30 of the Best Online MSW Programs That Are CSWE-Accredited

    August 11, 2023 | Admin

    Are you ready to explore a career in social work? If so, pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree could be one of the most important decisions you make. An MSW is a prerequisite for some social work licenses. You don’t have to attend a full-time, in-person program to get an MSW from an accredited program. Consider one of the following online CSWE-accredited programs if you’re interested in enrolling in an MSW program.

    Adelphi University 

    Credits: This program requires 64 credits to complete

    Tuition: Starts at $42,050 per year

    Adelphi University offers an MSW that aims to educate on all generalist areas of practice. Individuals will engage in a supervised internship within the field as part of their education, while taking courses on topics such as human behavior theories, social work practice, and diversity. Students engage with highly accredited faculty during their course, before being placed in a residency program. 

    Arizona State University

    Credits: This program requires a minimum of 60 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $12,376 per year

    Arizona State University’s MSW program is one of the most comprehensive and noted for providing students with some of the most innovative and advanced skills with a tech focus in the industry. The programs focus on social justice through practice, changing policy, and engaging the community. Students select from a range of specializations and can take courses at a pace that works for their needs.

    Baylor University 

    Credits: A minimum of 58 credits are required

    Tuition: Starts at $1,100 per credit hour

    The MSW program at Baylor University is also well-recognized. This program, in place since 1969, offers a fully online curriculum that enables students to tackle real-world problems, not just theories. Every course is designed to provide meaningful and useful information to prepare students to change the world. Students receive strong support as they pursue careers in area hospitals, school systems, and nonprofit organizations. 

    Boise State University 

    Credits: A minimum of 61 credits are required to complete the program

    Tuition: Starts at $10,486 per year

    The Boise State University MSW program was first established in 1991. The program is designed to provide students with modern tools to deal with social work needs within communities. Students can engage in a regular program or advanced standing program based on their needs and experience. Students spend time engaged in hands-on learning, with internships and research paths available to them.

    Boston University 

    Credits: The program requires the completion of 65 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $38,596 per year

    The Boston University masters of social work educational path offers a range of options, including full-time, part-time, and advanced standing, as well as off-campus programs, hybrid programs, and fully online programs. Students can work with a diverse population after graduation and receive example support in areas such as policy practice, diversity, engaging with families, and professional behavior. 

    Case Western Reserve University 

    Credits: A minimum of 60 credits are required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $1,590 per credit hour

    Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences offers one of the most competitive and comprehensive MSW available. The program is highly rated for offering advanced training and research opportunities, along with internships at area hospitals. The program does not require a GRE and can provide students with options like intensive weekend, on-campus, and online paths. 

    Catholic University of America 

    Credits: A minimum of 60 credits are required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $52,190 per year

    The Catholic University of America offers an MSW program that spans two years, allowing students to take as few as six credit hours to complete their education. Students will learn about social work from a Catholic perspective, and gain the traditional and contemporary theories and skills to work with diverse populations. Students gain planning and management skills, leadership skills, and knowledge in diversity.

    Columbia University 

    Credits: This program requires the completion of 60 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $27,822 per semester

    Columbia School of Social Work is an in-depth educational program designed to provide students with 60 credit hours of modern, hands-on courses and 1,200 practicum instruction hours. Students take between three and four classes each term. The program is competitive but offers a wide range of concentration options in a modern educational environment. 

    East Carolina University 

    Credits: This program requires 60 credits to complete

    Tuition: Starts at $1884.99 per course

    The College of Health and Human Performance at East Carolina University provides students with advanced professional clinical-community practice skills with a focus on critical thinking, economic and social justice, and community engagement. Students are able to choose concentrations in areas like social change to confront oppression and advocate for various groups. They become practitioner leaders serving their communities. 

    Florida State University 

    Credits: This program requires the completion of 61 credit hours

    Tuition: Starts at $444 per credit hour

    The College of Social Work at Florida State University offers one of the most distinguished faculty and curriculum opportunities in the country. The school offers both traditional and advanced-standing educational paths, with concentrations in areas like social leadership and Clinical Social Work. Students will gain insight into areas as far-reaching as family law, public policy, domestic violence, and advocacy for diverse populations. 

