2015 Top Online Colleges for MSW Programs

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Our 2015 top online colleges offering MSW programs are all CSWE-accredited and were selected using a combination of ranking factors that indicate a strong student body and competitive institution.

Many of these schools are very selective. For example, top-rated Columbia University has an acceptance rate of 7% and the University of Southern California, #2 on our list, has an acceptance rate of 18%. Additionally, several of these schools offer a wide range of MSW concentrations. View our methodology or learn more about SR Education Group.

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All ranked programs have CSWE accreditation
Rank College Annual Tuition Acceptance Rate Online Social Work Degrees
#1 #1 Columbia University in the City of New York Annual Tuition $41,700 Acceptance Rate 7% Online Social Work Degrees 5
#2 #2 USC School of Social Work Annual Tuition $49,464 Acceptance Rate 18% Online Social Work Degrees 1
#3 #3 Boston University Annual Tuition $15,817 Acceptance Rate 33% Online Social Work Degrees 5
#4 #4 Florida State University Annual Tuition $24,923 Acceptance Rate 56% Online Social Work Degrees 2
#5 #5 Rutgers University Annual Tuition $19,600 Acceptance Rate 58% Online Social Work Degrees 2
#6 #6 Fordham University Annual Tuition $19,470 Acceptance Rate 48% Online Social Work Degrees 6
#7 #7 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Annual Tuition $47,541 Acceptance Rate 76% Online Social Work Degrees 3
#8 #8 Catholic University of America Annual Tuition $24,900 Acceptance Rate 79% Online Social Work Degrees 4
#9 #9 University of Alabama Annual Tuition $10,800 Acceptance Rate 54% Online Social Work Degrees 1
  • Annual Tuition: $41,700
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE and CSWE
  • Columbia University in the City of New York offers several online master’s degrees in social work to applicants who reside in the state of New Jersey or in several metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. The annual tuition for an online master’s degree at this institution costs approximately $41,700, and students can choose from a Master of Social Work with concentrations in advanced clinical social work practice or social enterprise administration in the fields of health, mental health, and disabilities or the field of family, youth, and children’s services. Core courses introduce the practice, research, and theoretical methods that students must master. Online students have access to the same student support professionals as on-campus students as well as an Office of Advising and the Writing Center. All full-time online MS students are required to spend three days per week in the field to gain hands-on experience.

  • Annual Tuition: $49,464
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC and CSWE
  • The online Master of Social Work degree at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work blends field education and online classes in students’ local communities. The MSW@USC is fully accredited by the CSWE. The annual tuition for an online MS at this school costs $49,464, but students may be eligible to apply for scholarships and other forms of financial aid. Students can choose from three online MSW concentrations, including families and children, mental health, or health. In addition, the accelerated MSW program consists of 35 credits and is designed to help students earn their degree faster by waiving first-year core foundation classes. Eligible students can complete their online degrees in just three or five semesters if they attend full- or part-time, respectively.

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  • Annual Tuition: $15,817
  • School Accreditation: NEASC CIHE and CSWE
  • With an annual tuition of $15,817 and a recommendation rate of 100%, Boston University offers one of the most popular online social work programs in the country. Students can earn their Master of Social Work with a concentration in clinical social work practice completely online in eight consecutive semesters, and students are also required to complete field internships near, or within, their home residence. It is important to note that the online MSW is available for residents in the U.S. with the exception of students from MD, NH, and those living within the Route 128 corridor of Massachusetts. Students will complete coursework in social welfare policy, social work research, human behavior in the social environment, cognitive and behavioral treatment, family therapy, and clinical practice with families, groups, and individuals. After earning their degree, students will be prepared to work in a variety of settings, including community- and residential-based programs, mental health centers, and schools.

