Do you think an online Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program could be right for you? See our Top 6 best online MSW programs in this list.

For busy adults who want to complete a postgraduate social work degree while continuing to live and work in their communities, an online MSW program can be the answer. There are more than 230 CSWE-accredited MSW programs across the country, with just over 70 providing online and distance learning options.

See and compare all CSWE-Accredited online and distance MSW programs here.

Students seeking an online MSW must complete the same core coursework as on-campus students, including social welfare policy, social work research, and individual and family social work practice.

They are also required to accumulate the requisite number of hours of clinical field experience under the supervision of certified local professionals. Students who successfully complete an online MSW program enjoy the same positive career outlook as social workers who study on-campus — namely, access to a steadily growing pool of top-tier social work jobs that pay significantly more than the industry average.

MSWcareers.com’s Top 6 – Best Online MSW Programs 2018:

1. Our Lady of the Lake University Worden School of Social Services

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $889
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General, Direct Practice with Hispanic Children and Families

The online MSW program of the Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) Worden School of Social Service focuses on emerging trends that are driving the practice of social work into new and important areas of care, including services for the elderly, mental health and addiction.

The Worden School is also only one of three in the country that emphasizes serving families and children in the Latino community.

Two study tracks are available: concentration, for those who have already completed a social work degree; and foundation, for students with a Bachelor’s degree in another field who are seeking to transition into a career in social work. No GRE or GMAT is required for admission.

2. Widener University School of Social Work

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $850
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General, Clinical Practice, Advanced Clinical with Focus on Trauma and Its Impact on Mental Health

Widener’s online MSW program focuses on the root causes of human need, and on understanding the impact of trauma and its role in mental health, substance abuse and other social-emotional issues.

Areas covered by the diverse faculty include advanced assessment, intervention and evaluation; understanding of social policy; advocating for those in need; and the self-reflection and critical thinking skills essential for purposeful, informed interventions.

Students also have the option of pursuing a dual degree of an MSW and a Master’s of Education, Human Sexuality Studies (H/MSW/MEd). No GRE or GMAT is required.

An online MSW program gives you the skills and tools you need to advocate for human rights and social justice at local, national and global levels. Find the right online MSW program.

3. Boston University School of Social Work

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $750
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General, Clinical Practice, Macro Social

Boston University’s award-winning online MSW program uses the latest web-based learning platforms, including online lectures, simulations, audio, videos and discussion boards.

Students can take advanced methods courses in clinical or macro practice, racial justice and cultural oppression, social work ethics, electives and an advanced field practicum. Part-time and Advanced Standing study options are also available.

The curriculum is delivered by the same BU faculty members who have helped earn the school an equal 12th place in the U.S. News and World Report’s National Master of Social Work rankings.

4. Columbia University

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $1,446
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General, Advanced Clinical Practice, Social Enterprise Administration

The Columbia University (CU) School of Social Work conducts leading intervention research on multiple dimensions of poverty-related issues. Teaching strengths include clinical social work policy, social enterprise administration and advanced general practice and programming.

The university’s online teaching platform harnesses the latest web-based technologies, including videoconferencing and group chat. Field internships can be undertaken within your own community, supervised by local CU-certified professionals.

5. The Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Services

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $850
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General, Clinical Social Work

The online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) at Winthrop University incorporates a powerful approach known as empowerment practice. This approach involves promoting social justice through affirming the strengths and capabilities of people, valuing human diversity and implementing system changes at the micro, mezzo and macro levels.

This specific empowerment-based curriculum focuses on:

  • (Empowerment-based) social work practice skills across all systems
  • Clinical, community, research, multicultural and global perspectives on empowerment
  • Models of leadership and supervision consistent with principles of empowerment practice
  • (Empowerment-based) assessment and intervention skills for working with people with mental illness — practices that affirm client strengths and coping within a context of professional values and ethics, social justice and human rights

Students can choose where they want to undertake their field experience, with faculty helping to facilitate the placement.

6. University of Southern California

  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $1,733
  • Advanced Standing Option?: Yes
  • Specialization(s) Options: General

The University of Southern California (USC) offers an online MSW program that prepares students to become a fully licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

Online classes are conducted in a live seminar-style environment, with the number of participants kept small to encourage collaboration.

Departments of study include adults and healthy aging; children, youth and families; and community, organization and business innovation.

The program also emphasizes field experience, with both online and offline students required to spend more than 1,000 hours completing field education.

USC is also the only civilian research university to offer a military social work program dedicated to the care and support of active military personnel and veterans.