Master of Social Work Online

This online master's program is designed to help you address the needs of vulnerable populations as well as influence public policy and the well-being of your community.

Apply by 2/29/24
Start class 3/11/24 Apply Now

Program Overview

Explore NKU's online Master of Social Work

Demonstrate leadership and social work values in your profession and community with the Master of Social Work from Northern Kentucky University. In this clinical online program, you will be empowered to advance social and economic justice and graduate ready to improve the quality of life for all people. With an emphasis on clinical behavioral health and community practice, you will learn to engage in professional practice at multiple levels with a wide variety of evidence-informed interventions. The program is CSWE accredited.

This flexible master's program is for individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than social work. Our online MSW provides the path to help you transition into this sector and take on leadership roles in a clinical setting. Curricula provide the option to add micro-credentials to your expertise by exploring trauma-informed care through a perspective that combines psychology and therapy. Our courses, taught by the same distinguished faculty who teach on campus, will provide you with opportunities to develop, understand, and apply assessment models and treatments in settings such as community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, residential and day treatment facilities, child welfare agencies, and advocacy organizations.

To further prepare you for success, you will complete 900 hours of supervised clinical practice in a field agency that suits your interests and goals. Completing the Master of Social Work online program qualifies you to sit for LISW/LCSW licensure in any state. Earning this credential grants you the authority to diagnose and treat clients in clinical settings.

In this online program, you will:

  • Study the DSM-5, focusing on the diagnostic criteria required to accurately assess psychiatric disorders, as well as critically examine the DSM from a social justice perspective
  • Analyze how social policy affects human rights and social and economic justice, and the marginalization of vulnerable populations
  • Develop your understanding of the biological, psychological, and sociological variables that influence human behavioral development
  • Explore advanced clinical practice decision-making and learn to be a critical thinker in the use of research, knowledge, and theory for assessment, intervention, and evaluation
  • Study the DSM-5, focusing on the diagnostic criteria required to accurately assess psychiatric disorders, as well as critically examine the DSM from a social justice perspective
  • Analyze how social policy affects human rights and social and economic justice, and the marginalization of vulnerable populations
  • Develop your understanding of the biological, psychological, and sociological variables that influence human behavioral development
  • Explore advanced clinical practice decision-making and learn to be a critical thinker in the use of research, knowledge, and theory for assessment, intervention, and evaluation

Graduates of this MSW online program can transition into such roles as:

  • Occupational Social Worker
  • Mental Healthcare Worker
  • Social Services Agent
  • Private Counselor or Therapist
  • Family Therapist
  • Occupational Social Worker
  • Mental Healthcare Worker
  • Social Services Agent
  • Private Counselor or Therapist
  • Family Therapist

Also available:

Northern Kentucky University offers an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work online for those with a BSW degree. Learn more about our Advanced Standing Master of Social Work online.

Total Tuition $38,045
Program Duration As few as 24 Months
Credit Hours 60

Accreditation

CSWE Accredited

The Master of Social Work program at Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Need More Information?

Call 800-985-7215

Call 800-985-7215

Tuition

NKU offers affordable, pay-by-the-course tuition

The Master of Social Work online program offers the same affordable, pay-by-the-course tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Tuition Breakdown:

Total Tuition $38,045
Per Credit Hour $617
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“Top Public College”

Ranked among the “Top Public Colleges” by Forbes, 2022

Calendar

Our online degree programs fit your schedule

With six start dates a year, the Master of Social Work online program is flexible and convenient. View the calendar to find the best start date for you, along with corresponding deadlines.

SessionProgram Start DateApplication DeadlineDocument DeadlineRegistration DeadlinePayment Due
Spring 11/8/241/2/241/4/241/5/241/8/24
Spring 23/11/242/29/243/4/243/8/243/11/24
Summer 15/6/244/24/244/30/245/3/245/6/24
Summer 26/24/246/12/246/18/246/21/246/24/24
Fall 18/19/248/7/248/12/248/16/248/19/24
Fall 210/16/2410/3/2410/8/2410/11/2410/16/24

Now enrolling:

Apply Date 2/29/24
Class Starts 3/11/24
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Admissions

Explore the admission requirements for the online Master of Social Work program

The admission process is the first step toward earning your degree online.

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts of all coursework from accredited institutions
  • Resume that lists three references
  • 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale

Master of Social Work Online Admission Requirements

  • Complete online application for admission
  • Pay $40 non-refundable application fee
    • If you are an NKU alum or active/veteran military member, your application fee will be waived
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) coursework from an accredited institutions
  • Undergraduate foundation courses, completed with a C or higher, in psychology, sociology, and statistics
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • A professional resume tailored to your educational goals, including educational background, employment history, awards, and accomplishments. Resume must list three references (former instructors, supervisors, colleagues, etc.) who are qualified to evaluate academic and professional potential in the field of social work

Official documents may be mailed or emailed to:

NKU Office of Graduate Education
302 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099

[email protected]

Have a question? Call us at 800-985-7215.

Courses

A look at the Master of Social Work online program curriculum

In order to earn the Master of Social Work online, you must complete a total of 60 credit hours, including three clinical field experiences.

