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Master of Social Work Online

CSWE-Accredited MSW Program for California Residents—Available Online

Prepare to make a difference in California communities by enrolling in the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The accelerated format allows you to earn an online social work degree in as little as one year—without leaving California.

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Regular Standing MSW

Format 100% Online

Total Credits 60

Program Length As few as 4 semesters

Certificate Options Yes

Advanced Standing MSW – Accelerated Format

Format 100% Online

Total Credits 30

Program Length As few as 2 Semesters

Certificate Options Yes

Get Ready to Foster Social Change in California in One Year.

Our online MSW program elevates your ability to support people from diverse backgrounds throughout California. With our accelerated Advanced Standing program, you can get ready to promote human rights and social justice ideals in one year.

UK offers the accelerated MSW program in two modalities, including online. If you choose the online social work degree program, you’ll experience the same high-quality education found on campus. Moreover, you can customize your online MSW program to prepare to support California’s vulnerable populations by choosing from multiple certificate options.

By seeking our online social work degree, you’ll gain expertise for offering research-informed support to individuals in California communities. Our online MSW program also instills macro-level expertise, enabling you to foster positive change for California’s social policies and systems of care.

The College of Social Work offers the CSWE-accredited MSW program for California residents in two accelerated formats: Regular and Advanced Standing. The latter enables eligible full-time students to complete an online social work degree program in one year.

Support California Communities Throughout Your Career.

California ranks No. 1 in the nation for child, family, and school social worker employment.1 What’s more, California is projected to hire 19% more mental health counselors2 and 17% healthcare social workers3 through 2028. With our CSWE-accredited MSW program, you can build qualifications for California’s growing social work field roles in one year.

California’s Social Work Jobs by the Numbers.

Social work employment in California is highly stable. In fact, California employs about 10% of America’s mental health counselors, healthcare social workers, and child, family, and school social workers.2-4 Here are five types of social workers, ranked by the estimated number of positions California will need in 2028:

  • Mental Health Counselors: 44,200 jobs2
  • Child, Family, and School Social Workers: 35,800 jobs4
  • Healthcare Social Workers: 24,400 jobs3
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers: 18,200 jobs5
  • Social Workers (All Other): 13,400 jobs6

No. 1 California employs more child, family, and school social workers than any other state.1

19% Mental health counselor employment growth in California from 2018 to 2028.2

1 in 10 Of America’s healthcare social workers are employed in California.3

Careers Details

Prepare to Sit for Licensure in California.

With our accredited MSW program, you can gain confidence and expertise for California’s in-demand social work roles in one year, knowing you’ve been well-prepared to sit for the social work licensing exam. That’s because our 100% online MSW degree was created with a focused Licensing Preparation Initiative (LPI) that combines specific instruction and exam structure throughout the coursework. Our licensure pass rates surpass the national average.

Professional licensure or certification may be required to practice, advance, or specialize in social work. However, educational requirements for licensure vary by state. You can view more information on social work licensure here.

Get more information about our online MSW program’s SARA compliance.

Curriculum: Support Vulnerable Populations in California.

California students with a bachelor’s in social work can finish our 30-credit Advanced Standing program in one year. We also offer a 60-credit Regular Standing program for California students with accredited bachelor’s degrees in other fields. With each of these options, you can select one of our multiple certificates in areas like Clinical Social Work, Child Welfare, Military Behavioral Health, School Social Work and Substance Use Disorder. All of the MSW certificates and Individualized Plan of Study are completed simultaneously with the online social work degree you choose.

Begin our online MSW program to fulfill your passion for ensuring ethical, effective social work practice throughout California. During the online courses, you will learn to address inequality, injustice, and other complex issues while exploring theories that apply to policymaking, direct service, and group practice in California. To enhance your experience, you will engage in a series of hands-on practicums guided by a faculty field professor and an agency field instructor.

Our online MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Explore Curriculum

Choose an Area of Focus for Careers in California.

Our online social work degree program lets you choose either a certificate or an individualized plan of study. Students can select any of these options, getting the opportunity to complete the accelerated MSW program in as little as one year.

MSW: Clinical Social Work Certificate

Gain an advanced level of clinical knowledge and skills including application of social work practice in a variety of clinical settings. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.

MSW: Individualized Plan of Study

Create your plan of study based on your specific career goals through a selection of social work elective courses designed for your professional success. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.

MSW: Substance Use Disorder Certificate

Learn treatment and prevention approaches related to substance use disorders and develop essential intervention skills through a curriculum founded on evidence-based practice. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.

