Wildly Passionate. Exceptionally Prepared.
Having a positive impact on people and communities starts with a passion for helping others. Make a difference with your CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work.
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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
In 12 months as a full-time student, you can complete our Advanced Standing program and develop your ability to support people from diverse backgrounds while engaging in social work that advances the ideals of human rights and social justice.
The College of Social Work offers CSWE-accredited Regular and Advanced Standing MSW programs in both online and hybrid formats. UK’s high-quality education remains the same no matter how you access the curriculum. As a student of the program, you’ll earn career focused skills through one of our multiple certificates or select elective courses to complete an Individualized Plan of Study to ensure you graduate prepared to succeed in your area of focus.
Graduate ready and exceptionally prepared to provide research-informed support at any scale—from serving individuals directly to coordinating organizational practice. Or, explore macro-level social work and drive positive change in social policy and large-scale systems of care.
Wherever you head next, connect with people and communities to assess needs and intervene with essential support.
Integrate Your Passion for Helping Others with an Exceptional Career Path.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers are in high demand, and jobs are projected to grow 11 percent through 2028—much faster than the average for all occupations. You will graduate with the confidence to create change across a variety of social work roles. Plus, you will be prepared to sit for the social work licensure exam at an institution where licensure pass rates set the bar in the Commonwealth and surpass the national average.
A professional licensure or certification may be required to practice, advance, or specialize in social work. However, educational requirements for licensure vary by state. View more information on social work licensure here.
For more information on our program’s SARA compliance please see here.Careers and Salaries
Curriculum: Built for Impact
If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can apply to our 30-credit Advanced Standing program, allowing you to complete your master’s degree faster. We also offer a 60-credit program for MSW students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields.
MSW students have the option to earn a specialized certificate in Clinical Social Work, Child Welfare, Military Behavioral Health, School Social Work, Trauma-Responsive Practice and Substance Use Disorder, to name a few. The MSW certificates and Individualized Plan of Study are completed simultaneously with the social work graduate degree you choose.
No matter which program path you pursue, you will fulfill your passion to ensure ethical, effective social work practice in any community or organization. Navigate complex issues like poverty, inequality, and injustice, and learn to apply the theory behind psychopathology, effective policy, direct service, and group practice. Enhance your experience with a hands-on series of practicums guided by a faculty field professor and an agency field instructor.
Our online MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).Explore Curriculum
Choose An Area of Focus
As a student, you’ll choose either a certificate or an individualized plan of study to complete within the MSW. These certificates are designed to enhance your learning experience and ensure you graduate with the career-ready skills necessary for professional success.
Build a comprehensive understanding of topics influencing child welfare practice, including historical perspectives, child protection policy, and abuse intervention. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.View 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.View Certificate
Gain a deeper understanding of the unique experiences of military members, veterans, and their families, and explore effective and culturally-sensitive behavioral healthcare services for this population. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.View Certificate
Develop critical skills through study and experience to assess and intervene on behalf of children and adolescents in a school setting. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program.View 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.View Certificate
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.View IPS
Learn how to help individuals in their healing journeys and promote post-traumatic growth and healing. Students may apply for the certificate after being accepted to the online MSW program. Students who have a conferred MSW from a regionally accredited institution may also apply.View Certificate
You don’t need to take the GRE or have previous work experience to apply for the MSW program at UK. Admission requirements include*:
- Application Form
- Regular Standing program
- Bachelor’s degree in any field
- 3.0 minimum overall GPA
- Advanced Standing program
- Bachelor’s degree in social work
- 3.5 social work curriculum GPA
- 3.0 minimum overall GPA
- 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.Apply Now
Tuition & Financial Aid
With a cost per credit hour of $737, the total tuition for the 60-credit Regular Standing program is $44,220, or $22,110 for the 30-credit Advanced Standing program.
Using the block tuition rate, students can save up to 40% on tuition.Learn More
We’re here to support your commitment to academic excellence and connect you with various forms of financial aid — from federal loans to scholarships and military benefits.
Note that additional fees may apply, and total tuition will depend on factors such as the number of credits taken and time to complete. Tuition rates are subject to annual changes.Tuition Details
Military Student Support
The flexible nature of our online Master of Social Work program is ideal for U.S. military service members and veterans. With faculty who have military backgrounds, courses specific to the issues that are relevant to you, and military-specific benefits like our Veterans Resource Center, our mission is to support your academic success.Get Support
Faculty: Learn From Experience
UK faculty understand the theory behind social work and the realities of professional practice in the field — many of them are experienced, licensed professionals who bring their deep passion and social work expertise to the virtual classroom.
Learn from professors committed to justice and equity in social work.Our Faculty
Why Choose UK Online?
Join the Big Blue Nation
Joining the online MSW at UK means joining a tradition of excellence where you can build your career with confidence—all while learning online at your own pace. With experienced faculty, thoughtfully designed curriculum, and high licensure exam pass rates, we make sure you graduate exceptionally prepared for real-world practice.
How to Apply
Submit an application to UK in three simple steps:
- Create an online account.
- Submit your application and supporting documents.
- Pay the $65 application fee.
You can expect to receive a decision 2–3 weeks after you apply.Get Started
University of Kentucky College of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation.
Accreditation of a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Board of Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.
Accreditation 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Earning your degree online with the University of Kentucky College of Social Work is a big step — and we’re here to support you along the way. Below, you’ll find frequently asked questions about the College and the online Master of Social Work program. If you have additional questions, call 833-358-1721 to speak with an Admissions Counselor.Resource Center
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.