Best Online Masters in Social Work Degrees 1Interested in getting an online Master in Social Work? We’re here to help! Let our simple, informative top 25 ranking help guide you through the big decision of furthering education.

Using data from a variety of sources, this information is for the college seeker. Find the best Masters in Social Work that fits your schedule, financial needs, and professional priorities.

Gain a professional edge as you dive deeper into your specialization. Learn how to give back to others via trauma and interpersonal violence counseling, mental health and addiction counseling, or care concerning the health of the aging.

You’ve been making a difference in the lives of your clients for a while now and it is the time to further grow, without uprooting your life. What you need is a program that will provide you with flexibility and minimal disruption to your career. You need courses to complete at your own pace while attending to personal priorities as you study to grow as a professional.

A remote education transcends any traditional degree by offering all these advantages, and so much more. These top online Master’s in Social Work are here to help you rise to the challenges of 21st-century communities around the world.

In fact, online education has been growing in prominence and importance, and many people are turning to it for flexibility and affordability. Take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.

Recommended Master's in Social Work

What are the best online masters in social work degrees?

Our ranking of the best online master’s in social work provides potential students a breakdown of top schools throughout the country. Accreditation, student feedback, and success of graduates determine how each school stands. Accreditation is a combination of student/faculty ratio, the rate of graduation, entrance exams, endowment, and reputation. Student feedback from current and past students comes from a range of online student rating sites.

Graduate success weighs financial cost, including aid, against average salary. Data comes from public sources including U.S. News and World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale.com, IPEDS database, and individual college sites. Below you’ll see a variety of options that will help you tackle the life-changing experience of going back to school. Find where quality education and return on investment meet in this dependable ranking.

1

Boston University

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $32,732

School Website

Overview

Boston University offers a Master’s of Social Work degree that is one of the top programs on-campus or online. The program is one of the oldest programs of its kind, creating leaders in social justice for over 100-years. BU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Online presence

The online degree requires at least 60 credit hours of coursework and 1,000 total clock hours of fieldwork experience. There are a variety of additional requirements dependent on student choices. Sample courses include:

  • Racial Justice
  • Cultural Intersection of Oppression
  • Communities and Organizations
  • Social Work Research

Notes

Boston University program comes with two concentrations. The clinical track focuses on professional tools while the macro track focuses on academic issues and solutions.

2

Case Western Reserve University

College Choice Score: 99.01

Average Net Price: $31,356

School Website

Overview

Case Western University offers students a nationally ranked graduate program from a top-tier school. Their M.S.W. program offers three specializations, all available online. The degree from the regionally accredited school meets all the requirements for a social work license.

Online presence

Sample courses include Social Policy, Research Methods in SW, and Direct Practice Foundation Methods and Skills. Each specialization is a direct practice concentration and comes with their own requirements for graduation. Primary concentrations are:

  • Mental Health with Adults
  • Community Practice for Social Change
  • Children, Youth, and Families

Notes

Students are required to complete at least 60 credit hours of 100 percent online coursework and 900 total clock hours of fieldwork experience.

3

University of Southern California

College Choice Score: 96.67

Average Net Price: $31,384

School Website

Overview

The University of Southern California offers a master’s in social work to all online students. The degree is a perfect pathway towards becoming a licensed professional and gives students the ability to choose how they study. This is a regionally accredited university which holds special accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education.

Online presence

This program offers four concentrations and two study plans for both traditional and Advanced Standing students. Courses are structured asynchronously to allow students to choose an ideal schedule. Sample courses include:

  • Leadership in the Profession and Organizations
  • Theory and Practice
  • Science of Social Work
  • Policy and Advocacy

Notes

Although students are required to complete over 1,000 field hours, it is possible to fulfill some of these hours through the Virtual Field Practicum. The controlled environment allows students to join an approved agency for the remainder of this requirement.

4

Fordham University

College Choice Score: 91.13

Average Net Price: $35,912

School Website

Overview

Fordham University has a Master’s in Social Work program that is currently ranked the best in the nation by BestSchools.org and OnlineColleges.net. It is well known for flexible class schedules, a world-class faculty, and great opportunities in the field.

