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In this article, we profile the top 30 most affordable online master’s in social work degree programs for 2018.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that the overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent through the year 2026. This rate is must faster than the average of all occupations and is predicted due to the increased demand for healthcare and social services. To practice as a social worker, a MSW degree is typically required. We researched online MSW programs to bring you the top 30 most affordable master’s in social work online degrees.

To be considered for our list of most affordable online MSW programs, colleges and universities must be accredited (regionally or nationally), and preferably by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). We considered 121 schools with a graduate tuition of less than $23,000 per year. Tuition was collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator) and the schools were then listed in order of raw affordability.

Below is our list of the top 30 most affordable online master’s in social work programs of 2018.

#30 – Widener University

Online Master of Social Work

Chester, Pennsylvania

Website

Widener - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs
The online MSW from Widener University is CSWE-accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,600

The online master’s in social work (MSW) program at Widener University is a fully online CSWE-accredited degree that incorporates trauma as the central theme in all coursework and curricula. The program offers a regular admission option and an advanced standing option for those who have earned a BSW degree. Classes include foundations for clinical social work practice, foundation social work practice for individuals, human behavior and the social environment, interpersonal processes, methods of social work research, and social and economic justice. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Widener #192 in best national universities. Widener earns a place on our list as having one of the most affordable online MSW programs.

#29 – Rutgers University

Online Master’s in Social Work

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Website

Rutgers University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Rutgers University offers an online MSW with no GRE requirement.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,984

Rutgers University offers one of the few available online master’s in social work degree program. Admission requires no GRE, and you can complete your program internship anywhere in the United States. All courses are delivered online and cover topics like psychopathology and social welfare policy and services. There is also a certificate in violence against women and children that allows students to specialize their degree while advocating for a marginalized population. The Rutgers reputation includes rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 69th best national university and 124th best value school in the country. Also, several online graduate programs have earned top rankings in recent years.

#28 – Temple University

Online Master of Social Work

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

Temple University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Temple University’s online MSW is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,054

Temple University’s College of Public Health offers a master’s in social work online. This online MSW degree is designed for busy and working professionals and provides training and mentorship needed to enter the field of social work. Classes are taught online by the same expert faculty as the on-campus courses. The skills-based curriculum offers clinical and macro concentrations, as well as specialization options in mental health and child and family. Applicants must provide official transcripts, three academic or professional references, and a goal statement. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Temple #115 in best national universities and #92 in best value schools.

#27 – Our Lady of the Lake University

Online Master of Social Work

San Antonio, Texas

Website

Our Lady of the Lake University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Our Lady of the Lake University offers an affordable online MSW that emphasizes family and community.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,818

One of the most affordable online MSW programs is the online master of social work at Our Lady of the Lake University. The program is offered entirely online and designed to prepare students to change the lives of children and families in need. Some of the online courses include advanced integrative seminar, advanced standing social work field education, evaluation of social work practice with Hispanic children and families, social work practice with Hispanic families, social work with Hispanic youth, and theories and perspectives in social work. The school is a top ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Our Lady of the Lake #86 in best regional universities in the West.

#26 – University of New Hampshire

Online Master of Social Work

Durham, New Hampshire

Website

University of New Hampshire - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Online MSW degrees are hard to find, but University of New Hampshire offers an affordable one.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,873

The University of New Hampshire offers online master’s in social work degree programs designed to accommodate working individuals. Classes are delivered entirely online, and no campus visits are required. Some of the courses include history of social welfare policy, human behavior and the social environment, program and practice evaluation, and statistics. The typical time for completion is 28 to 29 months. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, and acceptable recommendations from three individuals. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 103rd best national university and 68th best value school.

#25 – Portland State University

Online MSW

Portland, Oregon

Website

Portland State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Portland State University’s online MSW offers online courses that each run 11 weeks.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,816

The master’s in social work online degree program at Portland State University is one of the first online MSW programs offered in the Pacific Northwest. Courses are delivered entirely online and run for eleven weeks. Clinical and community-based curriculum emphasizes human services administration, policy practice, and social work in varied settings. During years two and three, students participate in field placement activities sixteen hours each week of the term, including finals week. Portland State is a top ranked national institution. Also, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank PSU #10 in most innovative schools. The online graduate programs have also earned top rankings.

#24 – Capella University

Online Master of Social Work

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Capella University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Capella University’s online MSW programs are fully online, though face-to-face residencies may be required.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,842

One of the most affordable online MSW programs on our list is the master of social work degree at Capella University. The graduate program is fully online and requires 15 core courses and two elective courses. Face-to-face residencies and field education are also required. Some of the online courses include human behavior and the social environment, integrative technology in advanced social work practice, and social policy and planning in human services. Capella is unranked with U.S. News and World Report, though it offers accredited graduate programs. The MSW online degree serves as preparation for licensure.

