Masters in Social Work Programs (On-campus)
CSWE-accredited colleges & universities that offer MSW programs are located at many top universities. Earn a Masters in social work in a traditional, face-to-face teacher and peer learning atmosphere from a college near you or in a specific location.
GradSchools.com Top Schools for Campus Social Work Masters Degrees*
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 3,919+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 7:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 866+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 17:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 3,030+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 15:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 2,672+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 12:1
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About MSW Schools
Many graduate schools of social work with on campus MSW programs offer courses in the evenings and/or weekends to accommodate students currently working in human services occupations.
Prospective applicants to a Masters in Social Work program may have earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or come from a related undergraduate major such as a bachelors in human services, bachelors in counseling psychology or bachelors in public affairs.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an MSW Degree?
Some schools have different MSW degree program options such as dual degrees, full-time, part-time (days), part-time (week-ends) and advanced standing MSW programs, so you might choose just how much time to devote to your studies. Time to completion varies between schools, however, as a guideline and estimate:
- Full-time MSW programs: about two years
- Part-time MSW programs: about two and a half to three years
- Advanced standing MSW programs: per school guidelines, an option typically available to students who have earned their BSW from a CSWE-accredited program
Applying to Campus MSW Programs
Each university determines when they accept and process applications into their campus MSW programs. A completed MSW application might include:
- Your career goals in a statement of purpose
- Your experience (e.g. volunteer work)
- Official transcripts
- Written recommendations
About the Masters in Social Work Degree
The MSW is considered the terminal practice degree in social work. A Masters in social work might prepare students with the clinical assessment or administrative skills to work in their chosen specialty. An MSW degree is also one of the requirements for becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and licensed masters social worker (LMSW) since most states have licensure requirement for nonclinical social workers as well.[ii] The Master of social work is also the prerequisite education for both the PhD in social work and the Doctor of Social Work (DSW).
DID YOU KNOW?
$47,980 per year is the annual median salary for social worker in 2017[i]
Potential Concentrations Within Campus MSW Programs
Some campus MSW programs may offer a broad and comprehensive social work education, which may suit students who earned an undergraduate degree in a related field. Other Master of social work programs may allow students to fine-tune their area of interest, such as:
- Public health
- Mental health
- Addictions and substance abuse
- Community service management
- Children and families
- Troubled teens
What Should I Look for in an MSW School?
On initial glance, it may look like all campus MSW programs and graduate schools offer the same things, however, they may each have a unique set of features. So how do you find and choose a Masters in social work program? Broadly, you want to examine three things:
- Your curriculum needs
Find CSWE-Accredited Campus Programs:
Top of your list should be MSW program accreditation by the Council of Social Workers (CSWE), as they set quality standards, and in turn recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the CSWE.[i]
Professional programs, such as the MSW typically have two or more accreditations; a regional accrediting agency or some other entity recognized by the Department of Education accredits the grad school itself. What this process does is it ensures that the school isn't a diploma mill, and that a graduate will be recognized as a graduate. On top of that, MSW program accreditation ensures that an academic program adequately prepares candidates for practice in some recognized profession.
Campus MSW Programs: Potential Curriculum
There are a few components to a campus MSW program that prospective students should contemplate. These are;
- Field placement
- Course curriculum, research, continued education
Field placement is a large component of an MSW program, and often you might meet your internship requirement in your own community (hospital, school, mental health clinic) or agency. This is something to factor into your search for campus MSW programs in a specific location. You might find out where a prospective MSW school offers these field placements. Perhaps there is an agency whose mission statement appeals to you close to one of your choice schools.
DID YOU KNOW?
By 2026, the number of social workers is projected to increase to more than 790,000.[ii]
Course Curriculum, Research, Continued Education: One of the nice things about earning your Masters degree in social work on campus is that you get your information in real-time, and might receive a lot of individual attention, especially if you are in a smaller program. In terms of coursework, you might learn how to be an advocate for individuals, families and the disabled. Coursework might also cover the prevention and management of social problems such as child abuse and drug addiction. Other course topics might include:
- Human behavior and social environment
- Social work practice/theory and assistance
- Social policy and justice
Make sure you read an MSW school’s syllabus to see whether your learning needs might be addressed, or whether the faculty is involved in a research project that might be meaningful to you. You may also want to consider whether there are any social work certificate programs offered in an area of emphasis that you are passionate about.
