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Online Social Work Degree - MSW Programs

Guide to MSW Online Programs & Social Work Courses Online

A handful of MSW programs have developed an accredited online social work degree option. I will write my paper about three of the top MSW online programs.

In order for a university to offer a social work degree, its program must first receive accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). While hundreds of campus-based programs have received such accreditation, a very small number of universities offer CSWE-accredited MSW online programs.

There are several for-profit universities dedicated to online education, such as Capella University and Walden University, which claim to offer comparable Social and Community Service degrees; however, it should be noted that these programs are not CSWE-accredited (which is why their degrees are not advertised as MSW programs).

This article reviews three MSW online programs accredited by CSWE which are housed at major state universities: University of Tennessee, Florida State University, and Michigan State University.

University of Tennessee Online Social Work Degree

The University of Tennessee offers a distance learning MSSW program for Tennessee residents, and is intended for students who live at least 25 miles away from the main campuses in Knoxville and Nashville.

Students who enroll full-time are able to finish the required 60 credit hours in four semesters, or two years. Those who enter the program having already earned a BSW are able to enroll part-time and complete the required 36 credit hours in two years as well.

Tuition rates are identical to the campus-based program, and students receive online instruction from the same professors who teach in the traditional program. It is for this reason that students who graduate from the UT MSW online program receive the exact same degree as those who graduate having taken courses on one of the two main campuses.

The UT learning format is composed of asynchronous social work courses online, though students are required to meet a few times each semester at one of the two campuses for hands-on work.

According to Write My Paper BRO research, students are required to complete an internship, which the school arranges at an approved facility within a reasonable distance to the student's place of residence.

Those interested in learning more may contact the Distance Education office at 615-256-1885.

Florida State University Online Social Work Degree

Students who have earned a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program may enroll in FSU's Online Advanced Standing Program. In this MSW online program, students must complete 39 credit hours of advanced courses and participate in a clinical internship near a student's residence.

Most students who enroll in this track are able to finish the degree in two years, and may do so wherever they reside via asynchronous courses and a locally-completed clinical practice.

Students who did not graduate from a BSW program are eligible to enroll in the Off-Campus Traditional Program. This program allows students to complete the required 61credit hours and clinical placement away from the main Tallahassee campus; students may choose to take courses at locations in Jacksonville, Gainesville, or Panama City. This program is designed to be finished in three years.

For both of the above MSW programs, all social work courses online must be completed in four years. The tuition rates for these courses are $ 411.54 per credit for Florida residents, and $ 1,042.94 per credit for those residing outside of Florida.

Those interested in learning more may contact the College of Social Work at (800) 378-9550.

Michigan State University Online Social Work Degree

MSU offers a hybrid distance learning program it calls the Blended Statewide Clinical MSW Program, which is available for those residing in the state of Michigan.

In this hybrid program, students learn through a mixture of face-to-face instruction, live web conferencing, and asynchronous online courses.

In the face-to-face component, students are required to attend a week-long summer session (in each of the program's three years) at MSU's main campus in East Lansing. Additionally, students attend a live learning session once a month at a location within reasonable distance from the student's place of residence.

In the live conferencing component, students participate in monthly video conferences with MSU faculty and members of the learning community.

Regarding the social work courses online, students complete readings, assignments, and interactive exercises via an asynchronous online platform.

To be eligible for this program, students must meet the following criteria:

Live 50 miles away or more from either the East Lansing campus or the Flint campus

Within the past five years, have two years of full-time experience in human services

Complete a personal interview as part of the admissions process

Tuition for the program is identical to tuition for graduate courses at MSU. Students who have questions about financial aid or other concerns may contact the School of Social Work at 517-353-8616.

Benefits of an Online Social Work Degree

Because of its clinical emphasis, most MSW programs do not offer to write a custom research paper or any form of distance learning. However, for those who are able to participate in one of the MSW online programs, there are numerous benefits, including:

The ability to maintain a professional career while pursuing a Master's degree

Opportunities to participate in clinical internships where a student resides, thus providing practical professional contacts and valuable experience simultaneously

Access to the same professors and rigorous instruction available to traditional students

For more information on CSWE-accredited programs, reference CSWE's guide to accredited programs, from which much of the information for this article was gleaned.