Category Archives: University Rankings

Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers

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Attending graduate school for a MSW is an excellent way for practitioners to advance into child welfare social work. The child welfare specialty is focused on protecting our nation’s youngest citizens from abuse, neglect, homelessness, and other deplorable conditions. Child welfare specialists often work for the government or nonprofit organizations to place children in the best possible living environment for health and happiness. Now’s an excellent time to consider child welfare careers because prospects are bright with faster-than-average growth of 12 percent through 2024. According to PayScale, median salaries for child welfare services range from $35,836 to $61,042.

We’ve meticulously researched the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers. We used the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) directory to narrow down the 90 accredited programs in the United States with Children, Youth and Families concentrations. Next, we consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for top graduate schools in social work. We looked for universities appearing on both resources for high-quality child welfare preparation. Each program had to fulfill LMSW and/or LCSW licensing requirements with extensive fieldwork in youth-related settings. Other important factors were specialized electives, financial aid, exam pass rates, class size, curriculum flexibility, and faculty credentials. That said, here are our selections for the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers:

1. University of Michigan

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Established as the Catholepistemiad in 1817, the University of Michigan occupies 3,177 acres in Ann Arbor on the Huron River to educate over 44,700 scholars as a premier public, sea-grant AAU member with “very high research activity.” The Institute of International Education ranked UMich fifth nationally for students studying abroad. Within the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work, Wolverines earn America’s #1 MSW according to the U.S. News and World Report. The 60-credit degree offers a practice concentration for Children and Youth in Families and Society. The 16-month or 12-month Advanced Standing track can be supplemented with a Certificate in Child Welfare. Students could also serve in the SSW Peace Corps.

Tuition: $25,756 (in-state) or $41,272 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Michigan’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careeers here.

2. Washington University in St. Louis

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Attracting over 14,800 learners from 120 countries, Washington University in St. Louis is named for the United States’ first President as a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution on 346 urban acres off Forest Park Parkway in Missouri’s second-largest city. The Wall Street Journal honored Washington University in St. Louis as the 11th Best National University. The Brown School of Social Work stands out for America’s second best MSW on the U.S. News. Eight MSW concentrations are available, including Children, Youth and Families. Child welfare education in the two-year, 60-credit curriculum holds CSWE accreditation. Students benefit from over 300 practicum sites, research experience in the Kathryn M. Buden Center, and the Urban Education Initiative (UEI).

Tuition: $19,786 per semester

Learn more about Washington University in St. Louis’ MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

3. University of California – Berkeley

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Founded from the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1868, the University of California-Berkeley is the Golden State’s flagship public, land-grant RU/VH institution with 38,200 Bears on its 1,232 urban acres in Alameda County. The Obama Scorecard Colleges report placed UC-Berkeley #1 for value and affordability. The CSWE-accredited Master of Social Welfare is also ranked third by the U.S. News. MSW students can declare the Direct Practice in Child and Family Services concentration through the Title IV-E Child Welfare program. The full-time, two-year program spans 54 units, including 400 first-year and 720 second-year fieldwork hours. Aspiring LCSWs choose from over 350 placements across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuition: $11,113 (in-state) or $17,235 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of California – Berkeley’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

4. University of Chicago

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Historically tied to the American Baptist Education Society, the University of Chicago is a private, non-denominational research institution founded in 1890 that’s educating 15,700 Maroons from 217 urban acres in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Forbes magazine graded UChicago A+ for America’s 22nd most grateful graduates. The School of Social Service Administration’s Master of Arts also tied for #3 nationally by the U.S. News. This two-year, CSWE-accredited program offers a self-designed sequence in Family and Child Welfare. Students complete 1,120 fieldwork hours working directly with vulnerable youth. The SSA also offers study abroad trips to Mumbai, a Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship, and teaching assistantships in the Pozen Family Center.

Tuition: $15,321 per quarter

Learn more about the University of Chicago’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

5. Columbia University

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Affiliated with over 100 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a prestigious, private Ivy League member operating since 1754 from a 299-acre urban campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. The Princeton Review placed Columbia 12th nationally for “Great Financial Aid.” According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work also provides the sixth best MSW. Master’s students can customize the 60-credit curriculum and its 1,200 practicum hours in seven fields, including Family, Youth, & Children’s Services. Columbia produces licensed clinical social workers as “agents of change” with 16-month, two-year, Advanced Standing, and Reduced Residency tracks. Dual MSW degrees also exist with the Bank Street College of Education.

Tuition: $1,446 per credit

Learn more about Columbia University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

6. Case Western Reserve University

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Described as “Cleveland’s Big-Leaguer,” Case Western Reserve University is a private, doctoral RU/VH research institution endowed for $1.76 billion to educate over 10,200 Spartans from 155 urban acres in northeastern Ohio. According to Washington Monthly, CWRU ranks 12th nationally for contribution to the public good. The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandal School of Applied Social Sciences also houses America’s ninth best social work preparation. The CSWE-accredited MSSA has produced 7,800 practitioners in seven concentrations, including Children, Youth and Families. Students can follow the 60-credit curriculum’s Daytime, Advanced Standing, or Intensive Weekend format. At least 900 field practicum hours are collected with paid stipends. Graduates could continue for CWRU’s Ph.D. in Social Welfare.

Tuition: $21,285 per semester

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

7. Boston College

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Devoted to Jesuit values, Boston College is a private, nonprofit RU/VH research powerhouse educating over 14,100 students, including 21 Fulbright Scholars, on a $2.2 billion endowment from 332 suburban acres in Chestnut Hill. With A+ academics, BC was named America’s #4 “Best Catholic College” on Niche. The U.S. News distinguished the School of Social Work for awarding the 10th best MSW nationwide. Clinical MSW students can declare a CSWE-accredited concentration in Children, Youth & Families and finish the Child Welfare Certificate. The 60-credit, evidence-based curriculum includes three days of applied fieldwork each week. Social workers may participate in BC’s famed Latino Leadership Initiative for cultural awareness and Spanish fluency.

Tuition: $1,138 per credit

Learn more about Boston College’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

8. University of Pittsburgh

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Surrounding the Cathedral of Learning with a 132-acre urban campus in the Oakland neighborhood, the University of Pittsburgh is a public, PASSHE research institution tracing back to 1787 that’s enrolling over 28,600 Panthers. Forbes magazine crowned Pittsburgh as America’s 160th best value college. According to the USNWR, Pitt’s Master of Social Work ties for 10th place nationally too. Graduates can pursue the MSW in Children, Youth and Families while participating in the Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) project. The CSWE-accredited curriculum includes 42 class credits and 18 field credits at placements like Pennsylvania DHS. Act 31 Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training is included online.

Tuition: $17,688 (in-state) or $28,828 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

9. University of Pennsylvania

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As a private, nonprofit Ivy Leaguer established by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania enrolls 24,800 students and employs 4,650 faculty on its 1,094-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s University City district. The Princeton Review placed UPenn 17th for “Colleges That Pay You Back.” Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the School of Social Policy & Practice has the 10th best MSW according to the U.S. News. Full-time cohorts complete 16 units and two field internships over four semesters. Practicum placements include Montgomery County Youth Center and Berks County CYS. For individualized learning, there’s a Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization. Students working at Pennsylvania child welfare agencies could earn CWEL stipends.

Tuition: $46,532 per year

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

10. University of Southern California

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Endowed for $4.6 billion, the University of Southern California is a private, RU/VH institution holding sea-grant and space-grant status to educate 42,400 Trojans from 308 urban acres in Los Angeles. Graded A+, USC was deemed the #1 “College with the Best Student Life” on Niche. The U.S. News also applauded the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work for America’s 12th top MSW. This CSWE-accredited program offers a Children, Youth and Families specialization with a Public Child Welfare option. Over two to four years, the 60-credit curriculum will integrate at least 1,000 field internship hours. Graduates can earn the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) for working in California schools.

Tuition: $1,733 per unit

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

11. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Labeled a “Public Ivy,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a flagship land-grant and sea-grant research hub with enrollment surpassing 43,300 and expenditures over $1.1 billion upon its 936-acre urban campus just 122 miles northwest of Chicago. On Forbes, UW-Madison stands as America’s 10th best public university. The U.S. News also recognizes the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work as tying for the 12th best MSW. After the Generalist Practice year, students select from four emphases, including Child, Youth and Family Welfare. Those already holding a BSW can immediately begin the advanced specialization. Both the Madison and Eau Claire campuses host the Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training.

Tuition: $11,942 (in-state) or $25,269 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

12. Ohio State University

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Based on 1,765 urban acres in Columbus with extensions from Marion to Wooster, The Ohio State University is a prestigious public, land-grant and space-grant AAU member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance with over 101,200 total Buckeyes. On Niche, Ohio State is recognized for America’s 14th “Best College Campus.” The College of Social Work was ranked 17th nationally for its CSWE-accredited MSW by the U.S. News. Within the 63-credit curriculum, full- or part-time students can declare the Child and Youth Services Specialization. Future child welfare specialists fulfill LMSW requirements with at least 912 fieldwork hours. Advanced Standing students could even pursue the Online MSW asynchronously.

Tuition: $449 (in-state) or $1,088 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Ohio State University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

13. University of Denver

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Belonging to the NAICU, the University of Denver is a private, co-educational institution carrying a $607 million endowment to serve around 11,700 Pioneers upon a 125-acre urban campus in the Rocky Mountains’ foothills. The Princeton Review honored DU as America’s 19th “Best Impact School.” The Graduate School of Social Work is also acclaimed for the nation’s 17th best Master of Social Work. Holding CSWE approval, the two-year, 90-quarter credit MSW offers concentrations for Child Welfare or Children & Youth: Risks and Healthy Development. Students attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays while completing 16 hours of fieldwork weekly. Since 2002, the Four Corners MSW has been delivered via ITV too.

Tuition: $45,288 per year

Learn more about the University of Denver’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

14. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

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With 94 percent retention, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign educates over 44,000 Fighting Illini as a public, land-grant and sea-grant RU/VH institution with a vast 4,552-acre urban campus just 124 miles west of Indianapolis. The Times Higher Education picked UIUC seventh among American public schools. According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work is also tied for 17th best nationally. Advanced Clinical students may customize the 12-course curriculum with the Children, Youth, and Family Studies Concentration. Two consecutive semesters of field internship are included for 930 hours minimum. Students with a minimum 3.0 GPA could add the Illinois Professional Educator Licensure (PEL).

Tuition: $13,266 (in-state) or $28,664 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Illinois at Urbana’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

15. Rutgers University

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Named after Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers University is a public, multi-site RU/VH research institution approved by the New Jersey Legislature to educate over 67,000 Scarlet Knights in New Brunswick and beyond. Money magazine included Rutgers within the “20 Public Colleges Most Likely to Pay Off Financially.” The U.S. also distinguished the School of Social Work for the 22nd top MSW countrywide. Holding CSWE approval, the traditional, on-campus program offers emphasis in Children, Youth and Families. Along with 1,125 field hours, the 60-credit curriculum includes courses like child welfare and human diversity. Rutgers also has a Violence Against Women and Children Certificate.

Tuition: $689 (in-state) or $1,172 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Rutgers University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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Entering the rewarding social work profession is virtually impossible without holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Meeting state licensing requirements doesn’t necessarily require living on a college campus though. Although they’re fairly sparse, online colleges do offer Bachelor of Social Work programs for non-traditional students needing flexibility. Investing in an Online BSW will sharpen your advocacy skills to improve the lives of underprivileged people. The degree can facilitate entry into the U.S. News and World Report’s #8 Best Social Services Job at a time when job growth is pushing 12 percent. Social work graduates receive above-average satisfaction and a median annual salary of $46,610. For this article, we’ve done the homework to pinpoint the 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

Our methodology behind this list began by reviewing the 524 programs nationwide holding baccalaureate approval from the Council on Social Work Education. Our results were narrowed based on the availability of online learning. Each prospective BSW had to be predominantly online with limited campus meetings, excluding field practicum. Next, we organized the list according to well-respected online publications like Forbes and the U.S. News. Other vital factors were affordability, student engagement, job placement, Web technology, retention, faculty strength, cohort size, and specializations. All of this combined led to the following list of The 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs:

1. University of Utah

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Classified as a flagship public, doctoral space-grant institution with RU/VH research status, the University of Utah serves a mammoth student population over 31,500 in Salt Lake City and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Utah is America’s 111th Best National University and 51st Top Public School. Holding CSWE accreditation, the College of Social Work confers its Bachelor of Social Work asynchronously online. Interactive group projects and discussion threads nurture students’ ability to support marginalized communities, especially in rural Utah. The 51-credit major culminates with a field internship. BSW students could add the Online Gerontology Certificate.