    Fordham University 

    Credits: This program requires 48 class credits and 14 fieldwork credits

    Tuition: Starts at $1,045 per credit

    Fordham University’s MSW path is designed to provide busy people with options for advancing their education. Students can select from a range of courses, including advanced clinical assessment, social work practice within organizations, and integrating human rights and justice into practice. The student can focus on evaluation, organizations and community, and policy practice and advocacy, among others. 

    Gallaudet University 

    Credits: A minimum of 61 credits are required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $9,363 per semester

    Gallaudet University aims to prepare students to work in challenging environments, including providing advanced social practice skills for people who are hard of hearing or deaf. Individuals will learn about policy, research, and program development, along with meeting the needs of diverse populations, including seniors, correction agencies, mental health settings, and disability organizations, and the impact on mental health and support in all areas.

    Howard University 

    Credits: A total of 60 credits need to be completed for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $1,930 per credit hour

    Howard University’s School of Social Work aims to prepare students to work in direct services or macro practice. Electives and concentrations are numerous and include areas such as social service management, community organization, and practice development. Students can enroll full or part-time, and will engage in field education to gain the necessary skills. This program aims to support social workers in some of the most diverse populations. 

    Indiana University 

    Credits: This program requires completion of 60 credit hours

    Tuition: The cost starts at $605.906 per credit

    Indiana University’s MSW is diverse and hands-on. The program helps graduates with job placement and has a network of 2,700 community partners that provide internship and fieldwork opportunities. The courses are modern and innovative, with concentrations in areas such as mental health and addiction, school social work, health, and community and organizational leadership. It also offers a dual program and certificate, which includes a path for MSW to MPH or MSW to JD.

    Kean University 

    Credits: 60 credit hours need to be completed for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $815.42 per credit

    Kean’s College of Health Professions and Human Services teaches social and economic justice skills to a wide range of students to facilitate community engagement and problem-solving leaders. There is a strong foundation for supporting students as they learn how to change policy, community engagement limitations, and lives. Students study social welfare, issues confronting families today, and human behavior before spending time in extensive field experiences. 

    Loma Linda University 

    Credits: This program requires 78 credits to complete

    Tuition: Starts at $39,435 per year

    Loma Linda University’s School of Behavioral Health offers a social work MSW that includes 78 units of study, with a focus on the biopsychosocial-spiritual approach to social work. It teaches clinical social work skills that can be used in trauma- and resilience-informed treatment settings. Students will find this to be one of the more cutting-edge programs available, with a blend of technology and modern ideas and thoughts on social work.

    Louisiana State University 

    Credits: This program requires 60 credits to complete

    Tuition: Stats at $599 per credit hour

    The Master of Social Work at Louisiana State University offers several path options, but all provide students to gain hands-on experience supporting the needs of a diverse population of clients. Students will spend time in an internship, engage in research and learn from innovative courses. A somewhat rigorous program, many students will gain benefits with field placement once they graduate. 

    Loyola University Chicago 

    Credits: This program requires the completion of 49 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $1,025 per credit hour

    At Loyola University Chicago, an MSW is available for both part-time and full-time students. This is a human-centered program that aims to help create leaders to support individuals, families, and groups while also incorporating skills to shape legislation and advocate for systemic change within their communities. Students will be able to choose a specialization such as advanced clinical practice, migration students, or school social work. 

    Michigan State University 

    Credits: This program requires 57 credits to complete

    Tuition: Starts at $1,130 per credit hour

    Michigan State University’s Master of Social Work offers several specialization options, including a micro-level intervention program for clinical social work. Students will learn research, policy, theory, and practice methods, and then have access to intensive field experience. Students may also choose the organization and community leadership concentration for a more macro level of education in the field.

    Missouri State University 

    Credits: Completion of 62 credits is required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $3,125 per semester

    The Master of Social Work at Missouri State is a 100 percent online program that encourages students to learn at a pace that works for them to become diverse social work practitioners. Students can pursue the regular standing or advanced standing paths, taking diverse and modern courses to prepare them for a career in the field. There are field education opportunities provided that get people into the community. 

