Best Schools for Social Work
Ranked in 2022, part of Best Health Schools
In an advanced social work curriculum, students will take
In an advanced social work curriculum, students will take courses in social welfare policy, human behavior and ethics, balanced with hands-on experience in clinical settings. These are the top social work programs. Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. Read the methodology »
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Best Online Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) Programs of 2023
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- Social workers who want to advance their careers or contribute to research can benefit from a doctoral degree.
- The average social worker's salary with a doctorate is about $76K a year.
- The high cost of graduate school may not justify earning a Ph.D. for many prospective students — but getting your degree online can lower costs.
If you're a seasoned social worker , you've already devoted your career to helping others. But you may have also wondered how you could do even more — and whether a doctorate in social work would help.
We'll be honest — a doctorate in social work is a lot of … work. But for folks who don't mind some heavy academic lifting and who want a shot at the most advanced clinical practice and research positions, an online DSW may be a good choice.
Here's how to make sure it's a good choice for you :
- Explore this page to determine whether this path is the right choice for you.
- Check out the top-ranked online doctorate in social work programs, as well as our sponsored programs.
- Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for you.
What Can You Do With a Doctoral Degree in Social Work?
With a doctorate in social work, you can pursue several in-demand healthcare careers . If you're looking to specialize, most programs offer tracks in specific areas, such as social work education, advanced clinical practice, or social work leadership.
Similarly, you may concentrate in areas such as child and school social work or mental health. DSW programs also tend to feature more advanced clinical internships than Ph.D. programs.
Featured Online Doctorate in Social Work Programs
What is the difference between a dsw and ph.d. in social work.
Both degrees are doctoral-level programs. Both options can help you advance your career, deepen your knowledge, and widen your impact in the field.
But these degrees do differ somewhat when it comes to program focus, curriculum, and future career paths.
Which Degree Is Best After an MSW?
The answer really depends on your professional goals. If you're devoted to furthering the social work field through teaching and research, then a Ph.D. in social work would be a good choice.
But if you want to become an expert clinician who can handle the most complex cases or step into impactful leadership positions, a DSW would make the most sense.
What Are the Best Online Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) Programs of 2023?
How we selected these schools.
To create our directory list of doctorate in audiology programs, the BestColleges Rankings Team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). We identified seven schools that qualify for our alphabetical list based on the following criteria:
- Each school must be an accredited public or private nonprofit institution.
- Each school must offer a doctoral degree program in the given subject.
- Each school must submit an annual report to NCES.
Review our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more about the standards we uphold.
These rankings were compiled by our BestColleges Ranking Team and include BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners. We use publicly available provisional datasets from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to inform the data for these schools. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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- Online + Campus
100% Online + One summer week | Scheduled classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $2,285 Out of State | $2,285
Credits to Graduate 10 semesters
Program Information Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission
Baylor's social work Ph.D. program focuses on integrating religion into the social work profession. Because this is a Ph.D. program, it focuses more heavily on research than some doctor of social work programs.
When admitted, you will receive full funding for up to five years. You must be on campus for five days during your first summer semester and teach during one of your fall terms.
To apply, you must take a statistics exam and earn a B or better within two tries. You must also submit a scholarly writing sample, resume, letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a $50 application fee. You do not need a master's degree to apply to this program.
100% online | Scheduled classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $1,170 Out of State | $1,170
Credits to Graduate 48
Program Information Program Accreditation | New England Commission on Higher Education
Simmons' doctorate of social work allows graduates to pursue various social work degree paths in and out of academia. The program specializes in three areas of focus: inclusive leadership, advanced clinical practice, and teaching and education. You can complete this program in as little as two years.
Applicants must hold an MSW and have completed three years of post-MSW work experience. The program accepts applications throughout the year, and cohorts begin in September, January, and May.
- Louisville, KY
Hybrid | Scheduled Classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $990 Out of State | $990
SU's doctor of social work is a hybrid, low-residency program that offers two tracks of study: advanced clinical practice and leadership and administration.
Most classes are held online during the week, but the program does require periodical attendance at Spalding’s Louisville campus on Saturdays. There are no classes during the summer, but you can pursue summer research or publication.
To be considered for admittance, you must have a master of social work degree from an accredited school, a GPA of 3.3 or higher, and a minimum of two post-MSW years of practice experience.
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
- Knoxville, TN
Online + One in-person week per summer | Scheduled
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $700 Out of State | $775
The doctor of social work program at UT Knoxville focuses on clinical practice and leadership over academia and teaching. This program is a great choice if you want to stay on the professional side of social work. The program requires you to attend one week of on-campus learning each summer for three years.
To apply, you must have a master’s in social work and three years of post-master’s experience. This program is intended for working professionals and has no part-time option.
Tulane University of Louisiana
- New Orleans, LA
Online classes + one immersion weekend | Scheduled classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $1,195 Out of State | $1,195
Credits to Graduate 54
Tulane’s doctor of social work online degree program prepares students to become leaders of social change. Classes such as approaches to social welfare and applied social statistics instill the critical thinking skills and knowledge necessary to take on executive-level positions in social work.
Aside from one immersion weekend at Tulane’s New Orleans campus, the program is fully online. To apply, you must have an MSW, a minimum GPA of 3.3 and three or more years of post-master’s social work experience.
University of Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia, PA
Hybrid (Online classes + campus immersion experiences) | Scheduled classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $6,728 per course unit Out of State | $6,728 per course unit
Credits to Graduate 12 course units
Program Information Program Accreditation | Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Penn’s doctorate in clinical social work specializes in preparing students for teaching. This hybrid program combines two weekly evening courses with periodic campus immersion experiences.
You can complete the program in as little as three years, which can help reduce career disruption. During the last year of the program, you work solely on a dissertation, allowing you the opportunity to become an expert on your subject matter of choice.
To apply, you must hold a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program and have three years of post-MSW practice experience.
University of Southern California
- Los Angeles, CA
100% Online + Scheduled Classes
Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $2,045 Out of State | $2,045
Credits to Graduate 42
Program Information Program Accreditation | Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
USC’s online doctorate of social work program focuses on providing practical solutions to large-scale social challenges that primarily impact disadvantaged people, such as the health gap and homelessness. Graduates of the program should be well-suited for management or professional leadership positions. The program offers both a standard and accelerated track.
To apply, you must hold a master’s degree, but it does not necessarily need to be in social work. Having five years of post-master’s professional employment is strongly preferred. USC’s program offers start dates throughout the year.
How Much Does an Online Doctorate in Social Work Degree Cost?
Average Cost of Tuition for a Ph.D. Program Per Year
Average Cost of Non-Tuition Related Expenses Per Year
Average Total Cost of a Ph.D. Per Year
Total Cost of a Ph.D. (4-8 Years)
Look, $130K-$263K for a Ph.D. is a really big financial lift — especially for someone in a career that isn't exactly known for high pay.
This is why we recommend that you consider earning your doctorate online to save time, money, and opportunity costs. You should also apply for every grant, scholarship, or fellowship you can find.
You know what they say: Friends don't let friends pay for doctoral degrees . Many doctoral programs offer multi-year funding packages that cover tuition and provide a stipend, and sometimes even offer healthcare.
But if you're considering picking up the whole tab yourself, you should think really hard about whether the payoff will be worth it .
Is a DSW Worth It?
A doctorate in social work can be worth it for social workers who want to get into advanced clinical practice or an academic career.
You don't need a DSW to become a licensed clinical social worker , but it can help you specialize in practice areas you're most passionate about.
How Much Money Can I Make With a Doctorate in Social Work?
Median annual wage for the top 10% of earners in the social work field
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
Median annual wage for all social work occupations
What Jobs Can You Get With a Doctorate in Social Work?
A doctorate in social work is a distinction that can open the door to advanced practice, leadership, and research positions in the field. See options for social work careers below:
Social Work Career Paths
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (may require additional education or certification)
- Postsecondary Teacher
- Community Service Manager
- Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
- Political Scientist
- Clinical Director
- Policy Analyst
DSW Program Concentrations
At the doctoral level, you'll get to hone in on the area of specialization that you care about the most. Some common specializations include:
- Clinical Practice and Supervision: Develop clinical skills and learn to apply evidence-based practice to complex cases.
- Leadership and Administration: Learn to develop social programs, manage staff, and do high-level advocacy work.
- Education: Prepare for a career as a teacher or researcher.
- Social Justice: Learn to leverage critical approaches to social work practice to address systemic issues.
- Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention: Develop the skills to work in settings like emergency management, community outreach, and mental health counseling.
- Mental Health and Substance Misuse: Prepare to work with individuals and families living with mental health and substance misuse disorders.
CSWE Program Accreditation
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the primary accreditation organization for social work programs in the United States.
It's crucial that you get your DSW from a CSWE-accredited program for a few reasons:
- It ensures that you receive a high-quality education that meets national standards for social work.
- It will make it easier for you to become licensed and practice in your state.
- It signals to employers that you are qualified to work in the field.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate Degree in Social Work?
It takes between 2-5 years to complete a doctoral degree in social work, depending on your course load, school, and program.
Many DSW programs require you to complete an original research dissertation or capstone project in addition to your coursework.
Required Course Credits
Field study requirements.
Yes* *Depending on your program and specialization
Everything Else You Need to Know About a Doctorate in Social Work Degree
What courses will i take in a doctorate in social work program.
Coursework varies by program, but most DSW programs will include some version of the following:
- Cultural competence and ethics
- Advanced social work practice
- Advanced research methods in social work
- Human development and behavior
- Trauma-informed care
- Social policy and social justice
- Clinical supervision and leadership
What are the admission requirements for a DSW program?
These requirements may vary, but many doctoral social work programs typically require applications to have the following:
- Master's degree in social work from an accredited program
- Two to three years of experience in the field
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose or personal essay
- Academic transcripts from previous higher education institutions
- Test scores, such as GRE scores
What are the highest-paying jobs with a doctorate in social work?
A doctorate gives you access to various well-paying careers in social work . One of the highest-paying social work careers is a public relations and fundraising manager.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these workers earned a median annual salary of $119,860 in May 2021 . In addition, Payscale reports that clinical directors earned an average salary of $82,400 per year as of March 2023.
Can you do a DSW part time?
Of course! Most online DSW programs provide the flexibility to get your degree part time , or on whatever schedule works best for you. This gives you the added freedom to continue working and gaining professional experience while going to school.
Still looking for the right fit? You might also like:
Online doctorate in psychology programs, online doctorate in public health programs, online doctorate in public administration programs, explore more college resources, how to become a medical social worker in the healthcare industry.
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Most Affordable Online Doctorate in Social Work Programs
GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Discover a program that is right for you.