Location: Are you searching for campus MSW programs in California? A specific city? Do you hope to earn your MSW degree abroad? Use our on page navigation to filter your results by location, wherever that may be or just browse sponsored listings, find the program first and the location second.
Why Earn a Masters in Social Work on Campus?
When it comes down to choosing how you want to pursue your MSW degree – at graduate school or via online format, ultimately it is a personal choice. While online study is mainstream and may work for some, there may be a few potential advantages to earning your Masters of Social work on campus:
- Social work is about "person in the environment"
- Being on site means interactions, networking potential
- Interactions might build interpersonal, communication and problem solving skills, all essential to the practice of social work
- Access to all the facilities (libraries, laboratories, gym, social services, tutoring)
- Campus programs offer demonstrations, may foster collaboration
- You may have access to more campus-based MSW degree choices
Find Master in Social Work Schools
Choosing a campus based Master of social work program is more than finding a CSWE- accredited program with courses you like. Find a grad school that makes you feel comfortable, and inspires the motivation to go to class, learn and excel. Browse our sponsored campus MSW programs to find the college or university with a Masters in Social Work degree program that aligns with your goals.
Source: i bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm | ii bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/article/social-workers.htm
- Boston, MABoston, MA
Today, the School of Social Work continues to provide a rigorous clinical social work education for men and women, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and a PhD in Social Work designed for advanced clinical scholars...
- Pomona, NJPomona, NJ
Stockton University offers the MSW in a two-year format, or a one-year format called Advanced Standing. Advanced Standing is open to individuals who have earned baccalaureate degrees in social work from a social work program accredited by the Counci...
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
The Master of Social Work (MSW) will prepare students for both generalist and specialized practice with client systems across varying contexts and problems.
- Hamden, CTHamden, CT
The MSW program's foundation curriculum and the advanced concentration curriculum reinforce the Quinnipiac value base of understanding real-world issues through practice and the consideration of different perspectives.
- Paxton, MAPaxton, MA
Anna Maria College
The MSW curriculum is uniquely designed as students take classes while doing concurrent fieldwork which provides them with knowledge and skills necessary to promote social change, development, and empowerment of diverse populations.
- Northampton, MANorthampton, MA
For 90 years, the Smith College School for Social Work has provided graduate social work education to men and women around the world. Our program is internationally recognized for its dedication to and specialization in cli...
- Loma Linda, CALoma Linda, CA
Loma Linda University
The Loma Linda University MSW program is accredited by CSWE and includes a 78-credit curriculum consisting of academic, experiential, and research experiences. Two-, three-, four-year, and advanced standing options are available.
- Kyoto, JapanKyoto, Japan
- Nagoya, JapanNagoya, Japan
- Radford, VARadford, VA
The Master of Social Work program seeks to provide the highest quality professional education for all students who are admitted to the program.
- Palmerston North, New ZealandPalmerston North, New Zealand
- Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
- Sapporo, JapanSapporo, Japan
Hokusei Gaken University of Kitami
- Denver, CODenver, CO
Iliff School Of Theology
The University of Denver offers four on-campus Master of Social Work (MSW) program options, built around the academic preparation and interests of our students: Two-year program The two-year MSW program is open to students with bachelor's degrees in...
- Denver, CO
- Durham, NHDurham, NH
University of New Hampshire
The Department of Social Work offers a master of social work (M.S.W.) degree. For full-time students the program may be...
- Leicester, United KingdomLeicester, United Kingdom
- Wichita, KSWichita, KS
The Master of Social Work offers a program that prepares students for advanced social work practice and the competent practice of family centered soci...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
University of Pittsburgh
The MSW is designed to provide students with a professional education that includes breadth and depth of knowledge and skills development. The foundation curriculum provides knowledge, skills development and values that embody the generalist social work...
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago
The program is designed to support the development of scholars of social and economic justice, providing students with the knowledge and skills for advancing social work treatment theory and research and for development and direction of social welfare...
- Chicago, IL
- Syracuse, NYSyracuse, NY
Syracuse University's School of Social Work offers a graduate (M.S.W.)...
- Provo, UTProvo, UT
Brigham Young University
BYU offers a core curriculum in the basic knowledge, values, and skills essential to all social work practice.
- Shippensburg, PAShippensburg, PA
For full- or part-time students who want to either further their education in social work or join the profession.
- Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Meiji Gakuin University
- Morgantown, WVMorgantown, WV
West Virginia University
WVU Division of Social Work is nationally recognized in the area of rural social work practice and non-profit management.