Combined BSW/MSW Programs Online

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Team College Learners

As a profession, social work is really all about face-to-face interaction. Many of the top schools of social work have been slow to adopt online education, but this isn’t the case in recent times.

Collegelearners is replete with up-to-date information on 5 year bsw/msw programs, accelerated bsw/msw programs, fast track social work degree online, what is bsw and msw, amongst others. Take out time to surf through our catalog for more information on related topics.

The Importance of Social Workers in Schools | ProCare Therapy

Online Social Work Programs

AD Programs Currently Accepting Applicants University of Southern California – Online Master of Social Work | Online Doctor of Social Work – CSWE Accredited. Aurora University – Online BSW or MSW Programs – Choose from an Online BSW or Online MSW program Ohio University – Online Master of Social Work – CSWE accredited, 100% online. Fordham University – Online Master of Social Work – Traditional and advanced standing online MSW options are available. CSWE Accredited. University of Kentucky – Online Master of Social Work – CSWE accredited program. Regular and Advanced Standing MSW tracks.

Having the vision to change the quality of life for the people around you is the first step in having a potentially fulfilling career in social work. This inert desire to assist the public with better services and more reliable resources is a quality that is found within the most qualified social work professionals. Turning this drive into reality can be achieved simply by considering the possibilities of an online degree in social work.

In recent years, the shift towards online education as a primary means of degree acquisition has grown stronger, making graduation a possibility for even more people than before. People can now be able to trust online degree programs as a source of licensure in the future as well as career gain throughout a lifetime. Online degree programs are widespread and constantly growing.

Online Clinical MSW Programs

For individuals seeking a degree program that will allow them convenience and quality, online programs can be the answer.

Bachelor’s level programs are available through many online platforms. Master’s level social work degrees can also be obtained through online degree programs – with some programs even providing different specialty focus programs for interested learners. There are currently no doctoral level programs listed by the Council on Social Work accreditation list, but the list will continue to grow as more programs are reviewed.

Consider a Featured Online Social Work Program

Click the university name for information on admissions, courses, status of accreditation, and more.AD

School / ProgramOnline Program / Entry ReqsAdvanced Standing Availability / Course Information
University of Denver Online Master of Social Work (MSW) CSWE Accredited Online
No GRE Required
Advanced Standing Program available. Two online graduate programs: a traditional MSW and an advanced standing MSW.
University of Southern California Online Master of Social Work | Online Doctor of Social Work CSWE Accredited OnlineEarn a Master of Social Work online in as few as 12 months if you have a Bachelor of Social Work. Doctor of Social Work online can be completed through an accelerated 24 month track (master’s req.).
Ohio University Online Master of Social Work CSWE Accredited OnlineNo GRE or GMAT required. Complete in as few as 24 months. Adult Mental Health, Child, Family, and School, and Social Policy.
Fordham University Online Master of Social Work CSWE Accredited OnlineAdvanced Standing Program available. Advanced standing and traditional MSW options. Four areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy.
University of Kentucky Online Master of Social Work CSWE Accredited OnlineAdvanced Standing Program available. MSW program includes options for an advanced-standing program (30 credits) and a 60-credit regular standing program.
Baylor University Master of Social Work CSWE Accredited Online
No GRE Scores Required
Advanced Standing Program available. 2 Specializations: Clinical Practice or Community Practice. Standard MSW and Advanced Standing MSW.

Show More Programs*Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Online Social Work Programs

  • Online BSW
  • Online MSW
  • Online DSW
  • Advanced Standing MSW
  • 1-Year MSW
  • MSW with No GRE for Entry
  • Campus Based MSW (by State)

Clinical Social Work Programs

Social Worker Jobs | University of Nevada, Reno

The field of social work includes vast opportunities for growth, hard work, and prosperity. You can find a wealth of career opportunities through completion of a social work degree program in diverse specializations and from different methods of instruction.

You can find social work degree programs in all states throughout the U.S. to enroll in. Your decision as to which program to enroll in depends on the type of work you want to do in the field and the type of college degree programs you can participate in according to your personal needs.ADPrograms Currently Accepting Applicants

Lead change at the top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Earn a Master of Social Work online in as few as 12 months if you have a Bachelor of Social Work. Doctor of Social Work online can be completed in 28 months part time.
CSWE Accredited.