Online Tuition: $3,841 (in-state) or $10,817 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Utah’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

2. University of North Dakota

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Endowed for $230.5 million, the University of North Dakota is a public, space-grant research powerhouse enrolling more than 14,900 students on its physical campus in Grand Forks and online. The University of North Dakota was crowned the 202nd Best University and 110th Top Public College nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. Every August, cohorts are admitted into the CSWE-accredited Bachelor’s in Social Work program with guaranteed in-state tuition. The two-year degree completion program engages transfers in live Web classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening. BSSW students transform into “change agents” with one 450-hour placement in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, or Manitoba.

Online Tuition: $339 per credit

Learn more about the University of North Dakota’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

3. University of Alaska – Fairbanks

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Overlooking the Chena River Valley from Interior Alaska’s largest city, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, sun-grant research institution endowed for $143 million to educate over 10,200 learners on-campus and online. The U.S. News and World Report tied the University of Alaska – Fairbanks as America’s 202nd Best University and 110th Best Public School. Within the CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work, the B.A. in Social Work serves rural Alaskans committed to human rights. Courses are primarily conducted online with one three-day conference each semester. The 120-credit program includes at least 400 practicum hours in social service agencies.

Online Tuition: $192 (100-200 Level) and $232 (300-400 Level) per credit

Learn more about the University of Alaska – Fairbanks’ CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

4. Brandman University

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Established in 1958, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution serving over 11,000 working adults yearly from Irvine, California, 26 extension centers, and online. Selected for the Leadership 500 Excellence Award twice, Brandman has America’s 47th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees according to the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Arts & Sciences meets CSWE standards for the Online Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. The 48-credit major offers electives from domestic violence to military social work and drug addiction treatment. After the 400 practice hours, graduates qualify for BASW-level state licensing and MSW Advanced Standing.

Online Tuition: $500 per credit ($250 for active-duty military)

Learn more about Brandman University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

5. Wayne State University

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Located in Midtown Detroit since 1868, Wayne State University is Michigan’s third-largest public, research institution with a $313 million endowment and over 27,200 students. Named the nation’s 202nd Best Public College on Forbes, Wayne State University is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 79th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. One such offering is the BSW Where Online Works! program. This upper-division, CSWE-accredited degree admits transfers with 60+ credits who are committed to alleviating social strife. Seniors complete a full-time practicum in their final semester. A Certificate in Addiction, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies is also available.

Online Tuition: $360 (in-state) or $825 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Wayne State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

6. Huntington University

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Affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member educating over 1,260 students in “Lime City” and online. Declared America’s 85th Best Christian College on Niche, Huntington is the Midwest’s 11th Top Value according to the U.S. News and World Report. Boasting a 100 percent placement rate, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work program maintains CSWE accreditation. Huntington students are trained as entry-level generalists for licensure in 50 states from a 120-credit curriculum. Over 600 practice hours are accumulated with placements like YWCA Domestic Violence and Lutheran Hospital.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit ($100 technology fee each semester)

Learn more about Huntington University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

7. Northwestern State University

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Belonging to the University of Louisiana system, Northwestern State University enrolls over 9,100 students from its rural headquarters in Natchitoches, Shreveport, Alexandria, Leesville, and online. Ranked #4 nationally by Affordable Online Colleges, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 143rd Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Through the Global Campus, a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is available for immediate entry into human services jobs. The 120-credit program covers aging, child welfare, mental illness, criminal justice, disabilities, and more with optional Phi Alpha Honor Society induction. Seniors devote 16 to 32 hours weekly for directed field practice education.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit

Learn more about Northwestern State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

8. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Founded in 1912 as Marion Normal Institute, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts school tied to the Wesleyan Church and educating over 15,800 students. As the Midwest’s 27th Best University according to the U.S. News and World Report, Indiana Wesleyan University placed #1 on Niche’s “Best Colleges with No Application Fee in Indiana.” Accredited by the CSWE for 25 years, Indiana Wesleyan offers an Online Bachelor of Social Work for working adults. Cohorts strive to enhance human well-being through a 20-course major, service learning, and 400 hours of field practicum. There’s also a Hybrid BSW for partnering Ivy Tech colleges.

Online Tuition: $383 per credit

Learn more about Indiana Wesleyan University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

9. Northern Arizona University

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Surrounded by the continent’s largest ponderosa pine forest adjacent to Mount Elden, Northern Arizona University is a public, high-elevation institution serving over 30,350. Crowned the country’s 215th Top Research University on Forbes, Northern Arizona University is acclaimed for the 159th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 74 percent retention rate, the CSWE-accredited BSW Program is offered in Flagstaff and online. Featuring 480 practicum hours, the four-year curriculum develops the professional knowledge to help people overcome obstacles like abuse and homelessness. NAU also offers a BSW Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project.

Online Tuition: $419 (in-state) or $865 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Northern Arizona University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

10. Brescia University

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Grounded in the Ursuline Sisters’ tradition, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic liberal arts institution with around 875 students studying on its campus in Owensboro, Kentucky, and online. Graded B+ for value on Niche, Brescia is distinguished as the South’s 32nd Best Regional College by the U.S. News and World Report. The Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion program meets CSWE competencies to educate adults with 45+ credits. Online courses can be finished in 24 months as an accelerated pathway to social services careers. Selective admission every January, March, May, August, and October accepts 48 percent of applicants.

Online Tuition: $415 per credit

Learn more about Brescia University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

11. Humboldt State University

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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the coastal redwoods of Arcata, Humboldt State University is the northernmost public school in the 23-site CSU system with over 8,700 students. Ranked within Washington Monthly’s top 7 percent, Humblodt State University is named the West’s 52nd Best University by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Professional Studies holds CSWE accreditation for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Online students complete the three-year program with live Thursday night sessions. Campus visits are only required for an August orientation and January practice intensive. Admission mandates a minimum 2.0 GPA in 60 college credits.

Online Tuition: $2,736 each semester (+$372 per unit for non-residents)

Learn more about Humboldt State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

12. Briar Cliff University

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Opened in 1929 by Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Briar Cliff University is a private, nonprofit liberal arts institution applying Franciscan values to educate over 1,150 from Sioux City, Iowa, and online. Honored as the Midwest’s 30th Top School by the U.S. News and World Report, Briar Cliff University is named America’s 134th Best Catholic College on Niche. The CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work welcomes online learners with at least 77 post-secondary credits. One-on-one faculty mentoring guides students through the 47-credit major. Field experience is also fostered with a 450-hour community internship. State authorization doesn’t currently extend to Utah, Kentucky, Wisconsin, or New York.

Online Tuition: $434 per credit

Learn more about Briar Cliff University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

13. Campbellsville University

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Enrolling over 3,200 students, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit institution with a covenant agreement to the Kentucky Baptist Convention for education in Campbellsville, Jeffersontown, Hodgenville, and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Campbellsville University is the South’s 98th Best College with the 66th Best Online Graduate Degrees. Bachelor’s students can pursue the 120-credit BSW online for the fundamental skills to assist vulnerable communities. Online courses explore social policy, human rights, lifespan development, familial relations, research methods, and more. The 450 hours of supervised practice can be completed anywhere, except North Carolina. Graduates often continue into the Campbellsville MSW online.

Online Tuition: $399 per credit

Learn more about Campbellsville University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

14. Bemidji State University

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The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system includes Bemidji State University as a four-year public institution educating over 6,300 students along Lake Bemidji’s shoreline and beyond. Graded B for professors on Niche, Bemidji State University is named the Midwest’s 115th Top School and 35th Best Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. The CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work offers the Online SWIM program for a Bachelor of Social Work. Cohorts already holding an A.A. degree tackle the 69-credit major with just one monthly campus trip. Students may tailor the social services curriculum with the Chemical Dependency Minor for LADC credentialing.

Online Tuition: $305 per credit

Learn more about Bemidji State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15. Union Institute and University

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Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with satellites from Vermont and California to online, Union Institute and University is a private, doctoral-granting nonprofit founded in 1964 that’s enrolling nearly 1,650 students. Featuring a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, Union Institute and University was distinguished as America’s 18th Best Online College by Niche. Proudly CSWE accredited, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work provides in-depth understanding on community-based interventions. With emphasis on strengths-based practice, the 120-credit curriculum is available full-time or part-time. Classes conveniently begin every eight weeks through CampusWeb. Two semesters of field practicum are necessary for the graduation capstone.

Online Tuition: $510 per credit ($88 full-time technology fee)

Learn more about Union Institute and University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs

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Clinical social work is an advanced practice specialty that’s focused on diagnosing and treating mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. All 50 states require professionals in clinical social work to be licensed. Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) gives individuals the field’s highest credential for designing therapeutic interventions that improve clients’ well-being. State social work boards mandate that LCSW candidates hold an accredited master’s degree and two years of clinical experience. Investing in graduate school can pay off because LCSW is America’s #5 best social service job. Employment statistics show that demand in clinical social work will skyrocket by 19 percent through 2024 and offer some of the highest salaries in the field of social work.

Online education is perhaps the most convenient method for finishing your master’s degree and entering this in-demand field. Therefore, this article is devoted to outlining the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs nationwide. We began by searching for online graduate degrees accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Programs had to be primarily online with minimal campus trips, excluding field practicum. Next, we looked for clinical social work concentrations that satisfied at least in-state LCSW requirements. We consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for narrowing down to top-tier universities. Other factors we considered were tuition, curriculum flexibility, fieldwork, class size, LCSW exam pass rate, Advanced Standing options, and student support.

Here are the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs:

1. Columbia University

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Affiliated with 104 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a premier private, nonprofit research institution delivering Ivy League education to approximately 19,500 post-graduates. The founding Association of American Universities (AAU) member occupies 32 acres in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City’s Manhattan borough. Columbia also has an Online Campus with an impressive 99 percent retention rate. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Columbia University is America’s fourth Best University and sixth Top Value with the sixth Best Social Work Degrees. The Times Higher Education places Columbia among the world’s 15 Best Universities.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited School of Social Work at Columbia University allows students to complete the Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Program fully online with an Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice concentration. Online learners further specialize in Family, Youth & Children’s Services or Health, Mental Health & Disabilities for their Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) career. Courses are synchronous for live, virtual sessions with peers and faculty. Students could follow the standard two-year, Advanced Standing one-year, or extended three-year format from anywhere. Even the MSW’s orientation and capstone project are accessible via computer linkup.

Online Tuition: $1,390 per credit hour

Learn more about Columbia University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

2. University of Southern California
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With post-graduate enrollment surpassing 23,700, the University of Southern California is one of the world’s preeminent private, nonprofit RU/VH research institutions on the Pacific Rim. The $4.7 billion endowment gifts generous financial aid packages to study upon the 308-acre urban campus in the University Park district of Los Angeles or online. Ranked 12th for Graduate Social Work Education, the University of Southern California (USC) is the 23rd Best National University and 39th Top Value in the U.S. News and World Report. The University of Southern California also lands among the Academic Ranking of World Universities’ (ARWU’s) Top 50 Global Universities.

Meeting the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE’s) guidelines, the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work established the Online Master of Social Work program via its Virtual Academic Center. Designed for clinical social workers, the curriculum offers 21st century concentrations in Mental Health, Health, or Families and Children. There’s an additional sub-concentration in Military Social Work too. Online, seminar-style courses foster intimate discussion with live conferencing sessions. Students learn to implement evidence-informed interventions with the 60-credit Traditional or 37-credit Advanced Standing track. Offline, students spend 1,000+ hours completing supervised field education.

Online Tuition: $1,666 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s Online LCSW Programs here.

3. Case Western Reserve University

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Founded as northern Ohio’s first college in 1826, Case Western Reserve University has a distinguished history as a private, doctoral-granting RU/VH research institution. Endowed for $1.76 billion, Case Western Reserve University educates more than 5,600 post-graduates from its 155-acre urban campus in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. The Online Learning Division participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) to deliver six online master’s degrees in 49 states, excluding Kentucky. The U.S. News and World Report named Case the 37th Best University and 42nd Top Value with America’s ninth Best Graduate Social Work Education Programs.