    New Mexico Highlands University 

    Credits: 63 credit hours are needed to complete the program

    Tuition: Starts at $525 per credit hour

    New Mexico Highlands University offers an MSW that focuses on clinical practice, leadership and administration, and bilingual/bicultural clinical practice. This is the only school in the region offering a bilingual/bicultural clinical practice concentration. Dual degree programs are also available. Students who wish to learn can do so part-time or full-time and gain the ability to work in the field upon graduation. 

    Northwest Nazarene University 

    Credits: The program requires the completion of 63 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $598 per credit

    Northwest Nazarene University designed its MSW around working professionals who want to extend their education and gain better skills to meet the public’s needs. The organization offers an interactive learning environment, innovative course offerings, and support for licensing. Students can select from various concentrations, including police issues in rural America, social work and spirituality, practical research, and Beyond the DSM. Fieldwork within the community is a core component of this program. 

    Ohio State University 

    Credits: The program requires the completion of 60 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $6,500 per semester

    Ohio State University’s College of Social Work is one of the most recognized because it does not require a GRE. Students will spend time in one of several areas of emphasis, including mental health and substance misuse, aging and health, child and youth services, or community and social justice. Students learn policies, procedures, theories, issues, and best practices to create change within communities. 

    Portland State University 

    Credits: Completion of 78 credits is required

    Tuition: For full program starts at $45,730

    Portland State University is another of the best MSW programs with CSWE accreditation. Its program aims to build social justice and equitable futures for all people. Students can select a range of concentration focuses, including gerontology, public health, child welfare, and school social work, or may wish to engage in the Behavioral Health Integration Project. 

    Rutgers University 

    Credits: 60 credits are required to complete this program

    Tuition: Starts at $21,078 per year

    Rutgers School of Social Work is a pathway that creates change in communities. Students can choose a fully online, blended, or on-campus educational path while choosing to earn a dual degree, certificate, or MSW. It also offers intensive weekend programs for those working in human services. Students will engage within the community, get modern education and theory, and participate in field education. 

    Saint Louis University 

    Credits: Starts at 48 credits depending on the concentration

    Tuition: Starts at $1,120 per credit

    Saint Louis University’s social work program is designed to address critical issues within the community, including diversity, inclusion, ethical matters within groups, and more. This school offers smaller class sizes, full-time faculty, learning opportunities, and multidisciplinary practice setting options, including for criminal justice, schools, and the healthcare industry. It’s quite a focused, innovative program designed to provide students with skills they can apply in their current work environment. 

    Syracuse University 

    Credits: This program requires a minimum of 60 credits

    Tuition: Starts at $1,139 per credit hour

    Syracuse University’s MSW program, available in a traditional and advanced standing format, offers innovative and modern courses. That includes human diversity studies, social welfare policy and services courses, social work practice in mental health, and applied neuroscience in human services. Students will gain a particular focus on vulnerable, oppressed, and poverty populations and supporting their ongoing needs. 

    University of Iowa 

    Credits: This program requires completion of 54 credit hours

    Tuition: Starts at $12,013 per year

    The MSW at the University of Iowa offers two specialization options: Social Work Clinical Practice and Social Work Leadership Practice, both of which integrate modern and innovative educational paths to meet student needs. The program prepares students to work in the mental health environment, but also in diverse locations like nonprofits, private practice, and hospitals. The goal is to foster innovative care, critical thinking, and self-awareness in studies. 

    University of Michigan 

    Credits: A minimum of 45 credits are required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $16,091 per semester

    The University of Michigan is one of the most notable MSW program colleges in the region, with part-time, advanced standing, online, and certificate programs. Students can choose a range of specializations, including substance abuse, mental health, integrated health, older adults and families, and policy and political social work. More so, they are taught through innovative programs with a strong interdisciplinary focus.

    University of Northern Iowa 

    Credits: A minimum of 60 credits are required for this program

    Tuition: Starts at $10,030 per year

    University of Northern Iowa’s Master of Social Work program offers a specialization in trauma-informed care. The goal is to show students that they can create social change and support policy change that supports diversity and multiculturalism. Students can expect to gain field experience and work with faculty that are experts on oppression, adversity, stress, trauma, and mental health. 