Online presence

A decision between clinical and leadership concentrations change the nature of student requirements. Students on average need to complete 61 credit hours of work as well as 900 clock hours of fieldwork. Sample courses include:

  • Social Work Practice in Research
  • Advanced Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Human Behavior
  • Social Environment

Notes

This online program is currently limited to residents of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. For students who live in this area, this is an amazing degree that has asynchronous courses, full access to course materials, and scheduling options for advanced students.

5

Indiana University

College Choice Score: 90.16

Average Net Price: $13,289

School Website

Overview

Indiana University offers an Advanced Generalist program for students who are interested in becoming licensed social workers. This program has the distinction of being the only program on this list to be continuously accredited since 1923. All students have access to the library and student support

Online presence

Open to all students from any state, program participants only need to visit campus once during the entire duration of the program. Part-time students can take up to four years to complete the required 60 credit hours. Sample courses include:

  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Statistical Research Methods for Social Work Practice
  • Diversity Issues in America

Notes

All coursework is done entirely online aside from fieldwork in a student’s local community. The online program can be completed in as little as two years.

6

Florida State University

College Choice Score: 89.76

Average Net Price: $16,708

School Website

Overview

Florida State University is a pioneer when it comes to online education. The school offers an extensive online program and is the first in the nation to welcome Advanced Standing Schools. This regionally accredited program is available for both traditional and remote learners.

Online presence

This is a part-time program that requires 480-hours of field experience and 61 credit hours of coursework. Students need 30 credit hours to apply for graduation. Sample courses include:

  • Psychopathology
  • Social Work
  • Research
  • Social Welfare Policies and Programs

Notes

This degree is certainly one of the best in the country but is unfortunately not available to all students. It is important that students check FSU’s coverage map for this degree to see if you fall into an area supported by this social work program.

7

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

College Choice Score: 88.58

Average Net Price: $15,869

School Website

Overview

Rutgers University offers a completely online Master’s program for students around the world. This program is one of the most sought-after social work degrees in the country and comes with two specializations. Courses are small and taught in an asynchronous format.

Online presence

The degree begins three times per year and can be feasibly completed within three years. Instructors are real-world professionals, providing students with a strong understanding of the field. Sample courses include:

  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Psychopathology
  • Human Behavior and the Social Science

Notes

The program requires 62 credit hours of coursework and 900 hours of fieldwork. Concentrations include clinical and Violence Against Women and Children.

8

Simmons College

College Choice Score: 87.67

Average Net Price: $30,232

School Website

Overview

Simmons College offers a graduate online social work degree that has a special focus on clinical training. It is one of the most exciting programs on this list and a smart choice for working professionals who need a flexible degree option. Specializing in clinical work at an accredited program will aid students in getting specific licenses within their state.

Online presence

Students in the SocialWork@Simmons program have access to an intimate, online educational setting. This includes synchronous classes, discussion forums, and uniquely designed online coursework. Within this program, students will find that there are four clinical specializations. These include:

  • Child and Family
  • Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Health and Aging

Notes

The master’s social work foundation program requires 65 credit hours. Sample courses include Dynamics of Racism and Oppression, Social Welfare Policy and Services, and Advocacy and Social Action for Professional Social Workers.

9

Campbellsville University

College Choice Score: 82.08

Average Net Price: $16,576

School Website

Overview

Campbellsville University is a strong contender for being one of the most comprehensive graduate degrees for online students. Curriculum from this institution focuses on interpersonal communication skills and Christian ideals. Complete independently accredited programs in as little as 21-months.

Online presence

The online program from Campbellsville focuses on advanced subjects in the field of including cultural competencies, psychopathology, and human development. The degree is perfect for students who feel the need to become valuable members of society. Sample courses include:

  • Advanced Practice with Children and Families
  • Community Development and Grant Writing
  • Change Theories

Notes

This is an advanced standing curriculum of a total of 30 credit hours of coursework to be completed online. 900 practicum hours of field practice and a research project is required.

