At College Choice we’re interested in helping you navigate the complex process of choosing the best online Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) so you can begin a fulfilling career without packing up your bags to move away from the community where you live. As an online social work major, you’ll experience the perks of flexibility and affordability as you complete your education and get to work with people in your area who need your discerning patience.
People often think that an online social work degree is easier than a traditional Bachelor’s of Social work. Not true! Educators have been praising the developments in online learning for years—developments that have not only legitimized digital education, but have made it both rigorous and dynamic. Online platforms like Moodle or Blackboard help create deeply satisfying learning experiences for students, and allow scholars to work, raise a family, or complete other important personal goals.
What is the best online bachelor’s in social work?
Regarding learning online, people often mistakenly believe that online education is cheaper. It is true that digital education may cost less money than traditional classroom education, but there can be hidden costs not included in the sticker price, like technology fees. It’s helpful to think of these costs like textbooks or room and board and plan accordingly with your finances. The best online social work degree programs will be up front about costs, so be aware!
College Choice is your one-stop search for rankings on the best online Bachelor’s in Social Work programs. Stick with us, and share this information with your friends!
Appalachian State University
College Choice Score: 100
Annual Tuition: $11,508
Appalachian State University is one of the best destinations, online or on campus, for any social work students. The school confers the Bachelor of Social Work in a cohort model entirely online. This university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC. The program is independently accredited by the CSWE.
The program was designed for distance education students in mind. Students will learn in a cohort model with a sequence structure, ensuring mastery of every subject before moving on to the next subject. This also gives students the chance to have relationships with not only their instructors but other classmates, creating an intimate setting that is vital to a successful education.
This program requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, 52 of which must be completed at Appalachian State. There is also 400 clock hours of field work experience. Sample courses include Basic Skills for the Social Professions, Professional Social Work in Contemporary Society, and Social Welfare Politics, Programs and Issues.
University of Iowa
College Choice Score: 91.91
Annual Tuition: $8,104
The University of Iowa at Iowa City confers the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work for online students. This program is fairly new to the school and has quickly become one of the most popular degrees for new students. The university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC and the program is independently accredited by the CSWE.
This program was specifically designed for students who need a pathway to complete their undergraduate degree. As such, the BASW is only available to students who have earned an associate’s degree or who have 60 hours of undergraduate education from a regionally accredited institution. Students are encouraged to call the admissions desk to see if they are eligible for this program.
This degree requires 120 credit hours and 400 field work clock hours for graduation. Students may also have a research or team project requirement; the school is currently renovating this degree and so it is encouraged that students contact the department to learn more about specific requirements. Sample courses include Diversity and Oppression, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Statistical Research Methods for Social Work.
College Choice Score: 90.53
Annual Tuition: $19,305
Huntington University confers the Bachelor of Social Work online for adult learners. This is an exceptional program for any working professional who is interested in generalist social work practice. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The program is also accredited by the CSWE.
The Huntington BSW program is also a pathway for students to becoming licensed social workers. Because the school is accredited, this prepares students for certification as well as additional advanced standing for graduate education.
This degree requires 128 credit hours and 450 clock hours of field education.Courses are all taught in asynchronous format and the field work experience is completed in the student’s area of residence. Sample courses include Minority Groups, Social Welfare Institutions, and Human Behavior and the Social Environment.
University of Utah
College Choice Score: 85.23
Annual Tuition: $12,136
The University of Utah confers a Bachelor of Social Work in a hybrid format for interested students. This degree will prepare students for a career as a generalist social worker and provide them with the necessary CSWE-accredited courses to sit for state licensure exams. This program is regionally accredited by the NWCCU.
As a hybrid program, the University of Utah provides students with a blend of on-campus and online courses. Students will also be required to participate in group forums and assignments and peer reviews. This aids them in understanding that social workers often work side-by-side and strengthens their interpersonal and communication skills.
A field practicum is also required. This experience, which amounts to 400 clock hours, is completed during a student’s final year in the program. Agency placements must be approved by the Field Practicum Director, so students are advised to contact the director as soon as they are eligible for the practicum.