The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences gives Case Western Reserve University students the option to earn the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) online. This Master of Social Work (MSW) alternative offers two Direct Clinical Practice concentrations for Children, Youth & Families or Adult Mental Health. Traditional non-Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students complete 60 credits over eight online semesters, but there’s a 45-credit Advanced Standing track too. Field experience is integrated into online education to develop students’ competence treating mental illness. Admission to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program requires a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA.

Online Tuition: $1,419 per credit hour

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

4. Boston University

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Initially established in 1839 by Methodist ministers as the Newbury Biblical Institute, Boston University has dramatically evolved into a private, non-sectarian RU/VH research center with a $1.6 million endowment. Enrolling over 13,650 post-graduates, the Boston Consortium member is located on 135 urban acres in Massachusetts’ capital near Fenway Park. According to the U.S News and World Report, Boston University is the 41st Best College and 33rd Top School for Veterans nationally. With 23 online master’s degrees, Boston also won the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 21st Century Gold Award for Distance Learning Programming.

Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the School of Social Work confers an outstanding Online Master of Social Work program with a Clinical Social Work Concentration. Online learners gain the therapeutic skills for LCSW licensure via one of three available tracks. The 65-credit Traditional Master’s of Social Work (MSW) takes three years with live online sessions and two internships. Working professionals with Human Service Experience (HSE) can complete 65 credits and one 1,000-hour internship. The Advanced Standing option for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) holders requires 40 credits and one field experience. The Field Education Department has placements in 44 states.

Online Tuition: $750 per credit hour

Learn more about Boston University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

5. Fordham University

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Firmly grounded in Jesuit tradition, Fordham University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution split into 10 constituent colleges to educate over 6,400 post-graduates on-site and online. Claiming over 120 urban acres, Fordham occupies three physical campuses across New York in the Bronx, Manhattan, and West Harrison within Westchester County. Named among Kaplan’s “25 Hottest Schools in America,” Fordham is ranked the 66th Best National University and 55th Best College for Veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. In particular, Fordham University has the 22nd Best Master’s of Social Work program nationwide.

Fulfilling LCSW licensure qualifications is possible through Fordham’s Clinical Concentration for the online Master of Social Work program. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Graduate School of Social Service offers full-time or part-time asynchronous online courses for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. There’s also a hybrid option with Molloy College on Long Island. Clinical social workers could add the Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor-Trainee (CASAC-T) Certificate. Online learners with an accredited BSW receive Advanced Standing for one less year. Supervised field placements across the Tri-State make gaining clinical experience convenient.

Online Tuition: $894 per credit hour

Learn more about Fordham University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

6. Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

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Named for Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey is a public, multi-campus land-grant research institution with nearly 20,000 post-graduates enrolled. Belonging to the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Rutgers has a $3.6 billion budget to operate its 2,688 acres of campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden as well as the eCollege. Placed 17th on PayScale’s Salary Report, Rutgers is ranked the 72nd Best University and 28th Top Public School with the 22nd Best Social Work Degree Programs by the U.S. News and World Report.

Using the Pearson Learning Studio, Rutgers’ School of Social Work produces LCSW candidates online with the Master’s of Social Work in Clinical Social Work program. The self-directed degree is completed part-time in three years or two years Advanced Standing. Small cohorts begin every Fall, Spring, and Summer for flexibility. Without taking the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), social workers can enter the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited curriculum and perhaps add the Violence Against Women and Children Certificate. Online courses culminate in an internship anywhere in the United States. Other benefits include free tutoring and job placement assistance.

Online Tuition: $900 per credit hour

Learn more about Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

7. Michigan State University

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Endowed for $2.2 billion, Michigan State University is a flagship public, land-grant and sea-grant institution with “very high research activity” to train over 11,400 post-graduates. In addition to its vast 5,192-acre suburban campus in East Lansing, Michigan State University offers 100+ online and hybrid courses through the Kellogg Conference Center. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Michigan State as America’s 75th Best University and 29th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Graduate Social Work education. Washington Monthly also crowned the Public Ivy the Midwest’s 11th Best Bang for the Buck.

Holding Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, the School of Social Work grants a 57-credit Statewide Blended Master of Social Work program for Michigan State University students living 50+ miles from East Lansing. Online courses are taken from anywhere with face-to-face meetings only one Saturday per month. Regional locations exist from Grand Rapids to Marquette. Part-time students can complete the Clinical Track in three years to earn LCSW licensure. Since 2006, the program has uniquely linked cohorts through ITV video conferencing. Over four semesters, Master’s of Social Work students also complete 960 clock hours of clinical experience.

Online Tuition: $698 per credit hour

Learn more about Michigan State University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

8. University of Denver

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As the Rockies’ oldest private, co-educational research institution with a legacy tracing back to 1864, the University of Denver is an NAICU member endowed for $607 million to serve over 6,000 post-graduates. Seven miles south of the “Mile High City,” DU operates a 125-acre urban campus in the University Park neighborhood. The College of Professional and Continuing Studies also awards over 45 master’s programs online via Canvas. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Denver is the 86th Best College with the 17th Best Master’s of Social Work (MSW) programs.

The Graduate School of Social Work has extended beyond its three Colorado locations to launch an Online MSW with a concentration in Mental Health and Trauma. This Council on Social Work Education (CWSWE) accredited program prepares Licensed Clinical Social Workers for creating positive change by treating individuals, families, and groups. Online lectures are viewed asynchronously before the collaborative learning session each Thursday. The Online Master of Social Work’s first cohort in January 2017 will have 20 students for close-knit, intervention-oriented education. Nine quarters of coursework culminates in a concentration field internship for 15+ hours per week.

Online Tuition: $628 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Denver’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

9. University of Tennessee

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Belonging to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Academic Consortium, the University of Tennessee is the state’s flagship public, land-grant and sun-grant RU/VH research institution with over 5,900 post-graduates. With one of East Tennessee’s Level I trauma centers, UTK is nestled in the Great Appalachian Valley with a 560-acre urban campus in Knoxville. Vols Online has won the TACHE Innovative Credit Programming Award for 14 online master’s programs. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Tennessee as America’s 103rd Best University and 47th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work training.

The College of Social Work’s same, highly qualified professors deliver the Master of Social Work program online for aspiring LCSWs. Continuously Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited since 1945, the University of Tennessee Knoxville has a clinical Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice concentration. Students can further specialize in Aging, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Substance Abuse, Hospital Social Work, and Trauma. The 60-credit program can be completed full-time or part-time with asynchronous and synchronous online courses. Students’ 672-hour clinical internships are arranged within reasonable commutes from their hometowns.

Online Tuition: $6,417 (in-state) or $15,626 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Tennessee’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

10. Temple University

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Enrolling over 9,500 post-graduates, Temple University is a public, doctoral-granting research institution with an international presence since its founding in 1884 by Baptist minister Russell Conwell. From its main 115-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s Center City district, Temple offers classes in Harrisburg, Tokyo, Rome, London, and online from anywhere. Noted for the country’s 64th Best Social Work Education, Temple is ranked the 115th Best University and 55th Top Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. Kiplinger’s lauded Temple University as the 95th Best Public Value too.

Launching in Fall 2017, Temple’s College of Public Health is now accepting applications for its CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program. Online students can complete the Clinical Practice Concentration while specializing in Children and Families, Health and Mental Health, or an Individualized Option. The 60-credit curriculum blends perfectly with the Online Military Counseling Certificate too. Learners engaged full-time or part-time will complete two field practica at approved agencies from Pennsylvania to Maryland. Temple proudly has one of the United States’ highest LCSW exam pass rates.

Online Tuition: $877 (in-state) or $1,202 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Temple University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

11. The Catholic University of America

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Following the motto “God is My Light,” The Catholic University of America is a private, pontifical teaching institution of the Roman Catholic Church that’s educating over 3,000 post-graduates. Closely tied with the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic University of America is located on a 176-acre urban campus in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Catholic University of America is the 123th Best National University with the 47th Top Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program. The Princeton Review also recognized the Catholic University of America for the 13th “Most Religious Students” countrywide.

Online learners can select from four graduate programs, including the National Catholic School of Social Service’s Clinical Master of Social Work. This rigorous, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited degree trains students to provide much-needed mental health services with LCSW designation. At least 18 online courses are required for 54 credits. Advanced Standing is reserved for social work majors presenting a minimum 3.5 GPA. The Catholic University of America’s “signature pedagogy” emphasizes Christian service backed by biblical principles. Online courses are supplemented by two days of field experience per week.

Online Tuition: $1,035 per credit hour

Learn more about the Catholic University of America’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

12. Virginia Commonwealth University

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Originally created in 1838 by Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia Commonwealth University has gained independence as a senior, public RU/VH research institution with nearly 7,200 post-graduates. Online@VCU makes education accessible away from its 144-acre urban campus in Richmond’s Monroe Park neighborhood. As the 156th Best National University and 84th Top Public School, Virginia Commonwealth University grants the 22nd Best Graduate Social Work Education according to the U.S. News and World Report. Virginia Commonwealth University was also crowned the 16th best non-HBCU for minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work has created an online Master of Social Work degree with a Clinical Social Work Concentration to satisfy LCSW requirements. Whether full-time or part-time, online students spend up to four years completing the 60-credit curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the ethnical integrity required to restore optimal functioning to individuals of multicultural backgrounds. In addition to a first-year orientation, online MSW students must attend two Saturday seminars in Richmond each semester. Social workers could add the Certificate in Aging Studies or Gender Violence Intervention.

Online Tuition: $605 (in-state) or $1,244 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Virginia Commonwealth University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

13. University of Louisville

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Known for founding the world’s first trauma center in 1911, the University of Louisville is a city-owned, public RU/VH research institution that’s endowed for $1.2 billion and educating over 6,400 post-graduates. The University of Louisville operates a 345-acre urban Belknap Campus in Old Louisville, Health Sciences Campus in downtown, and Online Learning Campus virtually. The U.S. News and World Report lauded Louisville for being America’s 168th Best University and 91st Best Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work Programs. The University of Louisville is also the South’s 114th Top University in Forbes magazine.

The Kent School of Social Work confers a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited, “Best Buy” Master of Science in Social Work program 100 percent online. Future licensed clinical social workers can benefit from the Psychosocial Oncology, Mental Health, Gerontology, or Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentrations. Online students with a non-social work major enter the standard 60-credit MSSW, but there’s a 30-credit Advanced Standing option too. Award-winning courses draw from Bruner’s Spiral format for high performance standards. Placements for the 450-hour supervised internship are offered in most states, excluding Texas and Iowa.

Online Tuition: $714 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Louisville’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

14. Widener University

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Given Carnegie’s prized “Community Engagement” classification, Widener University is a private, co-educational research institution with a $73 million endowment to enlighten over 3,200 post-graduates. Featuring satellites in Harrisburg, Exton, Wilmington, and online, Widener is situated upon a 108-acre urban campus in Chester, Pennsylvania. Widener has the 55th “Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20 Students” as America’s 187th Best University and 149th Best College for Veterans according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Presidential Community Service Honor Roll recipient also has the 123rd Top Social Work Programs.

Online learners pursuing the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam can select Widener’s 64-credit Master of Social Work for advanced practice. The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)accredited School of Social Work focuses on examining mental health and social-emotional issues based on past trauma. Curriculum flexibility allows online students to commit anywhere from three to 10 semesters part-time. Two supervised field placements for 480 and 720 clock hours apiece expand students’ professional perspective. There’s also a Hybrid MSW/M.Ed. in Human Sexualities program. No GRE score is required, but applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online Tuition: $811 per credit hour

Learn more about Widener University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

15. University of Houston

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Opened as Houston Junior College in 1927, the University of Houston has expanded into a public, multi-site system of research institutions endowed for $716 million to serve over 7,800 post-graduate students. Along with its flagship 667-acre urban campus on Space City’s Calhoun Road, the University of Houston operates locations in Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Victoria, and online for “Education Without Limits.” Placed 31st on the Social Mobility Index, Houston is ranked the 187th Best National University and 105th Top Public School with the 38th Best Graduate College of Social Work by the U.S. News and World Report.

Offering the lowest in-state tuition, the Online Master of Social Work (MSW) gives UH students the opportunity to develop skills for clinical mental health services. Although it’s primarily online, advanced concentration courses often require meeting in Houston once monthly. Aspiring LCSWs study social welfare policies, human behavior, clinical assessment, DSM diagnoses, and more. The Clinical Practice Concentration places emphasis on cognitive-behavioral interventions. Online students must complete at least 900 clock hours of fieldwork. Some placements are available with UH’s unique Child Trauma Project.

