community and build relationships with different populations to try and improve the quality of life. The 64-credit program is completely online and does not require any campus visits. Applicants are required to submit official transcripts, three letters of reference, a personal statement, and a resume to the office of admissions. UNE ranks No. 74 on the list of Best Regional Universities in the North, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#31 University of Denver – Denver, CO

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $49,392

Score: 91.47

Unique Features

Located more than 5,000 feet above sea level, The University of Denver encourages its students to get involved in the community and take part in internships and job placements. The Master's of Social Work meets that vision with fieldwork opportunities to reach out to individuals, families, and organizations in need. Graduates can work in correctional facilities, hospitals, schools, and public and private agencies while taking coursework online. For those with an undergraduate degree in Social Work, UD offers an Advanced Standing MSW that consists of 60 credits and can be completed in 18-to-24 months. Those without a BSW can enroll in the Traditional MSW, which is a 90-credit curriculum and requires two field internships. Students in both programs will take a mixture of Foundational curriculum and Concentration curriculum. Applicants must submit a career goals statement, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts alongside the online application. UD ranks No. 17 on the list of Best Social Work graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#30 Appalachian State University – Boone, NC

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $4,839 (in-state); $18,271 (out-of-state)

Score: 91.82

Unique Features

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University ranks No. 5 on the list of "Overall Satisfaction and Happiness With Their School Choice", according to MyPlan.com. The university is committed to making sustainability a tradition, not a trend. The Master's of Social Work degree is a 33-credit program that gives students the skills they need to make an impact in the community and the lives of others. The MSW is a part-time program that offers a mixture of online and in-person courses and provides advanced practice and intervention skills so graduates can empower themselves. Students can choose an Individual and Families concentration if they opt to take on clinical practice, or The Community and Organizational Practice concentration if they plan to do more advanced practice in a variety of settings. Applicants for the MSW must complete a program selection form and submit along with their application official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

#29 University of Louisville – Louisville, KY

Master's of Science Social Work

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Tuition: $12,684 (in-state); $26,454 (out-of-state)

Score: 91.86

Unique Features

In 2017, Buzzfeed named the University of Louisville as the "Most Beautiful College Campus in Kentucky". Since 1936, the school has been educating social workers and recently offered a Master's of Science in Social Work degree completely online. The program gives students the option of choosing a concentration in either Psychosocial Oncology, Forensic Social Work, Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Military Social Work, or Gerontology. The goal of the coursework is to focus on deepening knowledge with children and families, health and mental health, and community and international practice. There are two degree paths: the 60-credit Regular MSSW for students without a bachelor's degree in Social Work and the 30-credit Advanced Standing MSSW, which is for graduates who have already received a bachelor's degree in Social Work or a related field. No GRE is required when applying. Instead, the admissions office only asks that applicants submit official transcripts with three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. 

#28 Boise State University – Boise, ID

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $6,759 (in-state); $22,841 (out-of-state)

Score: 92.48

Unique Features

The city of Boise is known for its big city fun and small-town feel. The campus of Boise State University is just a few blocks away from the downtown nightlife and is surrounded by mountains, lakes, and plenty of things to do to take a break from academics. It is the largest campus and graduate school in Idaho. The online Master's of Social Work degree prepares students for advanced work with individuals and families by teaching them clinical, organizational, and policy skills that help promote social justice and equality. For graduates who already have a Bachelor's in Social Work, the Advanced Standing Program track provides a 37-credit curriculum with two practicums and two practicum seminars. The full program for students without a BSW requires 61 credits and a series of Foundation courses, practicums, and seminars. At the end of the coursework, students can take the licensure exam to be eligible to work full-time in the social work field. Part of the application requirements includes social service practice experience that can be either paid or voluntary. BSU ranks No. 45 on the list of Most Innovative Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#27 Capella University – Minneapolis, MN

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $14,516

Score: 92.65

Unique Features

Capella University is part of the new wave of postsecondary schools that offers students the opportunity to earn their degrees by taking all the coursework online. The Master's of Social Work program helps train students so they can help vulnerable individuals overcome problems and challenges in their lives. The online curriculum uses the latest technology in its modules and sessions, which includes virtual learning and interactive communication with professors. As part of the degree plan, graduate students will take part in a practicum and internship to further train and give them real experience in the social work field. The curriculum will teach students about working with children and families, working with the elderly, working with at-risk populations, counseling in private practice, and working in advocacy and policy change. While a GRE is not part of the application requirements, applicants are asked to submit two letters of reference, a three-page essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. 

