Master of Social Work (MSW)
Online Degree Program
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Online Degree Program
Earn an MSW degree with Herzing University
|Accreditation||Herzing University has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation;1 Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission|
|Eligibility||Current bachelor’s degree holders in a non-social work major|
|Format||100% online classes delivered asynchronously, with hands-on clinical field practicums|
|Curriculum||Curriculum includes virtual, simulated experiences to enhance distance learning|
|Areas of practice||Clinical-focused social work curriculum with your choice of electives across 3 areas of practice|
|QuickPaths||Transfer credit, stackable credentials, and adaptive learning technology build a faster pathway to a higher education with Herzing University|
Overview: Online Master of Social Work
The Master of Social Work degree program option is a 60-credit online graduate program which prepares you for a career as a social worker.
The CSWE-aligned program curriculum provides students with advanced knowledge and skills in human behavior in the social environment, social policy and services, clinical social work interventions, psychosocial assessment & clinical diagnosis, and much more.
Discover the crucial knowledge and skills required to succeed in your work and build a foundation for continued career growth.
You can take classes during the day or in the evening. We strive to be as flexible as possible for busy non-traditional students.
Access to extensive virtual services, including academic advising, tutoring, support services, technical support and library services.
We support your ongoing career advancement by providing comprehensive, personalized student services with lifelong career coaching.
No application deadlines to worry about. Apply when you’re ready and prepare to get started soon.
Classes Start January 8th
Learn More Today
MSW program classes & curriculum details
Our curriculum is designed to prepare you to become a culturally informed clinical practitioner through both academic coursework and practical application. The program emphasizes lifelong learning, professional development, service, networking, and adherence to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.
All didactic, lecture-style courses are delivered online, with 900 total field practicum hours. You will choose electives across three career-focused social work areas of practice: Mental Health, Medical Social Work, and Children, Families, and Aging Services.2
Current Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) holders may consider our Advanced Standing MSW track.
|Master of Social Work (MSW)||24||60|
i. Average number of months for students to complete program.
Required Core Courses
All courses, 37.00 semester credit hours, are required.
Required Project Residency Core Courses
All courses, 14.00 semester credit hours, are required.
Required Area of Practice Elective Courses
9.00 semester credit hours are required. Students should select three courses from the list below to learn more about areas of social work practice. Course availability depends on enrollment.
Choosing the right area of practice electives
When you enroll in the Herzing MSW program, you will choose elective courses across three different areas of practice:
Develop an understanding of mental health assessment, diagnosis and intervention. Learn theories of human behavior, trauma, and diversity—and how to apply this knowledge to mental health provision and wellbeing.
Discover policies and laws related to mental health systems and become familiar with the service delivery structure of public and private mental health facilities.
Build an understanding of medical diagnoses in the context of a person-in-environment model. Study social work intervention strategies including crisis intervention, biopsychosocial assessment, and trauma-informed clinical approaches.
Immerse yourself in courses focusing on how you can utilize evidence-based social work research in clinical practice of community public health and prevention services.
Become an advocate for vulnerable children, families, and elderly clients in need of assistance. Build your understanding of social problems and their impact on individuals, families, and their communities across all age groups.
This area of practice explores the delivery structure of social services and how you can become a key facilitator of protective services for pediatric and gerontological clients.
Unsure which electives to choose? Our admissions team can help you determine what courses are right for you based on your personality and desired career path.
Prepare for practice through field education
Your education begins by establishing key social work concepts through didactic coursework and culminates in field practicums putting your learning into practice to fully prepare you to succeed as a social worker.
Discover how to apply social work knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive affective processes in many potential types of practice settings, including:
- Mental health facilities
- Community agencies
- Criminal justice organizations
- Counseling centers
Field education informs your understanding of how social work theory and research inform social work practice.
Apply what you’ve learned in career-focused field practicums to fully prepare for career success.
- General and Specialized field practicums
- General Field Practicum: 400 hours, 2 semesters
- Specialized Field Practicum: 500 hours, 2 semesters
- Where you complete each practicum can vary widely based on your location and electives you choose. We encourage you to choose your preferred Field Agency, but our Director of Field Education will provide support should you need help securing practicum sites.
Tuition & Cost
The cost of tuition for the Master of Social Work program is $615 per credit.
You can potentially earn even greater savings by transferring credit from prior college coursework, applying for financial aid, or potential partnership opportunities through your employer.
Our goal is your career advancement. That’s why we are always working to improve our curriculum and processes to make our program as affordable as possible while preparing you best for success in your work.
You may be eligible for multiple scholarships and grants, both through Herzing University and several national scholarship websites.
