MSW Programs in Ohio (OH) – Online and On-Campus

Thinking of becoming a social worker in Ohio? Acquiring the proper education and training is an important part of the journey. Fortunately, there are a number of programs that can help to prepare you for a career in the field. 

Full-time and part-time Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in Ohio are offered on-campus and online at colleges and universities across the state. Advanced standing and traditional programs are also available. With an MSW under your belt, you may be able to apply for licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), though is a social work license in Ohio available to those with a bachelor’s degree in social work, Licensed Social Worker (LSW).

Before choosing an MSW program, there are a couple of factors to consider. They include the length of time it will take to earn your degree, the program cost, the educational requirements, what specialization you might want to pursue (if any) and your job prospects post-graduation. This guide is designed to help you navigate these factors as you explore MSW programs in Ohio.

Case Western Reserve University

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences


Master of Social Work (MSW)

In as few as a year and a half, you can prepare for social work leadership by earning your Master of Social Work online from Case Western Reserve University’s school of social work.

  • CSWE-accredited
  • No GRE requirement
  • Complete in as few as one and a half years


Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Ohio 

Through an MSW program in Ohio, you achieve learning competencies such as:

  • Demonstrating ethical and professional behavior
  • Engaging diversity and difference in practice
  • Advancing human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Assessing, evaluating and intervening with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

In addition to coursework, your program may include field placement experiences. All of the following Ohio institutions are CSWE-accredited and offer full-time, part-time and advanced standing program options.

Online MSW Programs in Ohio

There are three master’s in social work online programs in Ohio that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and all are offered with different enrollment options.

The online MSW programs offer the same curriculum and coursework traditional on-campus Ohio programs do. Students are taught by the same professors and also complete fieldwork as part of the program. 

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

University of Denver


Master of Social Work (MSW)

The University of Denver’s Online MSW Program is delivered by its top-ranked school of social work and offers two programs. Students can earn their degree in as few as 12 months for the Online Advanced-Standing MSW or 27 months for the Online MSW.

  • Complete the Online Advanced-Standing MSW in as few as 12 months if you have a BSW; if you do not have a BSW, the Online MSW Program may be completed in as few as 27 months.
  • No GRE Required
  • Customizable pathway options include Mental Health and Trauma or Health, Equity and Wellness concentrations

University of Southern California


Master of Social Work (MSW)

The MSW@USC is the online Master of Social Work from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. USC offers virtual and in-person field education, and students focus on adults, youth or social change.

  •  Minimum completion time: 16 months
  • Online classes taught by USC faculty 
  • Virtual field training to build skills and confidence

Fordham University


Master of Social Work (MSW)

Fordham’s skills-based, online MSW program integrates advanced relevant social work competencies, preparing students to serve individuals and communities while moving the profession forward. This program includes advanced standing and traditional MSW options.

  •  Traditional and advanced standing online MSW options are available.
  • There are four areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy.
  • Pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time track.

Simmons University


Master of Social Work (MSW)

Aspiring direct practitioners can earn their MSW online from Simmons University in as few as 9 months. GRE scores are not required, and the program offers full-time, part-time, accelerated, and advanced standing tracks.

  • Prepares students to pursue licensure, including LCSW 
  • Full-time, part-time, and accelerated tracks 
  • Minimum completion time: 9 months

Howard University


Master of Social Work (MSW)

The online Master of Social Work program from Howard University School of Social Work prepares students for advanced direct or macro practice in culturally diverse communities. Two concentrations available: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice. No GRE. Complete in as few as 12 months.

  • Concentrations: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice
  • Complete at least 777-1,000 hours of agency-based field education
  • Earn your degree in as few as 12 months

Syracuse University


Master of Social Work (MSW)

Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work program does not require GRE scores to apply and is focused on preparing social workers who embrace technology as an important part of the future of the profession. Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks are available.

  • Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks
  • No GRE required
  • Concentrate your degree in integrated practice or clinical practice

Case Western Reserve University


Master of Social Work (MSW)

In as few as a year and a half, you can prepare for social work leadership by earning your Master of Social Work online from Case Western Reserve University’s school of social work.

  • CSWE-accredited
  • No GRE requirement
  • Complete in as few as one and a half years


Social Work Degree Programs in Ohio

There are several social work degree programs available in Ohio. You may apply to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at higher ed institutions such as Ohio State University, Cleveland State University and the University of Cincinnati. With an associate degree in social work (ASW), you may seek licensure as a Social Work Assistant (SWA) in Ohio. The ASW path may take around two years and covers subjects in poverty, addiction, workplace competencies and more. 