A doctorate in social work (DSW) is the most advanced degree that someone can earn in the field of social work. This highly respected degree opens up many career doors and can help graduates do their jobs on a deeper, more specialized level.
Social work is a rapidly-growing field. According to projections by The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers will witness 13% job growth between 2019 and 2029, the BLS also projects a 17% job growth for social and community service managers.
And with the salary increase that often comes with this advanced degree, the investment can be well worth the return. For those looking to take advantage of this opportunity, we’ve rounded up some of the most affordable online doctorate in social work programs.
Social Work Doctorate Programs for You
These top schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.
Most Affordable Online Ph.D. in Social Work Programs
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One of Tennessee’s premier research universities, UT Knoxville offers an accelerated online doctor of social work (DSW) in clinical practice and leadership. The program allows practicing clinical social workers to complete a doctorate without disrupting their careers.
Students enrolled in UT Knoxville’s online DSW program complete six credits each semester over eight consecutive semesters. Students complete two required capstone courses. Online courses use both synchronous and asynchronous models to teach students about evidence-based practice, clinical research, and leadership. Students must also travel to campus each summer for a period of intensive learning and networking with peers and professors.
Applicants must hold a master’s degree in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. They also need three years of post-MSW/MSSW clinical experience to enroll in UT Knoxville’s DSW program. The online DSW program costs the same as its on-campus counterpart, plus a distance education fee. Students in southeastern states can apply for in-state tuition through the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market.
- Graduation rate: 69%
- School status: Public
- Tuition cost: $$$$$
- City location: Knoxville, TN
- Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE score from within the past five years (requirement is waived for Fall 2021 admission)
- Contact: 865-974-6481
An Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania offers an online doctor of social work (DSW) to prepare working professionals for teaching and leadership positions in research, clinical theory, and trauma-informed practices.
Penn’s online DSW program consists of occasional on-campus immersion experiences and synchronous online courses two evenings each week for two hours. This allows professionals to complete the degree without career disruption. Students complete their coursework and dissertations in three years with support from their dissertation chair. Penn’s program also allows local students to utilize on-campus resources, such as library access and in-person meetings with faculty.
All applicants must hold a master’s in social work and at least three years of post-MSW experience. The program does not require entrance exams for admission. To complete Penn’s DSW program, students need a desktop computer or laptop with access to a video camera, microphone, and the internet.
- Graduation rate: 96%
- School status: Private
- City location: Philadelphia, PA
- Standardized test scores/requirements: None
- Contact: 215-898-5512
Saint Paul, MN
A private university located in St. Paul, Minnesota, University of St. Thomas offers an online doctor of social work program (DSW) that specializes in teaching and leadership positions in social work education.
UST’s 45-credit online DSW program prepares students to teach in social work programs at the postsecondary level. Online courses engage students with synchronous and asynchronous instruction over three years. Students advance through the program in cohorts and must write banded dissertations to complete the degree. UST’s program also offers the opportunity for students to meet on campus for a two-week residency each summer.
Eligible applicants must hold a master's in social work (MSW) and two years of post-MSW professional social work experience. UST’s DSW program prefers applicants with previous adjunct or full-time higher education teaching experience. The program accepts up to 15 applicants from across the country to join each year's new cohort of students.
- Graduation rate: 76%
- City location: Saint Paul, MN
- Contact: 651-962-5000
Based in Waco, Texas, Baylor offers an online Ph.D. in social work with a distinctive focus on religion and faith in social work practice.
Baylor’s online social work doctoral program prepares students for positions in higher education, leadership in government and private agencies, and academic research. Each student must attend online courses taught through high-quality video conferencing technology. They must also undergo a five-day on-campus orientation before the summer session begins. Students earning a Ph.D. in social work from Baylor need to complete comprehensive exams and dissertations to obtain the degree.
The program admits up to seven students every other year and awards financial aid packages based on application strength. A master's in social work is not required for admission, but it is strongly preferred. Applicants must also complete the Garland School of Social Work Required Statistics Exam with a grade of B or higher to qualify for admission.
- Graduation rate: 72%
- City location: Waco, TX
- Standardized test scores/requirements: Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) Required Statistics Exam
- Contact: 254-710-6400
Los Angeles, CA
An elite research university based in Los Angeles, California, USC offers an online doctor of social work (DSW) that prepares students to address large-scale issues through innovation and advanced management practice.
USC’s online DSW program offers both standard and accelerated tracks. USC professors design their classes to promote small-group discussions and use online collaborative tools, such as breakout rooms, document-sharing, and live chat. Students earning a DSW from USC must complete 42 credits and a capstone requirement to obtain the degree.
Eligible applicants hold a master's in social work or a related field, such as an MPA, MPH, or MBA. Applicants must also possess a minimum of five years’ post-master’s experience and exceptional professional and academic achievement. USC’s online DSW program offers year-round start dates and admits a limited number of students each year.
- Graduation rate: 92%
- City location: Los Angeles, CA
- Contact: 877-700-4679
Our Methodology, Explained
Answering your questions about online doctorate in social work programs, are there online dsw programs.
Several schools allow students to complete their doctorate in social work online. These online programs provide increased flexibility for working professionals and often come at a more affordable cost than traditional DSW programs.
How much does it cost to get your DSW online?
The cost of an online DSW program depends on the school you choose. In general, students can expect to pay between $10,000 and $30,000. If you’re interested in financing your doctorate program, there are scholarships for social work graduate students, as well as grants information at the bottom of this article.
How much does a DSW increase your salary?
A doctorate in social work can have a significant impact on your salary, but it ultimately depends on what line of work you choose to go into. Data from the National Association of Social Workers shows that a DSW or PhD can increase your earnings by roughly $17,000 annually above what you’d earn with a bachelor’s degree.
What is the difference between a DSW and a Ph.D?
Both a DSW and a Ph.D. are doctorate-level degrees. A doctorate in social work is primarily geared toward those who work in the social work field, often in a position of leadership or applied research. A Ph.D. in social work is better suited for those seeking a career in academia, possibly as a social work professor or researcher.
Is licensure necessary prior to applying for a doctorate in social work?
It’s not necessarily required that students be licensed social workers (LSW) before applying for a doctorate in social work. However, many schools will require some professional experience, and many jobs in the field do require licensure.
How to Become a Master Social Worker
To be eligible for a doctorate in social work program, applicants must first have earned their master’s in social work or a master’s degree in a similar field. To get a master’s degree, someone must first have earned their bachelor’s degree, as well as provide a resume, letters of recommendation, and in some cases, GRE or GMAT scores.
Since many DSW programs require work experience, many MSW graduates go into the workforce and practice as social workers before applying for their doctorate. Common careers in social work include:
- Child and family social workers: These professionals provide services to children and families in their communities, often visiting families in their homes and assisting with abuse and neglect investigations or working with children in the foster care system.
- School social workers: School social workers offer direct services to students, families, and students in an academic setting. They often work in intervention strategies, crisis management, and support services.
- Healthcare social workers: Social workers in healthcare work with individuals coping with illness to provide emotional, financial, and social support.
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers: These social workers serve those struggling with mental health challenges or addiction, helping them to treat their illness, implement plans to meet goals, and connect them with local resources.
To work in these fields, individuals must first become licensed social workers (LSW). Licensure requirements vary on a state-by-state basis. In most states, those requirements include passing an exam.
Once a student has earned a doctorate in social work, they often work in the same fields but at a higher level. They can dive into more specialized work in areas like clinical social work.
What are the requirements for an online DSW degree?
Admission requirements vary depending on the program you choose to enroll in. Students generally must have a master’s degree in social work or a similar field. They also must provide official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal essays. In many cases, applicants must have work experience in social work or a similar field.
What Should You Consider When Choosing Your Online Social Work Program?
Since the field offers a variety of online social work programs, and learning experiences, it’s important to choose the program that best fits your needs. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which program is right for you.
Is the school CSWE accredited?
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits social work programs for bachelor and master-level degrees. Up until 2020, the organization did not accredit doctoral programs since they aren’t necessary to prepare students for professional social work practice. In 2020, the organization voted to begin the accreditation of doctoral programs. Once the program is fully active, students can consider accreditation as a factor when choosing a school.
What social work concentration does the program offer?
Advanced social work students typically specialize in one particular concentration. When choosing a doctoral program, it’s important to make sure the program offers the concentration you’re interested in. The primary concentrations for social work are:
- Clinical/direct social work (Micro): Those at the micro-level of social work are the boots-on-the-ground individuals. They work directly with individuals and families to provide services.
- Community development or administration (Macro): Macro social work takes place at the administration level. Those who go through this concentration often oversee community programs, develop policies, or work at the management level.
- Generalist (Micro and Macro): Social work generalists typically concentrate on both the micro and macro levels of the field. They learn to work with individuals while also learning to develop or oversee a program or policy.
Does the online program use a cohort model or a flexible course scheduling structure?
Each program has its own method for providing instruction to students. Some require full-time study, while others allow for part-time study. Some require a more strict time commitment or for students to be available at specific times. It’s important that students research these characteristics ahead of time, especially if they are working professionals or attending school while raising a family.
The Types of Instruction Methods in Online DSW Programs
DSW programs generally use either synchronous or asynchronous instruction to teach students. Some programs use just one, while others use a combination of the two. Each instruction model comes with pros and cons.
Synchronous instruction occurs in real-time, meaning the professor and students gather at a particular time. In the case of online programs, synchronous instruction would take place via video conferencing, teleconferencing, or live-streamed lectures.
- Classmate interaction
- Ask questions and get feedback in real time
- Keeps students on schedule
- Requires a strict schedule
- Leaves room for technical difficulties
- May not be ideal for parents or working professionals
Asynchronous instruction happens on the student’s own time. The program provides learning materials such as video lectures, textbooks, and assignments. Aside from deadlines, there’s no schedule that students must follow.
- Provides more flexibility
- Allows students to work at their own pace
- Often more affordable
- Leaves room for students to fall behind
- No real-time feedback
- Prevents interaction with classmates
Salary Outlook for Social Workers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median annual wage for social workers in May 2019 was $50,470. Here’s what median annual wages look for social workers across different fields:
Social workers who complete a DSW have a variety of specializations they can choose from when it comes to career. Recent data shows that the projected growth of employment for social workers is 13 percent from 2019 to 2029. It’s important to keep in mind that employment growth can vary by specialization. The following are the top-paying industries within social work:
Career Paths for a Doctorate in Social Work
Once someone has earned their doctorate in social work, they can work in virtually any job in the field of social work. Some of the popular career paths include :
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Many DSW graduates continue to work as a clinician, serving their communities at a deeper, more specialized level.
