The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the accreditation body which confirms that the social work program being offered by an educational institution meets the requirements of the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The CSWE accredits baccalaureate (BSW) and master’s (MSW) level social work programs in the United States of America. This accreditation ensures that the school offering a social work program is not a diploma mill (an unaccredited higher education institution that offers fake academic degrees and diplomas for a fee).
Most states mandate CSWE accreditation as part of the licensing requirement. Accredited programs must offer a curriculum that meet core social work competencies. There are ten core competency areas that are based on the CSWE standards.
- Competency 1: Identify as a social worker and conduct self accordingly
- Competency 2: Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice
- Competency 3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments
- Competency 4: Engage diversity and difference in practice
- Competency 5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice
- Competency 6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research
- Competency 7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment
- Competency 8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services
- Competency 9: Respond to contexts that shape practice
- Competency 10: Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
Graduates should know how to apply ethical principles, critical thinking and social work research to their social work practice. Graduates should be able to engage effectively with members of diverse populations and perform appropriate assessments and interventions.
Accredited Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work Programs
Accredited social work programs are required to provide at least 400 hours of field experience that links theory and practice in the baccalaureate program and at least 900 hours in the master’s program. The CSWE also scrutinizes how well the program is meeting its objectives.
BSW degrees include:
BSW/Sociology Dual Degree
Coursework for the Bachelor of Social Work includes:
Social welfare policy
Treatment/interventions with different populations
Introduction to social work research
MSW degrees include:
MSW MPH (Masters in Public Health) Dual Degree Social Work
MSW MPA (Master of Public Administration) Dual Degree
MSW MBA (Master of Business Administration) Dual Degree
The CSWE mandates that students pursuing the Master of Social Work, not repeat material already acquired at the BSW level.
Coursework for the Master of Social Work focuses on teaching clinical skills and broadening the clinical experience; the course topics include:
Economic and social Justice
Behavior in the social environment
MSW programs offer extensive opportunity for specialization with both a clinical and nonclinical focus. Clinical programs prepare students to become mental health practitioners; nonclinical programs do not.
CSWE Accredited Programs
Listed below are some of the many educational institutions that have BSW and/or MSW programs that are accredited by the CSWE.
Abilene Christian University
Alabama A&M University
Albany State University
Arizona State University
Arkansas State University
Barton College (BSW only)
Boston College (MSW only)
Brigham Young University
Bryn Mawr College (MSW only)
California State University
Calvin College (BSW only)
Carthage College (BSW only)
Catholic University of America
Cedar Crest College (BSW only)
Columbia College (BSW only)
Columbia University (MSW only)
Delaware State University
Dominican College of Blauvelt (BSW only)
Dominican University (MSW only)
CSWE Accredited Online BSW Programs
Listed below are some of the educational institutions that have CSWE accredited online BSW programs.
Brescia University in Kentucky
California State University in Chico, California
Humboldt State University in California
Metropolitan State College of Denver, Colorado
Salisbury University in Maryland
CSWE Accredited Online MSW Programs
Some of the educational institutions that have CSWE accredited online MSW programs include:
Boston University in Massachusetts
California State University in Long Beach, California
Case Western Reserve University in Ohio
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Florida State University
Our Lady of the Lake University in Texas
University of Alabama
University of Utah
Valdosta State University in Georgia
Virginia Commonwealth University
A degree from one of the numerous CSWE-accredited programs means that the social worker has met the core social work competencies and has credentials that will be accepted wherever he or she decides to practice.