Structure of Hybrid MSW Programs: Blended versus Distance Education
Last updated: March 2020
A hybrid MSW program is a type of social work degree that mixes online and on-campus learning. On OnlineMSWPrograms.com, we classify any MSW program with an online component that requires a student to visit the campus three or more times per year as a hybrid program. There are currently over 15 CSWE-accredited schools that offer these types of programs. Please note, while we have done our best to create a comprehensive list of schools that offer these programs, we did not include programs where the majority of classes were only offered on-campus.
The majority of schools offer programs designed for traditional standing students (16). In addition, 11 of those schools also offer programs for advanced standing students (those who completed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited undergraduate program). Various programs offer part-time options, full-time options, or both. Though the format of hybrid MSW programs varies by institution, you will typically see two main categories of hybrid programs based on how they combine online and face-to-face instruction.
Hybrid and Blended MSW Programs: Typically, hybrid or blended programs follow one of two formats (although others do exist): 1) online courses with a reduced number of campus visits or 2) a combination of separate online and on-campus courses. For the former, classes may meet on-campus once a week, once a month (typically on the weekends), or even twice a semester (also typically on the weekends), with the rest of instruction taking place online. Programs that have separate online and on-campus courses may require students to take certain classes online or may only offer a limited number of classes online at this time. For the hybrid programs listed below, we have done our best to describe the structure of the program within each school listing.
Hybrid / Distance Education MSW Programs: With regard to MSW programs, the majority of programs that use the term distance education involve on-site instruction at an off-campus location. For example, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa has a distance education program designed for students on islands neighboring Oahu. Students attend classes at local sites and instruction is conducted in real-time via interactive television from the Manoa campus. For many distance education MSW programs, students attend classes on Friday evenings or all day Saturday.
In addition to coursework, all hybrid MSW programs require field education. Traditional programs include a minimum of at least 900 field education hours to graduate, but the number of hours vary depending on the university. Students typically complete two internships over four semesters. For advanced standing programs, the number of hours required ranges from 450 to 680 hours and students typically complete one or two internships over two to three semesters. Students in full-time programs should expect to work 16 to 20 hours per week to meet the graduate requirements.
Length of Hybrid MSW Programs: Full-Time and Part-Time Options
Students have several options when considering hybrid MSW programs and should find a program that fits their schedule and career goals. Typically, full-time programs do not recommend students to work full-time while pursuing their degree. Therefore, students who have other obligations that require them to work full-time while in school should really consider a part-time program.
Traditional MSW Programs:
Full-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take two years to complete about 60 credits. Start times will vary by program.
Part-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take three to four years to complete (depending on the program) and require about 60 credit hours to graduate. Start times will vary by program.
Advanced Standing MSW Programs:
Full-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take one year to complete with classes in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. The number of credit hours required to graduate ranges from about 30 to 40 depending on the university. Start times vary.
Part-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take two years to complete with students taking classes over five to six semesters. The number of credit hours required to graduate typically ranges from 30 to 40 and programs starts vary.
For students who are also interested in earning a MSW online with limited or no requirements to attend classes in person, we have compiled a complete list of online masters of social work programs all 100% online, complete with program information and admission requirements.
CSWE Accredited Hybrid Online MSW Programs
All schools listed below offer CSWE accredited hybrid MSW programs. This list contains schools that offer traditional and/or advanced standing degree programs as well as full-time and/or part-time programs. School information includes program options, description of the program(s), length of the program(s), admission information, field instruction requirements, and more. Information, especially student eligibility, tuition costs and admission requirements, are subject to change at any time; therefore, students should speak with an admission advisor to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information before applying.