Social Work Graduate Schools
Many social work graduate schools offer on campus graduate certificates, Masters in Social Work (MSW), Doctor of Social Work (DSW) and PhD in Social Work programming options. There are a variety of program formats, including full-time, part-time and dual degree social work graduate programs to consider, and several features to look for in a graduate school for social work.
Social Work Graduate Schools: Assessing Your Options
As of October 2016, in the United States, there were 250 accredited social work graduate schools offering Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited MSW programs.[i] That is quite a few options.
Choosing the ‘right’ social work grad school on a subjective basis plays an important part of shaping current and future social workers for meeting the needs of individuals and communities. In addition to the commitment of your time and finances, there are a few details to contemplate that may make your ultimate choice in social work school one that aligns with your career goals. These are, broadly;
- Choosing a social work graduate program
- Identifying unique features of a graduate school for social work
- Finding CSWE-accredited social work graduate schools
- Location; searching for social work schools in a specific area
Choosing an On-Campus Social Work Graduate Program
Ultimately, not all accredited graduate social work schools offer all the different programing options. Think about whether you are looking for an MSW program, a DSW program, a PhD in Social Work or a graduate certificate.
DID YOU KNOW?
When asked about their education level, 92% of healthcare social workers responded they had a Master’s degree, 4% a Post-Master’s certificate, 4% a Post-Baccalaureate certificate[ii]
An on-campus Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program typically involves a one to two-year program. Time to completion varies. For undergraduates with a Bachelor of Social Work earned in a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, entering as an advanced standing student may be an option, and may cut down on the length.
Those with a related undergraduate degree (e.g. Bachelor of Human Services, Bachelor of Psychology) may have to make up the foundational classes. If your interest is in direct practice as a clinical social worker, social justice and policy or administrative social work careers the MSW degree is one of the requirements.
DSW | PhD in Social Work
Social work doctoral studies include the research-focused PhD in Social Work and the clinically-focused Doctor of Social Work (DSW). While time to completion varies, it might take about four years to complete a doctorate degree. Doctoral social work students are typically prepared to take on leadership positions (e.g. College Social Work Professor, BSW Program Coordinator[iii]) within the field. At this academic level, students may focus on advancing the profession by conducting scholarly research on human development, counselling techniques, social policy, public administration, community development, or social program assessment.
Social Work Graduate Certificates
If you are looking to add onto existing credentials, several graduate social worker schools offer on-campus graduate certificates. Aside from continued professional development, social work graduate certificates may offer you transferrable credits to an MSW program. You might wish to consider this option in your search.
Identifying Unique Features of a Graduate School for Social Work
Aside from deciding on a social work graduate degree, there are a few things to research and assess when it comes to deciding on a social work graduate school. Here are a few things to consider;
- Licensure: Does the program prepare for LSW licensure? As a prospective MSW student, you may want to look for exam pass rates;
- Partnerships: What partnerships does a graduate social work school offer? Fieldwork is a necessary component of a MSW program. Find out whether your prospective grad school has partnerships for fieldwork in the vicinity or does it extend through other states and communities;
- Social Work Research: Look for innovative research or a curriculum that meets your needs. Some programs offer students the opportunity to choose a concentration (e.g. children and families) and an area of specialization (e.g. teen pregnancy, truancy, foster care);
- Scheduling: Flexibility of scheduling may be important to you. Some social work grad schools may offer part-time, full-time, dual-degree or hybrid formats. Courses may meet evenings, weekends or other times, and this must work with your level of commitment.
- Mission: What issues does the school tackle (mission)? Some social work graduate schools may emphasize issues related to HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, juvenile delinquency, hospice services and palliative care, veterans, violence against women, child welfare, elder abuse, or poverty. Ultimately, you need to feel connected to your social work school and what they stand for.
- Reputation: Speaking to alumni, social work professionals, and student services is one way to learn more about a social work grad school.
Find CSWE-Accredited Social Work Graduate Programs
It is very important that prospective social work graduate students attend CSWE accredited schools of social work. Why? If you graduate from a non-accredited school of social work, you may not be qualified to become licensed as a social worker. Some schools may claim to be accredited by other organizations, or may not be accredited at all. To double check accreditation of a social work graduate school or program, visit the Council on Social Work Education website.
Find Social Work Graduate Schools by Location
Use our on-page navigation to find on campus social work graduate programs by location. Whether you are interested in earning your degree locally or abroad, search for graduate social work schools in a specific city, state or country.
