Human Services Guide

Top Picks: Best CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs by State for 2019-20

Best CSWE MSW Program BadgeAmerica is imperfect.

A 2017 national survey on homelessness found that across the country more than half a million people are without shelter on any given night, a nearly one percent increase over the previous year.

On the same day, in many of the same places, 115 people die from opioid drug overdoses—only a few of the more than 21 million people in the country struggling with drug addiction.

Some of those drug abusers are parents to the estimated 6 million children referred to child protective agencies every year.

All of those people, their families, and the communities they call home, need help. They need social workers; strong, compassionate, caring, knowledgeable people who can wipe the tears away and give them the help they need.

So it’s no surprise that the U.S. Department of Labor expects to see a 16% rise in the number of jobs for social workers opening up over the next decade, a much faster rate than what is seen in most occupations. And it’s no surprise that a person with a big heart and a lot of conviction who is aiming to fill one of those positions is looking for the best master of social work (MSW) program available.

A master’s degree is the standard requirement for becoming a licensed social worker, and for good reason. This is a job that takes scientific knowledge and experience in understanding the human condition, and one that puts you to task in high-pressure situations where careful decision-making can save lives. You need that master’s degree if you’re going to be the shoulder people lean on in their most desperate hours.

We’re here to help you find that MSW program.

We rolled up our sleeves and went to work to find the very best options in each state. We want to help you prepare to make a difference, and we know it all starts with getting the best education available.

Why We Only Include CSWE-Accredited Programs

The answer is pretty simple: the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the only body that is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to provide specialized accreditation of social work graduate programs.

There are standards and practices the human services professional community and state licensing boards recognize as being necessary for social workers to provide services in a way that is safe and effective. These are the very things that the CSWE Council on Accreditation looks for when reviewing MSW programs. Among them are an emphasis on ethics and professionalism… research- and evidence-based practice… skills for assessing the psychological, service and material needs of individuals and groups in the community.

All told, there are nine core competencies of social work practice outlined by CSWE’s Council on Accreditation. By choosing a CSWE-accredited MSW program, you know you will learn every one of them.

To Be The Best Requires Going Beyond The Basics

CSWE accreditation was just a baseline, though. We looked at a host of other factors before deciding on what we feel is the best program in each state.

Seamless Transition from Undergrad to MSW

Almost all of these programs offer an advanced standing option that allows you to fast-forward directly into more advanced second year studies if you already have a bachelor’s degree in social work. We looked for schools that offered both bachelor’s and master’s degrees so you have the convenient option of completing all your studies with the same department.

It’s just an option, and options are good. If your bachelor’s degree is from another school or in a different major, you’re still a candidate for earning an MSW.

The Convenience and Flexibility Working Students Need

A lot of these programs have either some or all courses available online. Although it’s not a requirement, we favored programs that offer the kind of flexibility graduate students expect these days. If you’re already working in social services and want to improve your skills, you shouldn’t have to take a year or two off just to go back and get your master’s degree. Evening and online courses let you study when you have time for it.

For the same reason, we favored schools that have an option to stretch the program out over more than a year or two. In general, any sort of extra flexibility in how and where you can complete your classes or field training was a plus.

Opportunities for Experiential Learning and Networking

Speaking of field training, we liked to see programs that had a lot of partners in the community. Arranging practicum hours isn’t always a lot of fun, particularly if you are coming into the field without any connections, so active and well-connected field placement programs got a big thumbs-up.

Quality + Affordability = Value

We looked at costs, but most importantly, we looked at value. Some of these programs, particularly those at private schools, cost quite a lot of money per credit… particularly for someone going into social work! But if we recommend them anyway, you can be sure it’s because they offer you a big bang for those big bucks.

Diversity in Student Experience and Degree Emphases

Since social work is a diverse and multicultural field, we picked a lot of programs that offer some sort of overseas experience or that have particularly diverse student bodies.

And since diversity is already a theme, we went ahead and looked for programs with diverse course options and a lot of specializations. They had to have a good core education, to be sure, but after that we wanted to make sure you had options to drill down into whatever specialized aspect of social work that motivates you. So, veteran’s affairs, gerontology, substance abuse… we found programs that offered those types of concentrations and more.

Top Picks: State-by-State Guide to the Best MSW Programs for 2019-20

A master’s degree in social work is one of those degrees where you will get back out what you put in. It’s a path to a calling as much as a career. We’re confident that if you pick one of these schools you’ll be heading down the right path to answer that call.


Alabama

 
Auburn University

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Auburn, Alabama

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $504

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Social Work Club is a student-run club that offers networking opportunities for MSW students
  • The school-run Bravehearts fine arts program is a free social services program for local children facilitated by AU students
  • Field education options are considered a critical component of the program and offer placements at United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs, and East Alabama AIDS Outreach among other agencies
  • Traditional and Advanced Standing Programs offer master’s students additional clinical field education options

Auburn is a major name in Alabama education generally, so it’s no surprise that their Master of Social Work program makes the top grade in the state. With faculty drawn from a wide range of real-world clinical and private practice backgrounds in addition to deep academic experience, you will get a full range of perspectives on the challenges of social work in this program. The program also has an explicit goal of preparing a diverse student population for specialized social work practices, which means you’ll be surrounded by fellow students who support and engage you in critical thinking skills. You’ll establish competencies in nine clear practice areas and learn how to make a professional and positive impact on communities and individuals that come into your scope of practice as a social worker.

Alaska

 
University of Alaska

School of Social Work

Anchorage, Alaska

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $293

  • Delivery: Online
  • Full-time, part-time, or advanced placement attendance options are available
  • Dual MSW/MPH degree track available for a focus on policy work
  • Specialization in School Social Work prepares you for a Type C Certification from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
  • A Certificate in Children’s Mental Health is an optional multi-disciplinary certificate to prepare you to practice in social work or psychology practice primarily with juveniles
  • Child Welfare Academy trains professional social workers for engagement with Alaska children and families

Bold and inventive are both characteristics you’ll find at the UAA School of Social Work. In 2016, the school decided to take the MSW program entirely online, and they haven’t looked back. Delivering a quality social services education to such a geographically distributed and culturally diverse state is a challenge that the school has met with panache. With such a broad range of challenges in social services across such a state, the UAA program uses an advanced generalist model to ensure you hit all the bases of social work practice, policy, human behavior, and research. In keeping with the generalist model, you’ll find electives all across the board for possible social work specializations, from geriatric to leadership to policy focuses. The school prides itself on an impeccable academic and professional reputation, and that reputation follows graduates of the MSW program out into the real world.

