Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Texas (TX) – Online & On-Campus

A career in social work consists of providing support and aid to communities and people in need. Social workers help people overcome challenges in their lives, deal with trauma or drastic life changes and improve overall quality of life by providing mental and emotional support. 

Of the three social work licenses offered in Texas, two are available to those who complete a master’s degree program or higher. The two licenses are the Licensed Master Social Worker and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker. 

With a Master of Social Work (MSW), your career can take you into schools, the health care field, mental health, substance abuse, child and family services, or the clinical sector. There are a variety of MSW programs in Texas, including ones offered online, that can help you kickstart or further your career in social work. 

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Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Texas 

If you plan to become a social worker in Texas, attending an MSW program in-state will prepare you for the state’s licensing requirements. Schools in Texas that offer master’s in social work programs include:

Master of Social Work Programs in Texas
University City Concentrations Program Options
Abilene Christian University Abilene
  • Certificate in Social Service Administration Available
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Angelo State University San Angelo None
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Baylor University Waco and Houston
  • Clinical Practice
  • Community Practice
  • Concentrations available in specialty areas
  • Joint Degree Options [for Waco campus only]
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio
  • Hispanic Children and Families
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches
  • Advanced Generalist Practice in a Rural Context
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Tarleton State University Stephenville
  • Community Organization, Research, and Advocacy
  • Multicultural Practice with Children and Families
  • Foundation: Community Organization, Research, and Advocacy
  • Foundation: Multicultural Practice with Children and Families
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas A&M University – Commerce Commerce None
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas A&M University –  Kingsville Kingsville
  • Rural Clinical Social Work Focus and Activist Coursework
  • Full-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas Christian University Fort Worth
  • Dual Degree Option with Brite Divinity School
  • Health and Mental Health
  • Children and Families
  • Full-Time
  • Extended Options
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas State University San Marcos
  • Advanced Practice Leadership (APL)
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas Tech University Lubbock
  • Advanced Generalist Curriculum
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Houston Houston
  • Clinical Practice
  • Macro Practice
  • Full-Time – On Campus Only
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of North Texas & Texas Woman’s University Denton
  • Advanced Generalist Curriculum
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Children and Families
  • Aging
  • Health
  • Community and Administrative Practice
  • Dual Degree Options
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas at Austin Austin
  • Clinical Social WorkAdministration and Policy Practice (APP)
  • Certificate in Military Social Work
  • Certificate in Health Care
  • Certificate in School-Based Social WorkDual Degree Options
  • Portfolio Program Options
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso
  • Social Work in the Border Region Focus
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio None
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley Edinburg
  • Direct Micro Practice with Latino Individuals, Families and Groups
  • Community Practice and Administration
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
West Texas A&M University Canyon
  • Advanced Generalist Curriculum
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program

Online MSW Programs in Texas

Several universities and colleges in Texas provide the ability to earn your master’s in social work online program. Some of these online programs offer advanced standing MSW online options for when you have already obtained a BSW. There are also MSW programs with no GRE requirement.

When deciding which online MSW program is right for you, consider your career aspirations. For instance, if your goal is to practice in a mental health setting, you’ll want to choose a LCSW program that offers a fitting concentration and meets the requirements for attaining the license and becoming an LCSW

Schools offering online MSW programs in Texas include: 

Online MSW Programs in Texas
University Concentrations Program Options
Angelo State University None
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Baylor University
Sponsored Program
  • Clinical Practice
  • Community Practice
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Accelerated
  • Standard
  • Advanced Standing
Our Lady of the Lake University
  • Social Work Practice with Hispanic Children and Families
  • Full-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Advanced Generalist Practice in a Rural Context
  • Full-Time Advanced Standing
Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Advanced Generalist Practice
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
Texas State University
  • Advanced Practice Leadership
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Houston
  • Clinical Practice
  • Macro Practice
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas at Arlington
  • Direct Practice with Children and Families
  • DIrect Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Direct Practice in Aging
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Advanced Standing Program
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
  • Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families, and Groups
  • Administration and Community Practice
  • Advanced Standing
  • Accelerated

Social Work Degree Programs in Texas

Texas is home to 53 CSWE-accredited bachelor’s and master’s social work programs. CSWE stands for Council on Social Work Education—this is the national accrediting body for on campus and online social work programs. According to a 2018 CSWE report [PDF, 1.7 MB], Texas schools produced 5.6% of social work bachelor’s degrees and 6.5% of social work master’s degrees for the 2017-2018 academic year. 

In an undergraduate social work program, students will explore research strategies, social welfare policy and social work practices. Graduate degree programs expand on undergraduate learning and may include courses in leadership, child welfare, organizational theory and social influences. You can choose to specialize in a certain area with a graduate degree program, including mental health, addiction, child welfare and more. 