- Professor of Social Work: Though most professors hold a Ph.D. rather than a DSW, those with a doctorate in social work are still qualified to join the world of academia, either in a full-time or adjunct capacity.
- Nonprofit Director: With a doctorate in social work, graduates may go onto lead a nonprofit organization, especially one that focuses on community or social services.
- Social Work Administrator: In this type of role, individuals administer social service organizations, either within or outside of the government. While a clinical social worker focuses on the micro-level, administrators focus on the macro-level.
- Social Welfare Policy Researcher: As a policy researcher, DSW graduates can go on to research and influence public policy as it relates to social welfare issues.
Top-paying industries for social workers
Social work isn’t a particularly high-paying field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for the field is $50,470. Healthcare workers make slightly above-average salaries, while social workers specializing in children and families, schools, or mental health and substance abuse tend to make below-average salaries. That being said, jobs popular with DSW graduates often come with higher salaries.
Master Courses in Social Work
A doctorate in social work can lead to career advancement and new job opportunities in higher education, research, and clinical positions. Many programs offer clinical management and research courses to develop skills needed for advanced social work positions. Students use the skills developed in these courses for capstone projects and dissertations.
The following list introduces possible specialized courses found in doctorate in social work programs. Not all of the courses listed below appear in every program. Rather, they represent a sample curriculum found in an online DSW program or a Ph.D. in social work program.
In this class, students learn about quantitative and qualitative research methods in social work. Students develop the critical thinking skills needed to measure and analyze data. They also learn about the theories and methods behind advanced research. Programs often require research as a prerequisite for a capstone project or dissertation.
Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice
Courses on trauma-informed practice teach students to use the basic principles of trauma-informed care. Since many social workers work with clients impacted by trauma, these courses prepare students to better understand the complexity of trauma. They also ensure that students administer appropriate treatment.
Teaching Social Work
Courses in social work education prepare students to teach social work and human services in higher education. Students in these classes explore learning styles, teaching methods, and curriculum development. In these interactive courses, students may also develop courses and practice teaching on their peers.
Clinical management courses teach students the principles of management in a clinical setting. Students learn and develop skills such as employee supervision, strategic planning, and program design. This course prepares students for leadership positions in clinical social work and to manage clinical programs effectively.
Leadership in Social Work
This class explores leadership in higher education, social service organizations, and clinical settings. Students examine their personal leadership values, styles, and skills. Leadership courses may ask students to develop a leadership development plan. They may also need to demonstrate competencies in mentorship, supervision, and teaching. This course prepares students for leadership positions in social work.
Professional Organizations for DSW Students
Joining a professional organization is a great way for DSW students to network with those in their field, develop professional contacts, and find support in the social work community. Popular professional organizations in the field include:
- American Clinical Social Work Association
- Clinical Social Work Association
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Association of Black Social Workers
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
Scholarships for dsw students.
There are many scholarships available to help students fund their education. Some of the scholarships specifically for DSW students include:
Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students in social work who plan to pursue careers in health social work
Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Doctoral candidates with membership in NASW who specialize in welfare policy and practice
Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Doctorate candidates who demonstrate a commitment to the field of health social work
Minority Fellowship Program
Who Can Apply: Doctorate candidates with a commitment to reducing health disparities and improving healthcare outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse populations
Melanie Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students in the field of mental health
Doctoral Dissertation Award in the Psychology of Aging
Who Can Apply: Doctoral candidates in their final year with a research focus on the psychology of aging and adult development
CSWE Scholars Program
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students with experience in a variety of research methods, such as literature reviews, surveys, and focus groups
Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students in the field of social work who demonstrate financial need
Graduate Student Research Award
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students who submit an unpublished research paper on a topic related to aging
Erin Gobler is a contributing writer who covers higher education, online graduate programs, college planning, and more for Grad School Hub. Her writing has also appeared in The Simple Dollar, Robinhood, and The Balance.
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The mentorship and support I’ve received through the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) as a predoctoral fellow has been invaluable and was a big factor in my decision to attend YSPH.
PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Department aims to understand and improve health equity, both domestically and globally. SBS provides instruction in the theory and methods of the social and behavioral sciences that emphasize individual, interpersonal, community, and structural influences on health, illness, and recovery. The primary emphases are focused on (1) understanding the psychosocial, behavioral, community, and societal influences on health in the general population, with a focus on those who are disadvantaged; and (2) creating multilevel interventions that eliminate barriers to health, from infancy to old age. The SBS curriculum takes an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on integrating methods from epidemiology and the social sciences, training scientists with a broad skill set that allows them to answer a host of complex research questions. The department has numerous research strengths including in HIV/AIDS, aging health, community engaged health research, maternal child health, mental health, health equity and disparities, and stigma prevention and health.
This program does not require General GRE test scores.
Learn more about the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Several schools at Columbia University offer online degree and non-degree programs . Explore these offerings from the following school websites.
School of Engineering and Applied Science – Columbia Video Network
Columbia Engineering, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science at Columbia University in the City of New York, prepares talented students to become innovative, socially responsible leaders in industry, government, and academia. Our education is grounded in the fundamental principles and creative approaches of engineering, while being critically informed by the broader perspective of a distinguished liberal arts education. This interdisciplinary education mission is enriched by a research endeavor focused on expanding the knowledge base of engineering and creating technological solutions that serve society. Columbia students, faculty, and alumni strive to improve the human condition locally, nationally, and globally with their enthusiasm to learn, to question, and to solve some of the world’s most pressing current and future challenges.
C olumbia Engineering also offers an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that empowers forward-thinking team leaders and technically proficient professionals to integrate AI strategies in their organizations.
Explore online programs across the following fields: A pplied Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Data Science, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering .
Learn More on SEAS website
Best Social Work Degrees & Career Options
50 Best Accredited Schools For Social Work That Offer Multiple Degrees
The best 50 accredited schools that offer degrees in Social Work educate students with both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. There are many schools that offer degrees in social work and social work students come from many walks of life.
Some enter the field from a sociology or child psychology background. Others worked in family planning, criminal justice, legal studies, and other areas that specifically brought them to social work. Then there are the thousands of students that want to help and make a difference.
Unfortunately, social work is a job where many professionals are subject to hostility, negative media attention, and stereotyping. It’s also a field that lends itself a witness to child and adult abuse and the sometimes horrific conditions under which some people live. All of this means that social work degree students go through rigorous educational programs and career training programs to be ready for the field.
Finding the Best Accredited Schools That Offer Degrees In Social Work
The selection process can be complex for many students seeking schools that align with their lifestyle, budget, and goals. The best college programs offer research facilities , education libraries, prominent faculty members, and dual degree programs to help make students more successful in the workforce today. There are many applications of a social work major. In fact, some undergraduates believe going for a master’s degree is the best option to advance educational, personal, and professional goals. Either way, students who complete a social work degree are able to enter the job force with more knowledge and experience than those who do not.
The Top 10 CSWE-Accredited Social Work Schools are:
- University of Pennsylvania
- Columbia University
- University of Washington
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
Read on for full profiles of the Top 50 schools that offer degrees in social work!
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Social Work Schools
For this comprehensive ranking of the 50 best traditional social work schools, Social Work Degree Center editors focused on CSWE-accredited colleges and universities known for their educational quality, mentorship, networking opportunities, and more. Programs in the schools that offer degrees in social work are ranked by tuition cost, student satisfaction, and alumni salary, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania Social Policy & Practice School is among the best schools that offer degrees in social work in the nation. The various programs available from one of the country’s best schools for social work include several Master of Social Work programs and also a Doctor of Social Work or Ph.D. in Social Welfare. In addition, as one of Philadelphia’s best social work schools, the University of Pennsylvania offers certificate and continuing education programs, which include options for global engagement.
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is an ivy league school that opened in 1740. More than 22,250 students attend classes online and on-campus, vying for the degrees offers by the university’s twelve undergraduate and graduate schools/colleges. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the recognized colonial colleges having been established prior to the American Revolution.
Programs : MSW, PhD, DSW
Visit the school website.
2. Columbia University
Columbia University’s Social Work School ranks as one of the country’s best schools of social work. In addition, Columbia was the first social work school founded in the nation. As one of the best social work schools, Columbia University’s curriculum for their MSW aligns with the CSWE standards, with degree candidates required to complete 60 graduate semester credits, which is offered in an accelerated format.
MSW candidates can select from an advanced clinical social practice, generalist, policy practice, and also social enterprise administration. The Doctor of Philosophy degree program (Ph.D.) offered by one of New York’s country’s best schools for social work offers two academic tracks – social policy analysis and advanced practice. What you learn in courses may include mental health, human behavior, learn about field experiences.
Columbia University is a private higher learning institution that serves more than 33,350 students. Established in the mid-1750s, Columbia is both an ivy league school and a colonial college.
Programs : MSW, PhD
3. University of Washington
The University of Washington’s social work programs are ranked as one of the west coast’s best schools of social work, offering program options at the baccalaureate (in social welfare), master’s, and also doctoral level. In fact Center for World Rankings has previously ranked UDub as the globe’s best school for social work in 2017.
The University of Washington’s best social work schools bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offer students more than 600 field placement sites. The school’s Ph.D. program in Social Welfare is available only on a full-time basis. What you learn in courses may include mental health, human behavior, learn about field experiences.
The University of Washington (UW) is a space and sea-grant school that is among the oldest of all universities on the west coast. Founded in 1861, the University of Washington now serves nearly 47,700 students online and its multiple campuses. The University of Washington is ranked among the public ivies and a member of the AAU.
Programs : BASW, MSW, PhD
4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Social Work School at the UNC at Chapel Hill is among North Carolina’s best social work schools. In addition, the University of North Carolina’s social work school recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary.
As one of the southern United States’ best schools for social work, UNC offers a variety of MSW programs, dual degree programs, and doctoral programs in a variety of social work specialties. Field placement options are available in more than 50 counties in the state of North Carolina. What you learn in courses may include mental health, human behavior, learn about field experiences.
The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) is the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina system and opened in 1789. As a recognized public ivy school, UNC-Chapel Hill serves more than 29,950 students each year. In addition, UNC-Chapel Hill boasts of being the only public school to have graduated students in the 18th century.
Visit the school website .
5. University of California, Los Angeles
The Luskin Public Affairs School within the University of California, Los Angeles is considered among Golden State’s best schools for social work. Among the west coast’s CSWE-accredited, best schools of social work, UCLA offers social work degree programs at the bachelor’s level (BA in Public Affairs), a full and part-time MSW program, plus a Ph.D. program in Social Welfare that is recognized among the leading programs from one of the nation’s Carolina’s best social work schools. UCLA’s BA in Public Affairs also offers a minor in gerontology. What you may learn in courses include mental health, human behavior, social welfare, learn about field experiences.