Arizona

 
Arizona State University

College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $395

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Culminating event options include a capstone project, thesis, applied project, or master’s portfolio to suit your goals and strengths
  • Available as a dual degree with JD or MPA options for a broad range of policy and practice skills
  • Two internships required for the degree, a foundational field placement and a concentration field placement for a range of exposure to real-world practices

You shouldn’t let the fact that ASU offers the only master of social work program in Arizona convince you that the school just gets top ranking by default. In fact, ASU’s MSW has to work that much harder for being the only in-state option, covering every aspect of social work practice in a diverse, multi-cultural population facing every sort of individual and community challenge. Accordingly, it’s a program with a lot of options, from two different internships for each student to multiple dual-degree options to four different culminating course selections to meet every student’s personal degree goals. The program offers specializations in three different areas including behavioral health and child welfare, giving you unique course options that make sense for your own career goals and interests.

Arkansas

 
University of Arkansas

Department of Social Work

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $420

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Regular, extended, and advanced standing program options are available along with an online advanced standing program that can have you finished in as little as one year
  • Multi-System Life Course concentration teaches advanced professional knowledge and values spanning the spectrum of individuals, groups, and communities for a holistic approach
  • Combination JD/MSW program available for students interested in a legal perspective on social work

The University of Arkansas program is heavily research focused, dedicated to developing new social work knowledge with strong scientific precepts behind it. Accordingly, the school uses a systems approach framework in the MSLC concentration, offering a multi-tiered perspective on social work problems incorporating individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities into your approach to treating common problems. A stress on cultural competence pervades the program, while evidence-based practices underlie courses in social work practice and services. A capstone research project tops of the required two-course Research and Technology sequence, or you have the option of selecting a thesis topic and presenting a traditional thesis defense instead.

California

 
University of California at Los Angeles

Luskin School of Public Affairs - Social Welfare Department

Los Angeles, California

Website

Master of Social Welfare

Cost Per Credit: $433

  • Delivery: On campus
  • World-class faculty have spoken at Presidential symposiums and worked in a wide variety of hands-on positions in public and private social work
  • International study opportunities give you the option of conducting comparative research or planning in different cultures
  • Concurrent degrees possible with Asian American studies, JD, MPH, and MPP degrees
  • Visitor Programs bring in visiting scholars, post-doctoral researchers, and international professionals to expose you to a broad range of cutting-edge ideas in the field

UCLA’s comprehensive two-year Master of Social Welfare program offers the highest level of training, designed to produce the next generation of well-equipped leaders in social work and to help advance the overall knowledge base of social work policy and practice. Toward that end, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in an advanced research course or research project focused on an area of interest to you. Two separate field work placements will give you hands-on experience to go with that research-oriented work, combining practical skills with deep knowledge and understanding. The scholarly community behind the UCLA’s social welfare department is second to none, offering you instruction from a diverse base of professors who have both intensive research experience as well as street-level skills eked out in some of the most challenging practice environments in the country. Put it all together and you have an MSW program that beats out everything else in the state for quality and at a surprisingly affordable price.

Colorado

 
Colorado State University

College of Health and Human Sciences

Fort Collins, Colorado

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $682

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • MSW / MPH dual degree available for policy emphasis
  • International study options expose you to social work in India or Costa Rica
  • Chapters of the NASWCO and HABIC are on-campus and offer opportunities to get involved with the community

The CSU MSW program is focused on preparing leaders to engage in advanced generalist social work practice that integrates theoretical and methodological knowledge as well as research and evaluation skills. It’s the best program in Colorado because it combines this focus with ethical preparation that will set you up to practice assessment and intervention at all levels. A generous set of elective courses include options to study abroad or to specialize in adolescents, family issues, or sexuality issues. You’ll also get a general exposure to the policy, mechanics, and community perspectives on social work that help you fit your practice into the systems that your clients will have to cope with.

Connecticut

 
University of Connecticut

School of Social Work

Mansfield, Connecticut

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in:

  • Community Organizing
  • Individuals
  • Groups & Families
  • Policy Practice

Cost Per Credit: $280

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Two, three, and four-year completion options are all on the table, together with an Advanced Standing accelerated option
  • Dual degree programs offered in cooperation with the Schools of Law, Public Administration, Public Health, and Divinity School
  • An Urban Service Track offers cross-competency training in a variety of health-care areas with a special urban focus and together with a cohort group
  • Credit for employment offered to fulfill field education component

It was genuinely hard to pick a top program for Connecticut, a state with a number of very strong MSW options. At the end of the day, though, UConn’s Huskies ran away with the prize due to their expansive concentration options that allow you to customize your education, in combination with a low price that’s hard to beat either in the state or around the region. The Urban Service Track offers a broad exposure to a variety of healthcare areas that combine to treat the problems of inner city patients. Altogether, UConn offers you an unprecedented array of options for structuring your MSW to match your career goals, and it does so while offering a multitude of ways to complete the degree.

Delaware

 
Delaware State University

College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Dover, Delaware

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $430

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Study abroad options available in both Cuba and Costa Rica

The DSU MSW is an advanced generalist program, designed to prepare students for advanced practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. That’s pretty much the full spectrum of direct practice, but going wide doesn’t mean skipping any details. Courses offer students a tool set to understand the social, economic, political, and interpersonal problems affecting those individuals or groups on both a direct and global basis. Cultural and societal influences are unique elements of the DSU curriculum. With a field practicum that receives special emphasis in the training process, you will get all the hands-on experience you need to step right into meaningful professional roles after graduation.

District of Columbia - Washington, D.C.

 
Catholic University of America

National Catholic School of Social Service

Washington, D.C.

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $1,480

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Ranked #1 Catholic School of Social Work and in the top 10 percent of social work schools overall by U.S. News & Word Report
  • Professional links to more than 450 agencies provide unparalleled networking and field work placement opportunities
  • Concentrations in clinical, social change, or combined focus available

CUA is far from the cheapest program in Washington, D.C., but it’s definitely a case of getting what you pay for—there’s a reason it’s rated as the number one Catholic school of social work in the country. Considering the natural alignment of social work with Catholic values—an alignment CUA makes the most of—that makes it a tremendously valuable choice for any student serious about the ethics and care that go into making the best social workers. You also get a lot of specialized technical knowledge with CUA’s MSW. The clinical concentration allows sub-specializations in areas such as health care or military practice. You’ll get enough management and policy information to be able to work in NGOs or government, or to set up licensed independent practice on your own if that’s your goal. Your field experience in agency settings will give you the real-world chance to apply theory to practice and hone your skills before setting out on your own.