 

#26 Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, OH

Social Work Master's Degree

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Tuition: $45,168

Score: 92.74

Unique Features

Case Western University has a lot of accolades to its name, including hosting a Vice Presidential Debate in 2004, employing 15 teachers who won a Nobel Prize, and graduating the creators of Gmail and Craigslist. CWRU ranks No. 42 on the list of Best National Universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school has expanded its technology, and those who study a Social Work Master's Degree can take all the courses online. No campus visits are required and students can go at their own pace, whether that be full-time or part-time. With virtual courses, students will take part in live sessions with the professor and their classmates. The degree offers specializations in Aging, Children, Youth & Families, Community Practice for Social Change, Health, Mental Health, School Social Work, Substance Use Disorders & Recovery, and Individualized Options. The curriculum is 60-credits, unless a student has a BSW, in which case they can opt for the Advanced Standing Track. Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official transcripts to the office of admissions.

 

#25 University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $7,563 (in-state); $20,477 (out-of-state)

Score: 92.74

Unique Features

Most famous for being the school where Bill and Hillary Clinton taught law and met, the University of Arkansas gives students with a Bachelor's in Social Work the chance to study for an MSW entirely online. The program allows students to work independently and attend internship seminars through live virtual sessions. The 39-credit curriculum is a one-year program and includes a practicum and fieldwork experience. The overall goal of the program is to give students the skills to work in leadership roles and help those suffering from health and mental health issues. Applicants are required to take the GRE and complete a basic statistics course as one of the prerequisites. UA ranks No. 78 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#24 Campbellsville University – Campbellsville, KY

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $10,080

Score: 92.82

Unique Features

Campbellsville University was recently ranked No. 11 on the list of Best Online Christian Graduate Programs, according to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The online Master's of Social Work degree allows students to work in the comfort of their own home while learning the leadership skills needed to assist individuals, families, and communities in need. The curriculum model promotes ethical and Christian ideals and gives graduate students two tracks of study: the Advanced Standing track and the Clinical Practice track. The Advanced Standing Track is only for students with a BSW. With the Clinical Practice Track, students will focus 60-semester hours on psychopathology, addictions, clinical diagnosis, and psychopharmacology. Each track requires a six-hour practicum along with the coursework. The office of admissions requires those applying for the Clinical Practice track to have completed 15 hours of liberal arts credit and submit three letters of recommendation and a field practicum application.

 

#23 San Jose State University – San Jose, CA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $7,176 (in-state); $16,680 (out-of-state)

Score: 92.82

Unique Features

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 5th-best public school in the nation, San Jose State University offers over 100 degrees for graduate students. The Master's of Social Work degree is a fully online program that is centered around preparing graduates to work with Latinos, other minority groups, and other individuals who are facing oppression and disenfranchisement. The Online-Hybrid MSW Program can be completed in two years and includes a 24-week field internship and a concentration in Transcultural Multi-Systems Practice. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA in their undergraduate studies and have significant social work volunteer experience. For all other prerequisite and required documentation, check out the website or contact the university. 

 

#22 Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, LA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $9,132

Score: 92.83

Unique Features

If you attend Louisiana State University, you'll fall in love with football. It's a way of life for anyone that's a Tiger and makes the world stop on Saturdays in the fall. Outside of Saturdays, though, the focus is on academics. The Master's of Social Work program is completely online and gives students the skills to tackle social problems and help improve the lives of those suffering from abuse, depression, poverty, and/or mental health issues. The MSW ranks No. 6 on the list of Best Online Programs, according to BestColleges.com. LSU offers the Advanced Standing Track for those who graduated with a BSW, allowing students to complete the coursework in less than two years. As part of the course requirements, students will complete social work research, social work practice, program and practice evaluation, advanced direct practice, and two field internships. Students are to supply the office of admissions with a letter of intent, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and official transcripts. 

 

#21 Saint Leo University – Saint Leo, FL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,498

Score: 92.99

Unique Features

Ranked as the 14th-best value school in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, Saint Leo University is a Roman Catholic college located just 30 miles from Tampa and an hour from Disney World and Universal Studios. The university provides an online graduate school opportunity with its Master's of Social Work degree, a program that will train students to be leaders in different social work practices that will help serve the aging population. The MSW is not for everyone: only individuals residing in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland may apply. Online classes are interactive and require face-to-face meetings through webcam. The 62-credit curriculum is a two-year program that includes three field practicums and macro and micro social practice. Students with a BSW can apply for the Advanced Standing program, which is only a one-year, 30-credit curriculum. Along with the application documents, eligible applicants must arrange an interview to be taken with a Social Work member from SLU.

