An international social work degree or global social work programs give students an edge if they want to practice their craft internationally. Choosing an accredited program with an MSW global concentration can provide the credentials needed to help protect communities from social injustices and also other inequities. International social work MSW careers allow graduates to use their problem-solving skills to alleviate issues for the underrepresented groups around the world.
Featured International Social Work Degree Programs:
MSW international programs prepare students to play important roles in addressing issues such as slavery, sex trafficking, natural disasters, violence, and racial inequity. The MSW international focus available at both traditional and online schools provides graduates with unique perspectives. Many graduates seek opportunities working for nongovernmental organizations, also called NGOs. The World Health Organization hires social workers from around the globe to carry out its interests. This may include protecting and sheltering refugees, women and children, as well as other vulnerable populations.
How We Ranked the Best MSW Global and International Social Work Degree Programs
For social workers who want to make a difference around the world, Social Work Degree Center has ranked the best global and international MSW programs. Only accredited, trusted schools are featured. Furthermore, programs are ranked by their tuition rate, student satisfaction, and salary potential, using IPEDS and Niche.
1. Columbia University
Columbia University offers an MSW in International Social Welfare that is among the most innovative of MSW international programs in the Northeast and beyond. The university’s MSW global concentration programs are available online or on the school’s NYC campus. In addition, Columbia offers its International Social Work MSW degree candidates a variety of programs to complete this MSW international focus program. MSW students can also opt for an accelerated policy practice track or a dialectical behavior therapy program.
Founded as King’s College in the mid-1750s by a Royal Charter, Columbia University is now one of the nation’s ivy league schools. The school has campuses in New York and across the world. This space-grant institution of higher learning serves approximately 33,350 students online and on-campus. Columbia University is also among the preeminent universities in the world.
Degree: MSW – International Social Welfare
2. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan offers an MSW in Global Social Work Practice that is among Michigan’s most innovative MSW international programs. This MSW international focus program from UM can be completed as an advanced standing or dual degree. Field experiences for this UM International Social Work MSW degree include domestic or international locations across a variety of populations. Featured classes for the University of Michigan’s MSW global concentration program include power in the global context and also critical reflexive global practices.
The University of Michigan is a comprehensive, flagship school that was founded in 1817, a couple of decades before Michigan entered the Union. This space and sea-grant school serves more than 48,350 students each year. The University of Michigan holds the distinction of being the oldest school in Michigan.
Degree: MSW – Global Social Work Practice
3. Boston College
Boston College offers an MSW in Global Practice is ranked among the top-ranked innovative MSW international programs. The school’s International Social Work MSW degree program is available for full-time and also part-time students. Additionally, dual degree options are available. Sample classes for Boston College’s MSW global concentration program include global policy issues and implications and frameworks & tools for global practice. Degree candidates enrolled in this MSW international focus program have the option of nine certificates to augment their degree.
Established in the 1860s, Boston College is a private school and also affiliated with the Catholic Church. Boston College maintains multiple campuses in the Bay State that serve nearly 15,000 students each year. Boston College’s campus sits atop of a hill and is only six miles from Boston’s downtown.
Degree: MSW – Global Practice
4. Washington University in St Louis
Washington University in St Louis offers an MSW in International Social and Economic Development that is considered as one of the most innovative of MSW international programs in the Show-Me State. This International Social Work MSW degree offers practicum experiences across the globe in social and economic development. WUSTL’s MSW international focus program requires classes in both international social development and developing a practice in international settings. Graduates of this MSW global concentration program find rewarding work as development officers or program managers, among others.
Chartered as a private research higher learning facility in the 1850s, Washington University in St. Louis now operates as a multi-campus, space-grant school with a student population that exceeds 14,650 undergraduate and postgraduate students. WUSTL has held more presidential and VP debates than any other school.
Degree: MSW – International Social and Economic Development
5. University of Utah
The University of Utah offers an MSW in global studies that is one of Utah’s most well-respected MSW international programs. The University of Utah’s MSW global concentration program requires the completion of 60 credits in two years, with a 3.0 minimum Grade Point Average (GPA). Practicum placements for U of U’s International Social Work MSW include working in resettlement, social service, the mental health of immigrants, or community programs. Sample classes for this MSW international focus program include diversity and social justice, and also global perspectives in social work.
The University of Utah (The U) is a public flagship school that was founded in 1850 before Utah became a state. U of U is also a space-grant school with approximately 32,650 postgraduate and undergraduate students. The University of Utah’s main campus is located just outside of Salt Lake City’s downtown.
Degree: MSW – Global
6. Rutgers University
Rutgers University offers an MSW in International Social Work that is among the most well-respected and innovative MSW international programs on the east coast. The Rutgers MSW global concentration program offers study abroad opportunities in India, Israel, China, Romania, and Mexico. Featured classes for this International Social Work MSW degree include social work with immigrants and refugees and also global social work. Furthermore, Rutgers University’s MSW international focus program is available online, on-campus, or as a hybrid degree.