This degree requires a total of 120 credit hours and the field practicum for graduation. Sample courses include Child Welfare Practice, Native Americans in Modern Society, and Immigration and Resettlement: Interdisciplinary and Community Perspectives.
Arizona State University Online
College Choice Score: 81.78
Annual Tuition: $13,175
Arizona State University has an interesting and specialized degree for interested online students. The school confers the Bachelor of Arts in Community Advocacy and Social Policy through the ASU Online portal. This degree is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The program is further accredited by the CSWE and can provide a pathway to licensure.
This is one of the only undergraduate specialized degrees for social work students. It is also one of the only accredited programs that are available to online students, making it a great find for those who are interested in learning about diversity, oppression, and privilege in the social work field.
The BA CASP program at ASU focuses heavily on advocacy and how it relates to issues of diversity and privilege within the United States. Policy analysis, social change and problems, and interventions are all covered in depth in the curriculum. The program itself serves as a strong foundation for further study in social work or can work as a launchpad for students interested in law.
This degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, 30 of which must be earned through ASU. There are no field work experience hours necessary for this degree. Sample courses include Social Policy and Services, Macro Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Advocacy Strategies.
College Choice Score: 81.67
Annual Tuition: $21,356
Bluffton University confers an undergraduate online degree that is in accordance with CSWE standards. The online Bachelor of Social Work degree is a great fit for working professionals who wish to earn a degree while continuing in their current career. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
By partaking in a CSWE-accredited program like this, students are preparing themselves for the option to become licensed social workers within the state. This is a great option for those who are interested in becoming generalist social workers, or for those who want to continue on to graduate education with advanced standing.
This is a hybrid program, so it is best for Ohio residents. Courses are taught one evening a week on-campus, with further activities and lectures being taught online to supplement the curriculum. With this program schedule, students can feasibly complete the degree requirements in as little as three years.
The BSW at Bluffton requires 124 total credit hours of coursework and 200 hours of field work experience. Sample courses include Social Welfare Policy, Interviewing Theory and Skills, and Basics of Social Research.
Indiana Wesleyan University
College Choice Score: 81.49
Annual Tuition: $25,015
Indiana Wesleyan University has the privilege of being one of the top destinations for social work students. It confers the Bachelor of Social Work in a fully online format and was designed specifically for working students in mind. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The program has been continuously independently accredited by the CSWE.
This program is taught in the sequential format. By teaching one course at a time, students can focus on mastering one skill or subject before moving on to the next. This is also a great way for online students to manage their work and school schedules, giving them the freedom to live life while completing their degree.
A field placement internship is also required. This is a mandatory internship that takes six months to complete and amounts to over 400 minimum hours of field work experience. It is a necessary step in learning how social work practice works in the field.
The BSW at Indiana Wesleyan requires 120 credit hours of course work and the field work experience hours in order to complete the degree. Sample courses include Interviewing Skills and Techniques, Research Methods for Social Sciences, and Human Behavior and Social Environment.
College Choice Score: 79.40
Annual Tuition: $17,495
Salisbury University has been conferring the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work since 1974, and now offers the same program online in a blended format. This is a program that is perfect for students who live in Maryland, but who also have obligations that hinder them from attending class full-time. This university is regionally accredited by the MSCHE. The program is independently accredited by the CSWE.
The hybrid format used by Salisbury for the online BASW is crucial in preparing students for their field work experience. Hybrid courses mean that students can view courses in real-time, allowing them the chance to be participants in their courses while simultaneously learning from home. These courses are often given during the evening and on the weekends for the students’ convenience.
This is a completion program, meaning that students with over 45 credit hours of the previous study at another regionally accredited program are eligible to apply. This allows students to focus on the social work major as well as the 400 clock hours of field work experience at an approved agency.
This degree requires a total of 120 credit hours of course work and the field work experience in order to apply for graduation. Sample courses include Social Welfare History and Contemporary Issues, Interviewing Skills, and Techniques, and Privilege and Oppression.