#20 The University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, AL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $10,780 (in-state); $29,230 (out-of-state)

Score: 93.32

Unique Features

Roll Tide! Known most for its five national football championships over the last 10 years, the University of Alabama provides one of the most exciting football atmospheres of any school in the nation. The university takes pride in athletics and academics and offers many online graduate degrees, including a Master's of Social Work degree, a program that prepares students to help make a difference in the lives of others. UA ranks No. 25 on the list of Best Online MSW Programs, according to AffordableColleges.com. The degree comes with two different program options: the Advanced Standing program, which is for those already with a BSW, and the 60-credit-hour program for everyone else. Students can choose a concentration in either Children, Adolescents, and Families or in Adults and Their Families. Students are required to take part in face-to-face sessions in assigned labs that the program designates. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies and supply the office of admissions with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

#19 California State University-Northridge – Northridge, CA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $7,176 (in-state); $16,680 (out-of-state)

Score: 94.25

Unique Features

California State University-Northridge is a fantastic place to study while also getting involved in intramural sports. Over 1600 participants and 254-teams are organized between the school's intramural basketball league and other leagues that the school provides. In academics, the Master's of Social Work program offers a graduate degree that can be taken completely online in both a two-or-three year format. One night per week, professors will hold a live, face-to-face interactive session at night with the class via the internet. Graduates will be able to pursue careers as social work administrators, community advocates, direct service providers, school counselors, policymakers, researchers, health care supporter, and more. Alongside the official transcripts and application, the university asks that students submit three letters of recommendation sealed in an envelope and addressed to the admissions office. CSUN ranks No. 21 in the nation for Best Master's University Classes, according to Washington Monthly

 

#18 The University of Tennessee Knoxville – Knoxville, TN

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $11,244 (in-state); $29,432 (out-of-state)

Score: 94.34

Unique Features

The school known most as "Rocky Top", the University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers nearly 1,000 programs of study for its students! The Online MSSW program offers a Master's in Social Work that can be taken full-time or part-time and through face-to-face class meetings over the internet. The Advanced Standing program is a shorter curriculum, just 37 credit hours, for those who already have an undergraduate degree in the social work field. The full-time program is a 60 credit hour curriculum and requires 15 hours of coursework to be completed per semester. The Extended Study Program is a part-time program requiring six credits to be completed per semester. Students can choose a concentration in Clinical Practice or Macro Practice and must complete a field internship as part of the coursework. Applicants are required to gather three letters of recommendation and write a professional statement to submit to the office of admissions. UTK ranks No. 36 on the list of Top Social Work Graduate Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#17 Western New Mexico University – Silver City, NM

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $3,177 (in-state); $8,730 (out-of-state)

Score: 94.67

Unique Features

Western New Mexico University has a school population of 3,500 students, all of which study online, and a 50% Hispanic enrollment. Its online Master's of Social Work program offers both Advanced Standing and Non-Advanced Standing tracks to help give its graduates the skills they need to help serve the population. As part of the online core curriculum, students will take two foundation field practicums and two advanced field practicums that will allow students to work in the field. Applicants are required to submit two professional references, one of which must be from a former teacher or professor, and a statement of purpose along with official transcripts. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the program emphasizes the core social work principles of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, and integrity. 

 

#16 Arizona State University-Tempe – Tempe, AZ

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $11,406 (in-state); $25,160 (out-of-state)

Score: 94.69

Unique Features

With more than 1,100 clubs and organizations, Arizona State University provides its students with opportunities to meet new people and socialize on topics they are most passionate about. ASU is also a leader in innovation, ranking No. 1 on the list of Most Innovative Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students see the innovation in The Master's of Social Work degree, which gives graduates the skills to promote social justice to other individuals and help those dealing with issues that are most pressing in society. The 60-credit online curriculum provides virtual learning using the latest technology and gives students the chance to learn more about mental and behavioral health, community practice, and global social work. Along with the coursework, students will participate in 960-hours of mandatory hands-on education at two different internship sites. The Advanced Generalist Studies concentration gives students strategies for change based on effective research methods. One of the prerequisites that the office of admissions requires is 240 hours of volunteer or work experience in social work along with the submission of a statement of purpose, three letters of reference, and official transcripts. 