Florida

 
Barry University

School of Social Work

Miami Shores, Florida

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $990

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Chapters of seven different professional organizations for social work professionals on campus including the Council of Social Work Education and Catholic Social Workers National Association
  • Social Work Connect program participation strengthens the diversity of the Barry student body and offers federal scholarship money to qualified students as well as supporting fieldwork and professional development

You have a whole lot of choices for Master of Social Work programs in Florida, but if you want the best, you go with Barry. As a private school, Barry isn’t the cheapest on the list, but for the cost, it delivers. The school promises a transformative experience through its student-centered program that revolves around small class sizes and an advanced clinical practice trauma-informed curriculum. It’s an innovative approach that uses video recording, observation rooms, and top quality field placements to supplement the already-excellent classroom course of instruction. Participation in the Social Work Connect program offers an avenue into this elite program even for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, a feature that enhances the experience not only for those students but also others in the student body who benefit from the diversity of experience in the classroom.

Georgia

 
Georgia State University

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Atlanta, Georgia

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $390

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Community partnership specialization is available as a focus option
  • Certificate options available for public health, gerontology, nonprofit management and social enterprises, and geographic information systems
  • Center For Collaborative Social Work offers education and training in real-world community partnerships

Leadership is a major focus at the GSU Master of Social Work program. Their sole specialization option is all about building relationships within communities and promoting social and economic justice initiatives to advance the standing of vulnerable groups. Fighting the tide of economic injustice is definitely a calling that requires perseverance and leadership, and Georgia State is the place to get it. You will learn critical thinking and communication skills alongside the important leadership and management functions in the community partnership specialization. The generalist practice curriculum goes into many of the same diversity and social justice issues, but with a background in human development, research methods, and basically social work practice skills.

 
Clark Atlanta University

Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work

Atlanta, Georgia

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in:

  • Child and Family
  • Health and Mental Health

Cost Per Credit: $896

  • Delivery: On campus
  • University recognized as one of the ‘Best Grad Schools’ by U.S. News & World Report
  • Program features a part- and full-time curriculum and the option of specializing in child and family or health and mental health
  • Program boasts a primarily African-American faculty of esteemed scholars

Along with a distinction as one of the ‘Best Grad Schools’ by U.S. News & World Report, the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work features the MSW, a robust and relevant course of study that’s focused on excellence in advanced clinical social work practice. Whether full- or part-time, you’ll learn from an esteemed faculty of primarily African-American scholars and complete a host of dynamic field experiences designed to help you develop the skills you’ll need to become a leader and change maker in the field of social work. You’ll also choose from two specializations to personalize your course of study while you complete an innovative curriculum that’s focused on three, integrated themes: Afrocentric perspective, humanistic values, and autonomous social work practice roles.

Hawaii

 
Hawai’i Pacific University

College of Health and Society

Honolulu, Hawaii

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $630

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • A truly multicultural program includes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries
  • Focus area in Military and Veteran Affairs is offered
  • More than 200 partner agencies available for practicum placements
  • Cohort option available for West Oahu students on a three-year timeline optimized for working professionals
  • Tuition reduction available for students currently working in the social services sector

HPU teaches social work along the advanced generalist model but offers particular advantages to students preparing to work in multicultural settings. Hawaii is a setting that offers real and credible solutions for blending cultures successfully and the student body at HPU reflects that reality, bringing together students from around the world. You’ll get a genuine perspective on the social context of practicing at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of the field. A new Military and Veteran Affairs specialization has just been introduced to the HPU MSW program, offering you the option of concentrating on strategies particularly useful for dealing with the unique challenges of military and veteran social work, including frequent relocation and constant family separation issues. The concentration includes field work placements in military and veteran service contexts.

Idaho

 
Boise State University

School of Social Work

Boise, Idaho

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $314 ($495 online)

  • Delivery: On campus, online, or hybrid
  • Three in-state locations as well as an online option available
  • Ranked #14 in the nation for accessibility and quality education and #12 in the nation for affordability for 2018 by the SR Education Group

Getting ranked in the top 15 schools in the nation on measures of both affordability and quality is no small feat, and for a small state university in Idaho to hit those marks is genuinely something to cheer about. That’s why BSU gets top prize for Idaho MSW programs, even before you consider the broad array of attendance options—three different locations throughout the state plus both hybrid and online courses that maximize the flexibility afforded by the program. A strong foundational curriculum rooted in ethics, human development studies, and research practices gives you a deep understanding of the theory of social work, and interesting and challenging field work placements give you an opportunity to exercise those theories in real-world practice.

Illinois

 
Illinois State University

School of Social Work

Normal, Illinois

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $403

  • Delivery: On campus, online, or hybrid
  • Specialized concentrations available in school, child and family, and gerontological social work
  • Additional certificates available in gerontology and women and gender studies with certain cross-disciplinary coursework
  • In-depth child welfare classes are offered in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to accelerate your eligibility for the state Child Welfare Employee License
  • Social Work Club is open to all students for networking and increased awareness of the social work community

There’s just something reassuring about going into a social work program in a place called Normal, but that’s not what tipped the balance for ISU winning the top spot in Illinois master of social work programs. Instead, it was the broad array of available electives and the detailed curriculum options available in specialized areas of practice such as gerontology and child and family work that gave ISU the nod. Special coordination with the state Department of Children and Family Services to prepare graduates for licensing qualification while still part of the program is also worth mentioning. With a strong interest in accelerating your professional development and preparing you for a life-long career through deep foundational knowledge of human development, social justice, and community systems, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running after graduating with an ISU MSW.

Indiana

 
Indiana University

School of Social Work

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in:

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

Cost Per Credit: $454

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Ranked #1 Master of Social Work Program in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report
  • School is rated #1 Providers of Mental Health Care in the U.S. by NASW
  • Program available at seven sites throughout Indiana as well as online
  • MSW/JD and MSW/MPH joint degree programs are also offered

We’re always in good company when we find that U.S. News & World Report concurs in our evaluation of a particular program as hitting the top of the list in any given state, and we’re happy to say that’s the case with Indiana University’s Master of Social Work degree program. With seven different locations plus an online option and five difference practice area curriculum focus areas, you are spoiled for choices at IU. No matter where you attend or what your focus, however, you’ll find a rigorous set of courses and fieldwork ahead of you that give you the full set of preparation in critical thinking, ethical behavior, and professional comportment to go on to a successful career in social services. Although the program has a clear bent toward direct services and hands-on performance, you will get a background in social work policy, and, through the Community & Organization Leadership option, have a viable path to managing social services organizations or influencing policy at the highest levels.