Online Tuition: $410 (in-state) or $918 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Houston’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs

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Social work is a gratifying human services profession that requires a bachelor’s degree for entry-level generalist practice. Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs develop the essential skills for promoting social equality and justice in underprivileged communities. All 50 states mandate accredited baccalaureate-level training for fulfilling licensing requirements. Earning a BSW is smart for compassionate students wishing to help society’s marginalized citizens. The United States employs around 649,300 social workers in diverse settings, including hospitals, welfare agencies, clinics, geriatric centers, and military bases. Social work jobs will keep growing faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024! In this article, we’ll highlight the 10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs that make training easily accessible.

Finding high-quality online bachelor’s degrees in social work can be tricky. To begin, we sorted through U.S. universities accredited at the baccalaureate level by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Only 13 online BSW programs currently exist nationwide. Next, we narrowed the list to 10 by surveying each degree’s curriculum. Bachelor of Social Work programs had to be primarily online with limited on-campus residency. Using the U.S. News and World Report rankings, we judged the academic rigor of each university. Supervised field practice was a must-have to satisfy experience hours required for licensing. Other factors considered were transfer eligibility, financial aid, student-faculty ratio, pass rates, specializations, and online technology.

Studying social work online is a great alternative for non-traditional students looking to maximize scheduling flexibility while lowering commute times and tuition costs. Although online BSW programs aren’t numerous, there are several accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for excellence. Pursuing any of these 10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs will lay the foundation for a rewarding, in-demand helping profession with an average yearly salary of $45,900.

1. University of Utah

Located on a sprawling 1,534-acre camutahupus in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah is a flagship public, space-grant research institution founded in 1850 and educating over 31,600 learners. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Utah as America’s 115th National University and 55th Top Public School. Within the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited College of Social Work, an online Bachelor of Social Work completion program is available. The 51-credit, five-semester curriculum serves entry-level social work practitioners who already hold an associate degree. Online coursework culminates with an applied field practicum in students’ own communities.

Tuition: $8,197 (in-state) or $26,022 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Utah’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

2. University of Alaska Fairbanks

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Enrolling over 10,200 students, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, sea-grant research institution based just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Named the West’s 80th Best College by Forbes, the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recognized in the U.S. News and World Report survey for America’s 164th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program offers a distance, cohort-based option for rural residents across the Alaskan bush. Following the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines, the 120-credit program uses Adobe Connect for online audio-conferences. Seniors must complete a 400-hour practicum in local service agencies.

Tuition: $5,674 (in-state)

Learn more about the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

3. Northern Arizona University

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Endowed for $136 million, Northern Arizona University is a public, state-funded RU/H research institution enrolling over 27,700 students from its 740-acre campus in Flagstaff. Highly rated by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) for educating Native Americans, Northern Arizona University is acclaimed for America’s 159th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Social Work equips online learners for resolving societal problems like domestic violence and discrimination. Fourth-year students in the 120-unit program must complete two 240-hour field placements. There’s also a Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project.

Tuition: $10,358 (in-state) or $23,348 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Northern Arizona University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

4. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, Indiana Wesleyan University educates over 15,800 total students as a private, Christian liberal arts institution in Marion along the Mississinewa River. With a student-faculty ratio of 14:1, the U.S. News and World Report crowned Indiana Wesleyan University the 30th Best Midwestern College and 12th Top Value. The College of Adult and Professional Studies grants an online Bachelor of Social Work with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation. Cohort-based classes on Pearson LearningStudio have flexible start dates every month. Field placement accompanies online coursework on human behavior, social welfare, group relations, and sociology.

Tuition: $24,728

Learn more about Indiana Wesleyan University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

5. California State University – Chico

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Established in 1887, California State University – Chico is the 23-campus system’s second oldest public education institution with over 17,200 students studying in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. The U.S. News and World Report distinguished California State University Chico as the West’s 42nd Best University and ninth Top Public School. Holding Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, the Bachelor of Social Work program has a “distributed learning” option for Web-based instruction. Online students enroll in the three-year program starting their junior year and attend just two face-to-face intensives each semester. Field practicum in Northern California is included.

Tuition: $7,022 (in-state) or $18,182 (out-of-state)

Learn more about California State University – Chico’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

6. Briar Cliff University

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Grounded in Franciscan values, Briar Cliff University is a private, non-profit Catholic liberal arts institution enlightening around 1,100 students from its 70-acre campus in Sioux City, Iowa. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Briar Cliff is the 38th Best University and 27th Top School for Former Military in the Midwest. Fully Council on Social Work (CSWE) accredited since 1974, the Bachelor of Social Work program has an online degree completion option. Requiring 47 credits, the 24-month curriculum contains a mandatory 450-hour community internship. Online Briar Cliff students benefit from weekly, one-on-one mentorship meetings with advisors.

Tuition: $28,090

Learn more about Briar Cliff University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

7. Humboldt State University

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Among the Redwoods, Humboldt State University stands in Arcata, California, as the northernmost CSU-affiliated public institution with over 8,700 students. Named among the Princeton Review’s “Colleges with a Conscience,” Humboldt is ranked the 57th Best Western University by the U.S. News. To produce entry-level generalists, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program is offered online. Undergraduates participate in live, online course meetings every Thursday evening and attend just one January intensive. The two-year, upper-division Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program includes two semesters of field experience.

Tuition: $7,195 (in-state) or $18,364 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Humboldt State University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

8. Brescia University

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With an acceptance rate of 49 percent, Brescia University is a selective private, Catholic institution educating around 1,000 students in the Ursuline tradition from Owensboro, Kentucky. Honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Brescia is ranked the South’s 50th Best College by the U.S. News and World Report. Among Brescia’s 15 online programs is the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion. Five start dates are available for transfers holding at least 45 credits from regionally accredited colleges. Online courses integrate social work knowledge, values, and skills with two on-site agency practica.

Tuition: $20,440

Learn more about Brescia University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

9. Bemidji State University

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Founded in 1919, Bemidji State University has grown into a public, co-educational higher learning institution educating over 6,300 students from its headquarters in northwestern Minnesota. With the country’s 187th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Bemidji State University is the 99th Best Midwestern School according to the U.S. News and World Report. Students with an A.A. degree can join the College of Health Sciences’ Online BSW in Social Work program. Consisting of 69 credits, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited curriculum offers an optional Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate. Bemidji graduates have an average licensing exam pass rate of 96 percent.

Tuition: $8,366

Learn more about Bemidji State University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

10. Metropolitan State University of Denver

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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Metropolitan State University of Denver is an accredited public, space-grant research institution enrolling over 23,900 students on-site in Denver’s Auraria neighborhood and online. Crowned a “Best for Vets” college, Metro State is recognized for America’s 123rd Best Social Work Ddepartment by the U.S. News and World Report. Starting Fall 2016, the COuncil on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited BSSW program will offer Colorado residents a fully online option. The 55-credit major includes two professional field experiences. Minors in Chicano Studies, Criminal Justice, Human Services, or Native American Studies could be added.

Tuition: $6,420 (in-state)

Learn more about Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees

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Earning an associate degree in the human and social services is a gratifying choice for students interested in helping professions. Associate programs require only two years of post-secondary education to unlock access to entry-level human service jobs. Students gain the skills and cultural sensitivity to coordinate community programs for poor, sick, abused, discriminated, and other vulnerable populations. Associate degree holders can find work as human service assistants, social work assistants, casework aides, addictions counselors, and more. The job outlook is favorable with human services growing faster-than-average by 11 percent through 2024. Follow your altruistic passions with any of these 10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees.

To begin, we sourced campus-based associate programs that were accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). This ensures students will qualify for the National Organization for Human Servies Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) credential. All colleges had to be regionally accredited for credit transfer and financial aid. We looked for associate degrees offering specialization for various human and social services careers. All two-year programs had to incorporate real-world agency experience. Preference was given to colleges ranked by the U.S. News, Forbes, Washington Monthly, and other publications. We also weighed class size, exam pass rates, tuition price, location, course flexibility, and faculty credentials.

Rather than immediately jumping into a bachelor’s program, consider completing a two-year associate degree first. Not only are associate programs quicker, but they’re also generally less expensive. Once you’ve completed associate-level training, you can begin applying for entry-level human and social services jobs. According to the BLS, graduates can expect an average yearly salary of $33,190 for good ROI. Credits earned can later transfer into bachelor’s degrees for accelerated promotion paths too.

Start nurturing your love for helping communities grow with one these 10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees:

1. Pennsylvania College of Technology

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Founded in 1914, Pennsylvania College of Technology is an accredited public, state-funded technical institution serving over 5,500 undergraduates from Williamsport. The U.S. News ranked Penn Tech as the North’s 13th Top Public School and 28th Best College for Veterans. In the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, there’s an A.A.S. in Human Services offered. The four-semester program requires 67 credits, including a culturally sensitive human service practicum. With Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHS) Board approval, the curriculum ranges from psychology and counseling to crisis intervention.

Tuition: $15,810 (in-state) or $22,470 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs here.

2. University of Alaska – Anchorage

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As the state’s largest public, research institution, the University of Alaska – Anchorage educates around 20,500 students next to Alaska Pacific University. According to the U.S. News, UAA is the West’s 77th Best College and 29th Top Public School. At the Anchorage, Mat-Su, and Kenai campuses, the College of Health awards an A.A.S. in Human Services. The two-year, 60-credit program places emphasis on serving Alaskan natives. Specializations are available in Substance Abuse, Family and Youth, Disabilities, or Diversity Issues for two field practica.

Tuition: $5,545 (in-state) or $17,177 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Alaska – Anchorage’s Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs here.

3. Clarion University

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Within the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Clarion University is a public, state-funded teaching institution enlightening over 6,800 students just 77 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington Monthly named Clarion the Northeast’s 79th Best Bang For the Buck. The School of Health Sciences has CSHSE and CORE accreditation for the A.S. in Rehabilitative and Human Services program. Courses at the Venango campus in Oil City are supplemented with a 300-hour internship. Available concentrations are Developmental Disabilities, Addictions, Courts and Community Services, or Gerontology.

Tuition: $10,190 (in-state) or $14,660 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Clarion University’s Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs here.

4. New York City College of Technology

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Located in Brooklyn’s city Triangle, the CUNY New York City College of Technology enrolls over 17,000 students as an accredited, publicly funded technical institution. Forbes ranked City Tech as the Northeast’s 78th Best College. The School of Professional Studies holds CSHSE approval for an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Human Services. The 60-credit degree can be completed with daytime, evening, or weekend courses. Students also accomplish 250 clock hours of field work at community-based agencies.

Tuition: $6,669 (in-state) or $13,779 (out-of-state)

Learn more about New York City College of Technology’s Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs here.

5. Allegany College of Maryland

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Enrolling over 18,700 students, Allegany College of Maryland is a public, two-year junior college founded in 1961 with campuses in Cumberland, Somerset, and Everett. Allegany College of Marylandwas chosen among Victory Media’s 2016 “Military Friendly” schools. For 35+ years, the Allied Health Department has granted the Human Service Associate program. Using a hands-on holistic approach, the 70-credit curriculum contains pre-human service and clinical courses. With 480 total practicum hours, specializations are granted in Addictions Counseling, Leadership, and Integrative Health.

Tuition: $6,660 (in-state) or $7,950 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Allegany College of Maryland’s Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs here.

6. James A. Rhodes State College

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Established in 1971, James A. Rhodes State College is a public, career-oriented technical training institution located in Lima, Ohio, to educate over 4,300 students. Rhodes State offers more than 70 associate programs and certificates, including an A.A.S. in Human Service Technology. The 64-credit curriculum follows CSHSE guidelines to prepare Human Services-Board Certified Professionals (HS-BCP). Two second-year field practica are included for experiential learning. Certificates are available in Activity Directing, Child Development, Developmental Disabilities, and Team Leadership.

Tuition: $4,045 (in-state) or $8,090 (out-of-state)

Learn more about James A. Rhodes State College’s Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

7. Great Basin College

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Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Great Basin College is a public, state-assisted technical institution serving over 3,400 students from Elko, Nevada. With our list’s lowest in-state tuition, GBC offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Human Services. The entry-level, two-year program was created using the Rural Health Outreach Grant. Students can complete campus-based or online coursework for the additional Certificate in Substance Abuse Counselor Training. The CSHSE-accredited program includes performing client-centered social services in two semester-long practica.