A BSW, however, enables you to apply for licensure as either an SWA or a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Ohio. If you opt for a BSW, you can expect to spend at least four years earning your degree. Core coursework may include research methods, social welfare policy and human behavior. A practicum may also be required.

To pursue licensure as a LISW, you must have earned an MSW. A dozen institutions across Ohio offer CSWE-accredited MSW programs. The time it’ll take you to complete your MSW program depends on whether you chose to enroll as a full-time or part-time student and whether you’re pursuing a traditional or advanced standing track.

Advanced degrees, such as the Ph.D. and Doctorate of Social Work (DSW), are available at a few of Ohio’s colleges and universities, including Ohio State University. A Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or  Ph.D. in social work permits you to apply for licensure as an LSW in Ohio. DSW programs tend to focus on clinical practice, whereas a Ph.D. involves university-level research and education. View our page on social work licensure or our guide on becoming a social worker in Ohio.

Education Requirements 

Generally, a four-year bachelor’s degree is needed in order to apply to an MSW program in Ohio. If you have your BSW, you can apply to advanced standing MSW programs, which take about less time to complete than traditional standing offerings. Depending on whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, it may be possible to finish your degree in a year. 

Traditional standing MSW programs on the other hand, accept non-social work undergraduate degree holders. As a result, some programs may require you to complete prerequisite classes to prepare you for the more rigorous courses. If you’re attending school full-time, you can potentially have your MSW degree in about two years. 


Whether your social work practice leads you to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities, as a student in an MSW program in Ohio, you can expect to develop competencies in areas such as mental health and substance abuse recovery, child and youth services, diversity and culture, social and economic justice, and aging and health. MSW programs typically include a practicum or field experience internship  to bring your classroom experience into the field for real-life client work that will prepare you for your postgraduate career.’

What Can I Do with an MSW Degree in OH? 

When you finish your MSW degree in Ohio, you may be able to pursue a number of social work careers that will allow you to provide support, resources and advocacy to people who need it the most. MSW degree-holding licensed social workers may work with children, teens, families, schools and communities. They may work in the gerontology or mental health and substance abuse and recovery arenas. Alternatively, they may be a part of a psychiatry team. There’s also the option to work with members of the military or as an administrator. Different settings for social workers may require different levels of licensure and/or education and training. Be sure to check with your preferred employer and/or the Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board (CSWMFT) for details on requirements.

Learn more about each of these specialty areas below as you think through your decision to become a social worker

  • Medical social workers can be found in hospitals, community clinics and other health care settings. There, they help people cope with medical and health related issues. 
  • School social workers advocate on behalf of students, while working with parents, teachers and administrators.
  • Military social workers offer support to military service members, veterans and their families to address psychological and emotional disorders that may arise from their work.
  • Part of a psychiatric team, psychiatric social workers help people with mental health conditions such as depression, severe anxiety and psychosis, or those who have problems with substance abuse.

Many factors come into play with regard to salaries for an MSW degree holder and other social workers. Your employer, specialization and location could all have an impact on your take-home earnings. With an MSW degree, you could potentially earn more than someone in an entry-level position, given the higher level of specialization and deeper level of knowledge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for social workers was $50,470 in May 2019. 


We’ve covered a lot of ground about embarking on an MSW program, but you may still have lingering questions. To help you decide what type of degree to pursue in Ohio, we’ve compiled some FAQs. 

Which school has the best MSW program in Ohio? 

The best MSW program in Ohio for you depends on your goals.. Figure out where your interests are in the field of social work and then do your research to narrow down which MSW programs offer the specialization you want to focus on. And don’t lose sight of what your personal needs are to complete an MSW program—determine which program has the best features that will help you succeed.

What is the typical cost of an MSW Program in Ohio? 

The cost of MSW programs in Ohio varies from school to school. Paying for your MSW degree may be a challenge, but don’t be deterred! As you research each program’s tuition, think about what financial assistance, grants and scholarship opportunities might be out there to help offset the cost and bring you closer to your degree. Explore social work scholarships that may help you pay for your MSW education.

Is a career in social work worth it? 

Social workers change lives—so yes, a career in social work may be worth it if that’s your objective. Obtaining an MSW degree can help to expand your knowledge in social work because you gain a higher level of expertise through your study of a specific specialization. And that can enable you to support and advocate for those who need it. 

How long does it take to become a social worker in Ohio? 

A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited university is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining LSW licensure in Ohio. With your BSW and license, you may pursue entry-level positions in areas like child welfare, public health and substance abuse. 
You may be interested in pursuing a MSW in Ohio to take your career to the next level. Between the degrees and the education process, becoming a social worker may take 4-6 years.

Information on this page was last updated in November 2020.