Online MSW Programs With No GRE Required

Looking to save time and money by skipping the GRE exam? You may be in luck — more and more schools are challenging the long-held belief that the GRE can accurately predict success in graduate school.

Now, many master of social work (MSW) programs no longer require the exam.

Discover what you need to enroll in an online MSW program without taking the GRE and explore your potential programs and career opportunities.

Popular Online Social Work Master’s Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Online MSW Programs with No GRE Required

1. University of Central Florida

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $370 | Out-of-State $1,195
  • Credits to Graduate: 32 (advanced standing); 62 (traditional)

The University of Central Florida’s master’s in social work online program offers students many flexible options: online, in person, hybrid, full time, or part time. Students who earned a BSW from an accredited program in the last six years can apply for advanced standing. Learners complete an internship arranged by the field education office.

Candidates need a cumulative 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits and a prerequisite in these subjects: social sciences, math, humanities, and physical or biological sciences. Students learn how to work with families and diverse populations.

2. University of South Florida

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $550 | Out-of-State $550
  • Credits to Graduate: 35 BSW; 60 non-BSW

Applicants of the University of South Florida’s master of social work program must submit three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and an essay with their application. The school prefers candidates with one year of post-undergraduate work. Courses include foundations in behavior, social welfare policy, and social justice. Students must take at least six clinical electives, 13 credit hours of field experience, and a comprehensive exam.

The program emphasizes professional behavior and ethics. Students can also pursue a concurrent degree in two majors simultaneously.

3. University of Georgia

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $370 | Out-of-State $1,050
  • Credits to Graduate: 60

Students in the University of Georgia’s master of social work program can specialize in micro, macro, or combined practice. Micro practice focuses on individuals and families, while macro practice concentrates on program and policy development. Students can enroll in dual-degree programs that combine an MSW and a master of public health or an MSW and a Juris Doctor.

Students can complete the program in two years as a full-time student or in four years as a part-time learner. Field coordinators match students to field experience opportunities that meet their goals.

4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $16,600 per semester | Out-of-State $26,700 per semester
  • Credits to Graduate: 45 credits

Students in the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor’s master of social work can choose from flexible course options, including full- and part-time study, assistance from advisors and counselors, local field placements, and the advanced standing or certificate tracks.

The program prepares learners to become licensed clinical social workers. Students can also choose the welfare of children and families pathway that explores supporting children, adolescents, and families. Coursework includes social issues, theories and practice, community action, and social change.

5. University of Southern California

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $2,140 | Out-of-State $2,140
  • Credits to Graduate: 24 credits advanced standing; 48 credits traditional

The University of Southern California’s master of social work online program offers students the opportunity to complete the program through online coursework and virtual and in-person fieldwork. Students without an undergraduate degree in social work must complete 48 credits, while those eligible for advanced standing need 24 credits to graduate.

Enrollees may specialize in children, youth and families, social change and innovation, school and education, military population, or adult mental health and wellness.

6. The Ohio State University – Main Campus

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $12,232 per year | Out-of-State $12,232 per year
  • Credits to Graduate: 63

Students applying to The Ohio State University’s master’s in social work online program can earn their degree through full- or part-time coursework. The online program is not available in all states. All online graduate students pay the same tuition, but Ohio residents pay a distance fee half the price of the non-resident fee per term.

Foundation classes teach professional values, theoretical knowledge, and core competencies. The advanced practice portion focuses on aging and health, mental health and substance misuse, child and youth services, and community and social justice.

7. Tulane University of Louisiana

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $1,276 | Out-of-State $1,276
  • Credits to Graduate: 60

Students in the Tulane University online master’s in social work program can graduate in 16 months when attending full time or 32 months in a part-time option. Students with a BSW qualify for advanced standing to complete the program within 12 months of full-time enrollment. The school focuses the curriculum on relationship-centered practice.

Every student must complete 900 hours of local field education. The curriculum is structured to empower students to apply their knowledge and refine their specialization.

8. Rutgers University – New Brunswick

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $1,007 | Out-of-State $1,007
  • Credits to Graduate: 60

Students can complete the Rutgers University – New Brunswick social work master’s program online in 2-3 years. Traditional students must complete 60 credits, while advanced-standing students require 39 credits to graduate. Classes are asynchronous, so students are not required to attend at a fixed time.