Why Consider Campus Social Work Graduate Programs?
Students might gravitate to choosing social work graduate schools with on-campus programs over online study for several reasons.
- Interaction: Real classrooms offer hands-on learning where you not only get to interact with classmates, but also with your professors in real-time. This might help you build the communication skills so intrinsic to the social work profession. Collaboration is usually part of a social worker’s tasks; what better way to perfect this ability than in graduate school?
- Time Management: Another important skill it might help you build and transfer into the workplace is the ability to manage your time. The discipline of getting to class is a valuable lesson. If you do intend to have your own social work private practice (one of the things a graduate degree in Social Work qualifies you to potentially do), you might benefit from keeping regular commitments and a consistent schedule.
- Access: Studying for your social worker graduate degree on campus gives you access to libraries, laboratories, student support services and other resources.
- Expanded Program Choices: You may find that social work graduate schools with campus programs offer a broader choice of courses than their distance-learning counterparts.
- Cohort Model: Some graduate schools for social work are based on the cohort model which means you enter a program with others, and progress through your studies with these classmates. If you learn well in a social learning setting this may be a good option for you.
Find a List of Social Work Graduate Schools
Choose the social work degree level (Masters, Doctorate, Certificate), or go straight to searching for social work graduate schools by location. From there, it is easy to request info. Reach out to a few prospective schools then filter by your preferences.
sources[i] cswe.org/Accreditation.aspx |[ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1022.00 |[iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1113.00
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 07, 2019
Prepare for both generalized and specialized practice in Sacred Heart's broad-based MSW program. Develop a strong foundation in generalist practice at the micro, mezzo and macro level, then pursue your interest in direct clinical or community practice.
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
Built on a commitment to social justice and service, the PhD in Social Work program extends Loyola's tradition of educating students in clinical research, scholarship and teaching. Graduates are prepared for leadership in practice or academic arenas.
- Chicago, IL
- Dublin, IrelandDublin, Ireland
University College Dublin
Prepare for social work in the US and abroad in the CORU accredited, MSocSc Social Work program. Graduates have registered as professional social workers in Ireland, the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia, and more. A part time option is available.
- Paxton, MAPaxton, MA
Anna Maria CollegeUpcoming Start Date: January 02, 2019
Practically apply new knowledge while you learn in Anna Maria's MSW program. Uniquely designed so fieldwork and classes run concurrently, this Advanced Generalist program aims to prepare graduates to promote social change and empower diverse populations.
- 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...
- 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.
- South Orange, NJSouth Orange, NJ
Seton Hall UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 14, 2019
The CSWE-accredited MSW program helps ready students for advanced practice with individuals, families and groups in the areas of behavioral health, substance abuse and healthcare. Campus coursework is followed by a year of online classes and fieldwork.
- 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...
- 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...
- Hamden, CTHamden, CT
Earn your MSW degree at Quinnipiac and prepare to provide support and services to those who need it most. This CSWE accredited program emphasizes a team-based healthcare approach and meets academic requirements for LCSW licensure. No GRE scores required.
- 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...
- Nacogdoches, TXNacogdoches, TX
Stephen F Austin State University
Social work is a service oriented profession that helps people to solve problems in living. The department offers professional degrees in social work...
- 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...
- 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.
- Leicester, United KingdomLeicester, United Kingdom
- Miami, FLMiami, FL
Barry University's School of Social Work in Miami Shores, Florida, offers many options of study.
- 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
- Youngstown, OHYoungstown, OH
Youngstown State University
The Master of Social Work program prepares graduates for advanced social work practice with disenfranchised clients. The organizing framework for the...
- Boca Raton, FLBoca Raton, FL
Florida Atlantic University
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social Work is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S.
- Provo, UTProvo, UT
Brigham Young University
BYU offers a core curriculum in the basic knowledge, values, and skills essential to all social work practice.
- Atlanta, GAAtlanta, GA
Georgia State University
Our mission is to prepare students for leadership roles in the effort to solve in partnerships with others, the existing and...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
Carnegie Mellon University
The Social and Decision Sciences Department (SDS) offers a rigorous and exciting research training program leading to the Ph.D.
- Denver, CODenver, CO
University of Denver
The University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work is committed to ensuring that you acquire an excellent foundation in professional social work knowledge and skills, along with a passion for social justice and a commitment to social work ethic...
- Denver, CO
- Shippensburg, PAShippensburg, PA
For full- or part-time students who want to either further their education in social work or join the profession.