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
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: $880.62/credit
2. University of North Dakota
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: $361.25/credit
3. University of Alaska – Fairbanks
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: $234 (in-state 100-200 level) and $282 (in-state 300-400 level)/credit; $800 (out-of-state 100-200 level) and $848 (out-of-state 300-400 level)
4. Brandman University
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/credit ($250 for active-duty military)
5. Wayne State University
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: $397.05 (in-state, lower division) $471.19 (in-state, upper division) $909.40 (out-of-state, lower division) $1,083.52 (out-of-state, upper division) per credit
6. Huntington University
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: $444/credit
7. Northwestern State University
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/credit
8. Indiana Wesleyan University
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: $426/credit
9. Northern Arizona University
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: $455/credit
10. Brescia University
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: $425/credit
11. Humboldt State University
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: $1,665 (0-6 units) $2,871 (6.1 + units)
12. Briar Cliff University
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: $415/credit
13. Campbellsville University
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/credit
14. Bemidji State University
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: $304.40/credit
15. Union Institute and University
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: $545/credit