10

Catholic University of America

College Choice Score: 79.64

Average Net Price: $36,585

School Website

Overview

The Catholic University of America is a premier leader in online learning, particularly when it comes to the social work. An M.S.W. is entirely online, allowing students to obtain their degree without disrupting already busy schedules. It is one of the only programs in the country that prepares students to sit for the Licensed Graduate Exam. The exam is the first step in the journey towards a highly respected and quickly growing profession.

Online presence

Online students will be treated to a variety of features that make this an excellent choice. Small class sizes emphasize a hands-on and evidence-based teaching style. One of the friendliest programs on our list offers graduate students student advisement and support in the field. This requires at least 54 credit hours of courses including:

  • Human Development and Psychopathology
  • Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work
  • Psychodynamic Theory
  • Social Functioning

Notes

A student’s hours are dependent upon specific placement agencies and departments. Participants receive peer mentoring and supervision for at least one hour per week.

11

Louisiana State University

College Choice Score: 79.24

Average Net Price: $13,552

School Website

Overview

Louisiana State University offers a graduate social work degree for all its online students. The program is perfect for students who need a flexible school schedule and can be finished in as little as four years with part-time study. Students who are full-time can finish the degree within two years.

Online presence

All courses are delivered asynchronously and begin six times per year. This program requires 60 credit hours of coursework along with two internships that with a total of 960 credit hours of field practice experience. Courses include:

  • Juvenile and Criminal Justice
  • Diversity and Oppression
  • Community and Agency Contexts in Direct Practice

Notes

Advanced students will find different requirements based on what they choose to study. Students are encouraged to speak to an enrollment advisor to learn more.

12

Humboldt State University

College Choice Score: 77.12

Average Net Price: $13,216

School Website

Overview

Humboldt State University offers students the chance to get a master’s in social work from the comfort of their own home. The degree is through the Department of Social Work and is a hybrid model that sees students finish their degree in as little time as possible. The online program is available online as a part-time degree to remote learners. Students can choose to specialize in social work within rural and Native American communities.

Online presence

This is an important specialization that is geared towards helping those inside and outside these communities. This degree requires 57 credit hours of coursework for traditional students and 33 credit hours for advanced students. Sample courses include:

  • Methodology
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Human Development
  • Diversity
  • Relationships

Notes

Non-advanced standing students will be required to complete 960 clock hours of practicum. Students are advised that entry into the program is not guaranteed. They should apply as early as possible to guarantee a spot for the upcoming academic year.

13

Virginia Commonwealth University

College Choice Score: 75.74

Average Net Price: $19,898

School Website

Overview

Virginia Commonwealth University offers busy students the opportunity to get a graduate social worker degree while pursuing their own goals. The program is one of the nation’s top schools for social works and continues to be the standard for excellence. This online social work degree comes with three different curricula.

Online presence

The foundation curriculum focuses on advanced social work skills. Students learn from evidence-based teachings on analysis of key issues, development of networks, and community outreach. The administration side includes planning and policy practice curriculum on the analytical features at all levels of government. Sample courses include:

  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Diversity Issues
  • Policy
  • Statistical Research Methods

Notes

Students will be required to complete two different field placements in and around Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area. These will fit with their chosen curriculum to help them understand how their specialized field works in the professional world.

14

University of New Hampshire

College Choice Score: 75.38

Average Net Price: $21,995

School Website

Overview

The University of New Hampshire offers an affordable regionally accredited master’s program for online students. Programs cover a variety of specializations and can be earned in as little as 28-months.

Online presence

The degree requires 62 total credit hours of coursework, all of which fall under an eight-week course schedule. Certificate programs are available in Intellectual and Development Disabilities, and Child Welfare. Students choose from four different fields of practice:

  • Health and Mental Health
  • Addictions and Substance Abuse
  • Disabilities
  • Children, Youth, and Families

Notes

UNH offers over 20-electives every year. Sample courses include Human Behavior and the Social Environment, History of Social Welfare Policy, and Statistical Research Methods for SW Practice.

15

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

College Choice Score: 75.34

Average Net Price: $19,960

School Website

Overview

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has recently been named one of the top programs in the country by GetEducated. This online graduate program was created for working professionals who are interested in becoming licensed and need a feasible plan to get there. The program at UTK has two concentrations, Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice and Management Leadership and Community Practice.  