Aurora University has multiple online social work programs. Choose from an online BSW or online MSW program which is CSWE accredited and has multiple tracks in faith-based social work, forensics, health care, or leadership.

Depends on the degree level you are looking at

At the beginning of your learning experience, you may find that there are varying benefits to completion of social work degrees at different levels. Our team has researched information pertaining to social work degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, and within different learning settings to help you learn more about the value of different programs.

As you read through the guide below, you should consider which population you would prefer to work with and in what capacity. This preference can help guide you into relevant degree programs that can influence your growth and success during the learning experience.

Traditional vs. online programs

Today’s college students have different choices in terms of the type of setting in which they complete their degree programs. Depending on which state you live in, you may have access to traditional or online degree programs in social work, or a variety of both options at multiple schools.

Pros about traditional programs

The traditional social work degree program may require that you attend on campus during all hours of instruction. Most institutions may allow you to choose from classes that are offered during the day, afternoon, or even at night to help fit with a busy personal schedule.

Pros about online programs

Online degree programs in social work can be more accessible to learners from different walks of life and levels of responsibility. These programs were designed especially for learners that needed more flexibility with their degree programs due to holding full-time jobs or having a busy family schedule.

Benefits of both

The benefits of either the traditional or online social work program can be dependent on your needs as an incoming learner. Some learners may thrive in a face-to-face environment while others can take on the independent learning process gracefully throughout the entire degree process.

Some learners have also found the online programs can help them save on the costs of travel and housing associated with the degree acquisition process, which can be a huge advantage for college students in today’s society. You are encouraged to compare the costs of different types of degree programs prior to making a decision about which to enroll in.

School of Social Work Student Support Fund - Georgia Funder

BSW Online

If you have spent any time researching degree programs in social work, you may have seen information about the Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) degree. This program is one of the most popular types of social work degrees, due to its introductory nature and the career opportunities available after graduation.

The Bachelor’s of Social Work is a 4-year program that consists of both general education courses and social work specific classes. During this program, you can gain a generalist knowledge of the social work field for use in entry-level positions in the field.

Foundational courses

The first 2 years of your BSW can include engagement in general education courses like Intro to Psychology, Sociology, and English Composition. These types of courses may be required for any bachelor’s program in social sciences and can provide you with excellent background knowledge into the subfields associated with the social work profession.

Specialty coursework

Later in your program, you may begin taking courses such as Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Social Work Research, and Generalist Practice I & II. These courses were designed to help you gain introductory skills associated with social work practice in multiple settings.

Some colleges may also allow students to substitute later classes for internships within a social work agency. This experience component can provide you with the opportunity to see actual social workers in the field and gain invaluable skills for later use in the field.

Are there internship requirements?

Many BSW programs have no internship requirements while others may mandate field practice as part of their degree requirements. You should look closely at each BSW options prior to choosing the right one for you.

The BSW program can be an excellent first choice for learners that are prepared to begin gaining experience in the field prior to moving into higher level degree programs with differing specializations. This program can also be an optimum stepping-stone for learners on the path to master’s and doctoral programs in this field.

Online Master’s in Social Work

The Master’s in Social Work (MSW) is an advanced learning program designed for students interested in pursuing higher level positions or specializations in their field. This program may welcome graduates from BSW programs, as well as graduates of Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice bachelor’s programs.

Typically two years but can be less for those with a BSW

This degree program includes around 2 years of instruction focused strictly on social work practice within multiple specialized areas. When you first enroll into a MSW program, you may have the option to pursue a specialization or choose a generalist social work path for your degree.

There are different forms of MSW programs available to students with different educational backgrounds. The most common program option for incoming master’s learners is the traditional MSW program – which is typically offered in both the in-person and online environment at a large number of universities.

The traditional MSW program consists of 60 credit hours on average and may be open to a wider array of students based upon their bachelor’s degree. If you come from a bachelor’s program outside of the social work field, you may qualify for entry into traditional MSW programs.

Advanced Standing

An alternative MSW option is the Advanced Standing MSW program, which can be found at numerous universities across the United States. This degree opportunity was created especially for graduates of BSW programs that are seeking a degree advancement through involvement in a MSW program.

Advanced Standing MSW options can provide you with a MSW degree with a lower credit hour requirement on average. One university offering this advanced option requires that students complete 37 credit hours for graduation in comparison to the 60 credit hour standard MSW program.