 

#15 Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, IN

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $9,225 (in-state); $31,932 (out-of-state)

Score: 94.75

Unique Features

Over 170 countries and 8,500 international students make up the Indiana University population, making it one of the more diverse schools in all of the Midwest. Indiana University-Bloomington provides graduate students interested in taking on a future as a social worker with an MSW degree aimed at helping families, children, organizations, groups, and communities suffering from social, mental, financial, and health problems. The 60-credit curriculum includes 30 credits in Social work core courses and 30-credits in Special Practice Areas courses. As part of the core requirements, students will complete three practicums, a research-integrative seminar, clinical theory and practice, and executive leadership practice. Classes can be taken fully-online and at a student's own pace. IUB ranks No. 2 on the list of Top Public Management and Leadership Graduate Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. For more information on application requirements, IUB encourages students to contact the office of admissions for information.

#14 Boston University – Boston, MA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $52,816

Score: 95.01

Unique Features

Boston University is less than a mile from one of baseball's most iconic ballparks, Fenway Park, and is right near the middle of downtown Boston. BU ranks No. 10 on the list of Best Graduate Schools for Social Work, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Online Master's of Social Work Program educates students further on social and economic justice and provides them with the skills to work with a vulnerable population that needs care. There are three program tracks that the MSW offers: The 40-credit Advanced Standing track, the 65-credit Traditional Track, and the 65-credit Human Service Experience Track. All three tracks require at least 1,000 hours of internship work and online sessions that are interactive and live. To be eligible for the Advanced Standing track, a student must have a BSW. Once students have decided which track to apply for, they must submit to the office of admissions their Social Work track application along with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

 

#13 Ohio State University-Main Campus – Columbus, OH

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $11,560 (in-state); $34,064 (out-of-state)

Score: 95.06

Unique Features

"Embrace difference. Seek justice. Be the change." It's the motto that the Social Work program at Ohio State University tries to instill upon its graduate students as they prepare to take on the world and help make society better. The MSW at OSU is structured to be taken completely online by its students and requires no on-campus visits. The Advanced Standing Program is available for those graduates who have a Bachelor's in Social Work. All other students will be eligible for the Traditional Program, which requires a bachelor's degree in any discipline and ten credit hours in social sciences. The coursework includes a professional development course, internship opportunities, and online seminars. OSU ranks No. 13 on the list of Best Graduate Programs for Social Work, according to U.S. News & World Report. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies in order to apply for the program and include with the application an entrance essay, three recommendation letters, and official transcripts.

 

#12 University of Iowa – Iowa City, IA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $9,785 (in-state); $28,726 (out-of-state)

Score: 95.09

Unique Features

The University of Iowa was recently ranked No. 4 on the list of Best Places to Live, according to Livability.com, and No. 3 on the list for Best University Recreation Facility, according to Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. It makes earning the Master's of Social Work degree more enjoyable when one can do it in a place that makes them feel comfortable. In 2018, UI began its 3-year part-time online MSW program geared toward giving graduates the skills necessary to go out and help those who need assistance live better lives. The Integrated Concentration allows students to pursue opportunities in social justice and social change, staff supervision, medical social work, organizational and community leadership, grant writing, and social and economic development. The curriculum includes foundational courses and nine competencies that students will focus on. To qualify, applicants must hold a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate studies. During the program, students must have the computer capability to do video conferencing and be willing to work with an administrator to complete the required practicum internship.

 

#11 University of Houston – Houston, TX

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,214 (in-state); $17,463 (out-of-state)

Score: 95.70

Unique Features

The University of Houston was voted by BestColleges.com as having the best Online Master's in Social Work across the nation. The degree targets self-motivated and independent learners who are flexible and can work at their own pace but also meet firm deadlines. All students in the program will work with the Field Education Office to be placed in an agency for a field internship. Specializations are offered in Health & Behavior Health, Social Work Practice with Latinos, Political Social Work, and Individualized Specialization. The 63-credit Full Program track includes 16-hours of foundational courses that emphasizes critical-thinking skills and focuses on social economic and political justice. The office of admissions requires applicants to compile three letters of recommendation and submit a personal narrative statement that describes an applicant's interest in social work and commitment to social and economic justice.

