Yet, universities all over the country are offering online MSW programs. These cheap online MSW programs allow students to complete a degree from anywhere. They also tend to be much cheaper than degrees earned on a traditional campus. This is important because social work is not a high-paying field. Those in social work will enjoy checking out these affordable online degrees.
If you’ve been thinking about returning to school to get a Master of Social Work (MSW), now is a wonderful time to do it. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions for social workers will grow by 12% over the next 10 years. This is a quicker rate of growth than the average for most other sectors.
It’s easier said than done to get a master’s degree in social work. For individuals who work, have children, or reside in more remote locations, this might be tough. Master’s degrees can be costly as well
Nonetheless, online MSW programs are available at colleges around the country. These Cheapest online MSW programs in California allow students to complete their education from any location in the state and out of state student, each university has its own requirement of admission for in-state and out-state which you will see in the late section, few only offer MSW programs online to their respective state. However, they are also usually far less expensive.
So here is the list of Cheapest Online Programs in California
California State University-San Bernardino offers a variety of online MSW programs to suit the learning needs of working professionals. Students can choose from the Advanced Standing 36-unit program that can be completed in 12 months and other longer programs, such as the three-year program and a combined degree of Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration Concurrent Degrees.
The CSUSB MSW Programs use an advanced generalist model with a specialization. Students will need to choose a specialization in their final year. These can be social issues, client populations, or fields of practice. They then apply assignments and their research projects to their chosen specialization.
- Human Resource Management
- Personnel Management
- Criminology & Correction Administration
- Family & Child Welfare
- Urban and Rural Community Development
- Industrial Relation & Labor Welfare
Child and Family Wellbeing Specialization
The Child and Family Wellbeing specialization prepare students to use strength-based and evidence-based approaches to promote positive child and family functioning across diverse populations. Through coursework and field placements, students will acquire and enhance their skills to effectively engage, assess and intervene with children and families both preventively and with those experiencing challenges. Students will also gain knowledge of the policies most salient to the lives of children and families and skills to effectively influence such policies. This specialization provides a solid framework for students interested in working in child protective services, schools, and other public agencies or community-based non-profits.
Adulthood and Aging Specialization
The Adulthood and Aging specialization prepare students to use strength-based and evidence-based approaches to promote positive adult, older adult, and family functioning across diverse populations. Through coursework and field placements, students will acquire and enhance their skills to effectively engage, assess, and intervene with adults and older adults. Students will gain knowledge of the unique psychosocial needs facing adults, older adults, and their families. Students will examine adulthood and the aging processes from multiple perspectives: biomedical, psychological, socioeconomic, spiritual, and cultural while examining contemporary trends that are shaping aging policy, practice, and theory. This specialization provides a solid framework for students interested in working in the areas of adult protective services, supportive services for family caregivers, Alzheimer’s and dementia care services, hospice services, the prison system and community corrections, promotion of healthy aging, and long-term care, and health care collaborations.
Integrated Health Specialization
The Integrated Health specialization prepares students to use strength-based and evidence-based approaches to meeting the changing needs of people from diverse populations with physical, behavioral health, and substance use challenges. Through coursework and field placements, students will acquire and enhance their skills to effectively engage, assess, and intervene with individuals who face chronic diseases and co-occurring conditions of mental health challenges and/or substance use. Students will learn to utilize prevention and brief intervention models critical to integrated care and how to work effectively on an interdisciplinary team. Students will learn how evidence-based practice, along with recovery-oriented and strengths-based care philosophies, can foster changes in practice settings and policies. This specialization provides a solid framework for students interested in working to deliver services in outpatient or primary care facilities, community-based behavioral health agencies, hospitals, and acute, chronic, and long-term care settings.
Local Area Applicants
First-Year non-impacted major applicants graduating from a high school within CSUSB’s defined local area will be required to meet a minimum 2.50 GPA to be reviewed for admission.
A list of local area High Schools can be found on our impactions criteria website.
Students whose GPAs are between 2.00 – 2.49 will be considered as space is available after a review of the overall applicant pool.