The University of California (UCLA)was established as a branch of the University of California in 1919 but is now a land grant and space-grant school that serves more than 45,650 undergraduate and graduate students. The Los Angeles campus at the University of California is recognized as one of the nation’s public ivies and also ranks among the top schools in the world.
Programs : BA, MSW, PhD
6. University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley is one of California’s best schools for social work, having been developed in the early 1940s. Berkley’s School of Social Welfare is among Northern California’s best schools of social work. The school offers both a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Social Welfare, a two-year CSWE-accredited MSW program (with three academic concentrations), and also dual degree options that include MPP, MPH, or JD degrees. In addition, Berkeley, as one of the best social work schools, offers a Ph.D. program in Social Welfare that can be combined with Berkeley’s MSW degree as well. In courses you may learn about mental health, social science, social welfare, learn about field experiences.
The University of California (Cal) was established as the first land-grant school in 1868. Berkeley is home to more than 43,150 students vying for degrees offered by its fourteen schools/colleges. The University of California, Berkeley is home to various national research institutes in the fields of math, space science, and chemistry.
7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois’s Social Work School is recognized to be one of the Midwest’s best schools of social work. World University Rankings has ranked UI’s social work program as one of the six best schools for social work, with a job placement rate of MSW grads of 90%. The BSW program is campus-based, while the Master of Social Work programs is available online, as hybrid programs, or on the school’s campus. The doctoral social work programs from one of Illinois’s best social work schools are typically completed in 3 – 5 years, depending on the student’s time commitment. In courses you may learn about mental health, social science, social welfare, learn about field experiences.
The University of Illinois (U of I) was established in 1867 under the Morrill Act of 1862. In addition, U of I is a sea and space-grant school and the flagship campus of the state. U of I is considered as a public ivy school.
Programs : BSW, MSW, PhD
8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is one of the state’s oldest and best schools for social work, offering social work academic degrees at the baccalaureate, graduate, and doctorate levels. The programs offered by one of the Midwest’s best social work schools include a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, a Master of Social Work, and a Joint Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Work. As one of Michigan’s best schools of social work, degree candidates can select from eight concentrations in the Master of Social Work degree program. In Courses you may learn about mental health, social work education, social welfare, substance abuse.
The University of Michigan opened in 1917, two decades prior to Michigan reaching statehood. With several campuses that serve more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Michigan is one of the largest school in the state. In addition, the University of Michigan has been recognized as a public ivy league school.
Programs : BA, MSW, PhD
Guide on How to Become a Social Worker in Michigan
9. University of Texas at Austin
The Hicks Social Work School, at the University of Texas at Austin, has been ranked as one of the nation’s ten best schools of social work. The programs offered by one of Texas’s best schools for social work include a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), A Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW), and a Ph.D. in Social Work, plus post-doctoral training options. The McCombs Business School, along with one of Austin’s best social work schools, offers a dual degree program option with the MSSW program. In courses you may learn about mental health, social work education, public policy, substance abuse.
The University of Texas (UT) is the state’s flagship campus, with more than 51,050 students attending classes online and on-campus. UT is also a space-grant school that was founded in 1881. The University of Texas athletes have garnered nearly 150 Olympic medals.
10. University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin’s Rosenbaum Social Work School is recognized to be among the best schools of social work in Wisconsin. The programs available from one of the Midwest’s best schools for social work include an undergraduate BSW degree, a full and part-time Master of Social Work, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Welfare, plus post-MSW options. The MSW programs from one of the best social work schools include aging, mental health, child/youth/family welfare, and health, social work education, mental health, social welfare policy, substance abuse.
The University of Wisconsin (UW) is Wisconsin’s flagship campus that is situated on Lake Mendota. More than 45,500 students vying for the more than 400 academic degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The University of Wisconsin also maintains a large arboretum and is home to four National Historic landmarks.
11. University of Maryland-Baltimore
The School of Social Work at the University of Maryland Baltimore is recognized to be one of the best social work schools in the mid-Atlantic region. Among Maryland’s best schools of social work, The University of Maryland offers a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Social Work (at the Baltimore or Shady Grove campus), and a Ph.D. in Social Work program, plus opportunities for post-doctoral fellows. Additionally, UM’s best schools for social work offer an array of international learning opportunities to its social work students. In courses you may learn about social work education, mental health, social welfare policy, substance abuse.
The University of Maryland (UM) is a research higher learning institution that was established in 1966. This space-grant school serves more than 13,450 students each year – the fourth largest student enrollment in the UM system. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is organized into seven colleges/schools offering degrees in public policy, social work, humanities, engineering, and math/natural sciences, to name a few.
12. Boston College
As one of New England’s best social work schools, Boston College’s Social Work School offers a Master of Social Work degree program and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work. The MSW program offered by one of Massachusetts’ best schools of social work can be completed as full or part-time students and with available dual degree options. Boston College, as one of Boston’s best schools for social work, includes six practice specialties in health, Latinx communities, older adults, children/youth, health, mental health, and global practice. You may learn about social work education, mental health, learn about vulnerable populations, substance abuse.
Boston College is a Jesuit institution of higher education that was founded in the early 1860s. Nearly 15,000 students attend classes on the school’s Boston campus and online, vying for the degrees offered by the college’s eight colleges/schools. The Boston College men’s ice hockey team has won multiple championships.
13. University of Georgia
The University of Georgia’s Social Work School is ranked among the best schools of social work in the southern United States. In addition, the University of Georgia’s best schools for social work offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program, a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, and a Ph.D. in Social Work, plus a Master of Arts Degree (MA) in Nonprofit Management & Leadership. AS one of Georgia’s best social work schools, UGA also offers several dual degree options with the MSW degree – a Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Health degree, simultaneously. You may learn about social work education, mental health, learn about vulnerable populations, substance abuse.
The University of Georgia is recognized to be a public ivy and the flagship campus of Georgia’s university system with a student enrollment that nears 39,000 students. Established in the mid-1780s, the University of Georgia is one of only four schools that are a four-designation school – sun, land, space, and sea-grant.
14. Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis’s Brown School has been ranked as one of Missouri’s best schools for social work. The school offers a Master of Social Work and a Ph.D. degree in Social Work (or public health Sciences) from one of the Midwest’s best social work schools. Alumni from one of St. Louis’s best schools of social work hale from nearly 70 international locations. Additionally, students may opt to explore the many global opportunities offered by the university. You may learn about social work education, mental health, how to serve vulnerable populations, substance abuse.
WU in St. Louis is a multi-campus institution of higher learning that was established in 1853. This private school serves more than 12,550 students from all states and more than 100 international locations. Additionally, it is among the top ten universities in the world for the most cited researchers.
Guide on How to Become a Social Worker in Missouri
15. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota’s Education and Human Development houses one of Minnesota’s oldest and best schools of social work. Among the programs provided by one of the Twin Cities’ best schools for social work are a Master of Social Work degree (MSW) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work – from the school’s campus. The available MSW concentrations from one of the best social work schools include aging & disability, community practice, health, and children/families. You may learn about social work education, mental health, how to serve vulnerable populations, substance abuse.
The University of Minnesota (UM Twin Cities) maintains dual campuses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that serve more than 51,050 undergraduate and graduate students. UM was established in the early 1850s as a college prep school but became a land grant school about fifteen years later. In addition, Minnesota’s student enrollment numbers are among the largest in the nation.
16. University of Utah
The University of Utah’s Social Work College is ranked among Utah’s best schools for social work. The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from one of Salt Lake City’s best schools of social work is available online and on the school’s campus. Utah’s MSW program offers seven tracks in health, global, substance use, aging, child welfare, mental health, health, and forensic. Utah’s best social work schools also offer a Ph.D. in Social Work that is available online for the Fall of 2023 – for the first time.
The University of Utah (U of U) is a research university that was established in 1850. More than 32,650 students attend cases offered by Utah’s flagship and space-grant institution of higher education, which makes U of U the 2nd largest school in Utah. The University of Utah was established decades before Utah enter the union as a state.
17. Rutgers University
Rutgers University is the Garden State’s best school for social work, offering a number of social work programs on its Camden and Newark campuses. As one of New Jersey’s best schools of social work, Rutgers University offers academic, social work degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Rutgers University’s Social Work School was established in the mid-1950s and is now among the best social work schools in the eastern United States. The doctoral programs include a Ph.D. and a Doctor of Social Work options.
Rutgers University’s motto is the State University of New Jersey. The school maintains three campuses in central and northern New Jersey that serve about 68,450 students. In addition, Rutgers is a land, sea, and space-grant school that was founded in 1866, making it one of the oldest in the postsecondary schools in the United States.
Programs : BASW, MSW, PhD, DSW
18. University of Southern California
The Peck Social Work School within the University of Southern California (USC) is recognized to be among the west coast’s best social work schools. In addition, USC is one of the best schools for social work that has received accreditation by the CSWE, with a commitment to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics. The MSW degree programs from one of California’s best schools of social work include an online version, a program for working adults, an advanced standing program, and a traditional program. Students may also choose a dual degree or a combo program that allows earning a baccalaureate and master’s degree in five years
The University of Southern California (USC) is a sea & space-grant school that was established in the early 1880s with more than 48,250 students. SC holds the distinction of being the oldest school in the state.
Programs : BSW, MSW, DSW
19. Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s College of Social Science offers a variety of social programs from one of Michigan’s best schools of social work. The university offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree (BSW) and certificate programs at the undergraduate level. Michigan’s best social work schools in East Lansing and Flint (and other locations) offer a regular 57-credit program, plus several options for advanced standing students. MSW candidates enrolled in one of the Midwest’s best schools for social work can opt for two dual degree programs, plus a Ph.D. in Social Work degree.
Michigan State University (MSU) is a public land-grant school established in 1855 under the Morrill Act. The school’s East Lansing campus is home to nearly 50,000 students. Michigan State University’s athletes play as Spartans and have won six national championships in football.
20. Ohio State University
Ohio State University’s Social Work College is one of Ohio’s best schools for social work, offering social degrees and certificate programs from the undergraduate to doctoral levels. US News ranks Ohio State University’s Graduate College of Social among the six best schools of social work in the nation, among more than 250 graduate programs. Among the best social work schools in Columbus, Ohio State University offers a bachelor’s, a master’s, a combo BSW/MSW, and a Doctor of Philosophy program, plus a variety of international study opportunities, among others.
Ohio State University (Ohio State) is a space, land, and sea-grant university that was established in 1870. In addition, Ohio State University maintains multiple campuses and is Ohio’s flagship school with more than 61,150 undergraduate and graduate students. The football program at Ohio State University is valued at $1.5 billion, the largest valuation of any program.