Online presence

Concentrations help students prepare for administrative or clinical roles as social workers and are a terrific addition to any resume. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework as well as a minimum of 1,000 hours of field experience. Sample courses include:

  • Trauma Theory and Practice
  • Resource Development and Management
  • Program Development
  • Continuous Improvement

Notes

Online classes are offered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats, allowing students to pick and choose what works best for them. Depending on the student’s standing and study schedule, program requirements may fluctuate.

16

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

College Choice Score: 72.79

Average Net Price: $10,740

School Website

Overview

Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis is an urban campus where two prestigious intuitions merge.  The Higher Learning Commission accredited school offers an online master’s in social work transforms students into leaders in the field. Graduates work in every level of sectors throughout the community.

Online presence

The oldest university school of social work in the nation is always adapting to the needs of 21st-century learners. IUPUI offers the highest ranked Master in Social Work program in the state of Indiana. Students choose from several areas of study including:

  • Children Youth and Families
  • Community and Organizational Leadership
  • Health
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • School Social Work

Notes

Ranking in the top 11% of programs around the country, the graduate degree prepares students with practical skills and knowledge.  U.S. News & World Report consistently recognizes the university’s support for students entering programs.

17

Texas State University

College Choice Score: 71.66

Average Net Price: $12,728

School Website

Overview

Texas State University at San Marcos has a part-time online program for both traditional and Advanced Standing students. The program is especially well known for offering the only Administrative Leadership Concentration on this list. It falls in the top 20 percent of all social work programs as listed by U.S. News and World Report.

Online presence

Traditional students are required to complete a minimum of 1,100 clock hours throughout the four years of their degree, while Advanced Standing students must complete 600 hours. All courses can be completed online and fieldwork takes place in the student’s community. Sample courses include:

  • Human Behavior in Individual and Family Social Environments
  • Human Behavior in Local and Global Social Environments
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services

Notes

Because this program is part-time, students will have about four years to meet this requirement. Students are reminded that this university does not accept students from all states.

18

Our Lady of the Lake University

College Choice Score: 70.22

Average Net Price: $16,972

School Website

Overview

The private Catholic university is headquartered in San Antonio and has several satellite locations throughout the state. Hands-on experience prepares remote learners to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families around the world. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited institution is always expanding their reach to students from all backgrounds.

Online presence

Full-time to part-time students enjoy a choice between a regular 57-credit or advance 30-credit program. Online coursework alongside work in the field enables a range of experience that positively impacts students. Courses for the online Master’s in Social Work include:

  • Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Foundations in the Field

Notes

A concentration on Hispanic and Latino communities gives students insight into the needs of a rapidly growing population. Upon an accelerated track, motivated students can complete the program in only two years.

19

The University of Alabama

College Choice Score: 69.94

Average Net Price: $18,814

School Website

Overview

The University of Alabama offers a master’s in social work through its online portal as Bama By Distance. This regionally accredited program is a fantastic way for students to finish their studies while working full time. Students within the program are all in need of the same degree and will be ready to take state licensure exams.

Online presence

Courses are taught mainly online through face-to-face labs via satellite centers campuses across the state. This social work major requires 60 credit hours of coursework and 1,000 clock hours of field experience. Sample courses include:

  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Social Service Program and Agency Administration
  • Crisis Intervention

Notes

Students choose between two concentrations Children, Adolescents and their Families or Adults and their Families. Both concentrations are excellent options for students who wish to become licensed social workers.

20

University of New England

College Choice Score: 68.27

Average Net Price: $32,175

School Website

Overview

The University of New England offers a graduate social worker degree for the online student. Four tracks coursework to last between 16 to 28-months. Traditional students who do not have a bachelor in the field have the option to choose a full-time track.

Online presence

All courses can be completed fully online, with no need to ever attend campus. This 42 to 60-hour program is perfect for students who are interested in becoming specialized in the field but need a flexible format. Degree concentrations include

  • Substance Abuse
  • Social Action
  • Community Development

Notes

Students have the option to take part in online certifications that can help them in their journey towards becoming social workers. These include the Trauma-Informed Practice Specialization and the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate.