Iowa

 
University of Iowa

School of Social Work

Iowa City, Iowa

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $378

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Four different Iowa locations available as well as online courses
  • Online course option uses a cohort model to keep you connected and on track with fellow students
  • Aging and Longevity Studies Program affords special opportunities for students planning to focus on gerontological social work
  • End-of-Life Care field of practice offers special courses to deal with the unique issues of social work in palliative programs

Family systems and societal change are at the general focal point of the UI MSW program. Although those are elements that are felt in almost every type of social work, they also happen to align closely with the gerontological and end-of-life field of practice areas that make UI such a stand-out program in Iowa. Dealing with hard questions surrounding death and bereavement is among the most challenging type of social work, and the UI MSW offers a far better and more in-depth preparation for that type of work than most programs in the country. Backed by outstanding foundational courses in ethics, diversity, social systems, and policy topics, the end result is a degree that will prepare you to take on the hardest aspects of social work in any context.

Kansas

 
Washburn University

Social Work Department

Topeka, Kansas

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $402

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • Joint JD/MSW degree option is available
  • The program offers a school social work concentration for additional expertise in school social services practice
  • Earn certificates in either Addiction Counseling or Victim/Survivor Services during the course of your degree

Washburn’s MSW program focuses in tightly on the practice of clinical social work. Although the program includes some liberal arts and generalist studies in the curriculum, they are focused on preparing the student for entry into the clinical curriculum. That course of study integrates empowerment and ecological perspectives, teaching students to extend their critical thinking skills to perform social services in a diverse, multicultural environment. With a wide array of electives available as well as a concentration in school social work and two different certificate options, you can get a first-rate education in a wide variety of different clinical social work specialties at Washburn.

Kentucky

 
Western Kentucky University

Department of Social Work

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $607

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Certificate in School Social Work offers an optional qualification available during your MSW program
  • Program holds a primary focus in social work in non-urban areas
  • Graduates Student Social Workers Association offers exciting, goal-driven service events for graduate students to participate in

WKU MSW graduates work in the full range of social services settings, from small towns to big cities to everything in between… the school even has a number of international graduates! But the real focus, and the real value of this program, is in teaching the practice of social services in rural areas. Kentucky and the South generally have a huge reservoir of poverty and distress in non-urban areas, and the WKU program is making big strides in turning out clinical and general service providers who have a bone-deep understanding of the special challenges of conducting effective social work in that setting. Professional values and cultural competence are the watchwords for faculty there, and earning your degree here will prepare you for a career in rural social services that just isn’t available anywhere else in the state or country.

Louisiana

 
Tulane University

School of Social Work

New Orleans, Louisiana

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $1,697

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Campus hosts the Elizabeth Wisner Social Welfare Research Center for Families and Children along with the Porter-Cason Institute for the Family and several other prestigious social welfare research and development programs
  • Has relationships with more than 75 social services agencies and government entities throughout New Orleans and surrounding parishes for a highly diverse array of field education opportunities
  • On-campus chapters of the Association of Black Social Workers and Diversity Coalition

It’s Tulane, so you shouldn’t be surprised it’s in the top twenty of all social work master’s programs in the country… or that it’s got an eye-popping price tag to go along with the ranking. But on the leafy campus or high-tech digital classroom, you will find one of the best social work master’s degrees that money and hard work can earn you. The clinical community curriculum is based on relationships and offers traditional and non-traditional learning styles to accommodate every sort of students. Problem-based learning, creative simulation work, and team teaching are only a few of the unique approaches you’ll find at Tulane. The school looks on the colorful and diverse city of New Orleans as a living laboratory and maintains close relations with local social service agencies and the community. A capstone seminar course helps you bring together everything you have learned in the classroom and in the field to turn you into a professional who is every bit as valuable as the tuition that went into your education there.

Maine

 
University of Maine

School of Social Work

Orono, Maine

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $418

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Both online and offline programs used the TK20 -Watermark HigherEd data management system for comprehensive assessment and portfolio building

If you are looking for a generalist master’s education in social work anywhere in New England, you won’t go wrong looking to the University of Maine School of Social Work. The curriculum has been modernized and updated to reflect the most current advances in contemporary social work practice, accounting for the diverse and complex social problems strewn through modern life and preparing students to take on the perspectives of patients in assessing and intervening in difficult circumstances. The model works from top to bottom, with both on-the-ground practicalities of social services and the high-level issues of agency coordination, public policy, and effective advocacy being addressed. A wealth of specialized electives can give you additional insight into trauma, alcoholism and substance abuse, and expressive therapies, among other topics. Of particular note is a course in gerontological practice in rural communities, a challenge found throughout New England and one that is often un-addressed in traditional social work programs.

Maryland

 
University of Maryland

School of Social Work

Baltimore, Maryland

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $485

Offers both clinical and macro concentrations, along with a secondary concentration in five different fields of practice:

  • Aging
  • Behavioral Health
  • Community Action and Social Policy
  • Families and Children
  • Health

Sub-specializations in Child, Adolescent, and Family Health or Employee Assistance Programs are also available.

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Dual degrees in law, business administration, public health, public policy, and Jewish education offer even more focused study options

UM’s master of social work is a competency-based program that that offers a rich curriculum for students who want to dive deep into almost any specialty available in the field. With a signature field practicum program that runs concurrently with classroom work, the lessons you learn are repeatedly driven home and emphasized in real-world scenarios that put you directly in touch with the spectrum of patients and situations you’ll face as a practicing social worker. Or, if policy and advocacy are more your thing, you can also opt for the macro track. You also have the option of taking on both a primary and a secondary concentration, or one of the highly-focused sub-specializations. It’s a detailed preparation for a career promoting social and economic justice at any level, and it comes at a public university price. That great value makes UM the clear choice for Maryland MSW programs.

Massachusetts

 
Boston College

School of Social Work

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $1,232

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Offering two areas of specialized practice to focus on and five different concentrations
  • Eight optional certificate programs offer a wide variety of additional qualifications
  • Dual degree options in law, business, or theology
  • Latino Leadership Initiative program builds on students’ cultural and linguistic competencies to work with Latino communities, including some coursework in Spanish
  • Unique Global Practice Concentration takes students around the world for practice placements in refugee camps, child abuse centers, and other international social services
  • Three and four year program completion options are available for more flexible course scheduling

Boston College is the big leagues in social services education. A rigorous, time-tested curriculum prepares students to take effective, innovative action to help vulnerable people or populations. It also offers an incomparable degree of specialization, starting off with two separate specialized tracks: Clinical, for field social workers, and Macro, for policy and advocacy specialists. On top of those broad tracks, concentrations in five different practice areas are offered, each with unique coursework and different field education opportunities. They include a global practice concentration that will take you overseas to gain experience in some of the rawest, most intense social services situations in the world. From refugee camps to women’s clinics, you’ll get hands-on experience in places that few other American social workers will ever see. BC also bolsters your credentials with optional certificate programs you can complete while still enrolled, in areas as varied as Trauma, Latino Leadership, and Neuroscience & Social Work. The Latino Leadership Initiative also offers intensive coursework specific to supporting Latino communities, and is conducted partly in Spanish. All in all, BC’s MSW puts a lot of options on the table and maxes out the learning potential in all of them, giving you a sterling education with real depth and perspective.