Briar Cliff University
College Choice Score: 78.56
Annual Tuition: $18,138
Briar Cliff confers the Bachelor of Social Work entirely online, making it one of the only programs of its kind in the nation. This program is perfect for working professionals who need a flexible schedule that can help them meet their goals. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC and the program is further accredited by the CSWE.
This university has been continuously accredited and recognized by the CSWE since 1974, making it one of the oldest BSW programs in the nation. This accreditation also allows students to sit for state licensure exams within their state. Students are advised that each state’s licensure exams for social workers vary, and so they are encouraged to learn more about their state’s requirements prior to graduation.
Briar Cliff requires a 450 clock hour field work experience in the form of an internship. This internship has an orientation that must be taken in the second term of a student’s junior year, and the internship is completed during the senior year. It is important to remember that there is no field practicum credit earned for prior social work experience.
This degree requires a total of 120 credit hours of course work. At least 47 credit hours must be taken at Briar Cliff in order to apply for graduation. Sample courses include History and General Method of Social Work, Social Issues, and Policy, and Social Science Research Methods.
College Choice Score: 77.64
Annual Tuition: $11,165
Brescia University is one of the premier destinations for online students. It confers the Bachelor of Social Work as a completion program, ensuring that students who’ve already started the journey towards getting this degree can do so with ease. This university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC. The program is also independently accredited by the CSWE.
As a completion program, the BSW degree requires that students apply when they have 45 credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. This sets the foundation for the degree and prepares students to focus solely on the social work requirements.
The BSW program at Brescia also requires practicum and field work experience at the junior and senior levels. This work allows students to practice their new skills in social work in real-world settings. It also gives them a chance to learn how the field works and how professionals deal with crisis management and day-to-day tasks.
This degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and at least 400 clock hours of approved field work experience in order to apply for graduation. There is also a research project requirement. Sample courses include Ethical Consideration in Social Work, Research Methods in Social Work, and Social Issues in Diversity.
St. Leo University
College Choice Score: 77.19
Annual Tuition: $11,508
Saint Leo University does not have a social work degree, but it does offer something that is just as valuable. The school confers an online Bachelor of Sociology with a Social Work Concentration that will prepare students to work as community leaders and act as a foundation for further academic study at the graduate level. This degree is regionally accredited by the SACS COC.
This program functions as a liberal arts foundation in sociology and social work. Because the degree is not focused on generalist work, students are exposed to a more general education in social work history and philosophy. This can act as a gateway to several different career pathways, including social work, and can also prepare students to be strong candidates for social work leadership positions.
The program does have a focus on leadership skills, including interpersonal and communication skills, which are sorely needed in social work. Along with learning about leadership, students also learn about the social and racial injustices that are rampant in the country and will find themselves resolving those issues through research papers and team projects.
This degree requires 120 credit hours for completion of the requirements. Because this is not a social work degree, there are no field work experience hours that are required. Courses include Methods of Social Research, Race and Diversity in America, and Sociological Theory.
Humboldt State University
College Choice Score: 74.34
Annual Tuition: $13,216
Humboldt State University believes that education should be available for everyone, not just its on-campus students. That’s why the school confers its Bachelor of Arts in Social Work online, offering a pathway towards graduation for students who may not have had access to it previously. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC. The BASW program is further accredited by the CSWE.
While nearly all of the requirements for this degree can be met online, students are advised that there is one on-campus intensive as well as an orientation that is mandatory. Students who live in California are further advised that field placement is not always guaranteed, so it is important for these students to try to find placement as quickly as possible.
This program requires 120 credit hours of course work and 450 clock hours of field work at an approved agency. A capstone project in the form of a research paper is also required. Sample courses include Social Work History and Policy in the United States, Interventions and Family Dynamics, and Statistics for Social Workers.
College Choice Score: 73.68
Annual Tuition: $11,303
Washburn University provides students with the ability to obtain an undergraduate social work degree in a blended format. This program ensures that students who cannot make it to campus for the entire degree still have a pathway to graduation. This university is accredited by the NCACS THLC. The program is further accredited by the CSWE.