Tuition: $2,805 (in-state) or $9,450 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Great Basin College’s Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

8. Madison Area Technical College

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Serving 12 counties in south-central Wisconsin, Madison Area Technical College is a public, technical training institution enrolling over 16,139 students. Among MATC’s 175 associate programs is an A.A.S. in Human Services. The School of Human and Protective Services has CSHSE accreditation to deliver the 69-credit degree in downtown Madison. Campus-based courses like psychology, human relations, sociology, and diversity studies are complemented with two human service agency experiences. Graduates qualify for becoming certified substance abuse counselors in Wisconsin.

Tuition: $4,217 (in-state) or $6,143 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Madison Area Technical College’s Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

9. Trident Technical College

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Formed in 1973, Trident Technical College is among South Carolina’s 13 two-year, public technical institutions training over 12,000 students from North Charleston. The Community, Family & Child Studies Department has a fast-growing A.A.S. in Human Services Generalist program. Featuring 62 credits, the CSHSE-approved program has diverse electives from gerontology to marital therapy and juvenile delinquency. Students can add a 26-credit Certificate in Addictions/Substance Abuse. Human Services majors complete two supervised field placements in the fourth and fifth semesters.

Tuition: $4,481 (in-state) or $7,645 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Trident Technical College’s Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

10. College of DuPage

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Nestled in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, College of DuPage is a two-year, public community college enrolling over 29,000 students. At the Berg Instructional Center, DuPage the A.A.S in Human Services program. Boasting a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) exam pass rate of 88 percent, the 67-credit degree contains 300 hours of in-depth fieldwork. Specialty certificates are in Addictions Counseling, Applied Gerontology, Domestic/Family Violence, Fund Development, Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and Veterans Counseling. There’s also a 3+1 B.A. program with National Louis University.

Tuition: $5,275 (in-state) or $10,885 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the College of DuPage’s Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

Related Human and Social Services Degree Program Links:

10 Best Online Human and Social Services Degrees

Learn what you can do with your Human and Social Services Degree here

10 Best Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degrees

Social Work Degree Center

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Anyone not able or ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work should consider obtaining an associate degree in human and social services first. Two-year associate programs are open to students holding at least a high school diploma or GED. Associate degrees allow students to prepare for entry-level human services jobs serving multicultural individuals, groups, families, and communities in need. It’s an excellent degree path for social and human service assistants with an average annual wage of $33,190. Earning an associate degree will also seamlessly transfer credits into a bachelor’s program for advancement. To help start your college search, we’ve listed the following 10 Best Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degrees.

Organizing our ranking began with finding online colleges in the United States offering associate degrees in human services primarily at a distance. Selected schools had to be accredited by regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for credit transfer. We looked for online universities with good reputations in popular rankings, such as the U.S. News, Forbes, and Washington Monthly. All associate programs must have offered a range of available electives for degree specialization. Allowing for fieldwork in students’ local hometowns was also preferred. Other important factors considered were class size, tech support, flexibility, degree length, transfer options, and job placement rate.

Over 5.5 million students at U.S. degree-granting colleges are enrolled in at least one online course. Online learning is a popular, flexible alternative to campus-based human services associate programs. Studying online will let you fit courses anytime into your busy work, family, and social schedule. Most online colleges offer accelerated class sessions to speed through your associate-level training. Engaging in a virtual classroom gives you the technical skills for communicating in the 21st century. Online degrees are also usually more affordable to maximize your degree’s worth. Graduates are poised to enter a social service sector that will add over 257,000 jobs through 2024.

Earn your credentials conveniently with these 10 Best Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degrees:

1. Pennsylvania State University

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Labeled a “Public Ivy,” Pennsylvania State University is a flagship, multi-campus RU/VH research institution enrolling over 97,500 students total from Happy Valley and beyond. The U.S. News ranked PSU as America’s 47th Best National University and 14th Top Public School. Penn State’s World Campus offers an accredited Associate in Science (A.S.) in Human Development and Family Studies online. Two certificate options are available in Adult Development and Aging Services or Children, Youth, and Family Services. The 72-credit curriculum integrates fieldwork and a culminating internship in students’ local communities. Credits can transfer into PSU’s online B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies program.

Tuition: $13,516

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

2. Brescia University

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Founded by the Ursuline Sisters in 1925, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution educating around 1,000 students in Owensboro, Kentucky, and online. According to the U.S. News, Brescia is the 50th Best Regional College in the South. Through BUOnline, students can pursue the Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Human Services. This 63-credit program has flexible online courses with five start dates each year. With Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation, the degree brings together content in sociology, social work, psychology, crisis counseling, and case management. Fieldwork prepares students for entry-level human services jobs. Graduates can also transfer seamlessly into Brescia’s online Bachelor of Social Work.

Tuition: $20,440

Learn more about Brescia University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

3. Columbia College

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Enrolling around 2,100 students, Columbia College is a selective private, non-profit Christian liberal arts institution headquartered in Columbia, Missouri. As an elite Association of American Universities member, Columbia is recognized by the U.S. News for America’s 106th Best Online Undergraduate Programs. The regionally accredited Online Campus offers an Associate in Science in Human Services. This empirical-based program develops the fundamental skills for careers in advocacy, case management, counseling, public policy, social welfare, and more. Consisting of 60 credits, the curriculum places emphasis on serving diverse, minority cultures. A 135-hour human services internship can be added. Columbia also offers the A.S. at 14 campuses nationwide, from Kansas City to Orlando.

Tuition: $8,240

Learn more about Columbia College’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

4. Cornerstone University

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Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University is a private, non-denominational Christian institution with Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and Association of Theological Schools accreditation to educate over 3,000. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Cornerstone is the Midwest’s 108th Best College and 82nd Top School for veterans. CUOnline’s web-based Learning Management System (LMS) allows online learners to complete the Associate of Science in Human Services. This 62-credit degree builds the professional skills to serve needy individuals in secular or faith-based agencies. Over 28 months, students join an accelerated, team-oriented cohort with 10 to 15 peers. Human services coursework culminates with a four-week field experience and applied project. Holding a minimum 2.0 GPA is required.

Tuition: $26,100

Learn more about Cornerstone University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

5. New England College

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Nestled in the White Mountains in Henniker, New Hampshire, New England College is a private, non-profit liberal arts institution educating over 2,000 on-site and online students. Regionally accredited by the North East Assocation of Schools and Colleges, New England College has the 114th Best Online Undergraduate Programs Nationally according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Associate of Science in Human Services is delivered 100 percent online to prepare students for various helping professions. Within the 60-credit curriculum, students build on the liberal arts to study sociology, psychology, substance abuse, counseling, and client assessment. Online students benefit from small class sizes and 24/7 support from University Alliance. New England College also awards a B.S. in Human Services online.

Tuition: $34,606

Learn more about New England College’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree programs here.

6. Franklin Pierce University

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First opened in 1962, Franklin Pierce University is an accredited private, non-profit liberal arts institution located in Rindge, New Hampshire, near Mount Monadnock to serve over 2,200. In Forbes magazine, Franklin Pierce was ranked the 186th Best College in the Northeast. The College of Professional Studies offers an online Associate of Arts in Human Services 100 percent online. Asynchronous online courses are completed in six, eight-week terms. Students build an e-Portfolio to record their learning experiences. The 60-credit curriculum has diverse electives ranging from addiction and poverty to child abuse and public relations. For resume-building, human services majors may complete an optional senior internship.

Tuition: $33,320

Learn more about Franklin Pierce University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

7. Western New Mexico University

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Offering over 70 areas of study, Western New Mexico University is a public, state-assisted higher learning institution educating approximately 3,500 students from Silver City. Known for winning Quality New Mexico’s highest Zia Award, WNMU is named the West’s 179th Best Bang For The Buck in Washington Monthly. Online learners can pursue the Associate of Arts in Human Services program with synchronous web-conferencing. The 64-credit degree promotes the improved accessibility and coordination of human services systems. A.A. students must complete 250 clock hours of supervised field internship. Graduates can segue into WNMU’s B.A. in Rehabilitation Services or Bachelor of Social Work online.

Tuition: $5,704 (in-state) or $13,364 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Western New Mexico University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

8. Grace Bible College

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Affiliated with the Grace Gospel Fellowship, Grace Bible College is a private, evangelical Christian institution that’s regionally accredited to enlighten 1,100 students from Grand Rapids. The Washington Monthly named GBC The Nation’s 82nd Best Baccalaureate College for “contribution to the public good.” Altruistic students can pursue the Associate of Arts in Human Services program fully online via Blackboard. This 60-credit program takes 24 months to produce biblically-informed professionals for serving diverse communities. Cohorts contain 10 to 16 students to maximize instructor interaction. In the final semester, students complete a case study project. Some continue into GBC’s online Bachelor of Science in Human Services.

Tuition: $12,268

Learn more about Grace Bible College’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

9. Thomas Edison State University

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With enrollment over 18,500, Thomas Edison State University is one of New Jersey’s 11 publicly funded higher education options located in the capital of Trenton. In 2013, The New York Times described TESU as the “College That Paved Way for Flexibility.” Online, self-directed learning is available for the Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Human Services. This 60-credit program fosters the practical professional skills and techniques to serve diverse client populations. Courses will delve into ethics, sociology, psychology, communication, counseling, and crisis intervention. TESU requires having at least six months (800 hours) of human services experience before the capstone.

Tuition: $6,135 (in-state) or $9,036 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Thomas Edison State University’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

10. Rasmussen College

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Headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 24 campuses, Rasmussen College is a private, for-profit mid-sized distance institution enrolling around 13,600 students yearly. According to CollegeChoice, Rasmussen is the nation’s 19th Best Value for Online Education. With a student-faculty ratio of 22:1, there’s an online Human Services Associate’s Degree offered. This 90-unit program can be completed in just 18 months. Students can follow the Internship Track I or Human Services Capstone Track II. Coursework will explore cultural diversity, abnormal psychology, crisis intervention, counseling, juvenile justice, drug addiction, and more. Graduates earn an average starting salary of $29,225 in non-licensed human services jobs.

Tuition: $9,360

Learn more about Rasmussen College’s Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degree Programs here.

Related Human and Social Services Associate Degree Programs

10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees

Learn what you can do with your Human and Social Services Degree here

Social Work Degree Scholarships, Grants, and Loans

Social Work Degree Center

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Undergraduate Students


Social work degrees are worthy investments for altruistic students wishing to give back to their communities in this helping profession. After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that social work jobs are growing faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024. The only problem is that college tuition is also escalating. Becoming a social worker requires investing in at least four years of post-secondary education. For clinical practice, get prepared to foot a hefty bill for a Master of Social Work (MSW). The average cost for a master’s degree is $20,335 each year. That’s disconcerting for many considering the mean annual wage for social workers is only $45,900. Luckily, the following types of financial aid are available to cover your tuition burden.

Social Work Loans

Student loans are one of the major methods used to pay for social work degrees. After filing a FAFSA form, you could earn federal government assistance. Federal Perkins, Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Graduate PLUS loans are the most common. U.S. citizens with valid social security numbers and financial need to enroll at least half-time at accredited colleges will qualify. Federal loans are typically capped at $9,500 to $12,500 per year. Loans will give instant funding to cover tuition costs, but you’ll need to repay them with accrued interest. Be cautious with your borrowing to avoid being strapped with debt. In 2015, college graduates had an oppressive average loan debt of $35,051.

An excellent alternative to federal loans are private, no-interest loans. For example, the Bill Raskob Foundation offers interest-free loans to financially needy college and post-graduate students at accredited U.S. colleges. The average BRF loan amount is currently $5,000. Students are given 12 months after graduation before having to begin repayment. The Military Officers Association of America grants another interest-free loan to students under 24 who are children of active, retired, or fallen military personnel. For the $5,500, MOAA applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and have unmet need. There are also local programs like the Massachusetts No-Interest Loan and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan.

When loans start stacking up, you can turn to loan forgiveness programs to wipe away your debt. Social work majors are often eligible for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP). This provides up to $50,000 to excuse loans for mental and behavioral health clinicians after graduation. In exchange you must sign a two-year contract with any Corps-approved agency with a HPSA score from 26 to 14. There’s the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program too. After making 120 monthly payments, the PSLF can expunge the rest. Social work graduates who work at least 30 hours per week at a government or nonprofit, tax-exempt organization may qualify.