Depending on the program you choose, you may be accepted into Advanced Standing programs through receiving your BSW or through extensive work experience in the social work field. Each school may have specific expectations for acceptance into their program, so you should research each program thoroughly prior to applying.

MSW Specializations

One of the greatest advantages to choosing the MSW as your degree choice is that you may be free to choose a specialization to accompany your general degree. A specialization can allow you to develop expertise within a certain treatment area or in social work pertaining to certain groups within society.

This point in the degree process can allow you to separate from generalist practice and begin training for more advanced positions within your current field. As you read through the list below, consider which specialization option may be the right fit for you.

School Social WorkThe School Social Work specialization may be the best option for learners that are interested in working specifically with children and families within the educational environment. MSW programs featuring this specialization may include courses related to educational policy, assessments, and treatment planning for students that present with interferences with educational progress.
Child and Adolescent Social WorkThe Child and Adolescent Social Work opportunity can provide you with skills specific to working with children in varying age groups. As you move through specialized programs in this area, you may be introduced to common social issues associated with children, complex behavioral and emotional considerations, and developmental treatment planning in multiple settings.
Child and Family Social WorkChild and Family Social Work specializations can allow you to work with an entire family unit when solving problems associated with healthy family relationships. This specialization may be one of the most popular due to its versatility in terms of career options in the future. Completing a degree with this concentration can allow you to potentially qualify for career opportunities in diverse treatment fields.
Geriatric Social WorkMany social work learners choose specializations based upon the population in which they prefer to work with. Geriatric Social Work was designed especially for learners that wish to work with the aging population, in settings such as home care, retirement homes, and in medical care facilities. Through this option you can focus your learning on the needs of the aging population and the services available to them in your area.
Substance Abuse Social WorkSocial workers choosing Substance Abuse Social Work for their degree program can provide guidance and assistance to individuals struggling with various forms of addiction and substance abuse. With this degree you can possibly work in drug rehabilitation centers, with social service agencies, or even partner with the courts to help individuals working towards healthier lifestyles.
Rehabilitation Social WorkRehabilitation Social Work specializations can allow you to provide support to individuals receiving rehabilitative care due to disability, injury, illness, or disorder. This diverse concentration option can allow you to learn more about your client’s rights and the supportive services that may be available for their taking. In this career field you can work for at-home health agencies, rehabilitation centers, or even in the clinical hospital setting.
Medical Social WorkIf you are interested in pursuing a social work career in the health care field, Medical Social Work may be the right choice for you. This specialization can provide you with knowledge pertaining to patient rights and services, as well as multiple forms of treatment advocacy for clients in need. You can partner with clients receiving direct services from hospitals or other medical care facilities through pursuit of this degree option.
Social Work Policy and ResearchStudents interested in taking on leadership or research positions in the field of social work can potentially do so through completion of degree programs focused on Social Work Policy and Research. In this option, you can learn more about the development of this field and current research supporting positive change for field workers. Many learners in this specialization move forward to doctoral programs after completion for optimum experience.
Organization and Community LeadershipThe field of social work includes knowledgeable leaders that can direct, supervise, and provide recommendations to social workers in multiple settings. Organizational and Community Leadership Specializations can allow you to focus more on the development of social systems and methods for training and guiding social workers within your treatment area.
Clinical Social WorkClinical Social Work specializations can allow you to take on a diagnostic approach at changing the lives of your clients. In this area of concentration, you can gain insight into various mental health disorders and illnesses, learn assessment and diagnostic skills, and receiving training in treatment planning for emotional growth.
The Role of School Social Workers - MSW@USC

Programs Currently Accepting Applicants

Ohio University’s online Master of Social Work degree focuses on learning and exploring the unique logistics of helping those in a rural environment access social services. Our CSWE-accredited MSW program prepares you to serve those with limited access to vital clinical support.

Fordham’s top-ranked Graduate School of Social Service offers a future-focused online MSW program, preparing students for integrated practice with all populations. Bachelor’s degree required. CSWE Accredited.

The online MSW at the University of Kentucky is taught by faculty who are dedicated to your success and who provide diverse expertise across multiple areas of social work. Regular and Advanced Standing MSW tracks are available. Each program prepares students for effective advanced practice across the micro-macro continuum with diverse populations. CSWE Accredited.