21

Washburn University

College Choice Score: 67.51

Average Net Price: $11,303

School Website

Overview

Washburn University has an excellent hybrid program for students who live in and around the Topeka, Kansas. The master degree offers half of its courses online, alleviating the schedules of working adults. Online and on-campus aspects of this degree will help further prepare a student for their career.

Online presence

Washburn requires a total of 1,120 hours of practicum work. Online studies stand alongside team projects and guest lectures on-campus, including 400-hours of generalist practicum and 720 of clinical practicum. Sample courses include:

  • Fundamentals of Practice
  • Foundations of Social Policy
  • Quantitative Research

Notes

The degree requires 60 credit hours of coursework as well as the practicum requirements. Over half of the coursework can be completed online, while other courses are held in regional centers.

22

University of North Dakota

College Choice Score: 66.94

Average Net Price: $16,001

School Website

Overview

The University of North Dakota realizes that students who do not have a bachelor’s in social work but want a graduate degree. This is a part-time master’s degree that takes around three years to complete. Students all pay in-state tuition regardless of their residency, making this one of the most affordable programs for students around the country.

Online presence

Courses are synchronous, hold to the traditional academic semester, and are in the evenings. There are also two on-campus visits required, one for each year of the program. Both on-campus intensives are held at the Grand Forks campus and last for six days. Sample courses include:

  • Social Policy
  • Generalist Research Methods and Analysis
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment

Notes

This program requires 60 credit hours of coursework and 500 clock hours of field experience. Field experience can be done in a student’s local area, pending approval from the department.

23

University of Hawaii at Manoa

College Choice Score: 64.76

Average Net Price: $12,721

School Website

Overview

The University of Hawaii at Mānoa offers the graduate level social work degree through its Department of Distance Education. It is a comprehensive regionally accredited program running on the cohort model. While taught mostly online, it is best suited for students who already reside in Hawaii. A once per year visit to Oahu makes this program only available to students who can prove they live in the state.

Online presence

Mānoa students utilize Blackboard Collaborate, Laulima, the school’s online learning management system, and HITS to enroll. Currently, foundation students can expect to complete at least 57 credit hours of coursework and 900 hours of fieldwork. Sample courses from the social work major include:

  • Child Welfare as a Field of Social Work
  • Methods of Group Psychotherapy
  • Introduction to Forensic Social Work

Notes

The program offers four concentrations for students to choose from and could affect the requirements for each student. Concentrations will add to the number of required credit hours.

24

Touro College

College Choice Score: 64.34

Average Net Price: $16,284

School Website

Overview

Located in New York City, Touro College provides a thorough education to students around the world. Over 18,000 students in 30 schools throughout four countries create an ideal learning environment. High-quality programs are offered by a skilled faculty that keeps the interests of learners a priority.

Online presence

The Graduate School of Social Work focuses on the clinical side of the field. A range of communities and cultures are explored as learners prepare to dive-in a career of their choice. The TouroOne online portal connects remote students to faculty and peers from all backgrounds. Courses include:

  • Foundations of Social Work
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Power, Privilege, and Oppression in Society
  • Clinical Social Work Practice

Notes

Two, three, four-year, and accelerated programs enable full to part-time students to set their own pace. Foundation courses build a base of understanding that leads to more advanced classes.

25

Portland State University

College Choice Score: 64.28

Average Net Price: $13,476

School Website

Overview

Portland State University is a public research university in the urban heart of the city.  Readying students for challenges in the field, the institution’s School of Social Work is the best in the state.  The regionally accredited Master’s in Social Work is one of the best in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report. Graduates go on to fight for social, political, and economic justice around the globe.

Online presence

Remote learners can complete curriculum and cohort modeled coursework within three years. Choose between Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations or the Health Across the Lifespan concentrations. At the beginning of each year, students must attend to two-days of community building and orientation. Courses teach:

  • Community practice
  • Human services
  • Administration
  • Policy practice
  • Advocacy

Notes

The experienced faculty is in direct contact with students throughout the week, including periodical face-to-face meetings. The program uses Blackboard, Google Hangouts, and YouTube to facilitate studies.

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