Online Master of Social Work

Turn limited resources into unlimited potential.

You work hard to improve lives. The support and guidance you offer as a social worker helps vulnerable individuals cope with and overcome life’s challenges. Now you have the chance to expand your reach in rural communities and gain skills that are appropriate for multiple contexts and settings.

Earn your Master of Social Work online from Ohio University’s esteemed College of Health Sciences and Professions. Our CSWE-accredited MSW program prepares you to serve those with limited access to vital clinical support. This is your chance to find solutions, fill resource gaps, and bring much-needed specialty services to underserved populations.

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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

Why Choose OHIO’s Online Master of Social Work?

The U.S. Census classifies more than 95% of the nation’s land area as rural. Yet these rural areas only contain 20% of the country’s population. It’s a gap that presents multiple challenges and rare opportunities for your social work practice.

That’s because many rural communities lack the resources to provide comprehensive care. Barriers include everything from the lack of medical insurance to a shortage of care providers to health systems that are unresponsive to those in poverty. In other words, some of America’s most vulnerable citizens lack access to critical social services. But you can change that. 

Choose Ohio University for your online MSW and gain the skills to assist traditionally underserved communities. These specialized skills are focused on rural areas, but also appropriate across contexts and communities to empower those most vulnerable.

Terry from Ohio University

Study social work online with Ohio University and learn from faculty 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.

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Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This esteemed designation means the program meets national standards in curriculum. CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is recognized as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories. Ohio University is also regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accreditors in the United States.

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Join a university that U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks among the “Best Social Work Programs” and “Best National Universities.”

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Ohio University is praised for professor accessibility by The Princeton Review, and we’re recognized by Peterson’s Competitive Colleges for academic quality and value.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Social Work?

Social workers are needed everywhere — from schools and hospitals to prisons and nonprofits. New programs and job opportunities continue to expand as awareness for mental health grows, especially in rural communities.

The health care industry also remains in a constant state of transformation. Social issues like poverty and the opioid epidemic impact individuals across demographic groups. It’s why the job outlook for social work is expected to grow by 16% from 2016 to 2026.*

Your expertise is needed now more than ever. Complete the Advanced Track of OHIO’s online MSW, and gain the graduate-level skills to maximize your impact in a wide range of roles.

*Based on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Adult Mental Health

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

Child, Family, and School

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

Social Policy

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

Master of Social Work Curriculum

Foundation Plan

OHIO’s online Foundation MSW program is intended for those looking to refocus or pivot their careers, 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 10 semesters.

Curriculum Highlights

Our 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, you will have the skills to offer support and guidance to help individuals cope with and overcome life’s biggest challenges, particularly for individuals from rural and marginalized communities.

SW 5101Social Work Orientation Seminar3 Credits
SW 5601Social Welfare Policy & Services 13 Credits
SW 5602Social Welfare Policy & Services 23 Credits
SW 5701Human Behavior in the Social Environment 13 Credits
SW 5801Foundations of Social Work Practice4 Credits
SW 5921Foundation Field 14 Credits
SW 5802Social Work Practice with Groups & Communities3 Credits
SW 5922Foundation Field 26 Credits
SW 5702Human Behavior in the Social Environment 2: Social Work Theory and Applications3 Credits
SW 6101Rural Social Agency3 Credits
SW 6941Social Work Research & Program Evaluation 13 Credits
SW 6942Social Work Research & Program Evaluation 23 Credits
SW 6921Advanced Field Practicum 16 Credits
SW 6922Advanced Field Practicum 26 Credits
SW 6811Direct with Practice Children, Adolescents & Groups3 Credits
SW 6812Direct with Practice Adults, Families & Communities3 Credits
SW 6810Advanced Social Work Assessment3 Credits

Ready to Go Further? You May Qualify for the Advanced Standing MSW.

Current BSW holders can apply for OHIO’s online MSW Advanced Standing curriculum. This ten course, 36-credit hour program can be completed in as little as 2 years (6 semesters) and offers an accelerated pathway where students explore strategies to help rural and marginalized communities gain better access to social services. Eligibility requirements include:

  • A recent BSW from a CSWE accredited institution
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • B or above in all required social work courses

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