 
Bridgewater State University

School of Social Work

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $440

  • Delivery: On-campus
  • Outstanding selection of field placement opportunities in Southeastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area
  • Flexible on-campus curriculum features late afternoon, evening, and Saturday courses
  • Program offered on a full- and part-time basis

Bridgewater State University’s Master of Social Work is competitively priced, comprehensive in design, and packed with opportunity. Whether full-time or part-time, Bridgewater’s MSW features a host of perks, including: an outstanding selection of field placement opportunities in Southeastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area… a diverse faculty of experienced social work practitioners… a flexible curriculum that includes late afternoon, evening, and Saturday courses… full- and part-time program options… and small classes for the best in personalized learning.

Michigan

 
Wayne State University

School of Social Work

Detroit, Michigan

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $657

  • Delivery: Hybrid
  • Joint degree options in Infant Mental Health and Public Health are available
  • Two concentrations are available, one in Innovation in Community, Policy, and Leadership, and the other in Interpersonal Practice

If there is anywhere in the United States where social work has gotten a real workout in the past decades, it’s been Detroit. The hollowing out of the city and attendant issues of poverty, racial tension, and trauma have put social services through their paces. The experienced educators at the Wayne State School of Social Work have seen it all, and you can benefit from their experience in the superb MSW program offered there. The school has dual concentrations to allow you to focus your education primarily on public policy work or on the details of clinical practice. The clinical concentration, Interpersonal Practice, has three tracks available: Cognitive-Behavioral, Family Systems, and Psychodynamic, allowing you to choose what type of therapy approach is best suited to your intended career path.

Minnesota

 
University of St. Thomas

School of Social Work

St. Paul, Minnesota

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $799

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • Clinical focus prepares every student to work as a licensed, hands-on clinical social worker after graduation
  • Areas of Emphasis Scholar program offers three exciting and emerging practice specializations in Giro-Social Work, Military practice, and Immigrant and Refugee practice
  • Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services is a college-run program for advancing social justice through service and advocacy that provides case management and therapy experience for students

Minnesota is blessed with a strong educational environment that includes many private Christian schools, including the University of St. Thomas. The university is a long-time partner with St. Catherine’s University in the MSW program but is poised to part ways after the 2018-2019 academic year. Although the school maintains the same commitment to social justice, teaching excellence, and clinical skills, independence can bring some exciting and innovative changes. Participation in one of the three Area of Emphasis Scholar programs is one example, a program that allows select students to participate in special coursework, leadership opportunities, and field practicum placements in their chosen field, along with a $1,000 tuition stipend for support.

Mississippi

 
University of Southern Mississippi

School of Social Work

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $270

  • Delivery: On campus
  • The school’s Center for Discovery, Integration, and Transformation focuses on turning academic activities into genuine positive outcomes for regional populations
  • Students may participate in the Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Education Conference to connect with faculty and other students from all 33 CSWE-accredited regional programs
  • Caribbean Studies Program offers a specialized learning opportunity that will take you to Jamaica for unique exposure to social justice and human rights development overseas
  • Chapters of NASW and SASW on campus

Genuine community connection is a big deal for faculty and students at the USM MSW program. Whether it’s in community field placements or through the Center for Discovery, Integration, and Transformation’s outreach projects in healthcare, disaster preparedness, or family counseling, you will have all kinds of opportunities to get involved and make a difference in the lives of ordinary Mississippians well before you graduate. When you do graduate, that’s a lot of practical experience to take along with you to your full-time job in social work, buttressed by extensive coursework in intervention practices, social welfare policy, and community development. It’s a well-rounded, real-world education in the realities of modern social work that will prepare you for anything you might meet on the job.

Missouri

 
Saint Louis University

School of Social Work

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $950 ($620 online)

Dual degree options in:

    • Juris Doctor
    • Master of Public Health
    • Master of Arts major in Spiritual Care
    • Master of Divinity
    • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies
    • Master of Arts in Theology
    • Master of Public Administration
  • Delivery: On campus, online, or hybrid
  • Strong applied behavioral analysis approaches to social work, a rarity in MSW programs
  • Twelve different possible areas of emphasis for practice specializations from Community Health to Veterans Services to Nonprofit Administration
  • Ranked in the Top 20 Percent of Social Work Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • Sponsors local Annual Social Justice Night out to promote social justice in the community

Saint Louis University brings a number of different and unique qualifications to the table with their highly-regarded master of social work program. It’s one of the few nationally-ranked programs that takes an active integrated approach utilizing applied behavior analysis, criminal justice, and social work in both the class curriculum and field practicum elements. Expert instructors with decades of experience in trauma, social economic development, child abuse, aging, and social welfare policy bring their A game to classes, giving you a brain-dump in practical material that students at other schools might learn only after years on the job. Small class sizes ensure plenty of intellectual discussion and strong relationships between students and faculty. A wide range of specialization areas ensure that you get a focused education in exactly the type of social work that you plan to pursue professionally, all of it based on a solid clinical base that keeps you in touch with the essential elements of the profession.

Montana

 
University of Montana

School of Social Work

Missoula, Montana

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $274

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development is a campus training and research hub where students also directly help the local community in a variety of roles
  • Develop a social work portfolio to integrate your practice experience and knowledge

The University of Montana draws on a rich legacy of social work to deliver an integrated-practice approach to teach value-based social work and promote social and economic justice. You’ll be inculcated with those values and taught frameworks for understanding the historical, political, and cultural contexts driving oppression and injustice. Professors will prepare you for bridging the gap to individuals and communities through direct practice, integrating research, policy analysis, and advocacy at all level. You’ll find a supportive learning environment carefully tended by a dedicated and accomplished faculty. The UM venue leads to the school’s deep commitment to enhancing rural social work practices. You’ll learn the unique struggles of performing social work under the Big Sky and how poverty and disaffection surface in non-urban communities.

Nebraska

 
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Grace Abbott School of Social Work

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $245

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Dual degree options with Public Health, Public Administration, or Criminal Justice master’s degrees

Okay, so it’s true that the University of Omaha is the only CSWE-accredited school in the state of Nebraska that offers an MSW, so they were always sort of a lock for the top spot. But don’t let that distract you from the very real advantages that UO has in the social work program. The school has a close relationship with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and with regional hospitals, schools, and social services agencies. That gives you a lot of choices for field placement opportunities, both in rural and urban settings. You also have a lot of options for electives, ranging in everything from minority elderly practice to spirituality in social work. You’ll find all the right classes available for any direction you plan to take your career after graduation.