Social Work Grants

Grants are sources of free gift aid that won’t need to be repaid. Most social work grants are given to fund students undertaking special projects. For instance, the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Grant is available for U.S. or Canadian students who volunteer full-time for 30+ hours with a social justice program. Activities that advocate for civil rights, peace, economic equality, and environment sustainability would meet the criteria. The American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABECSW) offers the Judith Holm Memorial Award for $2,000 to MSW students who write a paper about interventions from their final-year field placements.

Since 1987, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has awarded the Ruth Fizdale Grant Program to two graduate students for $3,000 each. Eligible MSW candidates must be piloting research projects that address policy issues related to people with disabilities. Similarly, the NASW funds the Social Work HEALS Grant program to support policy fellowships for PhD or DSW students who work in health policy practice in Washington, DC. Awards provide up to $65,000 directly to recipients’ universities. Since social work grants are geared towards graduate students, undergraduates may look to federal sources. The Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant are viable options.

Social Work Scholarships

By far, the greatest source of no-cost financial aid for social work majors is scholarships. There are both merit- and need-based scholarships awarded by various community organizations. For example, the Davis-Putter Scholarship is gifted for $10,000 to degree-seeking social work students at accredited higher learning institutions. Qualified recipients must be taking part in social activism to fight racism, sexism, LGBT discrimination, and other oppression. The Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship is granted for $5,500 to MSW students who are committed to serving African American populations. Attending a CSWE-accredited program and having NASW membership in good standing is required. The Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship is another choice.

Minority social work majors can gain access to their own scholarship opportunities. The Dr. Joyce Beckett Tuition Scholarship is awarded for $2,000 to two African American students. Submitting an application, letters of recommendation, and two-page letter of purpose to the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) is required. Likewise, the National Association of Puerto Rican-Hispanic Social Workers (NAPRHSW) offers $2,500 to Latino/a students entering an accredited graduate program for social work. Selection is based on academic merit and commitment to social justice in Hispanic communities. American Indian or Alaska Native students pursuing an MSW with a minimum 2.0 GPA could earn the IHS Health Professionals Scholarship as well.

Those active in Greek life could unlock added scholarships. Since 1975, the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has provided the $1,000 Mildred Carter Bradham Social Work Scholarship. This renewable award is gifted to ZPB members who are pursuing a graduate degree full-time at a CSWE-accredited institution. For males, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity awards the George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship each May for $5,000. Full-time graduate students must be studying social work, criminal justice, or sociology to be eligible. There’s also the 11 Pi Gamma Mu Scholarships for $1,000 to $2,000. Pledged members in the social sciences who are in the first or second year of graduate study may apply.

Still Lacking Funding?

It’s possible that these three financial aid resources may not be enough. You may have to dig deeper with your research. Look for private aid gifted by religious, cultural, corporate, or service organizations. If you’re already working full-time, take advantage of any employer tuition assistance programs offered. Otherwise, campus employment could help. Federal Work-Study (FWS) and graduate assistantships are great ways to earn partial to full tuition waivers. Anyone who’s served in the U.S. Armed Forces and been honorably discharged can earn VA benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program. If you’re still in high school, open a 529 College Savings Plan to pinch your pennies for a future social work degree.

Top 10 Accredited MSW Programs (On-Campus)

mswcampChoosing a school in which to pursue graduate work is a lengthy process. Everybody wants to choose a school that has high rankings, accreditation and reasonable tuition. Plus, everybody wants to go to school with a strong curriculum that will prepare them for a career. Each of the schools on this list was selected for offering strong programs for students wishing to pursue social work as a career. These schools focus on clinical work as well as social science theory. It is essential that students have experience working one-on-one with the community as well as learning information in a classroom setting.

Sponsored Online Masters in Social Work Programs

  1. Master of Social Work from the University of South California (USC)
  2. MSW with a concentration on Children, Families and Couples from Walden University
  3. MS in Social and Community Services from Capella University

The schools listed on the following Top 10 Accredited MSW Programs (On-Campus) list offer graduate programs with strong rankings from independent sources. One of the biggest factors in adding these schools to the list is that each one has unique course and major offerings. Students can obtain more than an MSW. They can achieve a degree with a unique concentration that they can use in a specific career field.   Additional factors in our selection methodology include accreditation through well recognized social work accrediting bodies, ranking from reputable sources like the U.S. News  and World Report, Princeton Review, and Forbes, as well as additional factors like faculty experience, tuition and education costs, and innovative curricula.   Each of these schools also offers a unique history and strong accreditation that make them shine above the rest. If you go to one of these schools, your education will stand the test of time.

1. University of Chicago

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The University of Chicago offers an on-campus graduate degree in Social Work called the SSA Master of Arts. It is the equivalent of an MSW and allows students to work directly in the field of social work while also taking classes in social science theory. This program is unique because it offers a choice between a concentration in clinical work or social administration. UC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It has been accredited since 1919. U.S. News ranked this institution as third on the list of Best Grad Schools for Social Work. Tuition for the University of Chicago is $45,324.

For more about the University of Chicago’s MSW Program, go here

2. Washington University in St. Louis

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Washington University in St. Louis was established as the result of a flood of immigration to the region during the 1850s. Its MSW offering is available at its world renown Brown School campus and accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. Flexible scheduling and concentrations emphasizing children, gerontology, health management, mental health and research are features of this great program. WU emphasizes the importance of working in the field by offering not only stellar academics (with the added option of completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work in just five years) but also the hands on experiences needed to succeed. The U.S. News ranked the Brown School as the number one Social Work program in the nation for these reasons and more. Tuition is $35,520.

For more about Washington University’s MSW Program, go here

3. University of Michigan

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According to the U.S. News and World report, the University of Michigan’s on campus Master’s in Social Work programs share the number one spot in the nation. With offerings in several concentrations, like: Interpersonal Practice, Community Organization, Management of Human Services and Social Policy and Evaluation, and means for students to obtain their degree as few as 12 months, the University of Michigan is a great match for most. Plus they offer the option for students to participate in the Peace Corps Master’s International program in which a student can offer serive overseas while completing their graduate degree. In the days since the University of Michigan became the first college in the Northwest Territories available to the public in 1817, it has grown to be one of the most highly recognized, greatly respected schools in the U.S. It’s MSW programs and other degree offerings have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission for many years. And as a consistently ranked Top 10 Research Institutions in the US, the University of Michigan is often a first choice for those with aspirations to enter the social work field as professionals. School tuition for Michigan residents is about $23,973. Non-resident tuition is $38,167.

For more about the University of Michigan’s MSW Program, go here

4. University of California at Berkeley

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The University of California at Berkeley has offered graduate candidates access to one of the oldest MSW programs in the country. Since 1944, its School of Social Welfare has consistently grown to become one of the 7th best social work programs in the United States. In fact, 48 of the UCB’s 52 programs rank in the top 10 of the nation. The school offers a special field placement program and a highly productive faculty. The school’s MSW concentrations include: Management and Planning, Gerontology Services, Health Services, Community Mental Health Services and Child and Family Services. UC Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. California residents will pay a tuition of $5,610 per semester and non-residents will pay $13,161 per semester.

For more about the University of California at Berkeley’s MSW Program, go here

5. Columbia University

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Columbia University, located in New York City, was founded in 1754 and is the fifth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. The Columbia University School of Social Work offers concentrations in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice, Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming, Policy Practice and Social Enterprise Administration. Completion of each program requires two years of study and takes a multidisciplinary approach to the social work with research, field work and lectures all important aspects of the program. The MSW program at Columbia has been consistently ranked fifth by U.S. News for Social Work programs and has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition for a MSW graduate program at Columbia is $36,944.

For more about Columbia University’s MSW Program, go here

6. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

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The University of Michigan’s mission for their Social Work programs are about creating change in the world and moving society to a better place. Their desire to mold students into professionals who empower society to stand up for what is right and eliminate negative social conditions is as strong as the rich academic history which has propelled the school to what it is today. This university is unique in that it offers a variety of concentrations, including health, community organization, interpersonal practice, mental health, aging in families and society, and community and social systems. They also have the option for a dual degree in the Master of Social Work/Juris Doctor. Tuition for out of state graduate students is $9,552 for 12 credits and in state graduate students is $7,455 for 12 credits.

For more about the University of Michigan’s MSW Program, go here

7. University of Georgia

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The University of Georgia was established in 1801 when Georgia became the first state to charter a public college. Today it is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Located in Athens, the University of Georgia offers an MSW program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. UG has been ranked as the 37th best school for graduate social work in the country. The university offers two concentrations: Clinical Practice and Community Empowerment and Program Development. Georgia residents pay $10,262 in tuition. Non-residents pay $28,472 in tuition.

For more about the University of Georgia’s MSW Program, go here

8. Rutgers University

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Rutgers University was chartered in 1766. Initially, it was a school for men. Women were allowed to attend 1918. The largest program at Rutgers is its program in Social Work, which is ranked by U.S. News as number 26 in the country. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The program focuses on both private and public sector work that students may perform when they graduate. Students can obtain this degree at the campuses in Camden, Newark, or New Brunswick. Graduate students may also choose to focus on Clinical Social Work or Nonprofit and Public Management. Both concentrations require field work, putting students in positions to apply their studies. Tuition for Rutgers students is $10,718 per year.
For more about Rutgers University’s MSW Program, go here

9. Boston College

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When Boston College opened in 1864, the staff originally taught only the Classics. Over the years, the College has grown to become the 10th Best School for Social Work within the U.S. per the U.S. News and World report. In terms of the MSW programs available at Boston College, the school offers four concentrations including: Children, Youth and Families; Global Health; Health and Mental Health; and Older Adults and Families. Students in each of these specialization gain essential theories in the classroom and then apply them through work experiences in their chosen career path. Most MSW programs require a two to four year time investment so students can either participate in part or full time studies. They also have the option of a dual degree in social work and law, social work and business or social work and ministry. This university is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of New England. Tuition for Boston College is $1,012 per credit.

For more about Boston College’s MSW Program, go here

10. State University of New York at Albany

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The State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany) is a leader in terms of one of the most affordable universities for graduate level social work education in the U.S. With a faculty that ranks within the top five percent in the country for their research contributions, SUNY Albany’s dual degree Master of Public Health – Master of Social Work program stands above the rest. It’s school of Social Work offers only programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Best of all, SUNY Albany’s rich history of diversity, with students and faculty coming from 100 different countries, plus a multitude of course offerings and educational experiences to enhance learning. Tuition is $11,295 per semester for in state graduate students and $19,775 for out of state graduate students.

For more about SUNY Albany’s MSW Program, go here

Top 20 Ranking of the Best Online Masters in Social Work Programs (MSW)

onlinemsqacA Master’s in Social Work (also known as MSW) is one of the most advantageous graduate degree options available to students due to the increasing flexibility of employment options. Degree-holders can choose from a variety of careers, including government programs, school counseling, private psychological counseling, and other private agency work upon completion of their training. With the increase in today’s technology, obtaining such a versatile degree is now incredibly simple and affordable. Many universities across the country and beyond are beginning to offer online MSW programs, making the MSW an even more desirable degree for those looking to attend graduate school.

Sponsored Online MSW Programs

  1. Master of Social Work from the University of South California (USC)
  2. MSW with a concentration on Children, Families and Couples from Walden University
  3. MS in Social and Community Services from Capella University

Online MSW programs include a wide range of online coursework, accredited clinical practice and other activities concentrated in a student’s local area. Students participating in an online MSW program can choose to study either full-time or part-time and some schools also offer an accelerated learning option, which often spans a shorter amount of time and can cost less than standard programs. Online courses in general are often the most affordable way to attend the graduate school of your choice and MSW programs are no exception. Recent figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) make social work careers even more appealing. The BLS projects 25 percent job growth for those who hold an MSW degree between 2010 and 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing employment opportunities in the nation. Aside from its projection as stable employment, social workers’ average salary in 2011 was $53,900, according to the BLS.