Veterans, Active Duty U.S. Servicemembers, and spouses may qualify for a 10% tuition discount or tuition reduction to $250 per credit.
MSW program enrollment requirements
The requirements for admission to the traditional MSW program track are:
- Minimum 2.5 GPA in baccalaureate degree
- Prospective graduate students must have completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree not in social work from a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or have completed a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree at a foreign college or university recognized as equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree by an approved foreign credential evaluator
- Transcript from baccalaureate degree program
- Personal statement addressing MSW prompts – see admission advisor for details
- Optional Recommendations for both traditional and advanced standing MSW tracks: students may choose to submit recommendations to be considered with their application but are not required
Please contact admissions for details regarding the application.
What you can do with a master’s in social work
While the field of social work has evolved to become more diverse and specialized, core master’s degree courses prepare you for a wide variety of job possibilities.
Choose the area of practice electives best reflecting the social work career path you want to walk.
Job titles can vary widely with overlap across each area of practice.3
- Behavioral Health Therapist
- Mental Health Social Worker
- Psychiatric Social Worker
- Psychosocial Coordinator
- Residential Therapist
- Substance Use Disorder Clinician
- Suicide Prevention Specialist
- Victim Advocate
- Home Health & Hospice Social Worker
- Hospice Social Worker
- Medical Social Worker
- Oncology Social Worker
- Residential Treatment Coordinator
- Social Work Case Manager
- Adoption Social Worker
- Adult Protective Services Worker
- Child Protective Services Supervisor (CPS Social Worker)
- Domestic Violence Advocate
- Family Protection Specialist
- Family Resource Coordinator
- Family Service Worker
- Foster Care Social Worker
- Gerontology Social Worker
- Pediatric Social Worker
- School Social Worker
- Veteran Affairs (VA) Social Worker
- Youth Specialist
Projected employment growth, 2022-2032, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*
Employment of social workers is expected to increase across all specialties, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. News and World Report scores social worker an 8 out of 10 in terms of future growth.
Among available BLS occupational groupings, employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is expected to rise the fastest (11% growth).
Meet our Faculty & Leadership
Elizabeth Wilson - PhD, MSW, LCSW
"It is an honor and privilege to be part of a building a new MSW program with current, evidence-based curriculum to prepare students for high demand jobs in the areas of mental health, medical social work and children, families and aging services.
Our goal is to help support each student through our program to maximize their potential as a social worker and be a successful change agent."
Dr. Wilson is an established social work professor with over 20 years of teaching experience and 15 years as a social work program director in higher education. Dr. Wilson has extensive practice and teaching experience in crisis response, crime victimization, child abuse and neglect, family violence, mental health, and suicide prevention. She has delivered numerous professional presentations, continuing education sessions, and chaired numerous dissertations focusing on social issues. Dr. Wilson is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Missouri, a member of NASW, and has provided service to many community boards. Dr. Wilson has received several teaching recognitions and was awarded the Jane Bierdeman-Fike Humanitarian Award in 2019.
Master of Social Work
Dr. Dorothy Jimenez, Director of Field Education
"Field education is the major component that distinguishes Social Work from other degrees in behavioral health. It provides the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a practice setting under supervision from other social workers. Field education is the launching pad for your journey as a Social Worker and Herzing's unique model will provide you with exceptional support on your journey"
Dr. Jimenez has over 30 years of service within the Social Work sector, is clinically licensed, and has extensive practice experience. Her background includes work with youth in the foster care and correctional system, in medical settings, as a therapist, program director, and her most recent position as an executive director at a large rape crisis center. Her expertise is in trauma, sexual violence, and nonprofit management. In addition to her hands-on experience in the profession, she has had the opportunity to engage in teaching and administration within the field of higher education since 2007. As part of her journey, she has been very engaged in field education as a supervisor, field liaison, and faculty member, supporting and guiding students through the most rewarding and challenging part of the social work degree. Dr. Jimenez has found a passion for working with students who want to impact the world, developing coursework to guide them and ensuring rigorous and innovative programs. She is thrilled to be part of the Herzing community as the Director of Field Education.
Dr. Dorothy Jimenez
Director of Field Education
Dr. Hyacinth McKee DBH, LCSW-BACS, ACSW
"An MSW from Herzing allows for the student to acquire skills that will help them become effective social work practitioners in today's world. Being a part of Herzing allows students to engage in bi-directional innovation, scholarship and leadership with their professors.
An MSW from Herzing promotes opportunities to develop interconnected relationships with students and professionals in other Herzing programs such as criminal justice, nursing, and other medical degrees that are long lasting well after graduation."