Students must complete fieldwork each week, starting in their first or third semester, depending on when they begin their program. Graduates can earn a certificate in aging and health, interpersonal violence and trauma, Latino initiatives for service, training, or assessment.

9. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $740 | Out-of-State $1,160
  • Credits to Graduate: 63

Students in the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s master of social work program can attend entirely online. The program emphasizes multicultural awareness and offers specializations in direct practice with Latino individuals, administration, and community practice.

Learners in the traditional track must complete 63 hours, while those with a BSW can finish in 33 credit hours. Admission criteria include official transcripts, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

10. Yeshiva University

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Cost per Credit: In-State $1,140 | Out-of-State $1,140
  • Credits to Graduate: 60

Yeshiva University’s master of social work online program offers six focused optional MSW certificates in gerontology, child welfare, creative arts, school, trauma, and military.

Students in the traditional track complete 60 credits, but advanced standing students need 30 credits to graduate. The program has over 800 field placement sites in three countries – including the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Over 300 students are placed in fieldwork each year.

Learners can choose from three start dates during the year and complete their degree as full-time or part-time enrollees. A faculty advisor helps students individualize the program founded on respect and Jewish social philosophy.

Methodology: How We Rank Schools

At, we use a specialized, student-oriented methodology to assess and rank social work programs in our rankings. Using datasets from sources including the U.S. Department of Education, our objective approach focuses on academic quality, affordability, school reputation, and program appeal.

As part of our process, we focus on important and relevant information for social work students searching for their ideal programs. To learn more, read about our rankings methodology.

Master of Social Work Degree Overview

Many students enroll in an MSW as the next step after earning a bachelor of social work (BSW). A BSW can prepare you for licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) licensure and some social services jobs.

However, only a master’s degree qualifies you to sit for advanced and clinical licensure exams. A master’s degree is also the degree accepted for work in clinical and managerial positions.

Online MSW programs typically last 2-3 years, although some accelerated programs can be completed in 12-15 months. If you have already completed a BSW, you can begin a master’s program with advanced standing and graduate with as few as half the credits.

Some graduate schools allow you to choose a concentration area, such as:

All accredited MSW degrees require at least 900 hours of supervised fieldwork in the chosen specialty area. Master’s candidates may also need to complete some sort of project before graduation, such as a final practicum or research in their field.

Accreditation for Online MSW Programs

Accreditation protects students’ investments and the integrity of higher education. Accreditation also ensures students are qualified for social work licensure and positions after graduation.

Programmatic accrediting agencies assess various aspects of online master’s in social work programs to guarantee credibility and quality. For instance, evaluators assess the learning materials, faculty, and student outcomes.

An accredited education guarantees the value of your degree and future in social work. Schools also need institutional accreditation, which enables you to get federal financial aid and transfer credits to other colleges.

When researching online MSW programs without GRE requirements, look for accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in addition to regional accreditation.

Earning an MSW Online

While online MSW programs all feature distance learning as the primary mode of education, the specifics vary. When researching online MSW degrees, choose a program format that best suits your lifestyle and academic goals.

Some degrees offer fully online curriculum plans, whereas other colleges might offer a hybrid format, combining online and in-person requirements. Programs might facilitate mostly online classes but require a few on-campus visits for orientation or fieldwork.

Fieldwork is the one component of online MSW programs that isn’t online. Students gain experience through a supervised field education, which they can usually complete at a location near their home.

Course structure also varies. Schools might offer synchronous courses, in which students meet at specific times for lectures or class discussions. Other colleges run asynchronous classes, which means distance learners follow their own schedule of study.

You can also find part- or full-time options, or even accelerated degrees if you wish to complete your degree at a more rigorous pace.

Advantages of Earning a Master’s in Social Work Online

Online programs may not be for everyone. However, if you have other responsibilities or live far from campus, an online MSW program can offer many benefits.

  • Convenience: Traditional programs typically require students to move to campus or commute to work. For many students, this is not a feasible option. Online courses allow you to study on your own schedule in a location convenient for you.
  • Cost Savings: Sometimes online courses come with lower tuition fees than on-campus courses. For instance, some schools may offer in-state tuition to online students. Even if your school does not offer discounted online tuition, you can still avoid the costs of on-campus fees, gas for commuting, and a parking pass.
  • Flexibility: If you care for a family or work a job, then the flexibility of an online degree becomes invaluable. This is true especially if you enroll in a part-time program and take asynchronous courses.

