Online Master of Social Work

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. Do you have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree?
Do you have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree?

Why Choose OHIO’s Online Master of Social Work?

Many rural communities lack the resources to provide comprehensive care, with barriers stemming from a multitude of factors, including a lack of medical insurance, a shortage of care providers, and racial and economic inequities. While the U.S. Census Bureau classifies 97% of the nation’s total land area as rural, only 19% of the population lives in rural areas, widening an existing equity gap in health care access that presents challenges and opportunities for your social work practice.

America’s most vulnerable citizens lack equitable access to critical social services. But with an online Master of Social Work from Ohio University, you’ll help implement meaningful solutions that deliver care to underserved communities in both rural areas and big cities. Our MSW degree program is built to give you not only the specialized skills to focus on health care access but also the knowledge you can put into practice in sociological, psychological, and developmental contexts. When you build your educational foundation at Ohio, you’ll be uniquely equipped to empower those who are most at risk — opening doors to a variety of fulfilling and consequential career paths.

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Study on your schedule, not ours

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No GRE/GMAT required

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Graduate in as few as 24 months

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Choose from 3 start dates per year

Dr. Cluse

Study social work online with Ohio University and learn from faculty members actively making an impact in the field. Meet Dr. Terry Cluse-Tolar, the program director of our online Master of Social Work program.

Dr. Cluse-Tolar brings more than two decades of experience in both the practice and teaching of social work. She enjoys challenging students and inspiring the future of the profession. You can learn from Dr. Cluse-Tolar and other passionate faculty members at Ohio University.

Council on Social Work Education logo

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Ohio University ranks #1 online college in the state of Ohio.

What Can You Do with a Social Work Degree?

People everywhere need dedicated social workers. In a range of settings, from schools and hospitals to prisons and nonprofits, new programs and job opportunities continue to expand as awareness surrounding access to health care grows.

That’s why the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of social workers to increase by 12% from 2020 to 2030. Our communities need qualified professionals who can envision, implement, and evaluate a higher standard of care. With social issues such as poverty and the opioid crisis impacting individuals across demographic groups, you have the rare opportunity to enter the social work landscape during a time of critical necessity and transformation.

Underserved people need your expertise now more than ever before. But first, you need a quality education that prepares you for the road ahead. OHIO’s Advanced Track online MSW degree delivers just that — an opportunity to gain real-world, graduate-level skills that maximize your impact in a wide range of roles, including counseling, therapy, rehabilitation, and community development.

Average salaries for social work careers.

The average salary for master’s in social work graduates is $56,000. Here are seven social work careers and their average salaries, according to PayScale and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: community outreach coordinator ($43,900); foster care social worker ($43,900); substance abuse counselor ($47,660); marriage and family therapist ($51,340); geriatric social worker ($53,400); child protective services worker ($53,800); and nonprofit executive director ($68,100).

Mental Health and Substance Abuse


  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Geriatric social worker
  • LGBTQ and gender identity therapist
  • Crisis counselor

Child, Youth, and Family


  • Child protective services caseworker
  • Foster care social worker
  • Eating disorder therapist
  • Group therapist

Professional Leadership


  • Director of corporate social responsibility
  • Nonprofit executive director
  • Community outreach specialist
  • Human resources specialist
  • Grant writer

MSW Curriculum

Foundation Plan

Looking to refocus or pivot your career? OHIO designed its online Foundation MSW degree for you. This 62-credit track is open to all eligible students with a recent bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and can be completed in as few as  Both the Foundation and Advanced Standing programs are part-time, designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals pursuing an advanced degree.

Curriculum Highlights

Our online Master of Social Work program uses a strengths-based problem-solving model that incorporates an awareness of the impact of social work values and ethics. This unique focus and instructional design will help you learn to:

  • Facilitate outreach to those facing accessibility needs and other adverse circumstances
  • Support individuals, families, and communities in overcoming adversity
  • Diagnose, assess, and offer treatment for mental illnesses and addictions
  • Understand how populations are affected by social needs and policy
  • Prepare to obtain state licensure as a social worker

Upon graduation from the MSW degree program, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to confidently go where your passion calls you. Your support and guidance will help individuals, particularly residents of rural and marginalized communities, cope with and overcome life’s biggest challenges.

MSW Advanced Standing Program

The MSW Advanced Standing Program delivers an accelerated curriculum option for recent graduates of BSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The 10-course, 36-credit-hour program is designed to be completed in as little as two years (six semesters) — offering students the chance to explore strategies to help marginalized communities gain better access to social services.

Advancing Standing applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program within five years of graduate school admission
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Have a reference from their senior-year field instructor
  • Submit a copy of the most recent evaluation of their senior year field placement

If you meet these minimum qualifications, we invite you to learn more about the MSW Advanced Standing Program.

 

Explore Our Curriculum

Meet the Online Master of Social Work Faculty

Dr. Jenny Shadik, LISW and LCSWStudents earning their online Master of Social Work at Ohio University learn from faculty members with real-world clinical experience. Meet Dr. Jenny Shadik, LISW, and LCSW, who practiced as a social worker and clinical supervisor for many years before joining the College of Health Sciences and Professions faculty.

Dr. Shadik’s research and professional experience focus on understudied topics, including fathering, sibling violence, and parenting interventions for child maltreatment.

What attracted you to fathering as a research interest?

In my Ph.D. program, while reviewing the literature related to child maltreatment, it became clear that fathers, and particularly some subgroups of fathers, were an understudied population. I wanted to increase knowledge of fathers so we could ultimately design more effective interventions to help prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

As a practicing LISW and LCSW, did you work with fathers?

Yes. Much of my practice background involves working with parents who have maltreated or are at high risk for maltreating a child. Some of the fathers receiving services for child maltreatment have experienced challenges with mental health, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, or incarceration, so my work considers these areas as well. I believe it’s important to understand fathers’ strengths as well as their challenges.

Has research on these understudied areas increased?

Research on fathering has increased significantly in the past 20 years. Some areas of fathering have been explored more than others. We still need more focus on unmarried, social, and maltreating fathers, for instance. The literature on sibling violence is also increasing, but more work is needed regarding assessment and intervention tools and educating practitioners to assess for this form of family violence.

How does your expertise in family dynamics help students in the MSW program prepare to become practicing social workers?

In one way or another, all social workers will deal with family dynamics. I hope that my research and teaching helps to prepare students to do more comprehensive assessments so they can explore the full range of experiences their clients may have faced. When we increase our awareness of various issues, such as fathering, we’re better prepared to ask relevant questions. Also, I hope that my teaching and research helps students remember to consider individual and family strengths.

What area of the MSW curriculum are you most excited to teach?

I enjoy teaching practice courses. Before becoming a professor, I practiced as a social worker and clinical supervisor for many years. This background allows me to incorporate examples and experiences from the field into my classes and interactions with students. I enjoy helping students see the relevance of course content and assignments to help them become knowledgeable and effective social workers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with an online master’s degree in social work?

An MSW degree can open doors to a wide variety of purpose-driven career paths, including substance abuse; medical, clinical, and health care social work; therapeutic services; community program administration; criminal justice; suicide prevention; and nonprofit administration, to name just a few.

Does the online Master of Social Work program require the GRE or GMAT?

Ohio University’s MSW program does not require the GRE or GMAT for admission.

Is the online MSW program accredited?

Yes. Ohio University’s MSW degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

How long is the online Master of Social Work degree program?

The 62-credit MSW Foundation track can be completed in as little as 10 semesters. The MSW Advanced Standing Program comprises 10 courses (36 total semester credit hours) and can be completed in as little as six semesters (two years).