Specialty MSW Programs

  • Online MSW
  • Advanced Standing MSW
  • 1-Year MSW
  • 100% Online MSW
  • MSW with No GRE for Entry
  • MSW with No BSW Required for Entry
  • Full Time Online MSW
  • Hybrid MSW (Online & Campus)
  • Campus Based MSW (by State)

DSW Programs

  • Doctor of Social Work / DSW
  • Online DSW
  • 100% Online DSW
  • PhD in Social Work

Top Social Work Programs

  • Administrative Leadership Social Work
  • Adult Practice Social Work
  • Advanced Generalist
  • Aging Social Work
  • Behavioral Health
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Development
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Counseling Social Work
  • Criminal Justice Social Work
  • Crisis and Trauma
  • Direct Practice Social Work
  • Disability Social Work
  • Ethnicity & Race Focused Social Work
  • Family Social Work Practice
  • Gerontology
  • Hospital Social Work
  • Individual Practice Social Work
  • Micro Social Work
  • Mezzo Social Work
  • Macro Social Work
  • Medical Social Work
  • Mental Health Social Work
  • Non Profit Social Work
  • Organizational-Community Practice
  • Psychiatric Social Work
  • School Social Work
  • Social Work Policy & Development
  • Substance Abuse Social Work
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Trauma Social Work
  • Vision & Hearing Impairment Social Work

Reasons to Consider an Accelerated BSW/MSW Program

You can follow many paths to realize your dream of becoming a social worker. Regardless of which one you choose, you will need to earn a college degree. A bachelor degree in social work, or BSW, will help you get the foot in the door, but a master of social work, or MSW, will really broaden your career horizons. Consider killing two birds with one stone by completing an accelerated BSW/MSW program.

A few great reasons to consider an accelerated BSW/MSW program include:

1. It’s Faster and Easier

Accelerated BSW/MSW degree programs are often called four-plus-one degree programs because the master degree portion can be completed in one year instead of two. Most programs allow you to start taking courses toward your MSW during your junior or senior year of undergraduate school, and many courses offer dual course credit for undergraduate and master’s degrees. If you’re already thinking about going on to earn your master of social work degree, this is an easier and faster option to consider.

2. It’s Cheaper

Because accelerated BSW/MSW programs usually allow you to complete coursework toward your master degree while still an undergrad, you end up getting a lot more bang for your education buck. That’s doubly true for courses that award dual credit for BSW and MSW degrees. Most people are able to complete such programs in five years, so they avoid having to pay an entire extra year’s worth of tuition. On average, students can save $5,000 to $12,000 by pursuing this option.

3. Keep Up Forward Momentum and Gain a Competitive Edge

Even if you tell yourself that you’ll go back to earn your MSW someday, life could easily get in the way. After landing your first job, you may find it too difficult to pursue an MSW. Minimize the risk of this by opting for an accelerated BSW/MSW program. You will be able to keep up your forward momentum and will already be in “school mode” as you complete your MSW. Further, you will have a significant competitive edge over other recent grad when looking for your first job.

4. It’s Convenient

There’s no denying the fact that accelerated degree programs are fast-paced and, in many cases, exceptionally challenging. However, they are usually designed to be as convenient as possible too. After all, these programs want students to succeed. As a result, most consist of blended formats that incorporate classroom instruction and online components. For master’s programs in particular, students often have full-time jobs and other responsibilities, so there are usually many flexible ways to go about earning your degree.

5. Qualify for Better Opportunities

After working for four years to earn your BSW, what’s one additional year to be able add an MSW to your credentials? Sure, you will have to wait one year longer to finish your education, but the extra year will bring about many exciting opportunities. You’ll have less trouble finding jobs despite not having a ton of experience, as employers will see how motivated and dedicated you are. Also, by participating in a master of social work degree program, you’ll have even more opportunities for making crucial connections that are sure to pay off handsomely throughout your career.

As eager as you may be to complete your four-year degree and jump head-first into the workforce, give serious thought to completing an accelerated BSW/MSW program instead. You will have to work hard, and the going will be tough. When it’s all finished, however, you will be able to hit the ground running in your social work career.

You might also like: 20 High-value BSW Degrees in Metro Areas with Top Salaries for Social Workers.

Social Work Career Pathways

Online Social Work Degree Guide of 2020

What are the different types of Social Work degrees?

There are a variety of social work degrees to choose from depending on your career goals. Some students pursue a bachelor’s in social work, or BSW. Those interested in continuing their education earn their master’s degree in social work (MSW), doctor of social work (DSW), or PhD.