Dr. Hyacinth McKee has 22 years of combined experience as a licensed clinical supervisor, clinical practitioner and professor. Her expertise includes integrated health, disease care management and educational social work. She holds leadership positions in the social work profession as she serves as the board chairperson of the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, her state social work licensing board, and on other boards nationally in the social work profession. She holds additional national and state certifications in the areas of school social work, school-based mental health counseling, and trauma informed supports. Dr. McKee has conducted local, state and national presentations on school based mental health, behavioral health, and social work services. She continues to provide supervision to clinical social workers who aspire to engage in independent clinical practice. She is considered among her colleagues as an expert in the field of behavioral health, mental health, child welfare and educational social work. Dr. McKee is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusive practices as evidenced by her life's work serving marginalized and disadvantaged populations.
Dr. Hyacinth McKee
Frequently Asked Questions
Social workers provide assistance to individuals, families and communities to address problems in their everyday lives. They can work in a “macro” role directly coordinating with organizations or policymakers, or a “micro” role focusing on individuals and their families.
The social work job description varies—social workers can have a wide variety of duties:
- Find those in need of help
- Work with people in all stages of life from birth to end of life
- Assess their situation: what they need, who supports them, what their goals are and develop interventions and strategies to help
- Collaborate with community resources to offer a network of care and refer clients accordingly
- Diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional health problems
- Maintain clear case files and records
- Raise awareness and advocate for solutions at the local, state, or even national level
- Navigate crisis situations, such as child abuse, family and community violence, or health emergencies
Educational and licensing requirements can vary by state and employer across both jobs. The disciplines are distinct enough to demand separate master’s degree curriculums.
The primary difference between clinical social workers and mental health counselors is the scope of their duties and the education required to perform them. Generally, counselors focus solely on mental health issues, while clinical social workers carry a wide variety of responsibilities including and beyond mental health care.
Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) includes more involvement in managing your clients’ support network and larger community. While clinical social workers can potentially adopt a direct, active role in diagnosing and treating mental health issues, it’s not the sole purpose of the profession as it is for mental health counselors.
No. Our 2-year MSW program is designed for those without a BSW.
As long as you’ve earned a non-social work bachelor’s degree earned through an accredited university recognized by the US Department of Education, you can potentially qualify to enroll in our program.
According to the CSWE’s most recent Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the 9 Social Work Competencies are listed as such:
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice
- Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
- Engage in Policy Practice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Learn more about the most important skills needed to succeed as a social worker.
There is some overlap when it comes to careers in human services and social work. In both career fields you’ll be helping individuals and/or communities solve problems and find better social outcomes. Degree programs typically cover introductory behavioral health and global topics relevant to both career pathways.
However, jobs in human services typically focus on the health of communities at large, while social workers tend to place more focus on helping individuals and their families. Human service workers apply interdisciplinary skills to solve many types of problems in communities, while social workers help those in need to secure access to important social resources.
For instance, our Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services curriculum includes study of nonprofit organization management, grant writing and fundraising, program planning and development, and volunteer, board, and community development.
On the social work side, our Master of Social Work curriculum zooms in on social services primarily for individuals and families, including clinical social work theory and practice, social policy and services, clinical social work interventions, and more.
Yes, you can potentially leverage your education and experience in nursing into a career as a social worker. You may choose to stay in the healthcare field as a medical social worker.
You'll want to consider a Master of Social Work degree program to earn the new skills in knowledge to succeed in the field and position yourself best when applying for jobs.
Learn more about the RN to social work pathway and discover some of the primary differences between each career path.
Yes, you can elect an extended 4-year part-time program as an alternative to the 2-year full-time plan. The extended 4-year plan spans 12 semesters as opposed to 6 semesters in the full-time plan.
The average salary for a social worker depends on several factors, including where they work, the state in which they practice, how long they have practiced, and chosen specialization.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides average salary estimates for three different types of social workers:*
- Child, family, and school social workers earn an annual average salary of $56,680 per year ($27.25 per hour)
- Healthcare social workers earn an annual average salary of $62,760 per year ($30.17 per hour)
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers earn an annual average salary of $60,130 per year ($28.91 per hour).
Master of Social Work Degree Programs
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Disclosures & Accreditation
1. Herzing University has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.
Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.
For more information about social work accreditation, you may contact Accreditation.
2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies three specialties projected to grow at an above average rate from 2022-2032: Mental health and substance abuse social workers (11%), Healthcare social workers (10%), and Child, family, and school social workers (5%).*
3. Individuals considering the Master of Social Work program should be aware that state certification/ licensure requirements and eligibility to apply for certification/licensure vary from state to state. While certification/licensure is not a requirement for certain types of jobs, in some states, it may be required for any positions titled ‘Social Worker’ and to refer to yourself as a Social Worker in professional settings.
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.