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Most Affordable Online Masters in Social Work

As long as social work specialists are earning master’s degrees in their respective fields, humankind will continue to progress toward a brighter and more mental-health-conscious future. Those with master’s degrees in social work (MSW) go into case management, human services (i.e. Child Protective Services, counseling, therapy assistance), and any number of other specializations.

If you’re interested in devoting your life to the betterment of other people, this is the kind of degree you’ll want to shoot for. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most affordable online master’s in social work degrees–ranked according to value, quality, accreditation, and cost–to make the process of steering your future that much easier.

Online MSW Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the schools below.


All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online MSW degree (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2022.

Cheapest Online MSW Programs for 2023

RankSchoolAverage Net Price
# 1The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley$3,743
# 2California State University-San Bernardino$8,107
# 3University of Central Florida$8,618
# 4New Mexico State University$10,428
# 5Western Kentucky University$12,522
# 6Arizona State University$13,107
# 7West Virginia University$13,355
# 8Western New Mexico University$13,679
# 9University of Memphis$13,904
# 10Delaware State University$14,866
# 11Texas State University$14,887
# 12Humboldt State University$14,956
# 13University of Arkansas at Little Rock$16,065
# 14University of Missouri$16,559
# 15Aurora University$16,994
# 16University of North Dakota$16,998
# 17Our Lady of the Lake University$18,376
# 18Saint Leo University Online$18,445
# 19The University of Tennessee – Knoxville$18,579
# 20University at Buffalo$19,262
# 21Rutgers University$23,035
# 22Temple University$23,888

10 Best Affordable Colleges for Online MSW Programs

1. The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Average Net Price: $3,743
School Type: Private, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 82%

The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley provides accelerated online MSW programs for those who already possess a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Two affordable online msw programs are available, which include: (1) Master of Science in Social Work Online – Administration and Community Practice (with Advanced Standing), and (2) Master of Social Work – Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families, and Groups (with Advanced Standing). This is a 100% online accelerated MSW with affordable tuition and access to financial aid. The social work education programs are uniquely focused on the Latino community with specific clinical social work skills and knowledge training to serve the border region of southern Texas. Students also gain real-world experience during a required practicum, of which they get to choose the social service field setting.

The UTRGV MS in Social Work (MSSW) – Administration and Community Practice is a highly competitive program, with only 15-20% of applicants being accepted.

UTRGV’s online MSW program was designed to be an alternative option for those who have been unable to pursue their education due to the high cost of tuition. This online social work degree allows students from around the world to enroll without having to relocate or quit their jobs. This program offers a fast-track admissions process that can get you into classes as soon as two weeks after applying. Additionally, this affordable online MSW program provides financial aid options for those who qualify.

Enrolling at UTRGV can help you achieve your educational goals while saving money on tuition fees and living expenses. You’ll learn from faculty members who are experts in their respective fields, some of whom have even won awards such as “Outstanding Professor” by student vote. In addition, you’ll receive personalized attention

2. California State University-San Bernardino

Average Net Price: $8,107
School Type: Public Non-Profit
School Accreditation: WSCUC
Acceptance Rate: 78%

California State University-San Bernardino is part of the public college system of California. A medium-sized university promoting small classes and strong student support services, the university also offers online degree programs for students, including the Master of Social Work (MSW). The online MSW degree program has been ranked #3 in the top 25 nationwide MSW programs by Great Value Colleges. This ranking was achieved due to the university’s outstanding reputation and its affordability. The online MSW program has a customizable curriculum, and, in the final year, students must choose a specialization that can be a field of practice, a particular social issue, or a specific client population.

California State University-San Bernardino is a great choice for students who are looking for an affordable education with small class sizes and strong student support services. The university also offers online degree programs in addition to its on-campus offerings. Students at this school have access to the same quality of education as those attending traditional classes on campus, but they may find that their tuition costs less than other schools offering similar courses.

If you’re interested in pursuing an online MSW degree program, then California State University San Bernardino could be the right choice for you. This public college system has been recognized by U.S News & World Report as one of the top five master’s level social work programs in Southern California due to its affordability and reputation among both faculty members and employers alike. Online MSW candidates will enjoy all of the benefits offered by CSUSB.

3. University of Central Florida

Average Net Price: $8,618
School Type: Pubic, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 45%

The University of Central Florida is a growing part of the public university system in the state of Florida and offers two tracks for earning an online Master of Social Work degree. Ranked #1 on rankings of the best MSW online programs, the fully accredited (by CSWE) program is available on a part-time basis only, with two distinct tracks. One track is for students who do not already have a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Social Work, and it can take up to three years to complete. The other is the Advanced Standing Track for those who have a Bachelor’s in Social Work earned within the last six years, and it takes 16 months for completion. MSW programs online courses are designed to provide skills and knowledge focused on working with diverse populations, engaging in economic and social justice, human rights, promoting the well-being of marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed populations, and advocating for social change in both social environment services and social policy.

Online education is becoming more and more popular, but there are still a lot of people who don’t think it’s as good as the real thing. UCF has been offering online degrees for years now and has seen that their students get just as good an education from UCF as they do in person. In fact, many of their students say that their online experience was better than their on-campus one.

If you’re looking to advance your career or start a new one by earning an online MSW degree then check out UCF’s online program. UCF offers flexible courses so you can complete your coursework at home or anywhere with internet access. You’ll learn from world-class professors who will help prepare you for work in health care facilities like hospitals, community organizations like non-profits, and government agencies like public health departments.