Complete List of Social Work Degrees

  1. Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW)
  2. Master of Social Work (MSW)
  3. Doctor of Social Work
  4. PhD in Social Work (PhD)

Sponsored Online Social Work Degrees – Accredited by the CSWE

Fordham University

The Bronx, New York

Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service logo


Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Advanced Standing:
33 credits
Full-time: 8 months
Part-time: 16 months


You may be eligible for advanced standing if within the past five years you have either:

  • Earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Or completed one year of coursework through another CSWE-accredited MSW program.


Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring, and Summer


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

OnlineMSW@Fordham features an integrated, forward-facing curriculum that prepares aspiring practitioners to deliver responsive services to both individuals and communities.

Delivered by the top-ranked Graduate School of Social Service, the program has an intuitive online campus with multiple interactive features that create an engaging learning environment with interaction between students and faculty.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.

Ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation by U.S. News & World Report1.Learn more from OnlineMSW@Fordham1Source: U.S

Baylor University

Waco, Texas

Baylor University logo


Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Advanced Standing:
32 credits
Full-time: as few as 12 months
Part-time: 20 months


Advanced standing:
Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program at a regionally accredited college or university within the past five years.


Advanced Standing:


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

The Master of Social Work (MSW) online program from Baylor University enables aspiring social work professionals to serve and empower vulnerable populations worldwide.

Students will learn the skills and theories necessary to make meaningful, informed change and be challenged to think about the ethical integration of faith and social work practice.

The MSW online program can be completed in as few as 12 months. Baylor is now accepting applications, and GRE scores are not required to apply.

Ethically integrates faith and social work practice.

University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

DenverUniversity Graduate School of Social Service logo


Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Full-time Advanced Standing:
54-credit program


  • Hold a BSW from a regionally accredited college or university at any point in time.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher.


Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring and Summer


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

The University of Denver’s top-ranked school of social work offers two online program tracks: traditional MSW and advanced standing MSW. No GRE Required.

The program prepares aspiring social workers to advocate for social change and provide trauma-informed services to individuals, families and groups impacted by oppression..

Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Simmons University logo


Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Advanced Standing:
37 credits
Full-time: 16 months


To apply applicants must have:

  • Earned a BSW within the past five years from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A grade of B or better in each BSW course, or a 3.3 GPA for all social work coursework.
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.


Advanced Standing:
January, March, May, September and November


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

SocialWork@Simmons is the clinically focused online Master of Social Work (MSW) program from the nation’s oldest school of social work.

Students can choose to customize their own Individualized Course of Study or follow one of four Specialized Courses of Study: Child and Family, Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, Mental Health and Addictions, and Health and Aging.

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio

CWRU University Graduate School of Social Service logo


Program Name:
Online Social Work at CWRU

Advanced Standing:
21 credits
Complete in as few as one and a half years


BSW Requirement: BSW must have been earned within the last seven years from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited institution with grades of B or better in all social work related courses.
GPA: Minimum GPA of 2.7
GRE Information: Not required


Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring and Summer


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

At Case Western Reserve University’s CSWE-accredited Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences—ranked No. 9 for social work in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report—students can earn their Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) online.

The degree is equivalent to an MSW, and can be completed in two or two and a half years, depending on the track. Scholarships are available, and GRE scores are not required to apply.

Lead lasting change in your community.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

USC University Graduate School of Social Service logo


Program Name:
Master of Social Work (MSW)

Advanced Standing:
37 credits
Full-time: 3 semesters
Part-time: 5 semesters


Students must have completed a BSW from an accredited program within 5 years of the date of application.
Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
No GRE Required.


Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring and Summer


CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

The MSW@USC is the online Master of Social Work program from the top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work4.

Designed for those who want to lead social change in their communities, the program prepares students to pursue professional licensure and work directly with people of all ages.

Social Work Degrees Explained

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW)

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is an undergraduate degree and typically the first step in pursuing a career in social work. A bachelor’s degree in social work can be completed in four years full-time and prepares students to earn an entry level position in social work. Those with a BSW can work in a variety of fields including mental health, residential treatment, and aging services. If you’re interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you may want to consider schools with Council on Social Work Education External link  accredited programs. BSW programs include classroom education, online or on campus, as well as a field education placement to practice in a real-world setting. It is important to note that some universities refer to their undergraduate degrees in social work differently. Some may offer a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) or a Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) rather than a BSW.