Because this program is not fully online, students will have residency requirements at the school. Therefore students are advised that this program is best suited for Kansas residents only. There’s good news, however, as the school has already announced its plans to create a fully online BSW program within the next five years.
Field work placement is known as practicum experience at Washburn. This requirement is 400 hours in an agency setting that is approved by the Practicum Director. Students will take on this requirement in their senior year of schooling, so it is strongly encouraged that students do not take on full-time work in order to meet this requirement.
This degree requires 120 credit hours of coursework, most of which can be completed online, plus a research project and the field work experience. Sample courses include Micro Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Generalist Social Work Perspectives, and Generalist Quantitative Social Work Research.
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
College Choice Score: 73.27
Annual Tuition: $8,741
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks provides students with a strong social work program entirely online. The school confers the Bachelor of Social Work, a generalist practical degree that is perfect for working professionals. The university is regionally accredited by the NWCCU. The program has special accreditation by the CSWE.
This program is unique to rural Alaska students who are already working in the social work fields and who would like to get a degree in the field. The program is based on the cohort model where students attend class at Fairbanks for one week at the start of each term, then return home to complete their required coursework.
Field work experience is also another important aspect to this program. Each social work student will be required to complete 400 clock hours of a practicum under the supervision of the department. This is a hands-on training method done in the senior year of the degree to fortify a student’s new skills while also gaining knowledge in real-world social work.
The BSW at UA-Fairbanks requires 120 total credit hours of work and includes the field work experience. Students will also have a research project to complete. Sample courses include Diversity in America, Rural Communities, and Social Work Practice, and Human Behavior and Social Environment.
College Choice Score: 73.02
Annual Tuition: $16,576
Campbellsville University confers the Bachelor of Social Work online for students who do not live near campus. This is an exciting program for students who would like to blend their Christian faith with their service as generalist social workers. This university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC. The program is also independently accredited by the CSWE.
This degree can be completed entirely online; there are no on-campus requirements. Additionally, students can fulfill the 450 clock hours of direct field work right in their area of residency. Students are encouraged to speak to the Field Education Director about appropriate agencies that would be approved by the department.
This program requires that students apply with at least 45 credit hours earned from another regionally accredited institution. An associate’s degree that fulfills the General Core requirements is also accepted. This allows students to focus solely on the social work major requirements.
The BSW from Campbellsville requires 120 credit hours of course work and 450 clock hours of field work. Sample courses include Social Policy and Planning, Human Diversity, and Human Rights.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 71.45
Annual Tuition: $6,547
Northern Arizona University confers its online Bachelor of Social Work through the school’s Extended Campus portal. This CSWE-accredited degree is a strong pathway towards licensure as well as a great foundation for graduate education. This school is regionally accredited through the NCACS THLC.
The CSWE accreditation is a vital feature for students who are interested in furthering their education at the graduate level. By completing NAU’s online BSW, students will be eligible to opt-out of 12 credit hours at the graduate level and may even receive advanced standing for the MSW program at any regionally accredited university.
The online program also has optional research and University Honors Program opportunities for students. These features will only add to a student’s time at the school and can even add to their resume.
The BSW Program at NAU requires 120 credit hours of course work and at least 480 clock hours of field work experience for graduation. Sample course includes Evolution of Social Welfare Policy in the United States, Culturally Competent Practice, and Power, Wealth, and Inequality.
College Choice Score: 71.21
Annual Tuition: $23,468
Liberty University Online offers students the chance to earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Work almost entirely online, with only one intensive required for the entire degree. This is the perfect degree for out-of-state students who want to get a degree from this premier institution. The university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC.
The school requires one intensive for all students, which allows students the chance to see the campus as well as meet their instructors on-campus as well as learn more about online learning. It is a great way for students to feel connected to the Liberty University vision and can be completed as soon as they are accepted into the program.