#23 – University at Buffalo

Online MSW

Buffalo, New York

Website

University at Buffalo - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
The online master’s in social work at University at Buffalo is fully accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,384

The online master’s in social work degree program at University at Buffalo is a part-time degree designed for busy and working professionals. The online degree is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and requires course completion and field placements. Program length is generally about three years. Some of the online courses include diversity and oppression, evaluation in social work, interventions, scientific methods in social work, social welfare policy and history, and theories of human behavior and development. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #97 in best national universities and #108 in best value schools.

#22 – University of Louisville

Online Master’s in Social Work

Louisville, Kentucky

Website

University of Louisville - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Louisville offers an online MSW that emphasizes research.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,442

University of Louisville’s MSW online programs are offered as regular 60-credit programs for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in other fields and as advanced standing for applicants who already have a BSW degree. Courses are delivered 100% online and include advanced research practice, advanced social work, human behavior and the social environment, mental health, research methodology and design, social justice practice, and social welfare institutions – policies and services. A series of electives allows students to take classes in areas of interest or to meet career objectives. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #165 in best national universities and #87 in top public schools.

#21 – Ohio State University

Online Master of Social Work

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
100% online – Ohio State University’s online master’s in social work.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

One of the top MSW online degree programs on our list is offered through the College of Social Work at Ohio State University. This affordable MSW online degree is designed to prepare you to be a social work leader and is offered 100% online. There are no campus requirements, but students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program that is no more than five years old. Part-time and full-time completion options are available. Courses include assessment and diagnosis in social work practice, clinical social work with groups, needs assessment and program design, prevention strategies in social work practice, and supervision and human resource management. U.S. News and World Report ranks Ohio State #54 in best national universities.

#20 – Campbellsville University

Online Master of Social Work

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Website

Campbellsville University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Campbellsville University offers a CSWE-accredited online MSW.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,204

One of the top MSW online programs on our list is the MSW offered at Campbellsville University. This full two-year program may be completed online in just twenty-one months. Students take classes taught by university professors. These courses include advanced practice with children and families, change theory, community development and grant writing, cultural competency, foundation practicum, human development, leadership and supervision in social work, and world problems and advocacy. Applicants seeking advanced standing must have completed a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the last seven years. U.S. News and World Report ranks Campbellsville #106 in best regional universities in the South.

#19 – Arizona State University

Online Master of Social Work

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Arizona State University offers an advanced online MSW for those with a BSW degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,938

Arizona State University’s master’s in social work online program includes 30 hours of study for advanced standing students. This means that those with a BSW earn advanced standing and graduate earlier than those without an earned bachelor’s or a bachelor’s in another subject area. The full two-year program is 60 credit hours. Courses include cultural competency, foundation practicum, human development, program evaluation, research methods, and world problems and advocacy. ASU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. In fact, the school ranks #115 in best national universities and #110 in best value institutions.

#18 – Brandman University

Online Master of Social Work

Irvine, California

Website

Brandman University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Brandman University – 100% online MSW!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,880

The online master’s in social work degree program at Brandman University prepares students to sit for licensure in many states. The program, while considered to be online, follows a hybrid format. Classes are generally delivered online and include topics like diversity and social justice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy analysis, social welfare policy practice and advocacy, and social work practice with individuals and families. Admission requires a completed application, two recommendations, a personal narrative, and an undergraduate GPA that is deemed satisfactory by the program board. U.S. News and World Report ranks Brandman among the top regional universities in the West. Also, several online graduate programs have earned top rankings.

#17 – The University of Alabama

Online Master of Social Work

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

The University of Alabama - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Alabama has an online MSW that is ideal for working professionals.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780

One of the most affordable MSW online programs on our list is offered by the University of Alabama. The online MSW is primarily online with the exception of some courses that require face-to-face skills laboratory sessions. Two concentration options are offered and include adults and their families and children, adolescents, and their families. Some of the required courses include advanced social welfare policy analysis, evaluation research, field education, and models and methods of social work practice in child welfare and family services. The online MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Also, U.S. News ranks the institution #110 in best national universities and #76 in best value schools.

#16 – Indiana University

Online MSW

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Indiana University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Online and accredited – the MSW online degree from Indiana University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,279

The MSW online degree program at Indiana University is a top ranked and CSWE-accredited program. All classes are delivered online and include a series of foundations courses like diversity, human rights, and social justice; generalist theory and practice; introduction to the social work profession; research; and social policy analysis and practice. Admission to the program is competitive. If students have received a BSW within the past five years of the intended start date, they are eligible for advanced standing admission. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and most innovative institution. Also several online graduate programs have received top rankings.