Do MSW Programs Usually Require the GRE?

GRE requirements vary, depending on the college. Some schools do not require candidates to take standardized tests at all.

Several colleges include GRE scores in their application requirements. The schools that instruct applicants to take the GRE may set minimum scores for the verbal or quantitative sections of the test.

Other programs may only require certain scores if prospective students do not meet the GPA requirement.

If your prospective master’s program requires scores, you can find GRE resources online to help you prepare.

How to Apply to an Online MSW Program with No GRE Requirements

Online MSW programs with no GRE requirements may not ask for standardized test scores, but they will instruct you to submit an application to prove you are a good fit for the program.

GRE or no GRE, you will likely need to send in your undergraduate transcripts. Some online MSW programs with no GRE requirements want you to have a minimum GPA on undergraduate coursework.

Additionally, you may need to write a personal essay outlining your career goals and provide at least two letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.

What Can I Do With an Online Master’s Degree in Social Work?

A master’s degree in social work prepares you to work in fields of social work such as policy, community development, administration, program development and management, and clinical practice. Social workers across these fields make a median salary of $58,380, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In most states, you can become a licensed master social worker (LMSW) or your state’s equivalent without post-graduate supervised experience. LMSWs work in policy, program, and community development, administration, and research.

They hold job titles such as program coordinator or social services manager. Social services managers make median earnings of $77,030, according to BLS data.

Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) need two to three years of post-graduate clinical supervised experience, depending on their state to practice clinical social work independently,

LCSWs can diagnose and treat the emotional and behavioral disorders of vulnerable people. They sometimes work with doctors to provide this treatment and help people with addictions, working as mental health and substance use social workers.

MSW graduates can pursue other careers as well. Some may prefer to become behavioral disorder, addiction, or mental health counselors, who make a median income of about $53,710, BLS statistics show.

Clinical Social Work Roles You Can Get with an Online MSW

While specific application requirements vary by state, becoming a LCSW usually requires:

  • An MSW degree from an accredited program
  • Passing ASWB exam scores
  • Supervised clinical experience as an LMSW, or your state’s equivalent.

Additionally you’ll need supervised clinical experience, with hours varying by state. LCSWs can provide mental health counseling, while LMSW in most states cannot.

Forensic or Criminal Justice Social Worker

Forensic social workers help clients in the legal and corrections system. They work for court systems, prisons, public defense practices, and mental health agencies. Often they serve specific populations, such as children and families involved in the court systems.

Mental Health or Substance Use/ Addictions Social Worker

Outpatient care centers, psychiatric hospitals, and government agencies employ mental health and substance use social workers. These professionals support individuals to overcome addiction and find treatment for conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Military Social Worker

If you want to help military personnel and family members access resources, consider becoming a military social worker. These social workers provide a variety of services, including helping active-duty personnel find psychological help or injured veterans find rehabilitation services.

Annual Earnings in Social Work
CareerMedian Salary (May 2023)
Child, family, and school social workers$53,940
Mental health and substance abuse social workers$55,960
Social workers, all other$58,380
Healthcare social workers$62,940
Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSW Programs With No GRE

What is the GRE for?

Some graduate programs use the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, to evaluate whether students’ academic abilities will help them succeed in the graduate program they’re applying to. The GRE focuses on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. Recently, many colleges are opting to evaluate prospective students without standardized test scores.

Are there other entrance exams for an online MSW program?

No, MSW programs sometimes require GRE or GMAT scores. Social work schools may set minimum scores for admitted students. That said, many admissions requirements do not involve any entrance exams.

Are online MSW programs respected?

Yes. Employers respect both traditional and online master’s in social work programs. As long as your program is accredited, both formats offer the same rigorous curriculum and practicum requirements to prepare you for social work. Colleges of all tiers now offer Social work master’s programs online.

Is an online MSW hard?

Earning your MSW online can seem challenging, but it is an attainable goal. In fact, almost 26,000 people graduated from MSW programs in 2021, according to statistics from the CSWE. Online MSW programs often require self-motivation and discipline, since students cannot rely on the traditional college structure. Some students may find this difficult. However, many students value the flexibility of online MSW programs lacking in traditional degrees.