21. Indiana University
Indiana University is home to one of Indiana’s best social work schools which offers students various social programs that include academic degrees (from baccalaureate to doctoral) and certificate programs, with more than 8,000 alumni working in the social work field. As one of the Hoosier state’s best schools for social work, Indiana University offers a BSW from its six Indiana locations. IU’s MSW programs are available in seven locations and entirely online. IU’s Ph.D. in Social Work program is the only program of its kind and offered from one of the state’s best schools of social work.
Indiana University was founded in 1820 and operates two comprehensive campuses, seven regional campuses, and an online platform that serve more than 110,150 students each year. Indiana University’s flagship campus is situated in Bloomington.
22. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago’s Crown School of Social Work is recognized among the Windy City’s best schools of social work. Among the best social work schools in Illinois, the University of Chicago offers an MSW and a dual degree for MSW, and a master’s degree in Social Sector leadership. The Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Social Work – from one of Chicago’s best schools for social work, requires the completion of a minimum of fifteen courses, including statistics and research methods.
The University of Chicago (Chicago) was established in 1890 and now operates as a private space-grant institution of higher education. U of C is recognized among the most selective in the nation and among the finest in the world, serves more than 16,250 students. The faculty of the University of Chicago includes more than 100 Nobel Laureates.
23. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut’s School of Social Work offers a variety of social work programs from one of New England’s best schools for social work. The University of Connecticut’s Social Work programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral levels are recognized to be among the nation’s twenty-five best schools of social work, according to US News. In addition, The University of Connecticut’s Ph.D. is not only from one of the best social work schools but the only program in the overall region.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) was established in 1881 as a land grant school under the 1862 Morrill Act. More than 27,120 students attend classes online and on-campus. The Storrs campus is home to the school-run Repertory Theater. The University of Connecticut is recognized to be the top public university at the national level in New England.
Programs : BS, MSW, PhD
24. Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s Social Work School celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year as one of Arizona’s best schools for social work. The BSW program from one of the western US’s best schools of social work prepares students for generalist work. Arizona State’s MSW degree offers concentrations in policy administration or advanced direct practice and is offered online or on-campus. The social work doctoral program from one of Tempe’s best social work schools trains students to become the next generation of social work educators, researchers, and scholars.
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public institution of higher education with multiple campuses in Arizona. The school serves 145,000 undergraduate and graduate students from its campuses and online platform. ASU was founded as a teacher’s school in the mid 1880s.
25. Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences is considered as one of Cleveland’s best schools for social work, offering graduate-level degrees that are available online and on-campus. As one of Ohio’s best schools of social work, Case Western offers eight MSW emphases that include, in part, again, children, health, substance use, or community path, among others. Case Western Reserve University’s Ph.D. in Social work is not only one of Cleveland’s best social work schools but the first social welfare program at the doctoral level in the nation.
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a research school that was formed by a merger of two other schools in 1967. In addition, Case Western Reserve University is a space-grant school with a student enrollment that nears 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Case Western Reserve University’s Cleveland campus is located a few miles from downtown Cleveland.
26. University at Buffalo-SUNY
The University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work is one of the Great Lake Region’s best social work schools, offering academic degrees and certificate programs at the graduate level. As one of New York’s best schools for social work, the University of Buffalo is a public institution that offers world-class social work education at affordable tuition prices. UB’s MSW programs are available on-campus or online and are offered as a dual program with a Ph.D. degree. In addition, Western New York’s best schools of social work offer both a Doctor of Social Work and a Ph.D. program.
The University at Buffalo (UB) is a member school of the SUNY system that was established in 1827 by Milliard Fillmore. This space-grant university’s dual campuses and distance-learning platform serve about 32,140 students each year. The University at Buffalo operates the only NY-funded state law school.
Programs : MSW, DSW, PhD
27. Boston University
Boston University’s School of Social Work is ranked among Boston’s best social work schools offering both online and on-campus degree options at the graduate and doctoral levels. BU’s MSW program is available on Cape Cod, Boston, and Worcester. The MSW specializations from one of the best schools of social work include a traditional academic track, an advanced standing academic track, and a human service experience track. Boston University’s Ph.D. in Social Work is a fully funded program offered by one of New England’s best schools for social work.
Boston University was founded in 1830 in Vermont but moved to Boston about three decades later. About 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes online and, on the school’s, various campuses in the greater Boston area. Boston University’s men’s ice hockey team has won five national championship tournaments.
Programs: MSW, PhD
28. University of Illinois at Chicago
The Addams Social Work College at the University of Illinois at Chicago is ranked among the 10% best social work schools at the graduate level across the country. AS one of Chicago’s best schools of social work is CSWE accredited and offers four academic tracks – child/family, social work, mental health, and community practice. The Social Work Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) program from one of the Midwest’s best schools for social work offers two research tracks -social work practice or social planning, policy, and administration.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is a dual campus school that was established in 1982. In addition, the University of Illinois at Chicago is a public Hispanic and Asian-serving institution of higher learning with a student enrollment that nears 33,450 students each year. The University of Illinois at Chicago is recognized to be the largest postsecondary school in the greater metro area of Chicago.
29. Stony Brook University (SUNY)
Stony Brook University’s Social Welfare School is recognized to be one of the Empire State’s best schools for social work, offering social programs from the bachelor’s level to a doctoral level. As one of New York’s best social work schools focuses on social justice throughout its social work coursework. Field placements for Stony Brook’s social programs are available from the Hamptons through NYC. Stony Brook’s Ph.D. program is offered by one of the mid-Atlantic’s best schools of social work.
Stony Brook University (SBU) was founded in Oyster Bay in the later 1950s but now operates a space and sea-grant school further east on Long Island in Stony Brook. More than 26,550 students attend classes offered by the school. Stony Brook is a partner that manages the nearby Brookhaven Lab.
30. Florida State University
Florida State University’s Social Work College offers, as one of the Sunshine State’s best schools for social work, various social work degree programs from the baccalaureate to doctorate level. US News ranks FSU’s undergraduate and graduate programs among the best social work schools in the southern United States. Florida State University’s BSW program offers focus areas in gerontology, children, and social justice, among others. The MSW programs available from one of Florida’s best schools of social work include online, part-time, full-time, and advanced standing options.
Florida State University (FSU) is a public postsecondary school that is also a member of the state’s university system. Florida State University is home to 51,050 students, studying on its 1,400+ acre campus and online. US News ranks FSU among the top 20 public higher learning institutions among all national schools.
31. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas’s School of Social Work offers various academic degree and certificate programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral levels. As one of middle-America’s best schools for social work boasts that more than 89% of the social work students perform above-established competency levels. Among the best social work schools in Kansas, KU’s offers an advanced standing MSW program that requires only 38 semester credits, with the traditional program requiring 64 credits. The Ph.D. program from one of Kansas’s best schools of social work offers guaranteed funding options.
The University of Kansas is the state’s flagship campus that was established in the mid 1860s. In addition, KU is a space-grant school with more than 27,250 students studying on its rural campus and online. The University of Kansas was founded in 1865, only a few years after Kansas reached statehood.
32. Tulane University
The Social Work School at Tulane University is among the southern U.S.’s best schools of social work. Among New Orleans’s best social work schools, Tulane offers MSW and DSW programs from its campus and online. TU’s MSW degrees include concentrations in mental health, collective trauma, addiction, or family. The DSW academic degrees from one of the nation’s America’s best schools for social work offers students an on-campus and distance learning option, one of the few in the nation.
Tulane University is a postsecondary research school that was founded in 1834 as a medical college. More than 14,000 students attend classes offered by this space-grant institution of higher education’s ten schools/colleges – online and on the university’s 100+ urban acres. Tulane’s law school is ranked among the twelve oldest in the nation, with its medical school the fifteenth oldest.
Programs : MSW, DSW
33. New York University
New York University’s Silver Social Work School is one of the best schools of social work in the Big Apple, offering social work education and degrees from the baccalaureate to doctoral levels. At the bachelor’s level, one of New York’s best social work schools offers a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. As one of the mid-Atlantic’s best schools for social work, NYU offers several MSW programs that offer accelerated or international study options. Finally, NYU offers both a Doctor of Social Work and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work.
New York University (NYU) is a postsecondary, private school that was established in the early 1830s. NYU’s iconic campus in Greenwich Village (plus online and other campuses) are home to more than 51,400 students. New York University’s commencement ceremonies are held in Yankee Stadium, several miles uptown.
Programs : BSW, MSW, DSW, PhD
34. Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate Social Work & Social Research School is ranked among the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s best schools of social work. Among the programs offered by one of eastern Pennsylvania’s best social work schools are a Master of Social Service (MSS) (advanced standing or traditional track) and a Ph.D. in Social Work, plus a dual degree program that offers an MSS with a Master of Public Health degree option. Additionally, one of Pennsylvania’s best schools for social work is accredited by the CSWE.
Bryn Mawr College was founded by the Quakers as a women’s college in 1885 and is recognized as a member of the Seven Sister Colleges. The college’s suburban campus is home to approximately 1,640 students. In addition, Bryn Mawr College holds the distinction of being the first school for women to offer graduate degrees through the doctoral level.
Programs : MSS, PhD
35. San Diego State University
San Diego State University’s Social Work School is recognized as one of the Golden State’s best schools of social work, offering academic degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. At the bachelor’s level, one of California’s best social work schools offers a BA in Social Work or Gerontology. San Diego State University’s MSW is offered as a joint program, traditional track, or an advanced standing track. Additionally, SD State, as one of western United States’ best schools for social work, offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Research regarding substance use.
San Diego State University (SDSU) was established as the San Diego Normal School in the late 1890s. The school is a member of the state’s university system and has more than 35,450 students attending classes each year. SDSU is recognized to have one of the most diverse student enrollments in the country.
36. University of Houston
The University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work is one of the best schools of social work, offering both several MSW degree options and a Ph.D. program. At the master’s level, Houston’s best social work schools offer an on-campus, hybrid, and online option for MSW students. These MSW degree options are available from one of the Lone Star State’s best schools for social work – a clinical practice and a macro practice track.
The University of Houston was established in 1927 as a junior college and has grown to be the 3rd largest school in the Lone Star State. The University of Houston is home to more than 46,050 students vying for the nearly 300-degree programs offered by UH’s fourteen schools/colleges. The original classes for UH were taught in a local high school to train teachers.
37. Smith College
Smith College’s Social Work School offers several graduate social work programs from one of western Massachusetts’s best schools of social work. These social work programs offered by one of Massachusetts’s best social work schools include a nationally recognized MSW degree and a Ph.D. degree program. In addition, one of New England’s best schools for social work has received CSWE accreditation.