Below is a list of the 20 Best Online MSW Programs from accredited universities:

1. Boston University

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Boston University’s School of Social Work offers a part-time, online Master’s in Social Work with courses taught by its esteemed faculty. Students have two options for degree completion, following either a Human Service Experience or traditional MSW track of coursework. Courses are taken online while internships and other outside degree work can be completed near the student’s own community. BU’s MSW program is typically completed in about two and a half years. Students pursuing the Human Service Experience emphasis must have at least two prior years of supervised human services experience and requires a 1000 hour internship. The traditional track requires two field internships totaling 1200 hours. Faculty assist students in finding local internships in their own communities. The online MSW program consists of the same components as BU’s on-campus degree program. BU’s School of Social Work tied for rank #16 by U.S. News & World Report in social work and all courses are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Tuition for the MSW program at BU is $685 per credit for part time students enrolled for 1/2 to 11 credits plus additional fees.

For more regarding Boston University’s Online MSW program, go here

2. University of Southern California

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USC’s School of Social Work is tied for rank #11 by U.S. News and World Report in social work. Their online MSW program provides flexible start dates, part-time and full-time options and is as academically challenging as their on-campus programs. USC utilizes a “Virtual Academic Center” that allows students to connect with each other as well as their professors via live classrooms and chats and interactive study groups. Internships are arranged by the school to be completed in the student’s local community. Over the course of two years, students cover both the fundamental knowledge (year one) and enter a specialized focus area in their second year. Students can choose from Families and Children; Health; Mental Health; and Community Organization, Planning and Administration. A sub-concentration in Military Social Work and Veteran Services is also available. Tuition is $1,536 per unit rate for students enrolled within 1-14 units and $22,801 for students enrolled within 15-18 units plus additional fees.

For more regarding the University of California’s Online MSW program, go here

3. Northeastern University

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Northeastern University in Boston, MA has been ranked #8 in U.S. News & World Report‘s list of Up-and-Coming-Schools. Their Master of Science in Human Services online degree program prepares students for work in government agencies, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Students in NU’s online MS in Human Services program can customize their curriculum based on their specific area of study: Global Studies, Leadership, or Organizational Communication. This program is also incredibly affordable while lending students the flexibility to work and attend graduate school simultaneously. Students also have the option to attend part-time or full-time and can consequently complete the program in two to three years.

For more regarding Northeastern University’s Online MSW program, go here

4. Fordham University

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Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service is ranked #11 by U.S. News & World Report in social work and its online MSW program is ranked #1 by BestSchools.org. The online MSW program provides an asynchronous, part-time learning experience in which traditional and advanced-standing students work toward a clinical concentration utilizing both online learning and hands-on field work. The program is typically completed in three years and at the end of the program, graduates are qualified to take their state’s certification or licensing examination. Part of Fordham’s MSW online experience requires students to participate in an integrated seminar that enhances the connection between learning online and live instruction. Online students are required to attend two face-to-face class sessions each year as part of their degree. Tuition to complete an MSW at Fordham is $859 per credit plus additional technology, general, and other fees.
For more regarding Fordham University’s Online MSW Program, go here

5. University of Georgia

univgeorgia

Ranked by the U.S. News & World Report in the top 25 percent of the country’s social work programs, the University of Georgia provides students with numerous learning possibilities and experiences. They provide specializations throughout many areas of social work with six different degree options plus the only online dual degree program in Master of Social Work – Master of Public Health (MSW-MPH). All programs offered by the University of Georgia are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Additionally, most graduate students have the opportunity to study social work abroad, including places like Ghana and Ireland. Tuition rates for the MSW-MPH program are $12,508 per 12 graduate credit hours.

For more about the University of Georgia’s Online MSW Program, go here

6. University of Louisville

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University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work is ranked #1 in Kentucky, in the top 16% of all graduate social work programs in the nation and #3 in the nation according to GraduateSchools.org. Their online MSSW program provides the same instruction as their on-campus program while allowing the flexibility of completion at your own pace. The Kent School of Social Work accepts students without a Bachelor’s in Social Work into its Standard program and students who have already completed their BSW can take the Advanced Standing route. Options, while limited, are also available for international students or students living abroad. The Kent School offers a multitude of scholarships, grants and other financial aid to help offset the cost of the program with graduate course tuition at $660 per credit hour.

For more regarding the University of Louisville’s Online MSW Program, go here

7. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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UT’s College of Social Work is ranked among the nation’s top programs based on innovation, affordability, and value, according to the GetEducation consumer organization. Their online MSW coursework is taught and managed by the same faculty that teach standard courses on-campus, rendering the online program to the same high standards of the entire school.Students at UTK’s online school can choose from courses that are fully online and some that are online during the week and meet live several weekends throughout the semester. Students have three options for online study: full-time, advanced standing, and extended study. Full-time students complete the curriculum in two years, including approximately 1000 hours of field study. Advanced standing students can be completed both on a full-time and part-time basis, but students must possess a BSW from an accredited institution to be accepted to the program. Extended study students can complete the program on a part-time level, completing the course work and approximately 1000 hours of field study over the course of three to four years. Tuition is $5, 472.00 for in-state graduate students and $14,716.00 for out-of-state graduate students.

For more regarding the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Online MSW Program, go here

8. Indiana University

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IU’s online MSW program has just one concentration, “Advanced Generalist,” rendering it incredibly unique. The Advanced Generalist MSW prepares students for all aspects of social work, including individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in many different areas. Students may select specific areas of study to help customize their coursework, preparing them for a specific career. Online courses run in 11-week quarters four times each year, allowing for flexible start dates; as long as students complete the course work in five years or less, they can be as flexible as they need to be and work at their own pace. All of IU’s online students have the ability to access the university’s expansive library system and are considered “traditional” students even on-campus. Tuition is $17,130 for in-state students and $24,852 for out-of-state students.

For more regarding the Indiana University’s Online MSW Program, go here

9. Texas State University

texstate
Texas State University’s School of Social Work is ranked #148 by U.S. News & World Report in social work. Students can follow a regular or advanced track, differentiated by the type of undergraduate degree, and can attend either full-time or part-time. Part-time students complete the regular track in four years and the advanced track in two years; full-time students complete the regular track in two years and the advanced in one. Students in the advanced standing track can take specialized coursework in the Direct Practice concentration or the Administrative Leadership concentration. Unlike many online programs, TSU’s online MSW program is available to both national and international students and coures are taught by faculty specially trained to teach online. Graduate tuition is $801 per three credit hour course.

For more regarding the Texas State University’s Online MSW Program, go here

10. University of New England

une

The University of New England has a long history of dedicated student and faculty volunteers. Their dedication has been able to help staff the Biddeford Free Clinic with medical student volunteers plus prove the school’s ultimate mission: to promote well-being for all. Aligned with the school’s mission, it’s Social Work programs are much different from the other social work schools. It embraces diversity and the acceptance of all people as they are and promotes the well-being of everyone regardless of their economic or social status. Their MSW program was one of the first to go 100 percent online and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. They also have great financial resources, with over 90 percent of students receiving financial aid each semester and tuition rates beginning at $32,755 (37 credits) for Advanced Standing students and $56,195 (64 credits) for in and out of state students following the Traditional Track.

For more about the University of New England’s Online MSW Program, go here

11. Virginia Commonwealth University

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This university, located in the state of Virginia, offers degrees in Social Work at the Bachelors, Masters, and PhD levels. Founded in 1917, the Monroe Park Campus was first named the Richmond School of Social Economy and would later become one of the state’s leading social work schools. It wasn’t until recently that the University added a distance learning option available for part time students but the program offers superior education paired with a diverse number of concentrations including domestic violence, health concerns, global concerns, and aging. Their mission is to turn students into professional social workers and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership and empowerment. And their tradition is rich is providing the academic excellence required to do just that. As a Tier 1 University, Virginia Commonwealth has been consistently ranked by the U.S. News and World Report within the top 200 Universities Worldwide and maintains a steady hold within the top 100 in the U.S. All social work programs offered through VCU are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and cost. Tuition is $100 per credit hour for part-time graduate students plus additional education related expenses. Tuition for full time, in-state graduate students is $6101.00 and $11,640 for full time, out-of-state graduate students.

For more about Virginia Commonwealth University’s Online MSW Program, go here

12. Rutgers University

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Rutgers University was originally an all-male college when it was founded in 1766 and was named after a Revolutionary War veteran Henry Rutgers. Located in the state of New Jersey, Rutgers grew to accommodate students of both genders. With Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree offerings in Social Work, this program is one of the most affordable online and on-campus. Not only do they offer a traditional on-campus program, they also offer a 100 percent online program as well as a “blended” program, where you attend class partially online. Plus They the full-scale, on campus social work programs at their New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, combined with their online programs, make Rutgers one of the most accessible MSW programs available. Tuition rates are approximately $20,860 per academic year for out of state students.

For more about Rutgers University’s Online MSW Program, go here

13. Florida State University

florida state uni

In the days since 1923, when the Territorial Legislature of Florida received official authorization to create what would become the Florida State University, this school has grown to be recognized as one of the most elite research universities in the U.S. It’s tradition of providing students with a unique heritage based upon the highest values: innovation, research, and academic excellence. It’s 100% online MSW program was the first of its kind to offer student centered asynchronous instruction and is available only to students who have completed a BSW from a Council on Social Work Education accredited program. It’s program features instruction necessary to pass the ASWB clinical level exam as well as an evidenced based clinical work experience within community settings to provide graduate candidates with a diversity in clients and means of applying what they learn through coursework. This program is limited to students within specific regions throughout Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Considered a “Budget Ivy School,” the University is ranked in fourth place on USA Today’s and the Princeton Review’s “Best Value Colleges.” Tuition at FSU is affordable with $538.83 for residents and $573.34 for non-residents per credit hour. As a Tier 1 school, the U.S. News and World report listed FSU as 42nd among public schools and within the top 100 of National Universities.

For more about Florida State University’s Online MSW Program, go here

14. University of North Dakota

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When the University of North Dakota held its first classes in 1884, it depended upon it’s core of values, mission to deliver outstanding academic programs, and adherence to the tradition of excellence. As a lead research university, the University’s ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge based upon impacting society positively serves not only its students, graduates, and faculty but it’s state, country, and the world. UND’s online MSW program provides students with the refined knowledge and skills paired with intensive lab experiences to guarantee participant’s step into the world prepared as an advanced generalist social worker. Courses allow master’s candidates the ability to learn the core concepts and theories in the field of social work as well as gain a detailed understanding of social systems and the role social workers play in society. Students have the option of completing their studies in full or part-time programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and rated highly by The Princeton Review, The Best Colleges, GetEducated.com, and TheBestSchools.org. Tuition rates are based upon in-state fees regardless of where a student lives. The cost of completing a MSW program at UND is $507.27 per credit.

For more about the University of North Dakota’s Online MSW Program, go here

15. Colorado State University

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Founded in 1870 as the Agricultural College of Colorado with humble beginnings, this school grew to what would become a world recognized Tier 1 research institution known as Colorado State University. With a present enrollment of 27,000 undergraduate students and a 142 years strong (and counting) history in growth, accomplishment, and innovation, the schools mission is based on improving understanding, augmenting knowledge, and advocating for the well being of humanity. Its full or part time MSW program offers students the chance to participate in a well respected program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and highly ranked by The Times Higher Education, Princeton Review, and Consumer Digest. CSU holds its place as the 60th Top Public University World wide and 134th Best National University on the U.S. News and World Report’s best of 2013 list. It’s outstanding social work program ranked 60th on The Top Graduate Program list for 2009 for it’s flexibility, staff, accreditation, and content. Graduate students may complete the online MSW through distance education programs on a part or full time basis available online or on-campus which caters specifically to the busy schedules of working professionals. Graduates complete courses based in generalist knowledge rooted in the theories of socio-behavior, social work ecosystems, humanism, empowerment, democracy, and problem solving to then obtain a state social work license or continue studies in a PhD program upon completion. Tuition is $549 per credit with additional educational related fees.

For more about Colorado State University’s Online MSW Program, go here

16. Our Lady of the Lake University

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Over 100 years ago the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence and missionaries made history when established a school to help youth in need in Austin, Texas. Those missionaries lay the groundwork to what would evolve to become a Tier 2 coeducational liberal arts and sciences college. Its Catholic based commitment to offering quality education based upon service, innovation, and spiritual, personal, and professional growth. this commitment guarantees students are prepared to succeed as well rounded individuals following graduation. The University’s online MSW programs are the first of its kind within Texas and yield award winning academics distinguished by the Council on Social Work Education Presidential Award for Excellence in Social Work Education. Graduate candidates can partake in part or full time studies within Regular Standing or Advanced Standing programs emphasizing service, diversity, and assisting clients of far ranging economic and social backgrounds. Tuition at OLLU is $760 per hour of study plus added fees and expenses related to technology and education.

