Women in deep discussion about social work topics

Online Master of Social Work

Total Credit Hours


Cost Per Credit Hour


Application Deadline: July 8, 2024

Fall 1 2024 classes start on August 26, 2024

Help Those in Need.

LSU’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree prepares students to tackle social problems and help those in need to improve their lives. Covering child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and dozens of other issues affecting our society, the program ensures graduates are confident their holistic, multifaceted education will help them make a difference in their local communities and beyond. LSU students get the benefit of a top-tier online education with a degree that will help them excel in the field; LSU’s online MSW program is accredited by the CSWE and ranked No. 6 among the best online programs in the nation by BestColleges.com.

The first half of LSU’s online MSW is known as the “generalist year,” covering key concepts and theories in the field and even offering an internship component where students can gain real-world experience. The second half, known as the “specialized year,” includes courses covering topics in theory and treatment, as well as electives, internships, and a thesis or non-thesis exit requirement. Students who successfully complete the online MSW program leave LSU knowing they have the skills and tools to make a difference.

MSW- Best ONLINE Master's Program 2023
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Online education with real-world benefits

Classes are seven weeks long and can be completed anywhere, while place-based internships allow students to get valuable experience in the field.

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One of the most respected online master’s programs

Not only is LSU’s online MSW top-ranked among other on-campus degree programs, but Intelligent.com ranked the school as being in the top 15 in the nation overall in 2023.

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Earn Course Credit By Exam

Course credit can be given by examination. Students can contact their Academic Advisor and follow instructions provided by the Department. Learn More

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Top-ranked program

Ranked #10 on Learn.org's Best Master's in Social Work Online Programs based on academic and career resources, the quality of education, and faculty.

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"​The program at LSU provides opportunities for not only exhibiting knowledge through tests/quizzes, but also provides rich, hands-on experiences for students through interactive projects that enable the students to move beyond their home and their computer and collaborate with other students, individuals in the community, and organizations that serve the community (regardless of where that community is located)."

Dr. Laura Ainsworth
Assistant Professor of Research, School of Social Work

See What Makes This Program Special

Student Testimonial

Master of Social Work student Dawn Duplantis talks about why earning her degree is important to her personally and professionally.

Faculty Testimonial

Assistant Professor Brandi Conrad talks about the online Master of Social Work program.

Explore This Program

Cost Online MSW

Total credit hours per program: 60 credit hours

Cost per credit hour: $599

Total cost with fees: $35,940

The total cost above does not include transfer credit or financial aid. Cost per credit hour and fees are subject to change. Fee schedules may vary by program depending on course-specific fees for proctoring and/or books. Please contact a Student Success Coach for more information.

Course Listings Online MSW

Required Courses Credit Hours
SW 7001 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I 3
SW 7003 Social Welfare History and Policy 3
SW 7005 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families 3
SW 7007 Generalist Field Internship I 3
SW 7009 Social Work Research I 3
SW 7002 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II 3
SW 7004 Human Diversity and Oppression 3
SW 7006 Social Work Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities 3
SW 7010 Differential Diagnosis 3
SW 7008 Generalist Field Internship II 3
SW 7501 Social Work Research II 3
SW 7505 Advanced Direct Theory and Practice 3
SW 7502 Specialized Field Internship I 3
SW 7506 Community Engagement and Grant Development 3
SW 7503 Specialized Field Internship II 3
SW 7504 Advanced Social Policy 3
Free Elective 1 3
Free Elective 2 3
Free Elective 3 3
Free Elective 4 3
Total Required Credit Hours 60


Admission Requirements Online MSW

How to Apply

Application to the School of Social Work is the same for all campus and online programs. Applicants must submit the following:

  • Graduate School Application and Fee  
  • Letter of Intent (instructions located within the application)
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • A total of three (3) recommendation forms are required for your admission file to be complete. A letter of support is optional.
    • Two (2) recommendations must be Academic (college instructors, internship supervisors) and the remaining one (1) recommendation must be a Professional (Work/Volunteer) Reference.  Family friends, clergy, therapist and high school teachers are not appropriate.
    • Applicants who have been out of school for 2 or more years and cannot ascertain academic references may substitute other professional recommendations for academic.
    • For any applicant, if two are not academic recommendations and one is not professional, please include a statement with your application explaining the reason for the substitution.
    • It is strongly recommended that if an internship was part of the degree program and the internship has been completed at the time of application, a recommendation from the internship supervisor be included as the professional recommendation.
    • Current resume or vita.
    • One official copy of all transcripts from all universities attended. Transcripts may be mailed in sealed envelopes to Graduate School, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or sent electronically from a university (all transcripts are required, whether or not credit was earned or is desired). Official transcripts of work taken at LSU are not required.
    • For international applicants whose native language is not English, scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Applicants with missing application materials by the School of Social Work deadline will not be considered. A completed application is the LSU Graduate School application, fee payment, letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, resume, and official transcripts. Note: Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

For further information about Advanced Standing and the Field Education Requirement please check out LSU School of Social Work.