Smith College (SC) is an all-women’s college in western Massachusetts that was founded in 1871. Smith College is a member of the Seven Sisters Consortium and the Five College Consortium for schools in the Pioneer Valley. Nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes online and on the school’s Northampton campus. Notable alumni of Smith College include Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Margaret Mitchell, and Gloria Steinem, among others.
38. University of Pittsburgh
The School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh offers a variety of social work programs and is ranked among Pittsburgh’s best schools of social work. In addition, as one of Pennsylvania’s best social work schools, the University of Pittsburgh maintains the second largest training program for child welfare. The programs offered by one of Pittsburgh’s best schools for social work include a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, a Master of Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Social Work.
The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) was established as an academy in the late 1780s. More than 28,150 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes vying for degrees offered by the university’s seventeen colleges/schools. The University of Pittsburgh is recognized to be the second largest employer (nongovernmental) in the greater Pittsburgh metro area.
39. University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina’s Social Work College, established in 1969, is recognized to be one of South Carolina’s best schools of social work. As one of the state’s best social work schools, the University of South Carolina offers a BSW, an MSW, and a Ph.D. in Social Work, led by a team of dynamic scholars/researchers. The programs offered by one of South Carolina’s best schools for social work have received unconditional CSWE accreditation after each assessment/review.
The University of South Carolina (SC) was founded in 1801 and is a multiple campus, sea-grant school. In addition, U of SC is the state’s flagship campus with a student enrollment of more than 52,550 graduate and undergraduate students system wide. The University of South Carolina, in terms of enrollment, is recognized to be the biggest higher learning institution in the state of South Carolina.
40. Colorado State University
Colorado State University’s Health & Human Sciences College is considered among Colorado’s best social work schools. As one of the state’s best schools for social work, Colorado State University is CSWE accredited and offers students a variety of research and field experience opportunities. The programs offered by one of Colorado’s best schools of social work include a Bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work, plus a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (Ph.D.).
Colorado State University is a land-grant and flagship school that was established in 1879. Colorado State University’s urban campus in Fort Collins is home to more than 30,050 students each year. Many astronauts are alumni from Colorado State University, as well as Keith Carradine, Dominque Dunne, John Amos, and Leslie Jones, to name a few.
41. University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington offers a variety of social work degree and certificate programs from the Lone Star State’s best schools for social work, according to College Factual. In addition, UTA’s social work MSW programs have been ranked among the best schools of social work for online degrees by BestMSWPrograms.com. UTA, as one of Texas’s best social work schools, offers a BSW, an MSW, and a Doctor of Social Work program.
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) was originally founded in 1895 and a member of the state’s A&M university system. In 1965, UT Arlington became a member of the UT system and now serves nearly 44,000 students vying for the nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate programs. The University of Texas’s Arlington campus is recognized to be among the four largest student enrollments in the Lone Star State.
42. University of Louisville
The University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work is ranked among the Southern United States’ best schools for social work. As one of Louisville’s best schools of social work, U of L offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science of Social Work (with seven concentrations) – both accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. At the graduate level, one of Kentucky’s best social work schools offers a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (Ph.D.).
The University of Louisville was founded in the late 1790s and a member of the state’s university system. The university’s student enrollment exceeds 21,350 students from nearly all Kentucky counties and more than 110 international locations. the University of Louisville is also a space-grant school that maintains several campuses in Louisville, Shelby, and Belknap, plus the Health Sciences campus.
Programs : BSW, MSSW, PhD, DSW
43. University at Albany (SUNY)
The University at Albany’s Social Welfare School is among the best schools for social work in the Empire State. SUNY Albany is also ranked as one of the best schools of social work in the SUNY system, offering students more than 400 field education opportunities. Among the programs offered by one of New York’s best social work schools are a Bachelor of Science, and a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work. Additionally, there are dual degree options for master’s degree candidates.
The University at Albany (SUNY) is a member of the SUNY system that was established in the mid 1840s as a state-funded normal school. SUNY Albany offers nearly 180 undergraduate and graduate degree options to its nearly 18,000 students. The University at Albany is home to the New York State Writer’s Institute.
44. Saint Louis University
The Public Health and Social Justice College within Saint Louis University is considered among the most innovative and best schools for social work in the greater metro area of Saint Louis.
Among the programs offered by one of Missouri’s best schools of social work are a BSW, an MSW, and a variety of dual-degree option programs. Students enrolled in one of the state’s best social work schools are prepared to navigate the modern, complex health system.
Saint Louis University (SLU) was founded in 1818 and now maintains two campuses – one in Saint Louis and another in Spain. Additionally, this space-grant institution of higher education is home to about 12,550 undergraduate and graduate students. Saint Louis University’s social work school is ranked among the top 20% programs according to US News and accredited by the CEPH – the only Catholic University in the country to have this designation.
Programs : BSW, MSW, Dual Degrees
45. University of Denver
The University of Denver’s Graduate Social Work School offers several graduate social work programs and is considered among the best schools of social work in the greater Denver metro area.
Among the programs offered by one of Colorado’s best social work schools is an MSW, a Ph.D., plus dual degree options. The MSW program options from one of Denver’s best schools for social work include an online option, programs in Western Colorado and the Four Corners, as well as international and global programs and internships.
The University of Denver (Denver) is a private school that was established as a seminary in the mid-1860s. The University of Denver’s urban campus covers more than 100 acres and serves nearly 13,100 students each year. The campus of the University of Denver is a few miles from downtown Denver and is home to an arboretum.
46. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The Health & Human Services College at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is ranked among the best schools of social work in and around the greater Charlotte vicinity. In addition, as one of the state’s best social work schools, UNC Charlotte’s Social Work School is CSWE accredited. In addition to the BSW program, North Carolina’s best schools for social work offer three MSW academic options, a tradition, a one-year advanced standing, or a three-year program that can be completed entirely online.
The University of North Carolina (North Carolina @ Charlotte) was founded in the mid-1940s as a research postsecondary school with a student enrollment that exceeds 30,050 undergraduate and graduate students. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a multiple-campus school and is recognized as the largest in the greater Charlotte area.
Programs : BSW, MSW
47. University of Tennessee-Knoxville
The University of Tennessee’s Social Work College offers a variety of social degree programs and is among Tennessee’s best schools of social work. In addition, the University of Tennessee’s social work college is ranked among the best social work schools in the southern United States, offering a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Social Work., plus two doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or a Doctor of Social Work). Both the graduate and doctoral social work programs from one of Tennessee’s best schools for social work are available entirely online.
The University of Tennessee (UT) was established as the Blount College in the mid-1790s. In addition, the University of Tennessee is the flagship school that serves more than 30,450 undergraduate & graduate students each year. The University of Tennessee was established several years before Tennessee reached statehood when the area was known as the Southwest Territory.
Programs : BSSW, MSSW, PhD, DSW
48. Wayne State University
The Social Work School at Wayne State University is ranked among Michigan’s best social work schools offering social work programs from the bachelor’s level to that of a doctorate degree. In addition, as Detroit’s best school for social work, Wayne State is also the most diverse public school in the entire state. The MSW programs from one of the best schools of social work offer two academic paths – the community, policy & leadership track, or the interpersonal practice track.
Wayne State University (WSU) is ranked among the state’s largest institutions of higher education that was founded in the late 1860s. WSU maintains several academic campuses in the area in Wayne, Jackson, Macomb, and Oakland Counties that are home to more than 26,100 students. Wayne State University is organized into thirteen colleges/schools, offering programs in business education, engineering, fine arts, medicine, pharmacy, law, and nursing, among others.
49. CUNY Hunter College
Hunter College (CUNY) has a long-established social work school that has been ranked among NYC’s best schools for social work for decades.
As one of the best social work schools within the CUNY system, Hunter is also a senior member school whose main building was once owned and dedicated by FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. CUNY Hunter offers several social work degrees – a BSW, an MSW, and a Ph.D. in Social Work. Hunter’s MSW program, from one of Manhattan’s best schools of social work, includes an advanced standing program and several accelerated paths.
Hunter College is a constituent member school of the CUNY system that was established in 1870. The school is home to approximately 16,450 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, Hunter College was named to honor the first president of the school, Thomas Hunter.
50. Howard University
Howard University’s Social Work School is ranked as one of the nation’s capital best schools of social work by being the first HBCU higher learning institution to offer a doctoral program in social work.
Among Washington DC’s best social work schools, Howard University also offers a Master of Social Work degree that offers concentrations in community administrations, direct practice, family/child welfare, mental health, criminal justice, and gerontology, among others. In addition, Howard University, as one of the best schools for social work, also offers an international service-learning path.
Howard University (Howard) is a recognized HBCU that was established in 1867, shortly after the Civil War. This research university offers more than 100 academic degree and certificate programs to its nearly 9,500 students each year. Notable alumni of Howard University include Kamala Harris and Thurgood Marshall.
What Should I Look For at Traditional Schools That Offer Degrees In Social Work?
For students looking for schools that offer degrees in social work and the best social work schools, there are several factors to consider, including the following:
- The best schools of social work prepare students for entry-level positions or graduate studies in social work.
- Students should only consider accredited social work schools since employers and graduate schools may not recognize degrees from unaccredited universities.
- Also, the best schools that offer degrees in social work have internship and mentorship programs that help students with career development both before and after graduation.
Prospective students looking for traditional, on-campus programs want to feel part of a community that includes faculty members willing to mentor them. Networking opportunities at the best social work schools include things like job fairs, career development programs, and internships at reputable public and private organizations.
Schools With Your Career Path
Choose a program from the many schools that offer degrees in social work that addresses major theories and practices as well as the history of social work. For example, clinical social workers should attend a program that covers case management, professional identity, psychology. Degree focus areas and specializations to help students develop their career goals. Students also need a program that builds their soft skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and patience.
How Can Students Choose The Right Program From Schools That Offer Degrees In Social Work?
The best schools that offer degrees in social work and for social work should offer financial aid, have affordable tuition rates, diverse academic courses and specializations, flexible class schedules, and also opportunities to network and pursue internships. For students who are unable to attend an on-campus program, there are many MSW online programs. For example, students interested in clinical social work can attend an online LCSW program .
Accredited social work schools give students the peace of mind that they’re learning material approved by the appropriate regional or national accrediting agencies. This makes their degree more valuable and helps them obtain employment with reputable organizations.
A Bachelor’s Degree In Social Work (BSW)
With a bachelor’s degree in social work, students can gain the knowledge they need to handle crisis intervention, treatment planning, and also case management. Some of the best curricula in social work programs include human behavior, social work research, diversity and multiculturalism, and other courses that will help students become effective counselors and social workers.
