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Master of Social Work

Total Credit Hours

Cost Per Credit Hour

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 “specialist 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.

Total Credit Hours

Cost Per Credit Hour

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Can be completed in approximately two years.

The MSW degree typically takes 2 years to complete. However, highly motivated students without a Bachelor of Social Work can finish in less than two years. Those with a BSW, who qualify for our advanced-standing program, can finish in 9-12 months.

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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 BestColleges.com ranked the school as having the sixth-best online program in the nation overall.


Be a Part of the Tiger Nation.

Join more than 250,000 alumni worldwide from the flagship institution of Louisiana.

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


You may be able to find savings and earn credit from previous work or training, or as demonstrated by your industry certifications, through Prior Learning Assessment. Learn more.

Total credit hours per program: 60

Cost per credit hour: $539

Total cost with fees: $32,340

Course Listings
  • SW 7001 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7003 Social Welfare History and Policy | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7005 Social Work Practice I | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7007 Foundation Field Internship I | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7009 Social Work Research I | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7002 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7004 Human Diversity and Oppression | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7006 Social Work Practice II | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7010 Differential Diagnosis | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7008 Foundation Field Internship II | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7501 Program & Practice Evaluation | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7505 Advanced Direct Practice | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7502 Advanced Field Internship I | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7506 Community & Agency Contexts for Direct Practice Community | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7503 Advanced Field Internship II | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 7504 Advanced Social Policy | Credit Hours: 3

Four elective courses (12 credit hours)

Admission Requirements

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 an 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 or graduate course work for regular admission; Minimum of 2.55 cumulative or last 60 hours GPA for probationary admission in certain cases
  • 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
What makes this 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 a GRE waiver available and 60 credit hours required to complete the program (30, 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.

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.

Why choose LSU?

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.

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges to disclose a variety of information for any financial aid eligible program that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. The disclosure for the Master of Social Work can be found here.