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Master of Social Work Online

Program Overview

Social change. Social justice. Social work.

Having a positive impact on people and communities starts with a passion for helping others. Build on this natural desire to make a difference with the skill set necessary to take action by earning your CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work.

Having a positive impact on people and communities starts with a passion for helping others. Build on this natural desire to make a difference with the skill set necessary to take action by earning your CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work.


FORMAT 100% Online


PROGRAM LENGTH 4 semesters



FORMAT 100% Online


PROGRAM LENGTH 2 semesters


Request more information or a consultation

You’re likely to have questions as you make your decision about pursuing an online degree. From program information to application process details, we’re here to help you find the answers you need.

Become a Change Agent

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 several modalities: on-campus, online, and hybrid. UK’s high-quality education remains the same no matter how you access the curriculum. As a student of the program, you’ll choose to complete either a certificate in Clinical Social Work Practice or Substance Use Disorder 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 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, intervene with essential support, and evaluate your work lives.

Prepare for the Future with a Degree Designed for Career Advancement

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 make 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.

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. The Clinical Social Work Practice Certificate, Substance Use Disorder Certificate, 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 explore ways 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Admission Requirements

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
  • 3.0 minimum overall GPA
  • 3.5 social work curriculum GPA (Advanced Standing program only)
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field (Regular Standing program)
  • Bachelor’s degree in social work (Advanced Standing 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

With a cost per credit hour of $693, the total tuition is $41,580 for the 60-credit Regular Standing program or $20,790 for the 30-credit Advanced Standing program.

We’re here to support you in your commitment to academic excellence and connect you 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 factors such as number of credits taken, and time to complete. Tuition rates are subject to annual changes.

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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 practice experience to the virtual classroom.

Learn from professors committed to the ideals of justice and equity in social work. Engage directly with your professors and work with a field advisor to cultivate hands-on experience.

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 the highest licensure exam pass rate in the Commonwealth, we make sure you graduate ready for real-world practice.

How to Apply

Submitting an application to UK is as simple as creating an online account, submitting undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other supporting materials, then paying your $65 application fee. You can expect to receive a decision 2–3 weeks after you apply.

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