Best online Macro Social Work Programs for Social Workers teach policy level and find solutions on a larger scale, often for whole communities. What is Macro level Social Work? Categorized by scale and scope, there are three broad types of social work practice – micro, mezzo, and macro. The job of many Social Workers is to help individuals find the direct services they need like housing, food, and medical care. However, most of the problems these social workers are working to fix with individuals exist on a more significant level and affect entire communities or societies. Enter the Macro Social Worker.
Macro Social Workers find solutions on a larger scale, often for whole communities. For example, a micro-social worker may work with a veteran client who has trouble getting an appointment to see a specialist. The macro social worker will investigate why there are problems for veterans obtaining healthcare and what policies or systems need to be in place to fix the problem.
So, macro Social Workers are the “big picture” social workers improving large social systems. They conduct research and influence policy and law. Additionally, they frequently work with governments and non-profit organizations to find solutions, or preventions, for social problems. If you are a social justice advocate, an MSW in Macro Social Work may be an excellent degree for you!
How We Ranked the 20 Best Online MSW in Macro Social Work Programs for 2022
The Social Work Degree Center editors focused on accredited, trusted institutions for our ranking of the Best Online MSW in Macro Social Work programs. In addition, we rank human services programs according to cost, graduate salary, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Portland State University
Portland State University’s online MSW in Macro Social Work teaches students the wide-ranging applications for macro social work at the regional and local levels. The PSU Master’s in Social Work with a Concentration in Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations (PLCO) focuses on policy practice, community leadership, and social problems. The MSW program development takes around three years to complete and is 78 credits of online synchronous and asynchronous classes. Students also complete field placements in the second and third years. At the beginning of each year, students must travel to the Portland campus and attend a two-day intensive. Students who complete the online MSW Macro Degree with the PLCO concentration also earn a Human Services Management Certificate.
Portland State University was founded in 1946 to provide higher education to the region’s many military veterans. World War II concluded a year earlier, and the GI Bill covered tuition costs for many war veterans. Portland State contains seven separate colleges and attained university status in 1969. The university offers a variety of bachelor’s programs and more than 100 graduate programs in many fields of study.
Degree: online MSW – Practice and Leadership with Communities and nonprofit Organizations (PLCO) Concentration
2. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Another of the best online MSW in Macro Social Work is at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The UT program with a macro concentration in Organizational Leadership (OL) focuses on social and economic justice. The program is one of the most accessible and affordable and enables students to continue working while earning an online macro MSW. Whether completing coursework online or on campus, the same faculty and academic standards apply. Classes are delivered online in synchronous and asynchronous formats. In addition, the program development offers a full-time option that students can complete in two years. This online MSW Macro degrees part-time track takes approximately three to four years.
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville was founded in 1794 and is the primary university in the Tennessee state university system. Tennessee-Knoxville is a land-grant research university that contains ten undergraduate colleges and eleven graduate schools. The university engages in very high active research and is one of the first public universities founded in the United States.
Degree: online MSSW – Organizational Leadership (OL) Concentration
3. Baylor University
The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University offers an MSW in Macro Social Work online and on campus. The Baylor MSW macro degree with a Community Practice Specialization combines faith and social work elements while enabling students to complete all coursework online. The macro program teaches students to work with hospitals, schools, shelters, and correctional facilities to provide a broader and more encompassing macro approach to social work. Additionally, the program development also works with non-profits and religion-affiliated organizations and nonprofit organizations that directly deal with families via micro social work.
Baylor University is the oldest chartered university in Texas and was founded in 1845. One of the first universities to begin operating west of the Mississippi River, Baylor is now the world’s largest Baptist University. Baylor is a private, Christian university and offers one of the nation’s best online macro MSW degrees programs.
Degree: online MSW – Community Practice Specialization
4. The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online MSW in Macro Social Work with a Community & Administrative Practice Specialty. The UT Arlington MSW teaches the fundamental aspects and logistics that make it possible to effectively administer social work efforts across an entire community and region. In addition, qualified undergraduates can skip the program’s first year and complete the Master’s in Social Work requirements in just 12 months instead of two years. The online MSW program development has made them rank among the best in the nation and Texas.
The University of Texas at Arlington was founded in 1895 and joined the University of Texas in 1965. The public research university has the fourth-largest enrollment in the state and the largest student body in northern Texas. Not surprisingly, the university provides more than 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and annually produces the third-largest graduating class in Texas.