    What Is CSWE Accreditation? 

    The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is an accrediting body that focuses primarily on MSW programs. This accreditation process is rigorous, and it helps students to know that the education content and methods provided within that program are considered valuable and effective. It is a peer-review process that considers the program’s outcomes and the flexibility the program offers.

    Why Is CSWE Accreditation Important? 

    When a program has CSWE accreditation, it means that the curriculum, teaching methods, and tools provided to students are expected to help prepare individuals to work as social workers. Those programs who receive this accreditation are held to a high standard in educating students not just on social work topics, but also on serving diverse cultures and communities with compassion and respect.

    More so, many state licensing laws require a program to be accredited to count towards the educational component of the process.

    How Does an Online Program Become CSWE Accredited? 

    CSWE accreditation involves an in-depth review of the curriculum, faculty qualifications, and student outcomes of an educational program. The process involves self-assessments, applications, site visits, report assessments, and ongoing reviews.

    What Types of CSWE Accreditation MSW Programs Are There? 

    As you search for the best MSW program for you that is CSWE accredited, note that you can choose a range of options, with hundreds of schools throughout the country at your disposal. These schools offer online educational paths that allow students to live at home and meet their online life demands while still getting an education. Several types of programs can receive CSWE accreditation.

    Part Time (Self-paced)

    Part time educational programs are often self-paced or asynchronous and allow students to work towards their education at a pace that suits them often taking just 4 to 5 credit hours or courses per semester, and typically spend around 10-20 hours a week engaging in study. 

    Full Time

    A full-time program often means focusing solely on your education or working part time in the field. Full time education typically includes over 30 hours of education per week and may entail 10 or more credit hours per semester.

    Advanced Standing MSW 

    An Advanced Standing MSW is available through some educational programs. This is typically an on-campus, full-time program that allows students to complete their education in a shorter time frame, sometimes just 1.5 years / 3 semesters.

    What to Consider When Evaluating an Online MSW Program that is CSWE Accredited 

    As you consider the best online MSW programs CSWE accredited, know that not all are equal. It is always important to look for a program that can help you to reach your goals and expectations. You also need a program that allows you to learn in a manner that fits your desired teaching methods. Some key factors to think about before choosing a program include:


    Determine when classes are available, how the educational process works, how many credit hours you need to take, and the days and times each week that courses are held. If you need a program with flexibility so you can work or meet other personal needs, seek out a self-paced program or one that offers the flexibility you need.


    Social work is a broad field and many MSW programs offer specializations, or areas of focus, that may be of interest to you. If you hope to work in a specific area, you will want to be sure the educational program you are considering offers courses tailored to that area. Some examples include:

    • Community social work
    • Mental health and adult social work
    • Administrative leadership
    • Children, youth, and family social work
    • Social change
    • Substance use disorders and recovery
    • Individualized path of study


    Before applying for an MSW program, find out who teaches it as well as who designs the curriculum for it. This will play a role in the quality and type of education you obtain. Many times, the faculty may be highly experienced industry leaders, research-focused professors, or those who have worked in the field you are most interested in.

    Careers and Salaries for MSW Graduates 

    Finding the best career path for your future can seem like a challenge, unless you know exactly what you wish to do. Some of the career paths you may wish to take after receiving your MSW include the following.

    Social worker

    This is a broad term that applies typically to those who work in child welfare and human services agencies. They may work with various schools or healthcare providers as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median pay in 2021 for someone working as a social worker was $50,390 per year. The BLS say that the social work industry is likely to see an increase in social workers at a job growth rate of 9% from 2021 to 2031.

    Healthcare social workers

    These individuals typically work in emergency settings, hospitals, and through private practices. The BLS reports they earned $60,840 per year in 2021 as a median wage.

    Mental health and substance abuse social workers

    These individuals have a very focused level of education on mental health disorders and substance use disorders, working in treatment facilities or outpatient care centers. In 2021, the median salary for these roles was $49,130.

    Social and community service managers

    Those who coordinate and supervise public well-being, often at the government level, may also need an MSW to do so. These individuals earned a median salary of $74,000 in 2021 according to the BLS.

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