Boston University Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Program

The Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) offers an innovative part-time format with majors in Clinical or Macro Practice and 3 track options, ensuring that each student’s graduate program is tailored to his or her academic and professional experience BUSSW’s online MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and enables students who do not live near the BUSSW campus or who have time constraints that prevent them from traveling to classes to earn their MSW from an internationally recognized private research university. For students majoring in Clinical, this program enables them to become license eligible in their state of residence.

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Learn More: Interview with Kristina Whiton-O’Brien – Assistant Director of Online Advising and Field Education at BU
“Field Education is a dynamic and integral part of the curriculum at Boston University School of Social Work…” Read more from Kristina Whiton-O’Brien's interview

Boston University’s MSW program is currently ranked in the top 10 nationwide by U.S. News and World Report. The curriculum emphasizes diversity, ethics, populations-at-risk, and social and economic justice, which is integrated throughout foundation and advanced MSW courses.The online program is taught by active BUSSW faculty members, who call upon their research experience and knowledge of established and emerging social work practices to engage students in a combination of lectures, discussion, and coursework.

Classes that are part of the online program include Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Racial Justice and Cultural Oppression, Communities and Organizations: Analysis and Intervention, Family Therapy, Adult Psychopathology, Clinical Practice with Adult Trauma, and Cognitive and Behavioral Treatment. Additional classes are also offered, email busswad@bu.edu for a full list of offerings. 

Students fulfill the requirements for the MSW degree by taking required and elective courses in a convenient online format, delivered asynchronously, attending weekly required Live Classroom sessions, and completing 1 or 2 field internships (depending upon track) within or near their geographic area. You can visit Boston University's social work program's FAQ page for more information.

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Online MSW Program Tracks

There are three options for completing the MSW degree (students should note that their eligibility for these concentrations depends upon their academic background and past human services experience).

  • Traditional MSW Track

    This track consists of 65 credits, which can be completed in 3 years over the course of 9 semesters (fall, spring, and summer). Students take foundation and advanced courses online, attend weekly required Llve Classroom sessions held Sunday or Monday nights, and complete two field internships for a total of 1,200 hours in the field.
  • Human Service Experience Track (HSE)

    Open to applicants with who have a minimum of 2 years of supervised human services experience. The Human Service Experience Trackconsists of 65 credits which can be completed in 3 years over the course of 9 semesters (fall, spring, and summer). Students take foundation and advanced courses online, attend weekly required Live Classroom sessions held Sunday or Monday nights, and complete a single 1,000-hour advanced field internship.
  • Advanced Standing Track

    This option is open to applicants with an undergraduate social work degree from an institution program accredited by CSWE. The undergraduate social work degree must have been earned within 6 years of entry into the program. No additional transfer credits will be accepted toward the MSW degree. The track consists of 43 credits (or 40 credits if the student passes the Research 1 Waiver Exam) which can be completed over 6 consecutive semesters. Students enroll in courses online, attend weekly required Live Classroom sessions held Sunday or Monday nights, and complete a single advanced 1,000-hour field internship.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have earned or be on track to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution prior to enrollment in BUSSW’s online program. 

Boston Univesity recommends that candidates have a broad academic background in the social, behavioral, and/or biological sciences because that gives them a strong understanding of the person-in-environment approach that is central to clinical social work. Classes related to cultural diversity, social problems, and the impact that social/socioeconomic conditions have on communities, groups and individuals are also helpful but not required.

ALL applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed online application which includes: 
    • Personal statement
    • Current resume/CV
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • A non-refundable $95 application fee
    • Official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions (including international programs where applicable)
    • The completion of a telephone or Skype interview may also be required.

For more information, visit BU School of Social Work's admissions page.  

Advanced Standing Applicants:

  • Candidates for the Advanced Standing track must have or be working towards an undergraduate degree in Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited institution, and hold a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • If applicant is a graduate of an undergraduate social work program, he or she must submit a copy of his/her final field evaluation from senior year. If applicant is currently enrolled, he or she must submit a copy of his/her mid-year evaluation from senior year. (Note that an applicant’s field evaluation and academic reference should not be written by the same person.)

Human Service Experience Applicants:

  • Applicants interested in the Human Service track must submit a completed employment verification form showing that they have completed at least two years of social work or human services experience under supervision.
  • Whomever completes the form must also serve as a reference.

Applicants must be living within the 50 states at the time the program begins in order to participate. Those living in U.S. Territories, countries outside of the U.S., and military bases outside of the 50 states are ineligible for the Online MSW Program.


Boston University Online MSW Programs: Overview

Department: Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW)

Degree Types: Traditional, Human Service Experience, and Advanced Standing

Concentrations: Clinical or Macro

Program Structure: Weekly online Live Classroom sessions (Sunday or Monday nights) with field education experiences beginning during the second year (no campus visits or residency requirements)

Instruction Methods: Virtual

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Applicants living abroad may apply for the program, but must be living in one of the 50 states by the start of the program.

Program Information – Traditional Standing Students

Field Education Requirements: A total of 1,200 hours (two internships)

Number of Credits Required: 65 credits needed to graduate

Program Options: Part-Time Only

Program Length: Program can be completed in 3 years (9 semesters)

Program Start Dates: January (spring), May (summer) or September (fall)

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum GPA requirement for traditional track, applications are reviewed holistically

Program Information – Human Service Experience Students

Field Education Requirements: A total of 1,000 hours (one advanced internship)

Number of Credits Required: 65 credits needed to graduate

Program Options: Part-Time Only

Program Length: Program can be completed in 3 years (9 semesters)

Program Start Dates: January (spring), May (summer) or September (fall)

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum GPA requirement for the Human Service Experience track, applications are reviewed holistically

Work Experience: Students must have at least two years of social service experience and have their current/former supervisor complete the employment verification form.

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students

Field Education Requirements: A total of 1,000 hours (one advanced internship)

Number of Credits Required: The track consists of 43 credits (or 40 credits if the student passes the Research 1 Waiver Exam)

Program Options: Part-Time Only

Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years (6 semesters)

Program Start Dates: January (spring), May (summer) or September (fall)

Admission Requirements

GPA: Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0

Learn more about the advanced standing track from BU School of Social Work.


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Boston University's MSW program information was last updated on April 2019. For more information, visit the university's website above. 

If you have additional information about this program, email us at contactus@onlinemswprograms.com.