A Multi-Factor Admission Score (MFAS ) may be used to determine eligibility for admission to the campus and major you are applying for.
First-year non-impacted major applicants graduating from a High Scholl outside of California will be required to meet a GPA of minimally a 3.0 to be required for admission.
Students whose GPAs are between 2.5 – 2.99 will be considered as space is available after a review of the overall applicant pool.
A Multi-Factor Admission Score (MFAS) may be used to determine eligibility for admission to the campus and major you are applying for.
TOEFL or IELTS Score (if applicable)
For students whose native language is not English, the TOEFL or the IELTS exam is required. You will need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores in order to complete an application and be reviewed for admission to the online MSW program.
We do not require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or any other admission tests for our MSW programs. M.S.W Admissions page.
Interviews may be required if further clarification is needed in order for the evaluators to make an informed decision on the application.
The total fee is $39,000 for local and international student
Apply for federal financial aid
Be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens;
Possess a valid Social Security number;
Be registered with the Selective Service System (if applicable);
Not be in default on a federal student loan;
Be admitted to a degree-granting program of study at USC, or an eligible certificate program;
Be enrolled in a minimum of 4 units per semester in a master’s degree program, 3 units in a doctoral program, or be enrolled in a course considered full-time by the registrar (thesis/dissertation).
Although international students are not eligible to receive federal or USC need-based financial aid, they may be awarded merit scholarships and/or other departmental awards.
9 units per Semester (18 units for the year)
12 and 10 units per Semester (22 units for the year)
11 and 9 units per Semester (20 units for the year)
Total = 60 credits
Cal State San Bernardino as having one of the top 50 Best Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Degree Programs in the nation for 2021. CSUSB, listed at No. 5, was specifically recognized for having the “Most Flexible Program.
You may acquire your MSW from Cal Poly Humboldt regardless of where you live or work. Online courses are meant to help people who are deeply embedded in their communities. Whether you want to grow in your present job, make a career change, or add a degree to amplify your voice and better serve the community where you live, their accessible curriculum can help. They provide low tuition rates no matter where you reside, and with program-specific financial aid, more than half of their students receive grants or stipends to help them pay for their education.
The advanced generalist Master of Social Work (MSW) degree focuses on working in rural and Indigenous communities. Students learn how to bring a disciplined, compassionate presence to a caring, ethical practice through this curriculum.
The goals of the MSW Program are to:
- Prepare students for professional social work practice responsive to the challenges and resources present in rural areas and indigenous communities.
- Present local, historical, and contemporary social issues from a global perspective.
The curriculum prepares students for advanced generalist practice, focusing on multi-system, multi-level methods in which practitioners and clients collaborate to improve the functioning and resilience of systems by using existing assets.
Students create a practice framework based on personal and professional beliefs and ethics. Cultural humility, compassion, collaboration, empowerment, non-expert relational paradigms, critical reflection, and social action for justice are among the principles that Cal Poly Humboldt uses to teach and enhance social work practice.
Their program is rigorous and students should be able to visit campus as required, attend live web sessions weekly, and dedicate at least 25 hours a week to this part-time program. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
3.5 Year Part-time Online Curriculum Plan
A part-time (3.5 years) Distributed Learning MSW program is available. Students in the online program complete the same course of study as full-time students but do it over 3.5 years, 10 semesters, including summer coursework. The online MSW program also includes a 1.5 unit Distributed Learning Community seminar each semester. Classes are a combination of asynchronous online courses, synchronous live web sessions, and a yearly on-campus intensive in January.
2 Year Part-Time Online Curriculum Plan
The part-time (2 years) Distributed Learning Advanced Standing MSW program begins with summer “bridge” courses. Students then join the existing cohort of Part-time Distributed Learning students entering Advanced Coursework in the Fall. Students in the online program complete the same course of study as other advanced standing students, simply spread out over 2 years, including summer. The DL MSW program also includes a 1.5 unit Distributed Learning Community seminar each semester. Classes are a combination of asynchronous online courses, synchronous live web sessions, and a yearly on-campus intensive in January.