Admission Requirements

You don’t need to take the GRE or have previous work experience to apply for the online MSW program at UK. Admission requirements include*:

  • Application Form
  • 3.0 minimum overall GPA
  • 3.5 social work curriculum GPA (Advanced Standing MSW program only)
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field (Regular Standing MSW program)
  • Bachelor’s degree in social work (Advanced Standing MSW program)
  • Personal Résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • If you graduated within the past five years, at least one academic reference is required
    • References you provide should fit the following categories: professor, social work professor, professional social worker/field instructor, and work or volunteer supervisor
    • Please exclude personal, pastoral, and relative references
  • 4-page autobiographical personal statement
  • 250-word writing sample on an ethical dilemma
  • All transcripts from any higher education institution attended

*Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.

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Tuition & Financial Aid

There is no “out-of-state” pricing. The cost per credit hour for the online MSW program is $700.50 regardless of where you live while you complete the program. Here are the total tuition amounts for the Regular and Advanced Standing options:

  • Advanced Standing (30 credits): $21,015
  • Regular Standing (60 credits): $42,030

The accelerated Advanced Standing program lets eligible students graduate in one year. Students can save up to 40% on tuition by taking advantage of the block tuition rate for the online social work degree program.

Learn More

We’re here to help California students fulfill their commitment to academic excellence while connecting them with a variety of forms of financial aid—from federal loans to scholarships and military benefits.

Note that additional fees may apply, and total tuition will depend on various factors, such as the number of credits taken and time to complete the online social degree program. Tuition rates are subject to annual changes.

Tuition Details

Military Student Support

The flexible nature of our online MSW program is ideal for U.S. military service members and veterans based in California or abroad. With faculty who have military backgrounds, courses specific to the issues relevant to you, and military-specific benefits like our Veterans Resource Center, our mission is to support your academic success.

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Inspiring Professors Enable You to Aid California Communities.

UK faculty understand the theory behind social work and the realities of professional practice in the field. Enroll in our online social work degree program to learn from licensed professionals who bring their deep passion and experience to the virtual classroom.

Our accredited MSW program offers an opportunity for California students to learn from professors committed to the ideals of justice and equity in social work. In addition to engaging with your professors, you’ll work with a field advisor to cultivate hands-on experience with organizations in California.

Our Faculty

Why Is UK Online Right for California Students?

Join Our Tradition Without Leaving California

By enrolling in the online MSW program at UK, you’ll benefit from a tradition of excellence and get the support to build your career with confidence—with an option for finishing in one year. With experienced faculty, a thoughtfully designed curriculum, and a licensure exam pass rate that surpasses the national average, you can become exceptionally prepared for real-world practice in California.

How to Apply

Follow these steps to apply to our accelerated online social work degree program:

  • Create an online account
  • Submit your undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other supporting materials
  • Pay the $65 application fee

You can expect to receive a decision 2 to 3 weeks after you apply.

Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions about our CSWE-accredited MSW program? Visit our Resource Center to find answers fast.

Resource Center
Yes, the online MSW program is fully CSWE accredited. This affirms our commitment to the core competencies, outcomes, and practices required by the CSWE, the nation’s premier social work accrediting body.

Up to 25% of coursework can be transferred toward either program courses or electives, with up to 15 credit hours for Regular Standing and 9 for Advanced Standing.

Yes, the online MSW program does offer virtual open houses. These events are held regularly—register to participate in an upcoming virtual open house here.

Regular Standing requires three practicum courses and Advanced Standing requires two practicum courses. Each practicum requires 300 hours over 16 weeks.

The online MSW program does not offer concentrations. However, students may choose to complete a certificate or Individualized Plan of Study along with their master’s degree to gain in-depth skills in a specific area of study. Learn more about available certificates and developing an Individualized Plan of Study here.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, March 31.) Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020 21-1021: Child, Family, and School Social Workers. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from
  2. O*NET OnLine. (2022, March 15.) California Employment Trends for: 21-1014.00 – Mental Health Counselors. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from .
  3. O*NET OnLine. (2022, March 15.) California Employment Trends for: 21-1022.00 – Healthcare Social Workers. Retrieved March 22, 2022,
  4. O*NET OnLine. (2022, March 15.) California Employment Trends for: 21-1021.00 – Child, Family, and School Social Workers. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from .
  5. O*NET OnLine. (2022, March 15.) California Employment Trends for: 21-1023.00 – Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from
  6. O*NET OnLine. (2022, March 15.) California Employment Trends for: 21-1029.00 – Social Workers, All Other. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from