A significant distinction between graduate degree programs and undergraduate degree programs is the required clinical rotations and regulated clinical hours which help students fulfill Texas’ licensing requirements. 

View our page on social work licensure or our state-specific page to learn more about what it takes to become a social worker in Texas.

Education Requirements

To pursue a Master of Social Work, you will first be required to complete an undergraduate degree. Depending on the program you’re applying to, your undergraduate degree can be in any discipline. However, with a Bachelor of Social Work, students are typically eligible to obtain their master’s in less time than those with a bachelor’s in another field.  

Undergraduate GPA requirements vary by school, but most schools require at least a 3.0. Some programs ask for additional credentials, including completion of a GRE test. 

Accredited universities require that students gain hundreds of hours of internship or field work experience prior to graduating with a BSW. The required hours range between programs, but the CSWE requires accredited BSW programs to have a minimum of 400 required fieldwork hours.  

Traditional MSW programs may take about two years to complete. Those with advanced standing tracks may take anywhere between nine months to a year. 

Curriculum

MSW programs emphasize more specific topics and concepts than undergraduate programs. For example, an MSW program might explore ideas around social and economic justice and practicing with diverse populations. 

Some Texas schools have both a generalized practice curriculum and a specialized curriculum. Generalized curricula allow students to learn the fundamentals of social work, while specialized curricula expand on the concepts and routines included in an individual’s chosen career path. So for example, MSW students who’ve chosen to specialize in clinical practice and pursue a LCSW license in Texas may delve a little deeper into topics like cognitive behavioral interventions, social work practice with elders and rural social work. Texas clinical MSW programs typically comprise 60 semester hours of coursework. 

Other areas of focus offered by MSW programs in Texas include social work administration and policy, community practice and more. 

MSW programs also require students to complete a considerable number of field work hours. Field work gives students the opportunity to bridge the gap between knowledge and experience and put what they have learned into practice. The required hours vary based on the university and the program, but they typically require a minimum of 900 hours of supervised field instruction. 

What Can I Do with an MSW Degree in TX?

After completing an MSW program and becoming a social worker, you may pursue a diverse range of social work career opportunities, including clinical social work.  Social workers have a duty to provide support and aid to a range of populations, which is why there are several specializations you can choose from. 

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the highest concentration of social workers—342,500—were employed as child, family and school social workers. That same year, Texas was among the top five states with the highest employment of health care social workers.

Social workers may also work in local government, state government, military services and outpatient services. Their daily duties  may take place in an office, but at times, social workers might have to travel to their clients. 

Your social work salary will vary depending on your specialty, location, employer and other factors. The BLS reported in 2019 that the median salary for this profession was $50,470—with the lowest earning 10% of social workers earning $31,790 and the highest 10% earning $82,540. Social workers in Texas earned a mean annual wage of $60,240 in 2019.

By becoming a social worker, you’ll be entering a field poised for growth. Between 2019 and 2029, the BLS projects that social work employment will increase by 13%. This growth will vary between specializations:

  • Child, family, and school social workers: 12%
  • Health care social workers: 14% 
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: 17%

FAQs

In a field as complex as social work, it can be intimidating to figure out where to start and how to choose the best career path for you. Here, we’ll answer some common MSW questions to help you as you embark on your social work career.

Which school has the best MSW program in Texas (TX)?

There are 53 accredited bachelor and MSW programs in Texas. Additionally, there are a number of online MSW programs in Texas. Deciding which one is best for you depends on your goals and needs as a student. With so many options available, each program might have features that can work for you. 

What is the typical cost of an MSW program in TX?

The cost of MSW programs in Texas varies depending on multiple factors, including how long it will take you to complete the program and which school is offering the program. If you’re seeking financial assistance to attend an MSW program in Texas, there are a variety of online resources that can help you in your search. You may start off with our page detailing different social work scholarships.

Is a career in social work worth it?

There are multiple potential benefits to obtaining an MSW degree—one being that you’ll be opening yourself up to a variety of opportunities in social work. A bachelor’s degree may help you land you a job in an entry-level administrative position and prepares you for positions like caseworker and mental health assistant, but an MSW may take you even further. Ultimately, whether or not obtaining an MSW is worth it depends on the person. 

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

It takes years to become a social worker in Texas, starting with an undergraduate degree which generally takes between two and four years to complete. With a bachelor’s, you can work in certain social work roles. But if you want to expand on your opportunities, you may want to consider an MSW.  It can take up to eight years to become a clinical social worker, which includes undergraduate studies, post-graduate studies, required clinical hours, work experience, and time spent obtaining a state license. 

Last updated in November 2020.