Admission Requirements

School of Social Work admission requirements for ALL programs are the same. The following requirements must be completed prior to admission to the Full time, Part-time, Advanced Standing and MSW Online programs:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university
  • Demonstration of a liberal arts undergraduate preparation through completion of at least 12 credit hours in the social and behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, human geography, economics, political science, curriculum & instruction, etc.), and at least 9 hours in the humanities (literature, languages, history, women’s studies, art or music history, philosophy, cultural and comparative studies, communication studies, etc.)
  • “C” or better in an introductory statistics course in any undergraduate department; this course cannot be taken concurrently with MSW courses
  • A 3.0 cumulative grade point average on undergraduate course work or in the final 60 credit hours or at least 9 hours of any graduate work already completed with appropriate grades for regular admission.
  • Evidence that the applicant possesses the personal qualities and aptitudes essential for the social work profession
  • A genuine interest in people and emotional stability
  • Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission

Additional information about LSU Graduate admission requirements are located here.

Career Opportunities Online MSW

  • Private Practice Therapist
  • Child and Family Social Worker 
  • Group Social Worker
  • Health Care Social Worker 
  • Gerontology Social Worker 
  • Hospice Social Worker
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor

Accreditation & Professional Licensure Requirements Online MSW

Accreditation & Professional Licensure Requirements --- Online MSW

The LSU School of Social Work’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the only body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit social work education programs in the United States. Our MSW program meets CSWE’s curriculum and field education standards for the MSW degree. However, the following states have entry-level professional licensure requirements that differ from these standards in the following ways:

  • California: California law and ethics exam; coursework in suicide risk assessment and intervention (6 hours, beginning with applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021); child abuse assessment and reporting in California (7 hours); human sexuality (10 hours); alcoholism and chemical substance abuse and dependency (15 hours); aging, long term care and elder/dependent adult abuse (10 hours), California cultures and the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position (15 hours or 1 semester unit); spousal/partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention (15 hours);
  • Colorado: Colorado Mental Health Professions Jurisprudence Examination;
  • Florida: clinical field placement during the specialized (i.e., second) year;
  • Missouri: 2 hours of suicide prevention training;
  • Nebraska: internship that includes a minimum of 300 clock hours of direct client contact, of which 150 clock hours must be face-to-face;
  • New Mexico: jurisprudence examination; one of the following: 3-credit-hour course in New Mexico cultures; a board-approved course, workshop, or seminar in New Mexico cultures; proof of previously passing the New Mexico cultural examination;
  • New York: 2 hours of coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment;
  • Oregon: Oregon Rules and Laws Exam;
  • Virginia: minimum of 600 hours in a clinical field placement [this applies to LSU’s advanced-standing students only];
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin Statutes and Rules examination.

The School of Social Work may assist students with meeting their state’s licensure requirements. Applicants and students are encouraged to refer to their state licensing board for more information about current licensure requirements. State licensing boards can be found by visiting the Association of Social Work Boards. Students living in states whose licensing requirements differ from the School’s curriculum and field education standards must notify the Field Education Office immediately.

Why Choose LSU? Online MSW

Why choose LSU for an online MSW?

The passion and excellence that LSU stands for have earned the university a coveted "Tier One" spot in U.S. News & World Report's “Best Colleges.” As the state’s flagship university, LSU has been preparing students for rewarding careers for nearly 150 years. Today, LSU is equally proud of its strides to make education more accessible through innovative online degree programs that are every bit as rigorous as its on-campus programs.

Boasting an exceptional faculty and staff, LSU is one of only 30 universities in the United States designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution. In addition, LSU is the only public top-tier university—and the only university in Louisiana—to receive the honor of being placed in the "very high research activity" category by the Carnegie Foundation.

Why Choose This Program? Online MSW

Why a Master of Social Work?

The primary goal, drive, and initiative that a social worker has is to help. Social workers help individuals, support families and people in relationships, and initiate programs and oversee facilities that serve struggling groups and communities. A Bachelor of Social Work degree can provide a strong foundation in the necessary theories and concepts of being a social worker, but an MSW degree is often required for individuals to perform certain functions in the field, attain the most in-demand roles, and be trusted in the community as experts capable of changing lives and doing good.

It’s more than just learning to treat someone suffering from a certain problem, such as abuse or addiction; it’s also recognizing the underlying causes of how these social dilemmas and crises arise in the first place. An MSW degree pushes students to develop expertise in analysis and empathy and to realize that social work is a science that requires a human touch to master.

What Makes This Program Unique? Online MSW

What makes the Online MSW program unique?

The MSW degree blends the flexibility of an online education with the real-world benefit of LSU’s professional network. Students study advanced social work topics on their own time while still completing internships in the field. With no GRE necessary and 60 credit hours required to complete the program (33, if students have a BSW), students receive a quality education while being able to pursue their other personal and professional interests. Plus, the program’s foundation in social work theory and advanced social work subjects provides graduates with a comprehensive understanding of how to make positive change in their communities.

Students who have received a baccalaureate degree in social work from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) may be eligible for admission into the advanced instruction phase of the MSW program. Learn more about Advanced Standing for MSW students.

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Take the first step forward by completing the form and our enrollment team will contact you soon to discuss:

  • Additional information on the Master of Social Work online program
  • Financial aid options (employer funding, military benefits)
  • Receiving credit for past education (transfer, professional development)
  • The admissions process and timeline

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