Best 9 MSW Programs in NYC in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 9 MSW Programs in NYC in 2021

February 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Social work professionals dedicate their professional lives to helping people find ways to live their best life. Many rewarding social work careers are first available by earning an undergraduate degree in social work. But direct care social work professionals typically are required by state agencies to hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to apply for licensure.  

So, if you want to become a direct care social worker and live in or near the Big Apple, you are in luck because of the quality MSW programs in NYC that are now available on-campus, online, or through a hybrid delivered format.  

Social workers help clients work through challenging situations on a personal basis and even assist in finding ways to make more permanent lasting changes to the client’s environment or situation. Social workers help their clients by offering services available through social work organizations, advocating for policy changes that facilitate improvements to social conditions. Additionally, social workers may find themselves working with an individual on a one-on-one basis or through group therapy – working with specific populations or families.

Unlike most professions, social work has the ability to provide a tremendous variety of professional work opportunities to its dedicated working professionals. Social work professionals work in private companies/businesses, federal or state agencies, medical centers/clinics/hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, the court system, or police departments, to name a few.

Social workers work among all levels of related occupations – including direct care, management, and administration. They work as researchers, educators, and therapists. However, many choose to apply their social work talents and skills as members of local legislative councils or even elected political leaders.

Listed below are the top MSW programs in NYC – within the five boroughs of the city, although it is noted that many quality MSW programs are available in an around the NYC area – to the west in New Jersey, to the east on Long Island, or to the North in Westchester County, Upstate New York, and southwestern Connecticut.

The most affordable of the MSW programs in NYC noted below are offered through the various affiliated colleges of the City University of New York System (CUNY – with 25 member campuses). CUNY is recognized as the largest public urban university system in the nation, with nearly 275,000 students. CUNY was created in 1961 by the state of New York’s then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller and was initially (and for a very long time) tuition-free for New York City residents.

CUNY has a long list of distinguished alumni that includes – Henry Kissinger, Bella Abzug, Jonas Salk, Jennifer Lopez, Barbara Boxer, Mel Brooks, Shirley Chisholm, Bernie Sanders, and Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few. The alumni are only matched by the amazing faculty over the years, which included – Allen Ginsberg, Michio Kaku, Paul Krugman, Abraham Maslow, John Matteson, Itzhak Perlman, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Elie Wiesel, among many others.

Best 9 MSW Programs in NYC

1. The City University of New York (Lehman College)

The City University of New York (CUNY Lehman College) School of Social Work offers one of the best MSW programs in NYC that can be completed in two years on a full-time basis. Additionally, CUNY Lehman offers three other MSW academic delivery paths that allow for part-time studies for working learners. Classes for this degree program include social welfare policy analysis, human diversity, human behavior in the social environment, and special topics in social work, plus the state-required clinical field experience hours, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 7,315 per semester for full-time residents of New York City
  • Credit Units Required – 68 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 15,143 (13,002 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – The Bronx

2. The City University of New York (CUNY – The College of Staten Island)

Established in 1956, the City University of New York (CUNY – The College of Staten Island) one of the top CUNY MSW programs in NYC that can be completed in two years for full-time students. Classes for this graduate degree offered by the College of Staten Island include integrative social work practice for people with disabilities, ethics, and diversity, plus the required comprehensive experiential practicum.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 7,315 per semester for full-time residents of New York City
  • Credit Units Required – 60 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 12,782 (11,700 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Staten Island

3. The City University of New York (York College)

The City University of New York (CUNY York College) offers one of the top MSW programs in NYC that requires full-time study participation, which for this degree includes two evenings and Saturday classes, plus another two to three days required for practical field experience. Classes for this graduate degree in social work include social welfare and policy, social work practice in communities, human behavior and the social environment, and research methods in social work, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 7,315 per semester for full-time residents of New York City
  • Credit Units Required – 62 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 8,337 (8,116 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Queens

4. The City University of New York (Hunter College)

Hunter College, a member school of the City University of New York (CUNY Hunter College), offers several MSW programs in NYC that provide social work students with a variety of educational options. In addition to the traditional two-year graduate program, Hunter College offers accelerated programs that can be completed in only 18 months, including a one-year residency program. Academic, social work specialties include aging, mental health, children and youth, immigrants, and the world of work. Additionally, many students opt for the school’s dual degree program offering an MSW with a Master of Science in Education (MEd).