Careers Available for BSW holders

  • Caseworker
  • Mental Health Assistant
  • Probation Officer
  • Human Services Specialist

Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)

A master’s degree in social work (MSW) is a graduate degree that can typically be completed in two years, full-time and some universities have a part-time option, which typically takes three years to complete. You don’t need a BSW to pursue a master’s degree, although a related area of study may be useful. Those interested in becoming a clinical social worker must earn an MSW to provide advanced clinical services. An MSW can also prepare you for a leadership role in social work or social justice work in politics. Since social work is such a broad field, some online degrees offer concentrations, which may help narrow down the decision making process. Master’s degrees in social work are available online or on-campus and it is important to consider your learning style when researching programs. If you have already completed undergraduate work in social work you may be eligible for the advanced standing option depending on the university’s requirements.

What Careers Can You Enter With a BSW Degree? | Walden University

Online, Campus, Hybrid, and Distance Learning MSW Programs

What is the difference?

The majority of programs try to use these terms to represent specific types of degree programs. Common terms used to describe Master of Social Work (MSW) programs include: campus MSW programs, online MSW programs, hybrid or blended learning MSW programs, distance learning / education MSW programs, and distributed MSW programs. We will examine each term to make it clear what they typically represent.

  • Campus MSW Programs: These are the most common type of MSW program with over 220 universities offering CSWE accredited programs. These programs can either be full-time where students attend classes on-campus the same way they would for an undergraduate program or part-time where students attend classes at night and/or on the weekends. Some universities even offer campus-based programs at off-campus locations (see distance learning below).
  • Online MSW Programs: For online programs, the majority of instruction is online (except for field education which must be completed at a local health services agency). Students are not required to attend classes on-site. However, some online programs do have an on-campus requirement where students are required to visit the campus, typically once or twice a year. We classify any program that requires two or fewer visits to the campus per year as an online program.
  • Hybrid / Blended MSW Programs: Hybrid programs combine on-campus and online instruction. The combination of on-campus and online instruction varies by graduate school. Typically these programs follow one of two formats: 1) individual courses combine on-campus and online instruction where students meet in person a limited number of times each semester or 2) students take both on-campus courses and online courses. For these types of programs, only certain classes may be offered online.
  • Distance Learning / Education MSW Programs: Unfortunately, this term is used to describe many different types of programs and students should reach out to a university if their program structure is not clear. Many early online programs used the term distance learning. Now, the majority of programs that use this term have on-site instruction at an off-campus location. For example, the University of Iowa, School of Social Work External link  offers distance education MSW programs in Des Moines, Quad Cities and Sioux City.
  • Distributed MSW Programs: The term distributed MSW programs is not used as frequently as the terms online or hybrid MSW program. Two schools that do use this term are Humboldt State University and California State University, Chico, both of which are in California. We classify the program at Humboldt State University as an online program as students are only required to attend on-campus instruction once a year for four days. Whereas, we classify the program at Chico State as a hybrid program as students are required to attend on-site classes two weekends a semester.

Accredited Online MSW Programs

Online master’s degrees in social work are classified as those that either do not require any campus visits or only require a limited number of campus visits during the program. On OnlineMSWPrograms.com, we classify any program that requires two or fewer campus visits per year as an online program. Programs that have a campus requirement are clearly noted on the site. If you work full-time or are unable to visit a local university and attend on-campus courses, an online MSW may be the right fit for you. Be sure to research as many options as possible before making your decision.

OnlineMSWPrograms.com has made it easy for students to find CSWE accredited online Master of social work degrees by delivery method (online versus hybrid), by program length (full-time versus part-time), and by those offering advanced standing programs. We have created pages dedicated to specific types of online social work degree programs and have included a comprehensive list of CSWE accredited schools on each page. All schools are listed alphabetically so that it is easy to browse programs by name.