Degree: online MSW – Community & Administrative Practice Specialty
5. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) can enroll in the online Master’s of Science in Social Work (MSSW) with a macro concentration in Community Practice and Administration. The UT Rio Grande online macro MSW degree offers advanced studies in social work administration and community-wide implantation. The accelerated online program trains macro social workers within Hispanic communities in keeping with the university’s primarily Hispanic student body. As a result, graduates help to improve and strengthen social work within Hispanic communities. The online program development ranks among the best and most affordable in the country.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a public research university with several campuses located throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The university is a part of the University of Texas system and is its southernmost member. The Texas Legislature in 2013 created the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley by combining the operations of the UT at Brownsville, Texas Southmost College, and UT-Pan American. The combined university has nearly 30,000 students, with the majority of Hispanic heritage.
Degree: online MSSW – Community Practice and Administration Concentration
6. University of Houston
The University of Houston’s online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Macro Practice (MP) concentration. Every online student in the Houston MSW program joins a cohort at the beginning of the program. Thus, students take all classes together and get to know each other, providing support and encouragement throughout the program. In addition, the cohort system helps graduate students to create relationships with other professionals while mastering the many aspects of macro social work. The program has one annual start date each year in the fall. Students usually take three years to complete the traditional program development and two years if they have advanced standing.
The University of Houston is a public research university located in its namesake city and founded in 1927. Moreover, the university is the third-largest in Texas and is the flagship member of the University of Houston system. The tier-1 research university engages in very high research activity and provides students with more than 280-degree programs through 14 colleges.
Degree: online MSW – Macro Practice (MP) Concentration
7. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California online MSW in Macro Social Work is through the school’s Department of Social Change and Innovation. The USC program focuses on 21st century needs and offers an advanced program for bachelor’s degrees in social work holders. Students can complete either a 60-unit traditional program or the 37-unit advanced program. In addition, the university enables either part-time or full-time studies to provide students with greater flexibility to obtain their master’s in macro social work.
The popular private research university located in Los Angeles was founded in 1880 and is California’s oldest private research university. The University of Southern California consistently ranks among the best private universities in the United States. It has 23 undergraduate and graduate schools that enroll more graduate students than it does undergraduates. Since its founding, the university has emphasized enabling people of all races and walks of life to obtain a quality college education and earn graduate degrees.
Degree: online MSW – Social Change and Innovation Department Concentration
8. Metropolitan State University of Denver
The online MSW program in Macro Social Work at the Metropolitan State University of Denver is a Leadership and Management pathway. The program teaches students to develop and administer programs and policies. Graduates are qualified for roles as community leaders and social agency directors. Online students are guaranteed acceptance into required courses within the macro social work master’s program. The university also offers a combination of online and campus classes. A traditional format enables students to complete the program in two years, while an advanced program makes it possible to finish in one year.
Metropolitan State University in Denver began in 1965 as a public college located in the Auraria community within Denver. However, it formally changed its name to the Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2012. Since its inception, Metropolitan State University has been an “opportunity college” where people from all walks of life have an equal chance at obtaining a quality college education. Tuition costs rank among the most affordable in Colorado.
Degree: online MSW – Leadership and Management Pathway
9. University of Denver
The University of Denver’s online MSW in Macro Social Work has a concentration in Health, Equity, and Wellness. Denver’s MSW focuses on macro-level health equity and teaches students reform policies throughout health care systems. It ranks among the best online graduate programs in social work and gives students a lot of flexibility to complete a traditional 81-credit program. The university says it takes 21 months to meet program requirements. However, qualifying students with a bachelor’s in social work could opt for the advanced 54-credit program they complete in 18 months.
The University of Denver is a private research university located in Denver and was founded in 1864. Moreover, the university is the oldest private university located in the Rocky Mountain Region and is a tier-2 research university that conducts a high level of research activity. The university has more graduate students than undergrads and offers one of the nation’s best online macro MSW programs.
Degree: online MSW – Health, Equity, and Wellness concentration
10. Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University’s online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Community Practice Specialization. Qualifying students can transfer up to 15 credit hours and complete one of the best online macro MSW programs in 20 months. The coursework prepares graduate students to assist and support vulnerable populations through macro social work efforts. Enrolled students can complete their specialized program with a model that gives them actual field experience during their final studies. Students also can opt for a focused curriculum that they can finish online.
Sacred Heart University is a private Catholic school located in Fairfield, Connecticut, founded in 1963. Sacred Heart is the first Catholic university in the United States in which all of its faculty also were members of the laity. It is New England’s second-largest Catholic university and offers more than 80 programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Sacred Heart also has campuses in Dingle, Ireland, and Luxembourg, giving students more overseas studies options.
Degree: online MSW – Community Practice Specialization
11. Aurora University
Aurora University’s online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Leadership Administration Track. The school’s master’s degree in macro social work helps prepare graduates to address the social needs of entire communities. Faculty members who teach each online course also are experienced in field social work and can help to provide students with realistic and first-hand accounts from the field. The leadership administration track is offered in partnership with Aurora’s School of Business and Public Policy. The unique program provides MBA-level classes in leadership and management to students as electives. In addition, graduates can manage teams in non-profit and government social work organizations.