 

#10 Fordham University – New York, NY

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $33,696

Score: 95.78

Unique Features

Internships are an integral part of the growth at Fordham University. According to its website, Fordham students are attached to 2,600 New York City internship companies. Many of those internships collaborate with the Social Work program at FU. The MSW Degree requires fieldwork as part of its 66-credit curriculum for those enrolled in the Traditional Online program. The Advanced Standing program is only for students who have completed a BSW, allowing these students to bypass the foundational courses in the curriculum. Half of the coursework includes advanced integrated practice courses that give students more hands-on experience and allows them to work more on their focus and concentration. FU ranks No. 25 on the list of Best Graduate Programs for Social Work, according to U.S. News & World Report. Applicants are required to submit to the office of admissions a three-to-five page typed essay along with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a professional resume.

#9 University of Central Florida – Orlando, FL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $6,916 (in-state); $25,769 (out-of-state)

Score: 96.05

Unique Features

The University of Central Florida is one of the state's biggest growing schools, enrolling over 68,000 students, a steady rise each year since 1970. It offers over 100 graduate degrees, and with it being just 13 miles from downtown Orlando, the school gives graduate students great opportunities to receive an internship in a big city. The Master's of Social Work Degree is completely online and provides students with the skills to help diverse populations and communities overcome the challenges they face in society. The 62 credit hour program allows students to have virtual sessions with their professor and classmates while also completing field practicums and preparing for the licensure exam. Applicants are required to submit GRE test scores along with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. UCF ranks No. 87 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

#8 University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $44,712

Score: 96.40

Unique Features

Located less than five miles from downtown Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is one of the most rewarding schools to go to and has graduated names such as Ron Howard, John Wayne, Neil Armstrong, and Forest Whittaker. USC ranks No. 17 on the list of Best National Universities, according to Times/Wall Street Journal. The school was the first elite university to offer its Master's of Social Work Degree completely online, giving students the ability to work around their schedules and study at their own pace. Faculty members utilize the latest state-of-the-art technology during the seminar-style sessions with the students, using tools like breakout rooms, live chats with the professor and other classmates, live document sharing, and virtual learning. Graduates can choose a concentration in Adult Mental Health and Wellness, Social Change and Innovation, or Children, Youth, and Families. Along with doing 1,000 hours of community fieldwork, students will do a Virtual Field Practicum where they will work real-time with an actor who plays the role of a client in crisis. As part of the application requirements, the admissions office requires a supplement social work form, a statement of purpose, a resume, official transcripts, a background check, and two letters of recommendation to be submitted.

 

#7 University of Buffalo – Buffalo, NY

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $11,090 (in-state); $22,650 (out-of-state)

Score: 96.53

Unique Features

The University of Buffalo is the largest school in the 64-campus SUNY system and is one of just 62 schools that rank in the elite association of American universities. The Master's of Social Work Degree at UB is a part-time online program that offers two tracks for its students: the 35-credit Advanced Standing Program for BSW graduates and the 60-credit Traditional Program for all other Master's students. Both programs require students to enroll in 480-hour field placements, which are training opportunities to give students practice outside of their coursework. Students are required to have a computer that has Windows 8 or above, has word-processing software, and a webcam that allows for live sessions with the professor. Applicants are required to submit official transcripts and three letters of recommendation alongside the application. UB ranks No. 25 on the list of Best Social Work Graduate Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

#6 University of South Florida-Main Campus – Tampa, FL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $8,350 (in-state); $19,048 (out-of-state)

Score: 97.17

Unique Features

Located one mile from one of Florida's top amusement parks, Busch Gardens, the University of South Florida has a lot to offer its students both on-campus and off. By having the option of taking the Master's of Social Work Degree fully-online, students have the flexibility to work around their schedule and study at their own leisure, provided they make the firm deadlines and meet online for the required times. The MSW offers a full-time and part-time Advanced Standing Plan, Online Advanced Standing Plan, and an MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Plan. The program is designed to help graduates engage in a wide range of different practices they learn through their coursework to assist those affected by different problems they face internally and externally. Students will meet face-to-face via webcam for classes at least once a week in the evenings while they do the rest of the coursework at their own pace. As part of the program, students must sign up with agencies to complete several field practicums as part of their studies and experience. As a prerequisite, USF Admissions requires applicants to have 12 credits in liberal arts, including three credits in Social and Behavioral Sciences. USF ranks No. 58 on the list of Top Public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#5 Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $9,684 (in-state); $24,115 (out-of-state)

Score: 98.38

Unique Features

Known most for its garnett and gold colors as well as its mascot, Chief Osceola, Florida State University ranks No. 1 in the nation on the list of Best Graduate Schools for Social Work, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students with a BSW can apply for the two-year Advanced Standing Program, while those with a degree in another discipline will want to enroll in the three-year Traditional Program. Both programs can be taken completely online, helping prepare graduates for the licensure exam after their coursework and fieldwork. By offering a clinically-focused curriculum, students get the opportunity to work in agencies and get real-world practice by helping children, families, and groups who are suffering from different problems. Those who already have a BSW and are in the Advanced Standing Program will take 39 credit hours over six semesters. The Traditional Program requires 60-credits over nine semesters. Both programs do not require the GRE as part of the application requirements.