Specializations At Schools That Offer Degrees In Social Work
Many schools that offer degrees in social work also have concentrations. While specializations give students majoring in social work more options for their career path, some bachelor’s degree programs focus on providing a general background in social work. However, students who choose to attend on-campus master’s degree programs should ensure that the school they choose has the right specialization for their career goals.
Why Are Internships Important?
Many students rely on internships to give them workplace experience. Pursuing internships early in their undergraduate careers can help students decide if they would like a career in social work. Internships in social work are often challenging and provide an opportunity for students to make a real impact on the lives of individuals and communities.
Colleges with internship mentoring programs provide support for students who feel overwhelmed. Internships give students exposure to working professionals. By observing and relating to practicing social workers, interns can determine whether social work is the right career for them. Also, some students leverage unpaid internships into full-time jobs.
What is CSWE Accreditation?
The Council on Social Work Education or CSWE is the accrediting agency for social work degrees in the United States. This nonprofit organization has been approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation ( CHEA ), and students should ensure that the school or university they attend meets the criteria for CSWE accreditation.
Why is CSWE Accreditation Important? The CSWE accreditation standards are designed to ensure that colleges and universities meet the strict educational requirements needed to produce competent future social workers. Students who graduate from a CSWE-accredited institution are qualified to sit for their licensing exams in social work. In order to obtain job roles at the master’s level, students need to meet the criteria for licensing in their state.
Social Work Licensing
The most lucrative positions in social work require a master’s degree. Therefore, graduates need to obtain their licenses to advance their careers. Choosing a program that includes fieldwork and internships helps students get real-world experience and gives them valuable insight for the licensing exam and obtain jobs as social workers.
It’s a good idea to review the CSWE standards for colleges and universities offering social work degrees. CSWE accredited schools provide ample opportunities for students to conduct research, find internships and learn the fundamentals of helping others through social work.
Schools That Offer Degrees In Social Work for You
An online social work program prepares students for a successful career in many community organizations. With a bachelor’s in social work, graduates can find employment as school social workers, family social workers, and government agencies. They can also work in social service agencies and help to prevent child abuse and substance abuse.
Choosing a school is a personal choice but making sure that a university has the basic criteria such as accreditation can help prevent students from wasting their time and money. Choosing an on-campus school also gives students direct access to professors and other valuable resources.
- 25 Best CSWE Accredited Online MSW Programs
- Top 15 Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work
- 25 Accredited Online Masters of Social Work Degree Programs
Do Any Ivy League Schools Offer Online Degrees?
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Updated October 18, 2023
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Online degrees at ivy league schools.
Do any Ivy League schools offer online degrees? Yes, and the number of online degrees that you can earn at the Ivy League level continues to grow. However, there are some limitations, especially where online bachelor’s degrees are concerned. We explore both the opportunities and limitations.
Online college is growing in popularity. Even more importantly though, online college is growing in credibility. For proof, look no further than the Ivy League. As the nation’s most selective colleges and universities open up to the concept of online courses and online degrees, even the Ivy Leagues are taking the virtual plunge. Most Ivy League universities offer some online courses. And if you’re up for the challenge, some of these vaunted universities offer access to fully online master’s degrees. In fact, you could earn an Ivy League MBA or an Ivy League MSW entirely online. Up until this point however, it has not been possible to earn an Ivy League bachelor’s degree online. That’s about to change.
The Best Ivy League Online Schools
1. Brown University
2. Columbia University
3. Cornell University
4. Dartmouth College
5. Harvard University
6. Princeton University
7. University of Pennsylvania
8. Yale University
Opportunities to earn online credits and even full degrees from the most selective schools in the country continue to grow. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can all suddenly qualify for a Harvard education. However, it does mean that more academically qualified students than ever before — especially working adults and non-traditional students — could have a chance to experience Ivy League courses, engage Ivy League classmates and professors, and even earn Ivy League online degrees.
The Ivy League is the nation’s most exclusive club of universities. The eight schools comprising the Ivy League — Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale — are among the oldest and most well-regarded universities in the U.S. While each of these eight schools has its own identity, culture, and areas of specialization, they do share a storied educational tradition.
This suggests that any steps the Ivies take toward standardizing online education are also steps that online education takes toward greater credibility. In other words, if online college is good enough for the Ivy Leagues, it should be good enough for pretty much anybody.
That said, these eight great universities have adopted online courses and degree programs with caution. Over its first 20 years of evolution, online education has crept slowly into the Ivy League, largely in the form of blended learning — offering students access to some online courses alongside traditional on-campus programs. Some of these universities have also created highly accessible pathways to Ivy League instruction — if not actual colleges credits — through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
And if you’re interested in earning a degree entirely online, you do have a few Ivy League options…that is, as long as you’re a graduate student. As a grad student, you may be eligible to earn a full online degree from an Ivy League university. Of course, it’s still the Ivy Leagues, so you’ll have to be an excellent candidate. But if you are, you may be able to find an Ivy League master’s online program that matches your discipline. As for ambitious undergraduates who intend to earn a fully online bachelor’s degree, you must look beyond the Ivy League, at least for now.
But stay tuned, because one Ivy League university is venturing into the unchartered waters of online undergraduate degree granting, and perhaps taking a boatload of excellent but underserved students with it.
On the Whole, I’d Rather Be in Philadelphia
Since the Fall semester of 2019, students have earned bachelor degrees from the University of Pennsylvania without setting foot in the City of Brotherly Love. In September of 2018, University of Pennsylvania announced that it would become the very first Ivy League university to offer a fully online bachelor’s degree program.
But it’s not just any bachelor’s degree. The Penn LPS Online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) is a liberal arts program tailor-made for working adults and other non-traditional learners who are drawn to the convenience and flexibility of an online education. The program focuses on career enhancement and offers students a curriculum that integrates professional and academic coursework.
The new program at UPenn marks a big leap forward, and not just because it represents a new level of confidence in the value of an undergraduate degree earned fully online. Perhaps even more consequential are the demographics this new program invites to the Ivy League table.
Non-traditional Students Climb the Ivies
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects that growth in the number of non-traditional students attending college will soon outpace growth in the number of traditional-age students enrolling for the first time. According to the NCES, “The enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 22 percent from 2003 to 2013, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over increased by 19 percent. From 2013 to 2024, however, NCES projects the increase for students under age 25 to be 13 percent, compared with 14 percent for students age 25 and over.”
The folks over there in the Ivy Leagues are pretty smart, so they understand exactly what this means. It means that working adults and non-traditional students are coming to represent an increasingly important segment of the college student population. And this segment comes with its own unique set of needs. UPenn is the first of the Ivies to address their needs directly.
The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that UPenn’s new program may be the beginning of important trend. It is not simply its popularity that has drawn more prominent and well-regarded institutions to explore online college. There is also a growing awareness of the needs presented by working adults and other non-traditional students. These demographics make up a significant portion of the growth we’ve witnessed in online college enrollment over the last decade.
This makes sense. In many ways, these same demographics have long been underserved by undergraduate programs, who focus their outreach, awareness campaigns, and recruitment efforts on high-school aged applicants. The University of Pennsylvania may be leading the way in what promises to be a broader effort by the nation’s most highly-regarded schools to better accommodate adult and non-traditional college learners. As the UPenn program has recognized, online degree programs address many of the challenges uniquely faced by this population, including work, family needs, and a practical aversion to relocation.
While an Ivy League education isn’t for everybody, it does represent recognition at the very top of the academic pyramid for the underserved adult learning populations. If you count yourself among them, check out these features:
While the promise behind UPenn’s innovative new program gives us much hope for the future of non-traditional learners in the Ivy League, it doesn’t exactly help you right now. So what online courses can you take at the Ivy League level? And what online degrees can you earn from Ivy League schools?
Related Programs That Might Interest You
I’m glad you asked. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
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Blended Undergraduate Degrees from Ivy League Schools
Though you can't yet get a fully online bachelor's degree at an Ivy League university, most of these schools do provide some number of online courses for credits. In most cases, this is done under a blended model of learning, one in which on-campus students are able to access one or more of their courses online.
Of course, this means that you must be in proximity of campus to attend some or most of your classes in person. And there are also unique limitations to each set of blended learning opportunities at the Ivy League level. Some schools offer access to just a few online undergraduate courses alongside a traditional undergraduate degree program. Others may only offer blended opportunities for graduate degree programs.
For instance, Brown University offers students an array of online undergraduate courses as part of a broader degree program which includes on-campus courses as well. The Brown University blended program describes a set of online courses that are closely connected with the on-campus experience. Classes are taught on a synchronous schedule, using real-time online instruction. Likewise, the online school calendar direclty mirrors the on-campus semester breakdown.
By contrast, some Ivy League universities offer blended learning in only the most limited sense. For instance, at Yale, traditional students who are interested in summer courses can balance their year-long on-campus workload with a summer of online courses. The Yale Summer Session gives students who are already enrolled at Yale a chance to continue earning credits wherever they spend the summer.
Online Graduate Degrees and Professional Certifications from Ivy League Schools
While Ivy League schools have been slow to develop online bachelor's degree programs, many have already embraced online graduate degree programs and a host of related certification and certificate programs. In most instances, these programs are driven by the goal of professional development, and offer participants a chance to enhance existing credentials.
Columbia Online offers a good example of this type of online programming. The New York-Based university offers a range of different graduate level online educational experiences, leading to an array of different credentials. "Currently," says the Columbia Online website, "students are able to enroll into a variety of online programs which ranges from technical, social work, health technologies, environmental sustainability, and leadership to a variety of other professional development programs. Explore our current online degree programs, hybrid master's degree programs, and non-degree certification professional development programs in the following schools at Columbia University."
It is noteworthy that Columbia University is the only Ivy League school to offer an online Master of Social Work degree.
Also noteworthy, you can actually earn an Ivy League MBA fully online at the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business .
Then there's Harvard , which offers a partially-online Graduate Degree. Harvard's blended approach to a master's degree gives students a chance to "balance online study with a Harvard campus experience" and "be immersed in a rich academic community and have access to extensive resources."
MOOCs from Ivy League Schools
If an online Ivy League education seems a bit out of your price range, there is one more option. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free, online courses that offer access to instruction and education in a wide range of subjects. Though you won't get any college credits or advance toward a degree, there are hundreds of MOOCs featuring Ivy League instructors and course content. In most cases, you can attend or access a MOOC for free. Some schools may charge you a modest fee for an optional certificate of completion.