Rutgers University was chartered as Queen’s College in the 1760s and is one of the nation’s Colonial Schools. As a land, sea, and also space-grant institution, Rutgers University serves approximately 68,550 students online and its multiple campuses. Rutgers’ main campus in New Brunswick is considered a Public Ivy.
Degree: MSW – International Social Work
7. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago offers an MSW with a Global Social Development Practice (GSDP) certificate. The University of Chicago’s MSW global concentration program is recognized to be among the most innovative of MSW international programs in the greater Chicago area. There are two placements for students enrolled in this International Social Work MSW degree. Students can choose from Chicago or and international placement. Finally, degree candidates in this MSW international focus program will also be required to complete a culminating capstone project to graduate.
The University of Chicago (U of C) is a multiple-campus higher learning institution that was founded in 1890. More than 15,550 students attend classes online and on one of the university’s campuses in the greater Chicago area. U of C’s scholars have also contributed to many developments across academic disciplines.
Degree: MSW with Global Social Development Practice certificate
8. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut offers an MSW in International Social Work that is one of the leading New England MSW international programs. UConn’s MSW global concentration program allows students to follow a 2,3, or 4 academic plan of study or an accelerated program. This International Social Work MSW degree from UConn offers three concentrations . Students can choose from community organizing, policy practice, or individual, group & families. Sample classes for UConn’s MSW international focus program include both human oppression and analysis of social welfare policy.
The University of Connecticut was chartered as an agricultural, land-grant school in the 1880s. The Storr’s campus covers more than 4,000 acres and serves as a sea and space grant school with approximately 32,440 students. The University of Connecticut is a best-value school and also a Public Ivy.
Degree: MSW – International
9. University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma offers an MSW combined with a MA in International Studies (MSW-MAIS) that ranks among the most innovative of dual degree MSW international programs in the country. This MSW international focus program is only one of a handful of similar degrees available. Degree candidates enrolled in OU’s International Social Work MSW degree explore the ways to approach social and economic justice issues through coursework and field experiences. This MSW global concentration program is an interdisciplinary degree pulling from the Social Work curriculum and the College of International Studies.
The University of Oklahoma was founded prior to Oklahoma’s statehood in 1890. This research school’s college-town campus covers more than 2,900 acres and is home to approximately 28,250 students. Additionally, the University of Oklahoma has fifteen colleges and schools that offer more than 150 majors.
Degree: Dual MSW and MA in International Studies
10. University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh offers a Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) that is recognized consistently among the most well-respected MSW international programs in Pennsylvania and beyond. This 48-credit hour MSW international focus program also requires a 300-hour internship. Full-time students can complete Pitt’s OU’s International Social Work MSW degree in two years, with part-timers taking three years. The featured classes for this MSW global concentration program include human security and security and intelligence studies.
The University of Pittsburgh is a research, space-grant institution of higher learning that began as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787. The university’s urban campus in Pittsburg serves approximately 28,150 postgraduate and undergraduate students. The University of Pittsburgh is a member school of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education.
Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs
11. University of Denver
The University of Denver offers an MSW with a Global Social Work certificate that is among the most innovative of MSW international programs in Denver and the state of Colorado. Featured classes for UD’s MSW global concentration program include global trauma and global cultural perspectives. This International Social Work MSW degree is available on the university’s Denver campus. Students graduating from UD’s MSW international focus program find rewarding work across the world.
The University of Denver began as a seminary school in the 1840s. Denver operates as a space-grant, with its main campus a designated arboretum that serves approximately 13,000 students each year. The University of Denver holds the distinction of being the oldest institution of higher learning in the Rocky Mountain area.
Degree: MSW with Global Social Work Certificate
12. University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso offers an MSW with a Global Social Development Practice certificate. UT’s innovative MSW global concentration program is titled “Social Work in the Border Region” and requires 60 graduate semester hours or 30 credits for advanced standing students. Full-time advanced standing students in UT’s International Social Work MSW degree program can complete the degree in 3 semesters. The total field education hours required for this MSW international focus program is 960.
The University of Texas (UTEP) is a research, state-funded school that was founded in 1914. More than 25,000 students attend classes, with about 80% have a Mexican heritage. The El Paso campus of the University of Texas is home to the annual college football extravaganza of the Sun Bowl.
Degree: MSW – Social Work in the Border Region
13. Samford University
Samford University offers an MSW in Global Community Development that is one of the most well-respected Texas MSW international programs in Alabama. This MSW international focus program from Samford University requires 57 credit hours. Featured classes for Samford’s International Social Work MSW degree include global community development, congregational social work, and global poverty. Graduates of this MSW global concentration program are prepared to address systemic changes necessary to end social injustice issues.
Samford University was founded as a Christian institution of higher learned – Howard College, in 1841. The suburban campus in Homewood serves approximately 5,800 undergraduate & postgraduate students each year vying for the degrees and programs offered by the university’s ten colleges/schools. The faculty to student ratio at Samford University is an impressive 1 to 13.