Unlike many other BSSW programs, Liberty does not require students to partake in research projects. However, at least 400 hours of field work must be completed. Students are advised to speak with the Field Education Director about their placements to ensure they find a suitable agency in their area of residence.
This program requires 120 credit hours, 60 of which come from the social work major itself. This includes the Core Competency Curriculum, the Christian Life and Thought Curriculum, and electives. Sample courses include Social Work Field Exploration and Observation, Statistics for the Social Sciences, and Ethics in Professional Helping.
Bemidji State University
College Choice Score: 70.60
Annual Tuition: $13,798
Bemidji State University offers a unique online option for students in the Social Work Integrated Model. Students can earn a Bachelor of Social Work through this model, which is currently accredited by the CSWE. The university holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.
The SWIM program at Bemidji is an interesting pathway to an online degree. Students are grouped into cohorts that they stick with until graduation, enabling classroom instruction and team projects to work to build relationships between students and faculty. Students then can meet each other once a month in the mandatory residency required class meeting.
Students will have to meet stringent admission requirements in order to enroll in this program. References, a writing assignment, pre-requisite courses and an interview are all required before a student will be allowed into this program. This ensures that students are just as dedicated to online learning as the world-renown faculty is to teach them about social work.
The Bemidji BSW program requires 120 credit hours and 480 clock hours of field work experience. Sample courses include Social Work Research Seminar, Social Welfare Policy, and Family Dynamics and Intervention.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
College Choice Score: 70.28
Annual Tuition: $8,416
The Metropolitan State University of Denver has recently opened its online portal to social work students. Beginning this year, the school is conferring a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, or BSSW, to its online student body. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC and the program is further accredited by the CSWE.
This program, while new for online students, is one of the premier social work programs in the state. MSU Denver has been at the forefront of social work for decades and the city is even home to one of the largest anti-human trafficking task forces in the country. This makes the school a great choice for online students who are interested in social work on a global scale.
Courses at this university are delivered asynchronously in the traditional 16-week format. This means that students will have an entire term to finish most of their coursework on their own schedule. However, some extracurricular seminars and activities may be required to retain the intimate student-faculty setting the school is so well known for.
This university requires a total of 120 credit hours for completion of the degree, including a part-time practicum for the senior year. Courses are taught in sequence format, so students should be focused on completing their pre-requisites to ensure they complete their degree on time. Sample courses include Philosophy of Social Work, Scientific Inquiry for Social Work, and Privilege, Oppression, and Power.
Northwest Mississippi Community College
College Choice Score: 70.27
Annual Tuition: $6,547
Northwest Mississippi Community College is the only community college on this list that confers a Bachelor of Social Work. This is the most minimum of requirements for any student who would like to become a generalist social worker. This school is regionally accredited by the SACS COC.
This degree is perfect for students who are interested in pursuing a career in social work but who need a flexible online option to help them meet that goal. The program was designed for working professionals and busy students, allowing students to build a schedule that meets their needs.
The BSW at NWCC also prepares students to take specialized training so that they can become licensed social workers. For students who would like to become clinical practitioners, this pathway will include an MSW. The BSW is the perfect foundation for a graduate degree.
This program requires 120 credit hours for completion. Unlike most other social work degrees on this list, it does not require field work and can be completed entirely online. Sample courses include Introduction to Social Work Policy and Practice, Human Behavior and Social Environment, and Advanced Social Work Interviewing Skills.
Wayne State University
College Choice Score: 70.16
Annual Tuition: $11,814
Online students interested in Wayne State University will be happy to find that the school confers a Bachelor of Social Work entirely online. This is housed within the Where Online Works program. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
All social workers in Michigan are required to be licensed, so online students in the state must be prepared to take the state licensure exam immediately after graduation. The university will help prepare students for this task, ensuring that all courses cover the exam subjects and that online students will be successful in this endeavor.
Wayne State requires online students to apply for the BSW only after they’ve completed a minimum of 60 credit hours of General Core courses at a regionally accredited institution. This is because the online program focuses only on social work. Students are advised to speak with an admissions counselor to ensure they meet the requirements needed for this program.