Aurora University is a private university located in Aurora, Illinois. Satellite campuses are also in Woodstock, Illinois, and Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Aurora University was founded in 1893 as Mendota Seminary. However, the school changed to its current name in 1971. Aurora offers forty undergraduate majors and several graduate programs.
Degree: online MSW – Leadership Administration Track
12. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Leadership and Social Change (LSC) concentration. This MSW macro degrees program prepares graduates by developing advanced macro skills. Graduates impact entire communities rather than taking a micro-focus on services delivery for individuals and families. As a result, graduates emerge prepared to tackle the expansive duties of political strategists, program directors, and even executive directors of entire social programs.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the lead university in the public University of Illinois higher education system. The land-grant research university was established in 1867 and had one of the nation’s largest student enrollments. With 16 colleges, more than 150 undergraduate programs, and over 100 graduate programs, the school is one of the best public universities in the country.
Degree: online MSW – Leadership and Social Change Concentration
13. Indiana University
Indiana University’s online MSW program in Macro Social Work has a Concentration in Clinical and Community Practice. The program enables graduates to learn the entire range of social work at the micro-level to administer it to whole communities at a macro-level. In addition, students can choose a particular focus area in which the macro aspect of social work will help them to better coordinate and administer micro-level social work as directors and program leaders. IU has one of the best MSW Macro Degrees for community practice in the country.
Located in Bloomington, Indiana University is the flagship of the Indiana University system and is also a highly regarded public research university. The university was founded in 1820 and held its first classes in 1825. Many colleges and schools comprising Indiana University rank among the best in their respective fields. For example, its Master’s in public affairs program is tops in the nation. The university’s social work program likewise is highly regarded and among the best in the country.
Degree: online MSW – Concentration in Clinical and Community Practice
14. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Concentration in Social Work Leadership Practice. This MSW macro degree three-year, part-time program enables students to complete their online courses while working in the field. A cohort model places students with others who progress through the program at the same time. In addition, new students begin every other year to help keep class sizes manageable and ensure a thorough educational opportunity is made available to all students.
The University of Iowa was founded in 1847 in Iowa City and is the state’s oldest university. The tier-1 public research university also undertakes a very high level of research and has several nationally ranked programs. In addition, Iowa University was the first to offer a master’s in fine arts degree and developed the nation’s first coeducation studies program that combines religious and scientific studies. The university offers more than 200-degree programs and seven professional degrees.
Degree: online MSW – Concentration in Social Work Leadership Practice
15. Boston University
Boston University’s online MSW in Macro Practice social work program is a part-time format that offers students flexibility. This program is ideal for students interested in social change. Students take classes in sequential order, and most are seven weeks long. The BU master’s in macro social work requires students to complete at least one and, in some instances two, internships in the field to help them gain first-hand experience. Furthermore, this traditional track takes up to three years to complete. However, qualifying students can opt for an advanced path that can help them finish course requirements for this MSW macro degrees in two years.
Boston University is a private university located in its namesake city of Boston. The university was founded by the United Methodist Church in 1839 but no longer has any affiliations with the religious organization. Boston University has three campuses located in Denver and contains 17 schools and colleges that provide its degree programs. The university is a tier-1 research university that is engaged in a very high level of academic research.
Degree: online MSW – Macro Practice
16. University of Missouri
Another one of the best online MSWs in macro Social Work is at the University of Missouri. Missouri’s MSW with a Concentration in Policy, Planning, organizational development community planning, mental health services, and Administration in Human Services trains students to become program administrators and directors. It also teaches them to become policy analysts, researchers, and evaluators who can help to make micro-social services more effective. The program prepares students to become driving forces within social services organizations. Additionally, the online format offers dual and joint-degree options that lead to a PhD educational track.
The University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university with the main campus in Columbia. The university was founded in 1839 and is also the primary school in the University of Missouri system. Missouri is the first public university founded west of the Mississippi River and enables students to earn more than 300 academic degrees. The UM Sociology Department offered Social Work training as early as 1906, and then the school’s Department of Social Work was formed in 1946.
Degree: online MSW – Concentration in Policy, Planning, and Administration in Human Services
17. Winthrop University
The graduate social work program at Winthrop offers a fully online master’s program in addition to in-person traditional and weekend programs. The Winthrop University online MSW in Macro Social Work with an Empowerment Practice Specialization teaches students to improve outcomes for entire organizations and also communities. For example, through better administration, mental health services, organizational development, community planning and planning at the macro-level of social work, students can enhance the outcomes for families and individuals at the micro-level. The Winthrop MSW macro degrees program has a 60 credit traditional program and also a 39 credit advanced-standing program. Additionally, new cohorts have three start dates in summer, fall, and winter.
