Why Earn Your M.S.W. Online from Syracuse University?

Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program empowers the next generation of social work leaders and equips them with the tools to enact the change they want to see in their communities. The online M.S.W. prepares social workers—who are committed to the values of human diversity and dignity—to help others navigate life’s challenges. The immersive learning experience combines live, online classes with in-person field placements; students complete coursework on their own time while also giving back to their community from the get-go.

Online Student Experience

As a Syracuse University student, you are encouraged to fully engage in the passionate Orange community. From collaborative online classes to one-on-one study sessions, you’ll experience a variety of benefits that include:

  • Immersive Online Campus: From weekly Zoom HD classes and self-paced coursework to break-out rooms and progress reports, the online platform has everything students need to keep up with their studies.
  • Adjustable Schedules: With classes at varying times throughout the week and coursework always accessible via our full-service mobile app, the online M.S.W. program offers working professionals the opportunity to learn on their own schedule.
  • Smart Platform Features: Students personalize their learning experience with features such as dark mode, castable content for larger screens, and varying video speeds and closed captioning for recorded lectures.

Admission Requirements

Syracuse University’s Master of Social Work online program is designed for professionals who have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than social work. Applicants should be passionate about social work, committed to social justice, and able and willing to recognize the dignity of all people.

Application requirements include:

  • Transcripts: Required from all postsecondary institutions from which you have earned or will earn a degree and from any other institution where you earned prerequisite course credits specific to the program.
  • Resume/CV: A resume describing your employment history and academic accomplishments.
  • Essays: A personal essay of 600–800 words in which you describe your professional goals, future professional plans and academic interests.
  • Prerequisite Coursework: You are required to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed a minimum of 30 credits of liberal arts coursework. Coursework includes Physical or Natural Science (3 credits), Computational Skills (6 credits), Humanities (6 credits) and Social Sciences (12 credits).
  • Letters of Recommendation: You need to submit three letters of recommendation from three references. Recommendations should be professional or academic. If you have graduated within the last five years, an academic reference is strongly encouraged.

Please note that GRE scores are not required to apply. If you are applying as an international student, please visit our international applicants page.

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Online Master of Social Work Curriculum

Featuring the same curriculum content as our on-campus program, the online M.S.W. curriculum prepares students to formulate effective interventions with clients and client systems, work with diverse communities and advance social justice within institutions. Students also choose between two concentrations that align with your social work career goals. Students can complete the 60-credit curriculum in as few as 36 months.

As an online M.S.W. student you will learn to:

  • advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice;
  • demonstrate ethical and professional behavior;
  • engage diversity and difference in practice;
  • engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice;
  • engage in policy practice; and
  • engage, assess, intervene and evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Core Courses

The 24 credits of foundational-level coursework will help you develop a deeper understanding of social work practice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. Each class is taught by our expert faculty with years of experience in the social work field.

Foundational Courses: 24 Credits

  • SWK 601: Fundamentals of Social Work Practice I
  • SWK 602: Fundamentals of Social Work Practice II
  • SWK 611: Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • SWK 626: Persons in Social Context
  • SWK 628: Human Diversity in Social Contexts
  • SWK 662: Applied Research in Social Work
  • SWK 671: Field Instruction I
  • SWK 672: Field Instruction II
Advanced Foundational Courses: 12 Credits

  • SWK 771: Field Instruction III
  • SWK 772: Field Instruction IV
  • SWK 724: Psychopathology
  • SWK 730: Family Systems Theory

M.S.W. Concentrations

Choose an M.S.W. concentration that aligns with your unique career goals and desired social work career. To learn more about our M.S.W. online concentrations, visit our academics page.

  • Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) Concentration: Designed for those who wish to become mental health clinicians and/or who want to practice in a clinical setting.
  • Advanced Integrated Practice (AIP) Concentration: Designed for those who wish to pursue direct practice and leadership in a wide range of increasingly complex human service organizations.

Social Work Licensure

The online M.S.W. program prepares you to earn your social work license—which you can earn by sitting for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensing examination. The ASWB exam is required to become a licensed master social worker (LMSW) in New York and most other states.

Prior to earning your M.S.W. online from Syracuse University, you are encouraged to research the licensure requirements in your particular state. To learn more about how to qualify as a licensed master social worker (LMSW) or a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York, visit our licensure webpage.

Social Work Careers

Social workers help people adjust to life changes and challenges, such as adopting a child or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. M.S.W. jobs are found in a variety of industries, and social workers work with individuals, couples and families. Here are some examples of types of social workers:

Medical Social Worker: Medical social workers—sometimes referred to as health care social workers—help patients and their families cope with a diagnosis or make the transition back to their homes after being in the hospital. Social workers in health care settings may also help doctors and other health care professionals understand the effects that diagnoses have on patients’ mental and emotional health.

School Social Worker: School social workers are trained to assist with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support for students. They consult with teachers, parents, and administrators and provide individual and group counseling. School districts hire for school social worker jobs to facilitate collaboration among home, school and community.

Clinical Social Worker: Social workers who have been approved by a state licensing board to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional disorders are called clinical social workers (CSW) or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Clinical social workers complete training programs that teach them how to evaluate a person’s mental health and use specific therapeutic techniques.

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