#15 – University of Northern Iowa

Online Master’s in Social Work

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Website

University of Northern Iowa - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
The MSW online degree program at University of Northern Iowa is highly affordable for in-state students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,193

The MSW online degree program at University of Northern Iowa is designed to develop the social work specialization workforce in under-served areas of Iowa. The program offers online courses with limited on-campus attendance required for practice-related classes. This program is CSWE-accredited, and courses are taught by the same professors who lead the program on-campus. Some of the required courses include human behavior and the social environment micro, introduction to social work research, social intervention – policies and services, and social work practice with organizations and communities. A trauma informed practice practicum and seminar are also required. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 25th best regional university in the Midwest and the 45th best value school.

#14 – Saint Leo University

Online Master of Social Work

Saint Leo, Florida

Website

Saint Leo University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Saint Leo University’s online MSW is fully online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,990

Saint Leo University’s MSW online degree is a fully online, full-time program. The online MSW is only open to students who are residents of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia. Classes are attended online via webcam and allow face-to-face interaction in the convenience of your own home. Some of the required classes include child abuse and neglect, human behavior in the social environment, methods of social work practice with individuals and families, and social work research methods. Saint Leo ranks as the 61st best regional university in the South and the 23rd best value school by U.S. News and World Report. Also, several online graduate schools and programs have earned top rankings by U.S. News.

#13 – University of Missouri

Online Master of Social Work

Columbia, Missouri

Website

University of Missouri - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Missouri’s online MSW is ranked, accredited, and 100% online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,828

University of Missouri’s master’s in social work online degree program is offered 100% online and requires a total of sixty credits. The program is also accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, a quality governing body looked favorably upon by employers and doctoral degree programs. Coursework is delivered online and includes classes in human behavior and psychopathology, intervention with individuals and families, management of social agencies, policy making and advocacy practice, and research in social work. There are no campus visits required, though supervised work at an approved agency serves to fulfill the practicum requirement. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Missouri #120 in best national universities and #77 in best value schools.

#12 – University of North Dakota

Online Master of Social Work

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

University of North Dakota - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of North Dakota’s online MSW is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,189

One of the most affordable MSW online programs on our list is the online MSW from University of North Dakota. This fully online program takes three years to complete, though the degree can be earned in one to two years if enrolled on a full time basis. Courses are taught by the same professors who instruct on campus. These classes include advanced generalist human behavior and the social environment, advanced generalist practice with individuals and families, and advanced generalist practice with organizations. Admission requires an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a BSW for those who intend on enrolling with advanced standing. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank UND #192 in best national universities and #25 in most innovative schools.

#11 – University of Arkansas

Online Master of Social Work

Little Rock, Arkansas

Website

University of Arkansas - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Arkansas offers online MSW programs ideal for working students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,148

One of the cheapest online MSW programs on our list is the MSW online degree from University of Arkansas. This 60-hour online program focuses on clinical social work practice and prepares individuals for leadership roles. Courses are delivered online and include advanced directed practice, diversity and oppression, foundations of social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policies and services, and statistics for social work. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Also, satisfactory GRE scores are required. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as a top 300 national university.

#10 – The University of Texas

Online Master’s in Social Work

Arlington, Texas

Website

The University of Texas - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
UT offers an online MSW that can be completed in just 12 months with advanced standing enrollment.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,128

University of Texas offers an MSW online degree that operates as an accelerated program for advanced standing students and can be completed in just 12 months. The regular online and full-time cohort program operates at a slightly less rigorous pace for traditional students and takes approximately 16 to 26 months to complete. While the program is considered to be 100% online, hybrid options are available for those interested. The program also offers three specialty areas so that students may tailor their degree. These specializations include direct practice with children and families, direct practice in mental health and substance abuse, and direct practice in aging. To apply for advanced standing, applicants must hold an accredited BSW earned within the last six years. U.S. News and World Report ranks UT as a top national university.

#9 – Colorado State University

Online Master’s in Social Work

Fort Collins, Colorado

Website

Colorado State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
The online MSW from Colorado State University requires service work to graduate.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000

The MSW online degree program at Colorado State University is offered through the Fort Collins and Boulder schools. It is a nationally recognized advanced generalist MSW program with classes delivered in an online format. Courses include advanced practice with communities, advanced practice in social welfare, generalist practice in small client systems, small client systems skills lab, social welfare policy analysis, and theoretical foundations for social work. To apply to the online MSW program, students must have at least 400 hours of verifiable human service work and/or volunteer experience and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Colorado State #124 in best national universities and #138 in best value schools.

#8 – Humboldt State University

Online Master’s in Social Work

Arcata, California

Website

Humboldt State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Humboldt State University offers a part-time online MSW.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,927

The master’s in social work online degree program at Humboldt State University is designed for busy and working students who want to balance their education with outside obligations. Courses are delivered online and can be taken anywhere, as along as you have internet access. The program requires attendance to weekly live web sessions. Also, students should expect to dedicate at least 25 hours each week to the part-time program. A four-day on campus session is required each year. Some of the required courses include child and family welfare, generalist social work practice, human development – change through the life course, introduction to the qualitative and quantitative design and methods of social work research, and social work practice in Native American and rural communities. The program is CSWE-accredited, and the school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the West.