For more about Our Lady of the Lake’s Online MSW Program, go here

17. Case Western Reserve University

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An experienced based approach to learning about the arts, humanities, science, and technology has paved the path to worldwide recognition for Case Western Reserve University. Since founding in 1826, CWRU has given students the practical knowledge and work experiences necessary to become successful leaders. As a leader in innovative research, the University has a longstanding history as a top ranking school. Recognized by the U.S. World and News as the 37th Best College of 2013, 65th in Worldwide Universities by The Times Higher Education during 2010, and the 4th Best National University by Washington Monthly in 2013, CWRU is renown for its academic excellence. Its online MSW/MSSA programs offer students a dynamic opportunity to gain knowledge based in practical experiences, the promotion of social justice, and the empowerment of communities through local, national, and international efforts. An engaging, expert faculty and accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North central Association of Colleges and Schools ensures that the programs available through Case Western meets or exceeds the academic standards of similar programs offered through other schools. Plus its Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
has consistently ranked within the top 10 as the Best Grad Schools of Social Work for delivering a competency based curriculum addressing ethics, cross cultural knowledge, values, service, advocacy, diversity, self-awareness, and leadership. With Traditional or Advanced Standing Tracks, graduate candidates may specialize studies within two concentrations: the Community Practice for Social Change and the Direct Practice for Children, Youth, and Families or the Direct Practice for Mental Health/Adults. Graduates embark upon careers destined to change the lives of their clients applying what they learn through courses and field experiences. Tuition is $38,588 for full time students or $1,608 for part time students participating in up to 11 hours of study.

For more about Case Western Reserve University’s Online MSW Program, go here

18. Walden University

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Walden University is the first fully-online school to offer a full, accredited MSW program. Their MSW program builds on their decades of experience with online graduate coursework and meets the highest standards of education possible for distance learning. Utilizing both technology and case studies, hands-on field experience and residencies, students at WU can choose from three tracks to complete the coursework at their own pace and from a collection of optional “elective clusters” that act similarly to concentrations at other schools. Elective clusters provide the opportunity for students to specialize in on of the following specific areas: Military,; Crisis and Trauma,; Addictions; Children, Families, and Couples; Forensic Populations and Settings; and Medical Social Work. Students can also choose to follow the General Program instead of a more concentrated program of study. Tuition is $500 per credit hour plus technology, residency, and other fees.

For more regarding the Walden University’s Online MSW Program, go here

19. St. Leo University

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St. Leo University is an accredited Catholic university open to students of all faiths. While its full-time, online MSW program is only open to residents of Florida, Georgia and Virginia, the school is considered by the U.S. News & World Report to be among the “Top Universities of the South.” The School of Education and Social Services provides the online MSW degree with an Advanced Clinical Practice concentration. Students are best prepared to serve marginalized populations, the elderly, workers and the military, helping to eliminate feelings of oppression and discrimination. St. Leo’s online program consists of face-to-face weekly class meetings via webcam, a daytime internship and a weekend-long seminar on campus during the summer. The rigorous two-year program is also available to advanced standing students for accelerated learning in one year. Tuition for $422.00 per credit hour.

For more regarding St. Leo University’s Online MSW Program, go here

20. McKinley College

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For over thirty years, McKinley College has risen to meet the changing needs of education by offering distance learning programs. Though this school is relatively young, it’s ability to give busy and non-traditional adult students affordable and flexible access to quality education which doesn’t interfere with their busy schedules. Its mission to deliver student centered course theories, life experiences, and means of augmenting skill through a qualified faculty, service, career focused concepts build knowledge, confidence, and mastery. The online MSW program available through McKinley gives graduate candidates a unique opportunity to test out of some classes via Life Experience Exams and features courses covering multicultural issues, abnormal psychology, behavior modification, child and adult problems, principles of sociology, social problems, and social welfare. Graduates advance to careers making a difference in their clients’ lives and communities by instilling social change. Tuition is based in two options: the Pay-in-Full Now option which is $165 per credit hour or Affordable Tuition Automatic Payment Plan for $175 per credit hour.

For more about McKinley College’s Online MSW Program, go here

10 Best Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs

onlinesocialOnline degrees are growing in number and popularity, as students attempt to balance work and family obligations while continuing their education. For those who want to establish careers in the field of social work, obtaining their degree online offers a flexibility and practicality unlike traditional on campus programs. Online programs do not require students to put the rest of their life on hold as they pursue their educational and professional aspirations. Plus they allow students to maintain work responsibilities and family obligations as they achieve their goals.

Sponsored Online Social Work Degree Programs

  1. Master of Social Work from the University of South California (USC)
  2. MSW with a concentration on Children, Families and Couples from Walden University
  3. MS in Social and Community Services from Capella University

The following list represents the 10 Best Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs to help you find the undergraduate or graduate program which best aligns with your financial, educational, and professional situation. Each program is based on tuition rates, accreditation which confirms the program meets the highest academic standards, and rank among other colleges offering similar degrees. In some cases, the school may have a unique history or program that makes them stand out among other online colleges, while others offer the prestige of a well-known higher education institution. All of the programs offer the flexibility students need in order to keep a good balance between the needs of their family, part- or full-time work responsibilities, and the recreational activities that often interfere with continuing education. For anyone seeking a social work degree, these online programs provide more than an excellent education, but also the ability to attend class at times that suit a busy schedule while ensuring students gain the proper skills and knowledge upon graduation.

Without further delay here’s the list:

1. University of Southern California

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The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the first research universities to offer an online social work degree program at the Master’s level. The program is offered through the college Virtual Academic Center and mirrors the on-campus program. Unlike the on-campus program, classes are offered in a more flexible, interactive learning program that is web-based, giving students the same degree as that earned on-campus with better accessibility for those who cannot take on-campus classes. The college arranges supervised internships where the student lives, so there is no need to relocate to southern California for field training. USC began in 1880, the dream of Judge Robert Maclay Widney, who formed a board of trustees and obtained donations of 308 lots of land for a campus in southern California. The doors opened to 53 students and ten teachers, but was so remote there were no paved streets, electric lights or reliable fire alarms. Today, USC houses more than 33,000 students, 3,200 full-time faculty members and is surrounded by one of the biggest cities in the world. Tuition for the online social work degree at USC is $1,536 per unit for part-time students (1-14 units) and $22,801 for full-time students (15-18 units). In addition, there is a $225 social work lab fee. In 2012, US News and World Report ranked USC eleventh in advanced social work curriculum. The Council on Social Work (CSWE) and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC) accredits the program. (http://msw.usc.edu)

For more about the University of Southern California’s Accredited Online Social Work Programs, go here.

2. University of California at Berkeley

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The University of California at Berkeley Extension Program offers online classes in Behavioral Health Sciences, Humanities, Language and Personal Development. In addition, the college offers certificates and specialized programs of study in Clinical Research Conduct and Management. There are also a limited number of undergraduate courses available online. Costs vary by course and certificate program. UC Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and ranks seventh on the US News and World Report list of top social work colleges. The gold rush helped to found UC Berkeley, and the tenacity and innovation of the early California settlers continues at the college which is renowned for their push for economic growth and social innovation. As early as 1897, “needy and deserving” students received financial aid in order to attend the college, and the school reports educating more Pell Grant recipients than all other Ivy League schools. Almost 30 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college.

For more about the University of California at Berkeley’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

3. Northeastern University

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Northeastern University offers a Master of Science in Human Services online program that allows students to work and collaborate via the internet. The program reflects Northeastern’s philosophy of work-based applications and capstone service-learning projects to enhance student learning. The cost per credit hour for this online program is $572, with an estimated tuition of $25,740. Northeastern University was founded in 1898 in the heart of Boston, and has been offering online education since 1974 to non-traditional learners, as well as those working professionals who cannot attend on-campus classes full-time. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Northeastern University is ranked in the top 100 universities by US News and World Report.

For more about Northeastern University’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

4. Indiana University

indiana university

The Indiana University online Advanced Generalist Master’s in Social Work degree prepares graduates to work in the many different practices available for today’s social worker. In addition, the electives included in the course provide specialized knowledge that other online programs do not offer. The Council on Social Work Education accredits the program, and the college is ranked in the top 100 colleges through US News and World Report. For less than six credit hours, tuition is $500 per credit hour for Indiana residents and $600 per credit hour for non-residents. Founded in 1820 as the State Seminary, officially became Indiana University in 1838. The first graduating class from the school was in 1830, and in 1867 became one of the first state universities to admit women.

For more about Indiana University’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

5. Boston University

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The Boston University Online Master of Social Work Program in Clinical Social Work Practice offers two options for completing a degree. For students with a minimum of two-years of human service experience, may be considered for the Human Service with Experience Track which requires them to complete 65 credits within eight consecutive semesters and one field internship of 1,000 hours. The traditional track requires 65 credits in eight consecutive semesters plus two field internships totaling 1,200 hours. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Tuition is $695 per credit hour. There is also a student services fee and a technology fee of $60 per credit hour each. This program is fairly new as it was only established in 2011. Boston University ranks 16th on the US News and World Report listing of social work colleges.

For more about Boston University’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

6. University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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The online Master of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville ranked second among those listed in the 2013 “Best Buy Online Master’s in Psychology and Social Services” listing from the GetEducated consumer organization. The program was also awarded an Innovative Credit Programming Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education. Students can attend full- or part-time, and there are several options as far as programs. Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee was the first public university west of the Applachias, ranks in the top 50 of all public universities in the country. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. (http://www.csw.utk.edu/studentsmssw/online.html)

For more about the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

7. Fordham University

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Ranked the #1 online Master of Social Work program by BestSchools.org and by the U.S. News and World Report, Fordham University has focused on social justice and human rights since its foundation in 1916. In order to participate in the program, students must be residents of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, and live within 50 miles from any Fordham campus. Tuition to attend the online program is $859 per credit hour, with additional fees required for each year of the program. There is a $500 “placeholder” fee that is refunded once the student matriculates. Fordham University is an accredited member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Learning (MSCHE), and the program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

For more about Fordham University’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

8. Columbia College

Columbia College Logo

Founded in 1851, Columbia College offers several options for online associate and bachelor degrees in Human Services, as well as bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. The college also offers a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Human Services. Plus it’s reputation for changing with the needs of students is remarkable. The college originally began as the Christian Female College, was the first female college west of the Mississippi River to be chartered by a state, and was also one of the first institutes of higher learning to place campuses on military bases.. The college’s transition from an all female to co-ed college occurred in 1970 when it became a four-year school and changed its name to Columbia College. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the college, and they have been a member of the North Central Association since 1918. Tuition for their online programs are an affordable $245 per credit hour, and the school ranks in the top 100 schools in the US News and World Report list.

For more about Columbia College’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

9. Rutgers University

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Rutgers offers a Master’s in Social Work degree that is completely online, allowing students to obtain their advanced degree in a self-directed method that permits flexibility and convenience. The program is a three-year course of study, and field placement at a social science agency begins during the summer after the student completes their first year, continuing until the program is complete. At the present time, Rutgers cannot enroll residents of all states in the online social work program, and requests that students contact an enrollment coach to determine eligibility. Rutgers is the eight oldest institution in the United States, established before the American Revolution. Originally chartered as an all-male college in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1766, then known as Queen’s College, the university was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a trustee and Revolutionary War veteran. Rutgers is ranked 26th on the US News and World Report list of top social work colleges. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Rutgers University.

For more about Rutgers University’s Accredited Online Social Work Degree Programs, go here.

10. University of New England

une

The University of New England has a long history of dedicated student and faculty volunteers. Their dedication has been able to help staff the Biddeford Free Clinic with medical student volunteers plus prove the school’s ultimate mission: to promote well-being for all. Aligned with the school’s mission, it’s Social Work programs are much different from the other social work schools. It embraces diversity and the acceptance of all people as they are and promotes the well-being of everyone regardless of their economic or social status. Their MSW program was one of the first to go 100 percent online and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. They also have great financial resources, with over 90 percent of students receiving financial aid each semester and tuition rates beginning at $32,755 (37 credits) for Advanced Standing students and $56,195 (64 credits) for in and out of state students following the Traditional Track.

For more about the University of New England’s Online Master’s Degree Programs, go here

See more great program options here with