Currently, we have organized schools offering accredited online social work degrees into the following categories:

  • Complete List of MSW Degree Programs
    Currently there are 40+ schools that offer Master of Social Work degrees online for students who have not earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited undergraduate program. This page includes schools that offer both full-time (14) and part-time (31) programs.
  • Advanced Standing MSW Programs
    Currently there are 24 schools that offer social work online degree programs designed for students who have already earned a BSW from a CSWE accredited undergraduate program. This page includes schools that offer full-time (10) and part-time (20) programs.
  • Clinical Social Work Programs (LCSW)
    Currently there are 22 schools that offer online MSW programs with a clinical social work or mental health concentration. All 22 schools offer programs for traditional students, while 16 schools have programs designed for advanced standing students.
  • Full-Time MSW Programs
    Currently there are 14 schools that offer full-time online MSW degree programs. This page does not contain programs designed for advanced standing applicants.
  • Part-Time MSW Programs
    Currently there are 31 schools that offer part-time MSW degree programs online. This page does not contain programs designed for advanced standing applicants.
  • Hybrid MSW Programs
    Currently there are 13 schools that offer hybrid MSW programs. 12 of the 13 schools offer programs for traditional students, while 8 offer programs for advanced standing applicants. This page includes schools that offer full-time and part-time programs.
  • MSW Programs with a Concentration in Military Social Work
    Currently there are 2 schools that offer online MSW programs with a specific specialization or sub-concentration in military social work. Both schools offer programs full-length and advanced standing online MSW programs.

Careers Available for MSW holders

  • Clinical Social Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Military Social Worker

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

A Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is a graduate level degree that offers advanced training in social work administration and clinical social work. Candidates interested in pursuing a DSW should hold a master’s degree, typically in a similar area of study as social work, but requirements may vary. DSW programs generally focus on leadership and management training. DSWs offer students the opportunity to pursue advanced or supervisory roles and the potential to earn a higher income.You may be wondering what the difference is between a Doctor of Social Work and a PhD. Unlike a Ph.D. in social work, which focuses on research in an academic setting, a DSW trains students to work in a variety of settings including schools and hospitals. Although there may be some overlap in terms of the curriculum, it is important to consider what environment you prefer to work in when deciding between these two degrees.

For more detailed information, see our comprehensive guide to social work careers for MSW holders.

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs

Careers Available for DSW holders

  • Advanced Practice Clinical Social Worker
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Human Services Administrator
  • Social Work Administrator

Online DSW Programs

Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) Degree Programs: Currently there are 4 schools that offer online DSW programs. This page includes schools that offer full-time and part-time programs.

University of Southern California's School of Social Work logo
  • Earn a Doctorate of Social Work in an accelerated 28-month program or a standard 36-month program.
  • DSW@USC prepares experienced professionals to develop practical, applied solutions to large-scale social challenges.

Sponsored Online DSW Program

PhD in Social Work (PhD)

A PhD in social work prepares individuals for research positions in social work. Coursework typically involves advanced research methods and policy. One of the main goals of PhD work is to help students advance social work careers outside of academia through research. PhD graduates typically pursue a career in academia including teaching and research.

Careers Available for PhD holders

  • Researcher
  • College or University Professor
  • Clinical Director
  • Human Services Director

Things to Consider When Choosing a Social Work Degree

CSWE Accreditation

Why is Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation important? CSWE-accredited programs meet the highest standards of performance, integrity and quality for social work education. When selecting a program, it’s important to think about where you want to work and who you want to work with. Depending on where you live, an accredited program may be required in order for you to sit for your social work licensure exam. State requirements may vary, but licensure is required for all master’s level careers in social work. Although some states don’t mandate accreditation, the licensure process may be simpler due to the CSWE’s standardized educational criteria. Another reason CSWE accreditation is important is that it may expand employment opportunities. Some employers may prefer candidates that have earned their degree through a CSWE-accredited program. Make sure to research your state’s requirements before selecting a social work degree.

Enrollment and Admissions Options

Admissions requirements vary depending on the type of social work degree you wish to pursue. If you are interested in becoming a licensed social worker, research your state’s eligibility and and admissions criteria for MSW programs before making your decision. Admissions requirements vary depending on the program or school, but typically include earning a bachelor’s from an accredited institution, meeting minimum GPA requirements, taking certain prerequisite classes during your undergraduate education, submitting undergraduate transcripts, submitting a personal statement and letters of recommendation, and submitting GRE scores. If you don’t meet certain requirements, you may still be eligible if you speak with an admissions faculty member and can meet other requirements. For most online MSW programs, submitting GRE or MAT scores is not required. Some programs may prefer candidates with work experience in a human or social services related field. Prospective students should speak with enrollment specialists before making their decision