#7 – University of Maine

Online Master of Social Work

Orono, Maine

Website

University of Maine - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Maine’s online MSW is ideal for working students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,884

University of Maine offers MSW online programs that are designed to prepare students to be proficient in social work. The online or online-hybrid programs consist of 63 semester credit hours, which must be completed in three years. Classes include adult and child psychopathology, advanced social policy, advanced social work research, human behavior and the social environment, practice in generalist social work, and social welfare policy and issues for generalist practitioners. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank University of Maine #181 in best national universities and #87 in top public schools. Also, several online graduate programs, including social work, have earned top rankings from U.S. News.

#6 – University of Central Florida

Online MSW

Orlando, Florida

Website

University of Central Florida - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of Central Florida’s online MSW is CSWE-accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

The online master’s in social work at University of Central Florida is a top ranked program that is available on a part-time traditional or advanced standing track. Courses are delivered online and are taught by the same university professors who lead on-campus classes. Some of the courses include clinical evaluation in social work practice, diverse client populations, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policies, social work practice, and theories for evidence-based clinical social work practice. Applicants must hold a BSW from a CSWE-accredited college or university earned in the last six years. U.S. News and World Report ranks UCF #171 in best national universities and #25 in most innovative schools.

#5 – University of South Dakota

Online Master of Social Work

Vermillion, South Dakota

Website

University of South Dakota - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
University of South Dakota offers a ranked and accredited online MSW.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,818

The online MSW programs at University of South Dakota prepare individuals to provide competent and ethical social work services in diverse communities in South Dakota and surrounding areas. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have maintained an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Classes are delivered online and include 60 credits for regular standing and 36 credits for advanced standing. Some of the courses offered by the program include advanced social policy, history and philosophy of social work, human behavior in social environment, generalist practice – individuals and families, and social policy analysis. U.S. News and World Report ranks USD #223 in best national universities and #129 in top public schools.

#4 – Boise State University

Online Master of Social Work

Boise, Idaho

Website

Boise State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Boise State University offers an online master’s in social work with classes taught by esteemed BSU professors.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,754

Boise State University’s MSW online programs are designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice with families and individuals. Classes are delivered online and taught by BSU faculty members. Some of the courses include advanced social work interventions, ethnicity and class, foundations of research, human development, and social dimensions of human behavior. To be considered for admission, students must hold a bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Recommendations and social service practice experience are also required. U.S. News and World Report ranks Boise State #231-#300 in best national universities. Also, several online graduate social science programs have earned top rankings by U.S. News.

#3 – Salisbury University

Online MSW

Salisbury, Maryland

Website

Salisbury University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Salisbury University’s online MSW is ranked and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,712

One of the most affordable online MSW programs on our list is offered by Salisbury University. Admission to the online MSW program requires a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a satisfactory undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Some of the required courses include advanced practice with families, advanced practice with individuals, ethical foundations of social work, advanced practice with groups, and psychopathology. Electives might include courses in child welfare and substance abuse assessment and intervention. Salisbury is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 78th best regional university in the North and the 49th best value school.

#2 – Texas State University

Online Master’s in Social Work

San Marcos, Texas

Website

Texas State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
Great for working students! The online MSW at Texas State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,229

Texas State University offers an accredited master’s in social work online degree program through the College of Applied Arts and School of Social Work. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and graduates of the program become eligible for state licensure. Some of the required coursework includes classes in advanced social policy and social justice, advanced social work research, foundation social work practice, interdisciplinary perspectives on aging, social work intervention in child abuse and neglect, and social work research. Admission follows two pathways for the BSW holder and the non-BSW holder. Advanced standing is for those with a bachelor’s in social work. Texas State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks TSU as a top 300 best national university in the country.

#1 – Western New Mexico University

Online Master’s of Social Work

Silver City, New Mexico

Website

Western New Mexico University - Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Work Online Programs 2018
#1 most affordable online MSW – Western New Mexico University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,781

Western New Mexico University’s online master’s in social work is an advanced standing program designed for individuals who have earned a BSW within the last eight years. To be considered for admission, students must hold a BSW from an accredited institution and have at least a 2.75 undergraduate GPA. Courses are delivered online and include advanced psycho-social approaches for social work practice, applied social work research, community organization and development, cultural competence in social work practice, social welfare policy, and social work administration and supervision. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Western New Mexico among the best regional universities in the West. The school offers our #1 pick for most affordable master’s in social work online programs.

BCO Staff
July 2018

This concludes our list of the top 30 affordable online master’s in social work degree programs for 2018.