Winthrop University is in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 25 miles south of Charlotte, NC. This public university first opened in 1886 and currently enrolls around 6,000 students annually. Winthrop has five colleges and also offers students their choice of forty-three undergraduate degrees and forty comprehensive graduate programs and specialist degrees.
Degree: online MSW – Empowerment Practice Specialization
18. Fordham University
Fordham University has one of the best online MSW degree programs in Macro Social Work. Fordham’s MSW in Advanced Integrated Practice with Areas of Focus in Organizations and Communities, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy provides students with a highly flexible online format. It has a traditional track that students can complete in two years and an advanced track that takes approximately one year. The macro social work program prepares graduates to become leaders for organizations and communities. They also could become drivers of effective change in policy and field research.
Fordham University is a private Jesuit university located in New York City and was founded in 1841. Fordham is the oldest Jesuit and Catholic university in the nation’s northeastern region and is also New York’s third-oldest university. The school has four undergraduate colleges and six graduate colleges that provide students with classes on three campuses in southern New York. Fordham also offers educational experiences abroad in the UK, Spain, and South Africa.
Degree: online MSW – Advanced Integrated Practice with Areas of Focus in Organizations and Communities, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy
19. The University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma online MSW program in Macro Social Work has a Concentration in Administration and Community Practice. With its close affiliation with aboriginal tribes located in the greater Oklahoma area, the Master’s degree in social work could prove to be especially beneficial. Because of its location, the University of Oklahoma offers one of the best MSW Macro Degrees with this focus. Students must complete 60 credit hours of coursework online. They also must gain field experience to satisfy the program requirements. The macro program includes elements of micro social work to help graduates obtain a more balanced education in social work.
The University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman and founded in 1890. UO students can choose from 152 bachelor’s programs, 160 master’s, and 75 doctorate pursuits. Oklahoma is a tier-1 research university with 20 majors among the first-professional level comprised of 15 colleges and schools. In addition, the university has one of the nation’s best aboriginal American studies programs and offers classes taught in Cherokee, Choctaw, Kiowa, and Mvskoke.
Degree: online MSW – Concentration in Administration and Community Practice
20. George Mason University
The George Mason online MSW in Macro Social Work has a Specialization in Adults & Healthy Aging (AHA) or Children, Youth & Families (CYF). The GMU master’s program teaches students how to apply knowledge of social environments and human behavior while helping to empower entire communities. The communities could be geographic, social class, and other factors, including race and also ethnicity. GMU offers one of the best MSW Macro Degrees with this specialization.
George Mason University is a public research university located in Virginia’s Fairfax County and formerly part of the University of Virginia’s higher education system. The school was founded in 1957 and became independent of the University of Virginia in 1972. Today, George Mason University contains four campuses located in Northern Virginia and has another campus in South Korea. George Mason is a tier-1 research university that produces a very high amount of research activity.
Degree: online MSW – with specializations in Adults & Healthy Aging (AHA) or Children, Youth & Families (CYF)
What Is Macro-Level Social Work?
Macro-level social work is a vast field of social work that more profoundly looks into the causes of social needs and the effects of social work at the macro level. Instead of working at the micro-level with individuals, families, and small groups, macro-level social work involves planning, research, and driving policy change at the organizational and community levels.
People involved in macro social work fulfill many occupations, including educational systems, volunteer groups, and also advocacy organizations. Many work with entire communities through their respective group representatives and thus help to improve social work programs and their outcomes within particular communities or groups.
What Are Examples Of MSW Macro Degrees in Social Work?
Policy analysis in Social Work can help to drive needed change. For example, many macro-level social workers are involved in the administration of social work as directors and leaders. In such roles, they make the decisions that directly affect the micro-level social work that also impacts families and individuals. Macro-level social work could also involve researching current methods and trends in social work to understand better what affects communities and how to assist them.
What Jobs Can You Do With One Of These MSW Macro Degrees In Social Work?
Many people who obtain a master’s degree in macro social work wind up in jobs with leadership roles that have broad impacts. So, if you choose a more research-oriented type of macro social work, you might investigate particular social issues that impact communities on a wide scale.
Furthermore, using the research skills obtained through a master’s program makes it possible to conduct valuable research to improve policy and service delivery. Additionally, community outreach is a big part of investigating social issues and devising better ways to help them through advocacy and education.
Your Career With One of These MSW Macro Degrees
So, regardless of where you choose to earn your Macro MSW, the Social Work Degree Center is where you can find all the resources you need for your Social Work career!
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