Nevada

 
University of Nevada - Las Vegas

School of Social Work

Las Vegas, Nevada

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $282

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Direct practice or management and community practice concentrations available
  • Both capstone and thesis track options available for either a practical or research-oriented degree plan

Although much of Nevada is rural, the UNLV social work program specializes in dealing with the social services needs of urban populations. You’ll get exposure to the kind of diversity that you can only find in Las Vegas, a frenetic environment that draws in people from all over the country. The MSW program here also has a specialized management and community practice concentration, which offers you training at the high level that is expected for management, leadership, or advocacy roles in social work.

New Hampshire

 
University of New Hampshire

College of Health and Human Services

Durham, New Hampshire

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $446 ($770 - $845 for online program)

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Executive 3-year degree option is also available at the Manchester campus
  • Students of Social Work chapter on campus for networking and service opportunities
  • A study abroad option gives you the opportunity to explore alternative social welfare systems in Ireland or study human rights and social justice in the developing nation of the Dominican Republic

With electives in fields of practice ranging from mental health to disability social work, you can take an advanced generalist concentration in social work from UNH in some pretty specialized directions. Two different field placements also offer you an opportunity to branch out and try different experiences through concurrent experiences that put you into hands-on practice during the same weeks you are in classes… the perfect way to apply knowledge and hone your skills from real-world scenarios. With two different overseas study options in environments as different as you can imagine, you also get exposure to philosophies and practices that aren’t common in the U.S. It’s a general education with some pretty advanced outcomes, making UNH an easy top pick for New Hampshire.

New Jersey

 
Rutgers University

School of Social Work

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $635 ($900 for online program)

  • Delivery: On campus, online, or hybrid
  • On campus program is offered in three different locations, New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden
  • Intensive weekend program option open to meet the needs of working professionals
  • Rated as one of the best Social Work Master’s programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  • Dual degree programs available in Law and Divinity
  • Part of the Global Social Service Workforce alliance, offering connections and outreach opportunities around the globe including through UNICEF and other UN programs
  • Four certificate programs in Aging and Health, Addiction Counselor Training, Violence Against Women and Children, and in Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-being offer specialized expertise

It’s Rutgers, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see it as the top social work school in New Jersey… after all, it’s one of the top colleges in the nation. The social work program is no exception. You know that you are due for a top-quality education from experience professionals in courses among one of the most ethnically and racially diverse student populations in the country. High standards are a hallmark of Rutger’s programs, so whether you choose the clinical path or the management and policy specialization, you will be expected to demonstrate a deep command of the issues, ideas, and techniques behind the practice of modern social work. Overseas connections through the Office of Global Programs gives you the opportunity to experience social work on the international front. That’s only one among six different possible areas of emphasis programs that allow you to dive into everything from healthcare to Latino services to social policy work. Whatever path you decide to pursue after graduation, the name “Rutgers” on your diploma will ensure you a fair shot at success.

New Mexico

 
Western New Mexico University

School of Social Work

Silver City, New Mexico

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $249

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Online courses use the Canvas LMS and Instructional Television to help you manage your remote learning requirements

Like most modern social work master’s programs, the WNMU MSW followed the advanced generalist model of education, providing you with a well-equipped toolbox of social services training that will serve you well in almost any facet of social work. But WNMU goes above and beyond when it comes to the generalist approach, with a massive list of electives that offer some of the most specific and comprehensive social work training in the country. Everything from military social work to working with victims of human trafficking to dealing with disabilities is an option, allowing you to build a very specific career plan on top of the WNMU MSW degree.

New York

 
Syracuse University

School of Social Work

Syracuse, New York

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $935

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Partnerships with more than 200 regional social service agencies make it a snap to find field placements in line with your career goals.
  • Basic concentrations available with either clinical or macro focus and advanced concentrations in Advanced Clinical or Integrated Social Work practice
  • Dual degree with MSW and MS in Marriage and Family Therapy available, the only such option in the country

When you think of New York and social work, you think of New York social work… steep urban canyons, racial strife, homelessness, drugs. So, it may surprise you to find that the best master’s of social work program in the state is actually found along the bucolic banks of the Erie Canal in the central part of the state, at a university better known for research than hands-on intervention. But Syracuse’s reputation as a first-rate liberal arts university is well-earned and the MSW program, with concentration options in either Social Work with Individual, Families, and Groups or Community Organization, Policy, Planning, and Administration, has the chops to turn out accomplished professionals who have the education to succeed in either urban or rural settings. With a faculty known for their intensive research and scholarship, you are learning those skills from some of the most advanced minds in the field today.

North Carolina

 
Appalachian State University

Beaver College of Health Sciences

Boone, North Carolina

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $266

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • A web-based academic advising and degree audit tool, DegreeWorks, helps you track curriculum requirements and stay on track for graduation
  • Concentrations offered in Individuals and Families and Community and Organizational Practice

Rural Appalachia has some of the most poverty-stricken and insular communities in the entire country. Forging a connection and bringing assistance to poor but proud rural communities is an art, and you’ll be learning from some of the masters if you pick the MSW program at ASU. The two available concentration areas are focused on exactly the sort of challenges you will find in the region, but they are also uniquely structured to allow you to cross over to integrate courses of interest from the concentration you didn’t select. Field education programs are partnered with both regional and global agencies, so while you’ll get a healthy exposure to the unique challenges of rural social work, you’ll also have opportunities to see how the same issues are addressed on a more global scale. You’ll leave ASW with a high degree of autonomy and effectiveness and all the knowledge, values, and skills you will need to succeed in social work at any level.

North Dakota

 
University of North Dakota

Department of Social Work

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $323

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • On-campus chapter of the Student Social Work Association has won national awards
  • Graduates have gone on to work as community mental health workers, counselors, case managers, and program directors

The UND degree focuses on an advanced generalist social work education, but you’ll have an opportunity to explore that type of work with individuals, families, or treatment groups. The Department of Social Work faculty is heavy on full licensed social workers, so you’re getting instruction in the field from people who have already walked the path you are on and proven their qualifications in the real world. A special effort is made to secure field placement work within the community where you are learning, and the university has agreements with internship sites across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. You’ll have a faculty advisor to help walk you through that process and every other significant decision you’ll make in the program, providing expert guidance and mentorship.

