Question: Are there any online MSW programs for non-BSW students?

Answer: Yes, the majority of online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs offer traditional standing tracks designed for students who have not earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

MSW programs designed for students who have not earned a BSW are typically referred to as MSW programs with a traditional standing track or a foundation year program. While these programs do not require a BSW, they do require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Online MSW programs with advanced standing tracks are designed for students who have completed a BSW from a CSWE accredited undergraduate program (other restrictions may apply).

Currently all online MSW programs offer traditional standing tracks:

  • Total online MSW programs: 34 schools
  • Online MSW programs with a traditional standing track: 34 schools
  • Online MSW programs with an advanced standing track: 24 schools
(On, we classify any online MSW program that requires two or fewer visits to the campus per year as an online program. Online programs that require more than two visits per year are classified as hybrid MSW programs on the site.)

Traditional standing online MSW programs typically take about 2 years (for full-time programs) or 2.5 to 4 years (for part-time programs) to complete. Most of these programs have curricula that require 54 to 66 credit hours to graduate, and completion of 900 to 1,200 hours of field education (both credit hours and field education requirements vary by school). Some online MSW programs require students to make a limited number of campus visits per year.

As part of our interview series, we asked professors and faculty members to describe the typical academic background of students in their traditional standing programs. Most mentioned that students’ academic backgrounds varied across many different undergraduate degrees and included people at many different stages in their lives. Some already worked in the social services field, while others did not. Degrees that were mentioned included:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Justice Administration
  • Anthropology
  • Women’s Studies
  • Communication
  • Public Health
  • Education
  • Less common, but were definitely mentioned: Business, English, Urban Planning, Biology, Theater Arts