 

#4 The University of Texas at Arlington – Arlington, TX

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $$7,898 (in-state); $18,696 (out-of-state)

Score: 98.58

Unique Features

The University of Texas at Arlington provides a great campus life for its students, with over 300 clubs and organizations and a variety of on-campus events to keep students entertained, such as concerts, games, and speakers. The online Master's of Social Work program offers part-time and full-time enrollment and can be completed anywhere from one to three years. Through web-based instruction, students will learn the necessary skills to help children, families, and groups suffering from mental and behavioral health issues. Graduates with a BSW can choose the Advanced Standing Program, which bypasses the foundational courses in the MSW. Students have the option of specializing in Children and Families or in Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The program also mandates the completion of a field internship that gives students real-world practice in social work. UTA ranks No. 29 on the list of Best Social Work Graduate Programs, according to College Choice. Students are required to submit their official transcripts and supply the office of admissions with three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

 

#3 Rutgers University-New Brunswick – New Brunswick, NJ

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $17,232 (in-state); $29,304 (out-of-state)

Score: 99.19

Unique Features

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Rutgers University-New Brunswick as the No. 1 university in the Northeast. One of the 10 oldest schools in the country, Rutgers has four campuses across New Jersey. They offer a Master's of Social Work at the New Brunswick Campus that is 100% online and mixes in coursework, virtual lessons, and fieldwork into its curriculum. As part of the field practicum requirement, graduate students are required to sign up with an agency that is partnered with Rutgers and work anywhere from 11 to 16 hours per week over the course of five to seven semesters, depending on a student's track. The online program uses Canvas and includes module lessons, virtual lessons, and the ability to communicate one-on-one with the professor. RUNB offers an Advanced Standing Track for those who received an undergraduate degree in Social Work, allowing them to complete the program faster. The alternative Intensive Weekend MSW Program is a new program that allows students to attend courses on-campus on the weekend while they work full-time in social work jobs during the week. This program can be completed in two to three years. Applicants are required to submit an official resume, official transcripts, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a field evaluation to the admissions office.

 

#2 The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign – Champaign, IL

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $15,068 (in-state); $28,221 (out-of-state)

Score: 99.30

Unique Features

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the best places for studying, with over 20 libraries to study at on-campus, including the main library, which holds over 24 million items, making it one of the world's largest libraries. The Master's of Social Work students can use the school computers or bring their laptop there to complete the fully-online degree that will teach students the skills they need to go out in the world and make a difference in the population. With the degree, students can choose a concentration in Health Care, Mental Health, School Social Work, or Advocacy, Youth, and Family Services. The 44-credit Advanced Standing Program and 72-hour Traditional Program both require a field practicum and a seminar as part of the coursework. While the GRE is not required, applicants must show proof of personal attributes suitable for social work and have taken 20 hours of coursework in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities, and Biological Sciences. UIUC ranks No. 13 on the list of Top Public Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

 

#1 Columbia University in the City of New York – New York, NY

Master's of Social Work

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Tuition: $46,216

Score: 100.00

Unique Features

Columbia University is one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S. and has graduated some of the nation's most respected leaders, including former President Barack Obama, former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Attorney General William Barr, Entrepreneur and Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, and author J.D. Salinger. CU is ranked No. 3 on the list of Best National Universities and Best Social Work Graduate Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Online Master's of Social Work provides field experiences for students to work with an agency and gain hands-on practice in the heart of New York City, where there are many social work opportunities. The online program uses the latest state-of-the-art technology to deliver the lessons to the students, including using virtual classrooms, live student groups, instant support specialists for assistance, and live face-to-face streaming sessions. Columbia offers a Hybrid Course Option that allows students to study the 60-credit curriculum both online and in-person, utilizing both campuses. Concentrations that are offered include Social Enterprise Administration, Policy Practice, Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice, and Advanced Generalist Practice & Programming. The Advanced Standing Program is available for those with a BSW to complete the degree quicker. The office of admissions requires a detailed list of requirements available on its website, including prerequisite courses, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a completed series of essays.

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