  • Tuition Fees – $ 7,315 per semester for full-time residents of New York City
  • Credit Units Required – 60 semester credits – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 23,193 (17,121 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation– MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Manhattan

5. Touro College (TC Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW))

Located in the heart of Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, New York, Touro College’s Graduate School of Social Work offers one of the top MSW programs in NYC that is available on-campus, through a hybrid delivered program, and as a full-time (less than two years to completion) or part-time students (3 – 4 years to completion). Clinical options for students enrolled in Touro College allow for specializing in the elderly, mental illness (through the NYSOMH), or veteran’s issues, among others.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 11,400 per semester (15 credits)
  • Credit Units Required – 65 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 11,631 (5,689 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Brooklyn and Manhattan

6. Yeshiva University

Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler Social Work School offers a number of quality MSW programs in NYC that provide social work students several ways to earn their graduate degree in social work, plus more than 550 field placement options. In addition to online MSW program options, Yeshiva University offers six program concentrations and a CASAC credentialing program, plus three advanced practice methods for groups, communities, or individuals. Yeshiva University is the oldest higher learning institution that combines liberal arts with Jewish studies and education. 

  • Tuition Fees – $ 15,750 per semester (15 credits)
  • Credit Units Required – 60 semester credits (2 years for students without BS in social work); 30 semester credits (1 year completion for students with BS in social work): (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 5,357 (2,820 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Manhattan

7. New York University (NYU)

New York University’s Silver Social Work School offers one of the top MSW programs in NYC with its graduate social work degree that offers eight MSW degree academic pathways. In addition to exploratory social work degree options, NYU offers an accelerated 16-month option, a traditional two-year pathway, plus a host of part-time options, including international placements. All MSW students must matriculate through the program in a maximum of five years. The MSW graduate program begins with a generalist practice level, which is proceeded by a specialized practice level.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 24,674 per semester (non-advanced standing)
  • Credit Units Required – 65 semester credits – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 52,885 (26,981 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Manhattan

8. Columbia University

Located in upper New York City, Columbia University is an ivy-league higher learning institution often ranked among the top schools across the globe. The School of Social Work, located at Columbia University, was established in 1898, about one and one-half centuries after Columbia was established. Students can enter the program as full-time students who complete one of the top MSW programs in NYC in two years or longer as part-time students. It is noted that this degree program is available on-campus or online. Concentrations for this MSW degree include policy practice, social enterprise administration, advanced clinical social work practice, or advanced generalist practice.

  • Tuition Costs – $ 25,400 per semester (full-time); $ 10,152 per semester (online options)
  • Credit Units Required – 60 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 31,356 (8,221 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – Manhattan

9. Fordham University (Fordham)

Located in the Bronx, Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service offers a Master of Social Work degree (MSW) that is considered among the top 10% of MSW programs in NYC and across the country by US News. Fordham University’s MSW degree options are available online, hybrid, or on-campus.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 14,445 per semester for 15 graduate credit units
  • Credit Units Required – 66 semester units – (1,200 hours of experiential field learning)
  • Student Enrollment – 16,972 (9,767 undergraduate students)
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & CSWE
  • New York City Borough – The Bronx

Our MSW Programs in NYC Ranking Methodology

The schools listed above include a cross-section of MSW programs in NYC of both private and public institutions of higher education. The colleges and universities have been ranked with the most affordable schools listed first.

Each school includes specific information about the school that will help each potential student determine if the school’s offerings meet the student’s academic and career objectives. The tuition data represents the costs of tuition for the 2020 to 2021 school year unless otherwise noted. The information for each of the MSW programs in NYC disclosed above includes –

  • Tuition fees are per semester, but, where noted, including 15 credit units for schools that disclose per credit fees only.
  • Semester credits are included to identify the depth of the work required to earn the MSW degree.
  • Student enrollment data indicates to prospective students the size of the school.
  • Accreditation information is included to help students know who has accredited the program’s contents.
  • The NYC borough that each school in which each school is located.

It is noted that all data and information used in the above analysis was extracted from each higher learning institution’s website or the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website.

If you wish to update or edit the information or data included in the above-noted analysis, please reach out toBestValueSchools.org.

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