Ohio

 
University of Akron

School of Social Work

Akron, Ohio

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $421

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Micro and Macro concentrations available for additional competency focus
  • Program offered on three different campuses for convenient access.
  • Child Welfare University Partnership Program offers a specialization in child welfare with a work incentive and field placement in a public child welfare agency
  • School has a particular expertise in offering addiction programs.
  • A Behavioral Health Career Fair can help you land a position long before you graduate

Courage, compassion, and competence are the watchwords for the University of Akron MSW program. Every graduate is instilled with nine core competencies that build up to those values. That all happens alongside a terrific education in social work theory and technique that you can take down one of two different paths: the micro concentration that will give you a deep picture into individual and small group intervention and empowerment strategies, or the macro concentration that offers you a big picture approach to social work: working with communities, designing large programs and evaluating outcomes, and impacting the legislative process. Between the two, you can put together a course plan that will give you the knowledge and expertise to take on any social work position you want after graduation… and the school’s career services go out of their way to make sure you will get it.

Oklahoma

 
University of Oklahoma

Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work

Norman, Oklahoma

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $236

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • Direct Practice or Administration and Community Practice concentrations are both available
  • MSW and Master of Public Health or Master of Arts in International Studies dual degree options are open to students at UO
  • Child Welfare Exchange Program offers an overseas study opportunity in Israel where the cultural distinctions of child welfare can be compared and contrasted with American practices

The UO MSW program has a generalist approach to social work education in their Direct Practice concentration, aimed at offering you the values, knowledge, and skills required to competently offer clinical social work practice to individuals and families. In the Administration and Community Practice concentration, you’ll get a more community and administrative approach to social services, preparing you for leadership and advocacy roles. This is a particularly interesting track to pick in combination with the unique Child Welfare Exchange Program that the school runs in concert with Hebrew University and the Haruv Institute, exposing you to several different Israeli social service agencies focused on child welfare. With a multicultural knowledge base to draw on, you can graduate with a formidable set of skills and techniques to apply to program design and advocacy either nationally or internationally.

Oregon

 
Pacific University

Graduate Programs

Eugene, Oregon

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $708

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Small class sizes are conducive to mentoring and individualized instruction
  • Special preparation offered for working with immigrants and native Latino communities through the Latino Families and Culture Concentration
  • International immersion course offered to Guatemala for multicultural exposure and language skill building
  • The university publishes the Journal of Human Rights and Social Justice, with opportunities for grad students to contribute

You don’t normally think of a place like Oregon as being a place to go to learn about Latino culture, but Pacific University’s MSW program will change your mind about that. With a specialized concentration available in Latino Families and Culture and a two-week immersion option in a Spanish-language setting, you have the opportunity to grow your cultural awareness and build the unique set of skills necessary to work seamlessly in Latino communities. A General Wellness concentration is also offered that will set you on the advanced generalist social work model. In either case, you’re in the good hands of expert instructors, and with the intentionally small class sizes offered at this private university, you will have every opportunity to learn everything they have to offer.

Pennsylvania

 
Bryn Mawr College

Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Website

Master of Social Service

Cost Per Credit: $1,406

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Career services department offers individual counseling, events, and workshops to help get you into the position you deserve after graduation
  • Dual degree option with Master of Public Health available
  • Center for Child and Family Wellbeing fosters an interdisciplinary focus for students to develop their expertise in providing social services to children and families
  • Concentrations in Clinical Social Work and in Community Practice, Policy, and Advocacy are available

The Graduate School at Bryn Mawr is co-educational, which is great news for guys, because it means the best master’s in social work (although it is officially an MSS, Master of Social Services, it is equivalent to a Master of Social Work degree for licensure and other purposes) program in Pennsylvania isn’t restricted only to women. Instead, all genders can take advantage of this highly respected program with top-notch faculty and strong core and elective courses. Although there are both micro and macro concentration options available, the program is carefully balanced according to the Bryn Mawr mission and affords a comprehensive scope of social work education with the flexibility for students to explore any branch of service they are interested in.

Rhode Island

 
Rhode Island College

School of Social Work

Providence, Rhode Island

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $407

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Clinical practice or macro concentrations available

RIC offers a well-balanced master of social work program that will give you perspectives in both the micro and macro levels regardless of which concentration you pick to specialize in. The school aims to prepare you for work with diverse populations throughout Rhode Island and southern New England by incorporating student-centered learning environments, and inclusive pedagogy, and active advocacy for oppressed and vulnerable populations. You’ll learn top-flight critical thinking skills to help you evaluate the many complex situations you will face as a social worker, and the practical field training is second to none.

South Carolina

 
Winthrop University

Department of Social Work

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $505 ($950 online)

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Specialization in empowerment practice is available

Just because Winthrop hits the top of the list of MSW programs in South Carolina, it doesn’t mean they’re resting on their laurels. The school’s attitude is to fight for your enrollment, and they do it by putting together a small, but excellent graduate program in social work with a lot of options. Weekend and online completion programs are available alongside advanced standing options, a total of five different tracks altogether. Each of them is student focused and taught by diverse faculty bringing years of real-world experience to the table. The empowerment practice specialization is union, and prepares students to think critically and make use of theory-based and evidence-informed interventions in the field.

South Dakota

 
University of South Dakota

School of Health Sciences

Vermillion, South Dakota

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $326

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Offers access to conferences such as the Annual Social Work Symposium, IdeaFest, and the School of Health Sciences Research Conference
  • Chapter of the Social Work Student Association on campus

The MSW program for the University of South Dakota focuses on meeting the needs of South Dakota and the surrounding regions. It’s a large area with a surprising demand for social services. Peppered by economically disadvantaged towns and Indian reservations, there’s a real demand for expert social service workers in the region, and USD fills it with expert training in assessment, diagnostics, and interventions. You’ll also learn about policy and administrative matters, as well as planning and advocacy work, training you to provide a voice for the unheard and disaffected.

Tennessee

 
University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $556

  • Delivery: Hybrid
  • Employment-based internships are one option for completing field work for the program

The UT-Chattanooga MSW program isn’t the only one offered through the University of Tennessee system, but in our view, it’s certainly the best. With evening-only courses on campus offered together with select online offerings, the degree puts flexibility first for working professionals. It also delivers a focus on older adults, preparing social workers for geriatric practice through advanced objectives in engaging, assessing, and intervening with older adults and their families. A special Life Course Perspective is a valuable tool in this process, and one you won’t find anywhere else.

Texas

 
Baylor University

Diana R. Garland School of Social Work

Waco, Texas

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $1,650

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Academic specializations in Clinical Practice or Community Practice available
  • Joint degree options in Divinity, Theological Studies, and Business Administration are offered
  • The program partners with City Year and AmeriCorps to offer application fee waivers and other benefits to members who enroll
  • Concentrations in Global Mission, Church Social Work, Gerontology, and Trauma are all available as well as self-designed concentrations

Baylor teaches social work from a Christian worldview, but it’s not designed to be faith-specific. The general principles and values of ethical social work line up neatly with the school’s Christian values, but the same is true of most faiths. Either way, you’ll get a world-class education in the theory and practice of social work on one of two tracks: either clinical or community practice. The clinical track is further segmented into Children and Families and Physical and Mental Health. But that’s not all; there are also concentrations that offer even more in-depth education on specific focus areas like gerontology and trauma, giving you both classroom and field work experience to hone your skills for the real world.