Candidates for the MSW program must have earned a Bachelor’s degree from an authorized institution of higher education with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (BASW degree and 3.5 GPA for Advanced Standing program). Applicants must additionally show that they completed a Bachelor’s degree program or an equivalent undergraduate course of study.
To be considered for admission, candidates must have completed the following required coursework: Elementary Statistics and Native American Studies, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree. It is preferable to finish these courses prior to the application deadline. Coursework may be in progress at the time of application, but it must be completed by the start date of the applicant’s program. In-progress courses require proof of enrolment.
Analytic Reasoning/Elementary Statistics
Coursework in analytic reasoning or elementary statistics can be in any discipline but must be centrally organized around statistics (not research).
Native American Studies
Coursework must demonstrate a general introduction to the history and culture of the Native peoples of North America and the unique and sovereign relationship between tribal nations and local, state, and federal governments.
The Department of Social Work offers a 1.5 unit online course through the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement during the last 8 weeks of Fall & Spring semesters that meets the Native American Studies prerequisite for the MSW program. Students can call the office at (707) 826-3731 or GO ONLINE TO REGISTER. Fees are due at the time of registration.
- Meet general requirements for admission to Graduate Study at Cal Poly Humboldt.
- Meet admission requirements of the Humboldt Department of Social Work.
- Students in the online program must live in the state of California while they are in the social work program.
The minimum requirements for admission to the Master of Social Work Program are as follows:
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher education institution.
- GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 for the last 60 hours of coursework.
- Completion with a grade of “C” or better in Elementary Statistics.
- Completion with a grade of “C” or better in a course related to Native American Studies.
Applicants who have an accredited Bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a GPA of 3.5 or better may apply to the Advanced Standing Program.
Distributed Learning Part Time 3.5Y MSW Curriculum
- Total Units for PT DL MSW Program: 75 Units
- Total Units for PT DL MSW Program with Title IV-E: 81 Units
DL Advanced Standing MSW Curriculum (Online)
- Total Units for AY Coursework with Title IV-E: 40.5
- Total Units for AS Program with Title IV-E: 46.5
Per Unit Cost
Apply for Financial Aid
The Department of MSW offers several $3,000 scholarships for the Distributed Learning MSW Program. More information is available by contacting the Department of Social Work office at 707-826-4448.
In-State Students and Out State Students
Only Californian residents can apply to this University
Department of Social Work Ranked #29 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
CSUN’s graduate-level social work program’s urban environment complements its concentration on urban community practice. Our program, which is based in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, allows students to engage with vulnerable and at-risk communities while also cultivating an understanding of the planned change process.
Unlike many other social work schools, CSUN’s Master of Social Work program takes a broad approach to professional development. The program also prepares students to work at any level: individual/family (micro), group/community (mezzo), and societal/policy (macros) (macro).
The degree is provided entirely online in two- and three-year formats by the Department of Social Work at CSUN’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The two-year program is a full-time program with a rigorous curriculum designed to enable students finish their degrees and enter the workplace in the shortest amount of time feasible. The three-year program, on the other hand, is a terrific alternative for people who want the same superb curriculum but at a slower pace.
The MSW program meets weekly for live, online sessions one weekday each week, in each class, from 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pacific Time, with a start time no later than 6:30 p.m., in addition to completing regular online assignments. All classes (excluding field classes) are asynchronous, which means you may view the recorded or attend the live session at your leisure. One month prior to the cohort start, the particular day and time for live sessions will be revealed. There may be some exceptions. Field lessons occur once a week for one hour at a time set by the teacher with a group of 7-8 students depending on their availability.
This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Two-year full-time program
The MSW online program is a two-year (four-semester), full-time program. Students take two eight-week courses at a time for a total of 20 classes (60 graduate units), plus ongoing 16-week field education classes.
In addition to completing regular online assignments, the MSW program typically meets weekly for live, online sessions one week night per week, in each class, between 5pm and 9pm Pacific Time, with a start time no later than 6:30pm. All classes (except field classes) are asynchronous, which means you can attend the live class or watch the recording later at a more convenient time. The specific day time for live sessions will be announced no later than one month before the cohort launch. Rare exceptions may apply. Field classes meet weekly for one hour at a time determined by the instructor and 7-8 students depending on their schedule.