This program requires a total of 120 credit hours with no requirements for field work. Students will find that further requirements may be needed as the school is currently renovating the online program to fit the needs of its students. Sample courses currently include Social Work Practice Methods, Diversity Oppression and Social Justice, and Human Behavior and the Social Environment.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 69.19
Annual Tuition: $9,290
The Northwestern State University of Louisiana, known as NSULA, confers a Bachelor of Social Work through the eNSU Global Campus. This online degree prepares students for generalist practice as well as acts as a solid foundation for a graduate education. The university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC and the BSW program is independently accredited by the CSWE.
Online students should note that CSWE program accreditation will be integral to their career. This accreditation allows students the chance to sit for state licensure exams and should, therefore, be at the top of their list of features they’d like in their program. NSULA offers this very feature, making it a great fit for students who wish to practice social work right after graduation.
Like with many online BSW programs, this university requires field work as part of the degree. Online students will take their 400 clock hours of this experience within their area of residence under the supervision of an advisor. Students are encouraged to speak with the field placement director as soon as they’re accepted to get the best field placements.
The NSULA BSW degree requires 120 credit hours plus the required field work hours for graduation. There are no internships or capstone projects for this degree. Sample social work courses include Contemporary Social Policy, Economics of Social Work, and Cultural Diversity.
Grand Canyon University
College Choice Score: 68.64
Annual Tuition: $19,775
Grand Canyon does not offer a BSW to their online students. What they do offer is a Bachelor of Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. This is an interesting way for students to learn more about social work while getting a general degree. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
While not strictly a generalist social work degree, the BS in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work is still an amazing choice for any student. This general degree gives students the chance to learn about sociology as a general field while concentrating them on social work as a vibrant and challenging factor within the community and human services.
This online social worker degree program is flexible, allowing students to take courses in an eight-week format. Courses are taught asynchronously, allowing them to choose when and how they study. This makes GCU a great choice for students who have busy work and personal lives.
Social work minor students will find that this degree requires 120 credit hours, a case management study, and a capstone project. There are no practicum requirements for this degree. Sample courses include Stratification and Inequality in a Diverse Society, Sociology of Religion, and Social Psychology and Cultural Applications.
College Choice Score: 68.63
Annual Tuition: $12,504
Brandman University has always been a great institution for students who are interested in online degrees. For online social work students, this school is a great option, as the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is conferred here. The university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC. The program is further accredited by the CSWE and can lead to students being licensed within their state.
The university has been providing students and working professionals with flexible distance education since 1958. Because of this, Brandman is known for having features that other schools don’t have, such as a flexible start date for all degrees. It also has eight-week course sessions instead of the traditional 16-week format.
The BASW program has requirements for the online option. Students must have 12 or more credits at the undergraduate level from another regionally accredited institution in order to apply as well as the online application. Students do not need to have a background, work or education-wise, based on social work.
The Brandman BASW program requires a minimum of 120 credit hours of coursework and 400 clock hours of practicum in order to apply for graduation. Sample social work classes include Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Social Work, Diversity and Social Justice in a Global Society, and Military Social Work.
Western New Mexico University
College Choice Score: 68.10
Annual Tuition: $11,332
Western New Mexico University is a great destination for any student interested in generalist social work practice. It is also particularly interesting for its online pathway to its Bachelor of Social Work. The university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The BSW program is further accredited by the CSWE.
Like traditional BSW programs, WNMU has a requirement for undergraduate students interested in the degree. In order to be placed within this program, students must be admitted to the university as well as have General Core Curriculum requirements already completed. This ensures that all online students are ready and prepared to focus on the social work major.
The BSW program does have field placement requirements which must be met in the senior year of the program. Students will work closely with the online field placement advisor to find a suitable placement within their area of residency, ensuring that they will complete their degree in a good amount of time.
The WNMU BSW program requires a total of 120 credits plus field work and a research project. The Social Work Core classes must be completed at this university. Sample courses include Ethics in Social Work, Diversity in Social Work, and Theory, Foundation, and Technology of Social Work.