4. New Mexico State University

Average Net Price: $10,428
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 63%

New Mexico State University is a mid-size public university offering an online program for a Master of Social Work (MSW). The University’s program mainly focuses on studies leading to an advanced generalist social worker role to work with the populations found in the Southwest. Building upon a liberal arts perspective, students develop advanced knowledge and skills for working with communities, organizations, groups, families, and individuals in the region. The Master of Social Work is one of the most popular graduate programs at the University.

Social work is a field that requires the right skills, knowledge, and experience. This program provides students with an educational foundation for social work practice in diverse settings around the world. The curriculum includes both generalist and specialized courses to help you develop the necessary competencies to become effective practitioners who are ready for advanced study or immediate employment upon graduation.

NMSU’s Master’s of Social Work online degree program offers flexible scheduling options, including evening classes at many of their campuses throughout New Mexico as well as on-campus classes on select Saturdays. This school’s faculty members have expertise in areas such as child welfare, mental health services, substance abuse prevention and intervention, aging issues, education policy analysis and organizational systems change. They bring their real-world experiences into the classroom so you can learn from them firsthand how to address complex social problems effectively through research-based practices that are culturally competent across multiple populations.

5. Western Kentucky University

Average Net Price: $12,522
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 98%

Western Kentucky University, physically located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a large public university that offers a rigorous program to prepare students for clinical social work. The Master of Social Work online program’s primary focus is on the populations in non-urban areas. This includes small cities, small towns, as well as rural areas. Students gain skills and knowledge in the many levels of intervention in these areas, from the individual to the family to organizations to finally the community at large.

6. Arizona State University

Average Net Price: $13,107
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 73%

Arizona state university is among the most prestigious universities in the United States. The university is home to over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a masters in social work program. The coursework includes classes on human behavior and development, social welfare policy, mental health counseling, family therapy, substance abuse counseling and community organization. The Arizona state university masters in social work program provides students with a strong foundation for rewarding and beneficial careers. The University’s online Master of Social Work offers a great program that will prepare you to help a variety of people in a variety of situations. In the Master of Social Work program, you will learn to proactively promote justice and find personal solutions to pressing social problems.

7. West Virginia University

Average Net Price: $13,355
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 84%

West Virginia University is a large, popular university located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Its Master of Social Work programs are ranked #3 on the OnlineU Most affordable Online MSW Programs and ranked #70 in the US News & World Report rankings for graduate schools for social work. The University offers two tracks, which include the Master of Social Work – Regular Standing and the Master of Social Work-Advanced Standing. The Advanced Standing Degree program is for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work within the last eight years, from a CSWE accredited program. The University’s online degree programs are only available on a part-time basis. An important emphasis is placed on advanced integrated social work practice, particularly focusing on the oppressed and vulnerable populations in rural areas and small towns, specifically those populations characteristic of the Appalachian region.

8. Western New Mexico University

Average Net Price: $13,679
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Western New Mexico University is a smaller university within the public higher education system of New Mexico and offers two tracks for an online Master of Social Work degree. These include the MSW Advanced Standing degree for those who have previously earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work within the last eight years, and the MSW Non-Advanced Standing: for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree in the field of social work. The focus of the MSW online programs is placed on such topics as social justice, service, dignity, human relationships, and integrity. The group of MSW professors for the online degree programs all have actual work experience in the field of social work.

Social workers are needed in every community, but not everyone can afford to move back home after college. Western New Mexico University believes that social work is a calling and an opportunity for positive change, so they offer the only online MSW program in their region. WNMU’s online MSW program gives you all of the same coursework as their on-campus students at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to complete your degree without uprooting your life or spending years paying off student loans.

WNMU’s Online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree offers everything that an on-campus degree does – including professional field placements and career development opportunities – while providing all of the flexibility and affordability that today’s busy working professionals need to fit their education into their schedules. You’ll graduate with a strong foundation in theory and practice from one of New Mexico’s most respected schools with 100% job placement assistance upon graduation.

9. University of Memphis

Average Net Price: $13,904
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 85%

The University of Memphis added its online MSW programs in 2019 and 2020. These online Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Programs are offered through UofM Global as an accelerated program for those with undergraduate degrees in social work, obtained within the last five years. New MSW student admissions to the online program occur during the summer session only. Students will need to choose between two concentrations: Advanced Practice with Children, Youth, and Families or Advanced Practice with Adults and Families. A field placement consisting of 560 hours is also required.

The concentration of Advanced Practice with Children, Youth, and Families includes a focus on behavioral interventions with special needs children, child welfare, foster care, adoptions, childhood trauma, and children’s mental health. This track also provides additional focus on community social work programs for children and advocacy.

The concentration in Advanced Practice with Adults and Families prepares students to work in a variety of areas, including family violence, military and veterans’ issues, homelessness, poverty, disability, geriatrics, and substance abuse, to name a few.

10. Delaware State University

Average Net Price: $14,866
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: MSCHR
Acceptance Rate: 39%

Delaware State University is known as a historically black college in the public university system of Delaware with national rankings by US News and World Report. Due to having the only Master of Social Work program in the state, admission is highly competitive. The Master of Social Work program itself is one of just four online programs offered by the University overall. Tracks within the program exist for those without a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Social Work, as well as those in Advanced Standing. Students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program may apply up to 28 credits towards their online MSW degree. The concentration of both tracks is on advanced generalist practice, providing a variety of courses on social, economic, and political issues from a global perspective.

Online MSW Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the schools below.


Cheapest Online MSW Programs – EDsmart