MOOCs are a good option if you're in it for the love of learning, or because there's a specific subject that could advance your professional value, or simply because you'll enjoy the bragging rights of telling people you studied Linear Regression at Harvard .
That's not all. Harvard offers a whole bunch of free online classes through its HarvardX catalogue of MOOCs. Harvard calls these free classes a University-wide strategic initiative "to enable faculty to build and create open online learning experiences for residential and online use, and to enable groundbreaking research in online pedagogies."
Princeton Online adheres to a similar mission, providing a channel for "faculty members who would like to expand the scope and impact of their teaching by offering their course to a world audience"
Most Ivy League universities offers a selection of these free and highly accessible online courses. If your priority is lifelong learning at the very highest levels of American academia, you can probably see the value in free courses from schools like Harvard and Princeton. More than that, you can also see the value proposition of online education as a means to creating top-tier eduational access for a whole new population of learners.
Earn an Ivy League Degree Online
As noted above, the Ivy Leagues do offer a number of online options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read on for a more complete look at the hybrid undergraduate degrees and online masters degrees offered at each of the eight Ivy League institutions:
The Best Online Ivy League Schools
Founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest university in the U.S. With just over 10,000 students, Brown is as well known for its history and English programs as it is for its Warren Alpert Medical School.
Through its School of Professional Studies, Brown offers a variety of blended executive programs that combine online and on-campus coursework, including:
- Executive Master in Cybersecurity
- Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership
- Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership
- IE Brown Executive MBA
Online learners can take courses from Brown through MOOCs (offered in partnership with edX), as well as courses directly from the university, in areas such as cybersecurity, economics, finance, biology, and Greek mythology.
Applicants to the hybrid graduate program at Brown must complete the application process, including submitting a resume, personal statement, and transcripts. Students wishing to complete online courses through Brown must complete an application process, including transcripts. Brown University MOOCs are offered on an open enrollment basis.
Brown is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Brown University ranks among The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
A leader in higher education for more than 250 years, Columbia University encompasses two campuses in New York City, along with a state-of-the-art medical center and observatory facility. Online learning at Columbia includes degrees, non-degree programs, and certificates, in both traditional and emerging fields such as environmental science and sustainability, and health information technology.
Columbia's online division features hybrid options and MOOCs, alongside full undergraduate and graduate programs; each provides an accessible professional education opportunity to all students. The university offers online degree and hybrid degree programs across seven schools, such as:
- Master of Arts in Statistics (hybrid)
- Master of Science in Applied Mathematics
- Master of Science in Computer Science
- Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering
- Master of Social Work
Columbia University also offers a variety of online certificates and courses, including an array of online executive education courses in areas like leadership, management, and finance.
Admission prerequisites and application requirements for Columbia University vary by program. Generally, undergraduate applicants must submit official high school transcripts and official transcripts from any prior college coursework, along with SAT or ACT scores. Additional application materials include an autobiographical essay and two letters of recommendation.
Graduate admission requirements typically include official college transcripts, a resume, a recommendation letter, and a personal statement. Some programs require submission of a portfolio. Many require submission of GMAT or GRE scores.
Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Columbia University ranks #5 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Cornell University, founded in 1865, is the youngest of the Ivy League schools by about a century. While the other colleges in the Ivy League predate the American revolution, Cornell came along at the tail end of the American Civil War. Nevertheless, it goes toe-to-toe with its elder siblings in quality.
Cornell serves online learners through a variety of online degrees, online college courses, MOOCs, and online certificates. The university's two online degree programs are:
- Executive Master of Human Resource Management
- Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering
In addition to the above programs, Cornell offers numerous online and hybrid certificate programs geared toward working professionals, as well as individual courses and MOOCs. Its certificate offerings include:
- Conflict Resolution
- Engineering Leadership
- Financial Success for Nonprofits
- Global Environmental Education
- Nutrition Counseling
MOOCs and certificate programs at Cornell are offered on an open-enrollment basis. Admissions to the graduate degree programs require an application process, with different specific requirements for each program.
Cornell University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Cornell University ranked #12 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Established in 1769, Dartmouth College is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It enrolls over 6,500 students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and is best known for its Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Geisel School of Medicine.
For online students, Dartmouth College offers several options, including two hybrid degree programs, and MOOCs through DartmouthX (in partnership with edX).
Dartmouth College offers the following hybrid degree programs:
- Master of Healthcare Delivery Science
- Master of Public Health
DartmouthX offerings include courses such as:
- Bipedalism: The Science of Upright Walking
- John Milton: Paradise Lost
- Omnichannel Strategy and Management
- The American Renaissance: Classic Literature of the 19th Century
- The Engineering of Structures Around Us
The graduate degree programs at Dartmouth require an application process, including transcripts. The MOOCs are offered on open-enrollment basis.
Dartmouth College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Dartmouth College ranks among The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Established in 1636, Harvard University has since grown into one of the most respected names in education, and is the oldest university in the United States. Between the undergraduate and graduate schools, Harvard enrolls about 31,000 students. These numbers do not include those who take specific online educational courses.
Through the Harvard Extension School, students may complete a variety of hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs, in fields such as:
- Data Science
- Software Engineering
Students can also take individual online courses (many free of tuition) through Harvard's partnership with edX, or from the school directly, in a wide selection of general and niche subjects.
For admission to single online college courses, Harvard does not require an application. For blended undergraduate degrees, students must possess a bachelor's degree from another institution, be a minimum of 21 years of age, and complete an application process that includes a resume and transcripts. For online graduate degrees, applicants must not already hold an undergraduate degree in a similar field.
Harvard University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Harvard University ranks #1 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Founded in 1746, Princeton University is the fourth-oldest university in the country, and, like the other Ivies, has a long list of notable names among its alumni. With over 8,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Princeton is best known for the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Princeton's online selections come in the form of MOOCs, offered through Coursera, edX, and Kadenze. The MOOCs are free and not for credit, but are created by Princeton faculty. Princeton's MOOCs include:
- Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
- Computer Architecture
- Global History of Capitalism
- Making Government Work in Hard Places
- The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges
Princeton University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Princeton University ranks #7 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania, established in 1755, is the sixth-oldest university in the country, founded by none other than Benjamin Franklin. It is notable as being the first of its kind the U.S., with multiple areas of study housed in a single institution. The university enrolls over 25,000 students, and is best known for its graduate programs in the Wharton School, Law School, School of Medicine, School of Education, and School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Starting in the Fall 2019 semester, UPenn will be the first Ivy League school to offer a fully online bachelor's degree, the bachelor of applied arts and sciences. Beyond that, online students may complete online college courses and certificate programs directly through the university, or MOOCs through edX and Coursera.
The University of Pennsylvania's online certificates include:
- Climate Change
- Data Analytics
- Leadership and Communication
- Organizational Anthropology
The University of Pennsylvania's MOOCs include:
- Big Data and Education
- Introduction to Online and Blended Teaching
- Understanding Classroom Interaction
While the MOOCs from UPenn are free and open to all, the online certificates, courses, and online bachelor's degree program require an application process, including transcripts.
The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
University of Pennsylvania ranks #20 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Yale University, established in 1701, is the third-oldest university in the United States. With around 13,000 students enrolled in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs, Yale is best known for its Law School, School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Art, and School of Nursing.
Yale University has a variety of options available to online students. Most of Yale's offerings are in the form of MOOCs through either Coursera of Open Yale Courses, such as:
- America's Written Constitution
- Essentials of Global Health
- Introduction to Psychology
- Moral Foundations of Politics
- The Global Financial Crisis
Yale also offers a hybrid doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program
Yale's MOOCs are free and open to all. The DNP program requires application to the nursing school.
Yale University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Yale University ranks #6 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today.
Online Ivy League Schools Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
If the innovative new degree program at the University of Pennsylvania is any indication, you may soon have the opportunity to earn an online bachelor’s degree at any of the eight Ivy League schools. This seems especially likely as the very best schools in the U.S. seek ways of accommodating the fast-growing student population of working adults and non-traditional students.
And if you simply can’t wait for the Ivy League schools to get their act together, we urge you to check out the Best Colleges in the U.S. by State for a look at how other reputable and respected schools are advancing opportunities for non-traditional students, especially through online education.
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Advancing social justice, promoting decent work
Ilo is a specialized agency of the united nations.
BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting
Make social dialogue work
ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, praises the commitment to social dialogue and tripartism made by BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - in a speech at the group’s Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting in South Africa.
- Firstly, individually each of the BRICS countries, for very obvious reasons, plays a key and leading role in our organization and in the international system more generally. Through our offices in each one of your countries we are working closely, and I believe productively, on a permanent basis.
- Secondly, the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerials address critically important questions which stand high on the ILO’s agenda of priorities. That is certainly the case with the South African Presidency’s choice of the theme of “Developing Countries for Intensive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the New Industrial Revolution”. So by working with you here collectively we are able to advance these global priorities for a remarkably high proportion of the people that we serve.
- And the third consideration is that we are very conscious of the great, and increasing, importance that the BRICS Group has acquired on the international stage, and this at a time when the pressures faced by the multilateral system pose important challenges to international cooperation. Proof of this may be found in the BRICS Summit Declaration adopted in Johannesburg just last week. It is, if I may be allowed to say so, a document of great vision, breadth, and ambition, and stands out for its ringing endorsement of the United Nations, of which the ILO is a part, multilateralism, and of the strengthened system of global governance to which we must contribute if the shared prosperity that we seek is to be achieved.
Doctoral study in pursuit of social justice
The School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) offers doctoral students the resources of an Ivy League institution within a small, intimate program. Having long been a leader in social work research through the PhD in Social Welfare program, SP2 established the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work program, the first practice doctorate, in 2007. Today, students in the PhD program research social problems through a transdisciplinary lens, while DSW students focus on preparation for leadership in social work practice. Graduates from both doctoral programs are well-equipped to serve as teachers and effective advocates for social justice.
PhD in Social Welfare
The PhD program in Social Welfare is designed to develop leaders in academia and research to identify both problems and potential solutions. We work hard to foster scholarly energy, collaboration, and creativity.
Doctorate in Clinical Social Work
Now, more than ever, social worker leaders are needed in the movement towards social justice. Our Doctorate in Clinical Social Work (DSW) graduates are sought after social work doctors—highly trained and respected experts, educators, researchers, and leaders who engage in fulfilling, rewarding work and make important contributions to the profession.
PhD vs. DSW
Although both have a focus on social justice, the PhD in Social Welfare and the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work are distinct programs that prepare graduates for different career paths. Learn more about the differences between the programs below.
HOW TO APPLY >
PHD RESOURCES >
DSW RESOURCES >
PhD Student Handbook >
DSW STUDENT HANDBOOK >