Utah

 
University of Utah

College of Social Work

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in:

  • Aging
  • Child Welfare
  • Forensic
  • Global
  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse

Cost Per Credit: $464

  • Delivery: On campus or online
  • Joint degree options in Law, Public Health, and Public Administration
  • Special Child Welfare degree option is available to current or prospective employees of Utah’s DCFS
  • Partnerships with more than 300 off-campus social services agencies offers a wide variety of possible field service placements

Options, options, options are what you get at the University of Utah—more than 300 possible field service venues, 7 different concentrations, 3 joint degree options. Not only do the options offer you the opportunity to stand out against the crowd once you’ve earned your degree, they allow you to focus your studies to an unparalleled degree into exactly the facets of social work that most interest you. And they aren’t just paper concentrations that flip around existing electives to give you a few different books to read; these are in-depth, real-world mini-programs that take you into experiential learning with on-the-ground partnerships and participation. The forensic social work concentration, for example, is a collaborative effort with the Utah Criminal Justice Center and the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, among other agencies. You get a big-picture perspective on the criminal justice system and interests and roles that shape it in addition to your extensive social work perspective. It all goes to build a more well-rounded, fulfilling experience than you’ll find anywhere else in Utah, and maybe anywhere else in the United States.

Vermont

 
University of Vermont

Department of Social Work

Burlington, Vermont

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $646

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Offers a concentration in Transformative Social Work

Students love the socially conscious atmosphere at the University of Vermont. It’s a great environment for getting the soul of social work deeply integrated into the mechanics of the process. The curriculum emphasizes playing to strengths using relational practices that are guided by principles of social justice and human rights. The principles are universal, but the practices at UVM are locally-informed, giving you a firm basis for cultural competency in the rural environment of Vermont. Much of your field experience is likely to be with small, grass-roots organizations, as well as more traditional state-driven human services organizations. But the sense of community is pervasive and your ability to learn the transformative style of social work taught at UVM is enabled by invested instructors and fellow students who will help you along the way.

Virginia

 
George Mason University

Department of Social Work

Fairfax, Virginia

Website

Master of Social Work

Concentrations available in:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Social Change

Cost Per Credit: $564

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Dual degree option with a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason is a public research university with a heavy investment in medical science and research. That makes it a terrific choice for social workers who are looking to specialize in the healthcare field. Of course, that’s not all you can do with a GM MSW… the clinical specialization field placements run from parole agencies to outreach programs to substance abuse treatment. And the social change option offers a track that will give you the tools necessary for advocacy for the oppressed and disregarded members of society, right next door to the national capitol and the center of power. You’ll come away with competencies in empowerment and leadership skills that will let you step up in any social work role and find long-term success in the field.

Washington

 
University of Washington

School of Social Work

Seattle, Washington

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $605

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Ranked in the Top 250 MSW programs in the country for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Rated as the #1 Social Work School in the world in 2017 by the Center for University Rankings based on influential research
  • The school houses more than a dozen different research and innovation centers in social work or related fields
  • More than a dozen student-run affinity groups for social work subjects on campus

When you go to a big research university, you can expect exposure to a lot of cutting-edge ideas and concepts. That’s part of what leads UW to the top of the list among all Washington state social work programs. With specialized research centers in everything from early intervention to child well-being to indigenous wellness, you can find faculty and graduate students advancing the body of knowledge in social work by leaps every day here… one reason the school was rated as the top social work school in the world last year. Located in an urban area that is experiencing a glut of homelessness, practitioners at UW are well-situated to gain first-hand experience in unparalleled experimentation and outreach efforts.

West Virginia

 
Concord University

Department of Social Work & Sociology

Athens, West Virginia

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $281

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Offers an advanced social work practice with a rural concentration
  • Hosts an Annual Opioid Symposium for discussion and development of techniques to address the national drug addiction crisis

There is a lot of attention paid to the plight of the urban poor in America, but the fact that some of the rural areas of West Virginia are among the most poverty-stricken in America has boosted the Concord University MSW program to the pinnacle of expertise in dealing with social service work in a dispersed and isolated environment. The cultural constraints of working in Appalachia are no less important in delivering services than those found in the inner cities of New York or Chicago, and if you want to gain expertise in dealing with them, then Concord is the place. You’ll learned to apply an advanced critical and analytical approach to both rural social policy factors and individual assessments, working to advance the social and economic well-being of clients whose isolation sometimes also keeps them out of the public mind.

Wisconsin

 
Concordia University Wisconsin

School of Health Professions

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $633

  • Delivery: On campus
  • Program features a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio
  • Outstanding learning experiences include monthly ‘lunch and learn’ seminars and annual conferences through the School of Health Professions, National Association of Social Workers, and the North American Association of Christians in Social Work
  • Impressive 90% job placement rate

Whether full-time or part-time, Concordia University Wisconsin’s Master of Social Work is where you’ll achieve advanced training and knowledge in social work through a comprehensive advanced generalist curriculum and robust field experiences. Choose Concordia’s MSW and you’ll also enjoy an impressive 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and opportunities to participate in a variety of learning experiences, including monthly ‘lunch and learn’ seminars and annual conferences through the School of Health Professions, National Association of Social Workers, and the North American Association of Christians in Social Work. Concordia Wisconsin a long history of student success, including an impressive 90% job placement rate.

Wyoming

 
University of Wyoming

Division of Social Work

Laramie, Wyoming

Website

Master of Social Work

Cost Per Credit: $154

  • Delivery: On campus or hybrid
  • Campus chapters of the Associated Students of Social Work and that Associated Masters of Social Work Students for Wyoming open to students
  • Both thesis and non-thesis capstone projects available for program completion

The UW Division of Social Work prides itself on having a dynamic, student-centered faculty to provide all the individualized attention required to give you the best education in social work available. Unsurprisingly, given the rugged and spread out territory of Wyoming and the surrounding states that the university serves, the MSW program focuses largely on “frontier” style general education… when graduates end up being the only social worker for hundreds of miles, they have to be able to handle anything that comes in the door, from elderly clients on distant ranches to the children of drug addicts found in a small-town alley. But Wyoming isn’t isolated, either; the school recognizes that globalization has local effects and also works to showcase diversity and multicultural literacy in its curriculum.