  • Annual Tuition: $24,923
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and CSWE
  • Florida State University was founded in 1851 and offers one online certificate and two online master’s degrees in social work. The school boasts a 100% recommendation rate, and the social work programs are accredited by the CACREP and CSWE. The online MSW is voted as the #5 Best Value Social Work Degree in 2015, and students can earn an online social work degree for $24,923 per year. Programs offered include a certificate in leadership in executive and administrative development as well as a traditional MSW and an advanced-standing MSW. The advanced-standing online MSW program is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited university, while the traditional online MSW program does not require students to hold a BSW. However, the online degree is only available in certain areas and states throughout the U.S., including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

  • Annual Tuition: $19,600
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE and CSWE
  • The online social work degree at Rutgers University was voted as the #6 Best Value Social Work Degree in 2015 with an annual tuition of about $20,000. The school is military-friendly and offers benefits such as spouse programs, lower tuition costs, and other special support services to active duty members and veterans. The online Master of Social Work can be completed in three years, and an advanced-standing option is available to applicants who currently hold a BASW or BSW from a CSWE-accredited university. This option allows students to earn their online MSW in just four semesters. The curriculum includes diversity and oppression, methods of social work, social work practice, clinical social work, social welfare policy and services, advanced human behavior, field education, and social work practice with organizations, communities, groups, families, and individuals.

  • Annual Tuition: $19,470
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE and CSWE
  • Fordham University offers a master’s degrees in social work. Founded in 1841, this university is a non-profit, regionally accredited institution that also offers military benefits to veterans and their dependents who qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program and other earned tuition benefits. Students can expect to pay approximately $19,470 per year depending on the plan of study they choose (full-time, part-time, or Advanced Standing). Field instruction is required and the field office places students with field agencies their geographic areas. Applicants must reside in New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey.

  • Annual Tuition: $47,541
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and CSWE
  • The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers 96 online degrees at the certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels to more than 30,000 students. In addition to online social work certificates in gerontology, school social work, trauma, and veterinary social work, students can obtain a master’s degree in social work completely online. The school offers a traditional Master of Science in Social Work as well as a MSSW with concentrations in evidence-based interpersonal practice or management, leadership, and community practice. The annual tuition for an online degree costs approximately $47,541, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. Course descriptions include social work and social welfare policies and programs, foundation research, lifespan and neurophysiologic development, introduction to social work practice, evidence-based practice, cognitive behavioral therapy, and social, economic, and political environments. Students can complete the online MSSW extended study program in three or four years, the full-time program in two years, or the advanced-standing program in one or two years.

  • Annual Tuition: $24,900
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE and CSWE
  • The Catholic University of America offers an online Clinical Master of Social Work master’s degree. With an annual tuition of $24,900, this school ranks as one of the most affordable online universities in the country. It is also military friendly, and veterans and active duty members may enjoy extra benefits such as credits for military training, personal support advisors, and more. The MSW curriculum includes foundational courses in human behavior and the social environment, social work research methods, social welfare policy and services, human development and psychopathology, and generalist practice with communities, organizations, groups, families, and individuals. The advanced curriculum includes evaluation of social work practice and assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. The school also boasts a Licensed Graduate Social Work Exam pass rate of 95% and prepares students for placement in trauma treatment, play therapy with children, clinical work with at-risk families, and mental health counseling and therapy.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,800
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and CSWE
  • The University of Alabama School of Social Work offers four online master’s degrees, with the primary Master of Social Work program being accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The tuition rate for the master’s programs is $360 per credit hour, and the programs offer concentrations in Children, Adolescents and their Families or Adults and their Families. If students are looking to pursue their MSW (Master of Social Work), there are two different tracks one can take: Advanced-Standing DL Program, which requires a bachelor’s in social work and is a 42-credit-hour program, or the 60-Credit-Hour Program, where the first and second year classes will be primarily online, with face-to-face skills labs held throughout Alabama. In addition to the MSW options, The University of Alabama also offers MSW/JD and MSW/MPH Dual Degree Programs, which allow students to earn two graduate degrees.

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This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.