Field Education and Internships

A unique aspect of social work in higher education is the field work, or internship requirement. Field education prepares students to practice social work in the real world under the supervision of field instructors. Field education requirements vary depending on whether a student is enrolled in a traditional or advanced standing MSW program. Traditional students must typically complete 900 to 1200 hours at an agency, whereas advanced standing students complete 450 to 900 hours. Agencies may include community organizations, addiction treatment facilities, mental health facilities, and family counseling and therapy centers. Check if the university has agency partners that are of interest to you. The relationships you make during internships may help with your career development after graduation. Students usually work 16 to 20 hours per week at a field agency, and in some programs part-time students are allowed to work 10 to 14 hours per week over more semesters.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The cost of your social work degree may vary depending on a few factors, but you can typically expect to pay a certain amount per credit. Is the program you’re interested in offered by a public or private institution? Is the program delivered online or on campus? Are there financial aid options available or a tuition reimbursement program offered by your employer? A social work degree does not have to be financially out of reach if you consider these factors while researching programs. In terms of financial aid, some universities offer fellowships, which are designed as loan forgiveness programs and others offer scholarships, another way students can save money without compromising their education. Beyond the typical costs of pursuing a master’s degree, make sure you also have an understanding of additional costs, including room, board, and books.


Some social work programs offer concentrations so that students can gain experience and land a job in a specific field. Common concentrations include Clinical/Direct Practice Social Work, Advanced Generalist, and Community Development, Management/Administration, and Policy. Online programs tend to have less available concentrations than their on campus counterparts. However, some online programs offer more specialized concentrations including Children, Youth and Family Social Work, Administrative Leadership, Mental Health and Adult Social Work, Community Social Work (including programs which emphasize the needs of the Hispanic community), and Community Organization, Planning and Administration. Depending on the career path you choose, it’s important to check your state’s requirements and speak with an admissions advisor.

Class Structure

There are typically two types of class structures for online social work programs, the cohort model structure and flexible course structuring. Most online programs use a cohort model, where a group of students is accepted as a cohort and work through the program together until graduation. A benefit of the cohort model is that students cultivate valuable relationships with their classmates, who then become part of their professional network. A flexible course scheduling structure allows students to set their own pace and select courses and complete work within a set number of years. This class structure benefits students who are balancing commitments outside of their education.

Instruction Methods (in Online Programs)

Online MSW programs generally have two instruction methods, synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous programs feature “live” classes, where students log in, view classes in real time, and are able to interact with their peers and professors. Synchronous programs may feel more like an on-campus experience since students can ask questions and receive immediate feedback. Asynchronous programs do not require students to log into class at a specific time. Instead, students view lectures on their own time and must complete assignments by certain deadlines. Students looking for more flexibility and who may prefer working more independently.

Featured Online Social Work Graduate Degrees

University of DenverEarn your Master of Social Work online from the top-20 ranked Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. No GRE Required.
Fordham UniversityEarn your Master of Social Work online from the top-ranked Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. Bachelor’s required.
Simmons UniversitySimmons University’s online Master of Social Work program can be completed in as few as 16 months, and GRE scores are not required.
Case Western Reserve UniversityThe CSWE-accredited Master of Science in Social Administration from CWRU is an online program for social work leaders.
University of Southern California (USC)Apply to USC’s innovative MSW program to take the next step in your social work career. No GRE required.
Baylor UniversityComplete Baylor’s Master of Social Work program online in as few as 12-16 months and start serving vulnerable populations in need.

Sponsored Online MSW Program


What degree do you need for social work?

A bachelor’s degree in social work is the minimum requirement for a career as a social worker. Depending on professional goals, some social workers continue their education and pursue a master’s degree or doctor of social work.

Is an undergraduate social work degree a BA or BS?

It depends! Universities may offer a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW). Any of these degrees can get you started in a career in social work.

What is the highest degree you can get in social work?

A doctorate in social work or a PhD are the highest degrees that you can get in social work. Each can be completed after earning a master’s degree and time to complete varies based on the program.

Which degree should I get if I want to be a school social worker?

Depending on where you live, there are a few steps to become a school social worker. A bachelor’s degree in social work is typically a good start and some states require a master’s degree and a license.

Which degree should I get if I want to be a licensed clinical social worker?

Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) must complete a master’s degree, then complete LCSW licensing and examination requirements, and apply for licensure. Make sure to check your state for licensure requirements.

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