Degree: MSW – Global Community Development
14. Dominican University
Dominican University offers an MSW in Global Social Work Practice for Immigrants and Refugees that is among the most innovative of Illinois’ MSW international programs. Students enrolled in this MSW international focus program explore the ways to work for refugee and indigenous populations. Required classes for DU’s International Social Work MSW degree program include anti-oppressive practice and international social work seminar, among others. Degree candidates enrolled in this MSW global concentration program have the option to attend an international field experience.
Founded as an all-female school known as St Clara College in 1901, Dominican University now operates several campuses that serve more than 3,000 students each year. Dominican University’s campus is located about ten miles from Chicago’s downtown.
Degree: MSW – Global Social Work Practice
15. Monmouth University
Monmouth University offers one of New Jersey’s most innovative MSW international programs with its Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program with an academic concentration in Global and Community Practice (GCP). Advanced-standing students enter the MSW international focus program can complete 30 credits online. Monmouth University’s International Social Work MSW degree requires 54 credits for non-advanced-standing students. Sample classes for this MSW global concentration program include human behavior, social welfare policy, and global community practice.
Chartered as a private junior college in the 1930s, Monmouth University became a four-year institution in 1995. This sea-grant school located on the New Jersey Shore serves more than 6,050 students each year. Monmouth University’s student to faculty ratio is an impressive 14 to 1. Monmouth University is comprised of seven colleges/schools offering programs in arts/sciences, business, education, health, science, and social work.
Degree: MSW – Global and Community Practice
Why Should I Get a MSW Global or International Social Work Degree?
Social workers interested in broadening career opportunities beyond U.S. borders accomplish their goal within accredited MSW programs for international social work. Not all social workers utilize their problem-solving skills to protect communities from social injustices globally so the international social degree workers offer specialized skills to a variety of people within distinct aspects of society. International social workers play pivotal parts in addressing these issues along with natural disasters, sex trafficking, slavery, violence, and racial inequality.
Studying from a global perspective positions graduates for opportunities with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Justice Mission and World Health Organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for social workers will spike faster-than-average by 7 percent through 2028. Additionally, according to recent data collected via UNICEF, 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty and 750 million people lack adequate drinking water.
Why Does An International Social Work Degree Matter?
Why does international social work matter? International social workers can work in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and practically anywhere in the world where international aid and human compassion are needed. Many governments, in fact, welcome international aid and social workers. Volunteers and employees of NGOs ensure that food, medication, and other assistance get to the people who need them the most. In addition, there are many other degrees available from accredited social work schools.
What Is Global or International Social Work?
Global social work describes a career path where students decide to dedicate their life to alleviating suffering around the world. Most programs that target these students include topics such as displacement, migration, climate change, poverty, and similar training that will prepare students to provide aid without disrupting the culture. Indigenous peoples often receive aid and mentoring from student volunteers. However, it’s important to understand the boundaries that define independence, dignity, and respect.
What is international social work practice? Many governments rely on aid organizations to provide infrastructure and deliver food as well as crisis management. This could include traveling to countries where floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters have left people without their homes, livelihood, or necessities. It’s different from typical domestic social worker positions which deal with families, community groups, or individuals on a micro level.
What is global social work in terms of employment opportunities? Many colleges and universities have relationships with international NGOs that are always on the lookout for qualified specialists such as social workers. With an MSW in international social work, students can also take on leadership positions on the administrative or operations end.
What is international social work practice? It could be a vastly different experience from one individual to another. Climate, demographics, and political and social constraints can make this job far harder in some parts of the world than in others.
What Can I Do With a Global or International Social Work Degree?
With a global MSW degree, graduates can qualify for international social work jobs. What can someone do with an international social work degree? Graduates seeking global social work jobs can look into employment opportunities with the United Nations or The World Health Organization.
Those seeking MSW international jobs working with specific populations can consider organizations such as Save the Children, which targets children, or Women for Women International, which focuses on women’s issues.
There are also international MSW jobs that focus on the legal rights of target populations. International Justice Mission is one such organization. Global social work careers also include organizations that provide aid to refugees, such as the International Rescue Committee and Danish Refugee Council.
In order to obtain international social work jobs, graduates must have the licensing, education and work experience required by specific agencies. Typically, this means earning a bachelor’s degree in social work, speaking a foreign language, engaging in community organizing or gaming social work experience at home. Additionally, global social work jobs have specific education requirements such as getting an international MSW.
Your Global or International Social Work Degree
In order to gain work experience as a social worker, students will need a license in their particular state. Most hiring organizations for MSW international jobs require at least five years of social work experience. It is worth mentioning that students can hold undergraduate degrees in other fields and earn an MSW. In fact, many MSW social workers have a bachelor’s degree in human services, psychology, or sociology.
International MSW jobs may also require cultural sensitivity. Global social work careers often require spending time in communities without some modern conveniences, such as indoor plumbing or running water.
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