Students are always invited but will not be required to come to the CSUN campus or any other affiliate university campus during the four-semester online MSW program.
Field hours will be 16 hours per week during the entire duration of the program. Students must be available for field placement Monday-Friday, from 9-5pm. Evening and weekend field placements are unavailable. It is not possible for students to complete a field internship at their place of employment. Field placement days and times are determined by the CSUN MSW Field Education Department, based on agency needs, student schedules and employer approval. If offered admission to the CSUN Online MSW Program, students are required to successfully complete a field internship interview.
All applicants are advised to review the Field Education Manual and Student Manual for the policies governing the field internship and academic program prior to applying to the CSUN Online MSW Program.
Applicants are considered for admission to CSUN when they meet both university and individual department eligibility requirements.
To be considered for admission to CSUN as a graduate student in a master’s program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Have a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution;
- Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; and
- Have satisfied one of the following conditions:
- Attained a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 in a baccalaureate degree program,
- Attained a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted, or
- Hold a post-baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution and 2.5 GPA in either the undergraduate cumulative GPA or the last 60 units.
Competitive candidates to the Master of Social Work program will:
- Have earned a baccalaureate degree in Sociology, Psychology, the liberal arts or similar program, with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better;
- Have post-baccalaureate work experience (academic credit cannot be given for prior life and work experience); and
- Demonstrate evidence of personal maturity, including the ability to withstand difficult emotional challenges, a commitment to interpersonal processing within the parameters of cultural expectations, respect for others and for their life decisions, a readiness to learn advanced clinical and macro practice and research skills, a commitment to social justice and to the profession’s Code of Ethics, and a capacity for flexibility and creativity.
Applicants must submit a complete application by the posted final application deadline:
- A submitted online application with an electronic payment of the $70 non-refundable application fee.
- Upload a personal statement and resume to the online application.
- Applicants who have attended another graduate social work school/program must be prepared to supply a letter of good standing from the director of the social work school/program and a recent field placement evaluation, upon request from CSUN staff at any point during the application process, though it is not required to be uploaded to the application.
- Three electronic recommendations were submitted by recommenders through the Adobe Sign platform.
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended, regardless of whether or not credits were earned, transferred, or applied to a degree. Applicants previously enrolled at CSUN do not need to submit CSUN transcripts.
- Applicants to this Master’s program must have earned a bachelor’s degree by the application deadline. Applicants who have missing transcripts are taking courses to complete a degree, or who provided a preliminary transcript, will not be considered for review.
- Applicants who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a college or university outside the U.S. (i.e. have a non-U.S. degree) should carefully review the English Language Proficiency information below, and follow Step 2b of the Application Instructions for additional instructions to ensure a complete application.
English Proficiency Requirements
For Non-U.S. Degree and International Students Only
The English language tests and minimum scores listed in the table below are accepted by CSUN for graduate applicants for Master of Social Work.
If a graduate applicant has earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a college or university outside the U.S. where English is the principal language of instruction, the TOEFL or other English language proficiency exam is not required. Please note:
- Countries currently meeting the above requirement are: Australia, Belize, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, plus a few nations in the Commonwealth Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago).
In-State Students and Out State Students
International students applying to “face-to-face” programs must also submit an Affidavit of Financial Support, bank statement, and copy of their passport information page
According to U.S. immigration regulations, F-1 and M-1 students cannot pursue online degrees. The focus on classroom participation for J-1 students may mean that J-1 students cannot maintain their status if enrolled in an online program. Therefore, if admitted to the MSW Online program, F-1, M-1, and J-1 students must participate in the program from their home country.
$752 = 60 credits
Total Tuition to Degree = $45,120
Apply for Financial Aid
If admitted to this program you may be eligible for Financial Aid. For more information, please visit the Financial Aid page.
For financial aid eligibility for non-U.S. citizens, visit The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website.
CSUN typically accepts between 25% and 35%
Department of Social Work Ranked #13 in Top Graduate Programs