Students must take the following courses:
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course examines the dynamic relationship between human behavior and the social environment. It provides a theoretical foundation for social work practice by examining the biological, psychological and sociological factors that influence human development. Special emphasis is placed on human diversity and its influence on human behavior.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
The ethical dimensions of social work practice must be viewed within the context of society’s responsibility for the well-being of all people. This course explores and applies content from the NASW Code of Ethics, ethics theories, and ethical decision-making models in an effort to prepare social workers for ethical practice.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Students complete a social welfare policy analysis. This includes engagement with the philosophical foundations of social welfare and the historical and current context of national policy. The analysis involves identification of a policy, review of relevant literature, and development of a critical policy analysis from a social justice perspective.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course introduces students to selected theories that critically analyze oppression at individual and institutional levels. Various experiences of oppression that limit opportunities and human rights for marginalized groups are explored. Developing self-awareness as well as anti-oppressive policies are emphasized as essential to ethical and effective social work practice.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 1.5
The Social Work Generalist Practice I course prepares social work students for generalist work in the profession. The course allows students to become familiar with the mission, and knowledge base of social work, familiarizing students with major theories, skills and the phases of the helping process.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 1.5
The Social Work Generalist Practice I course prepares social work students for generalist work in the profession. The course allows students to become familiar with the mission, and knowledge base of social work, familiarizing students with major theories, skills and the phases of the helping process.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Social work competencies related to change at the community and organizational levels are reviewed. This course examines human oppression and discrimination; participation in the political process; and advocacy for social and economic justice. Students will learn evidence-based practice community strategies for working with large organizations and policy development.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This practice course familiarizes students with direct engagement techniques, applicable to social work settings. Students will learn how to complete evidence-based assessments and corresponding documentation skills applicable to the field of social work. Finally, students will explore self-of-the-social worker awareness and its application to practice behaviors.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Clinical Behavioral Health is an advanced social work practice course. The primary goal is to prepare students for effective and ethical practice with diverse clients. This course uses a biopsychosocial perspective to explore clinical practice decision-making. Clinical interventions and treatment modalities related to clinical behavioral health practice will be reviewed. Prerequisite Admission to MSW Program; Prerequisite or Corequisite SWK 635.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
The focus of this course is on the development of groups, use of relationships in group work, leadership skills, and group membership skills in working in groups. Students will become familiar with planning a group, clarifying group purpose, and assessing process and outcome. Prerequisite SWK 635
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course introduces students to social work research methods. Students are taught to become critical consumers of research and are provided with the foundational knowledge to move toward becoming researchers themselves. This course covers the use of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods thus laying the foundation for advanced research courses.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Students design a research proposal to implement in Applied Research II. Students identify a social problem, review the literature, pose a research question, and develop a research design. This research proposal, which focuses on clinical behavioral health and community practice, forms the foundation of students’ capstone project. Prerequisite SWK 640
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Students carry out the research proposal that they designed in Applied Research I. Students collect, analyze, and interpret data. Students then combine all the pieces of their research study into one presentation, which they will present in a public forum. This completed project will constitute their capstone project. PREREQ: SWK 641
Duration: 16 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This introductory field-based course requires students to apply and integrate generalist social work knowledge from the foundation curriculum by completing 300 internship hours in a field-based agency/organization and attend a seminar course. Students will examine the delivery of social services/direct practice skills while adhering to the NASW Code of Ethics.
Duration: 16 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course allows students to apply theory and evidence-informed practice of Clinical Behavioral Health and Community Practice in a community agency under professional social work supervision. Students complete 300 internship hours within the semester to demonstrate advanced social work practice competencies. A seminar course is taken with the internship. Prerequisite SWK 636 and SWK 670
Duration: 16 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Following Field Experience II students continue to apply theory and evidence-informed practice of Clinical Behavioral Health and Community Practice, in the same community agency under professional social work supervision. Students complete 300 internship hours within the semester to demonstrate advanced social work practice competencies, in addition to a class seminar. Following SWK 651, students continue to apply theory and evidence-informed practice of Clinical Behavioral Health and Community Practice, in the same community agency under professional social work supervision. Students complete 300 hours within the semester to demonstrate advanced social work practice competencies, in addition to a three-hour class seminar.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course provides an overview of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and its purpose. Covers a comprehensive evaluation of the first seven sections of the DSM-5, emphasizing the diagnostic criteria required to accurately assess for the presence of behavioral health disorders. Prerequisite SWK 635 and SWK 602
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course is part of a sequence that follows SWK 670. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of the remaining twelve sections of the DSM-5, emphasizing the diagnostic criteria required to accurately assess for behavioral health disorders. More in-depth focus on evidence-based treatment options and behavioral health emergencies is included.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Shifting from a “what’s wrong with you?” to a “what’s happened to you?” paradigm includes connecting presenting behaviors to an individual’s trauma history. This course covers the trauma-informed care model, reviewing the neuroscience of trauma with associated outcomes, and exploring trauma’s impact on children/adolescent development.
Students must take the following elective courses:
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
This course examines a broad range of theories and contemporary issues in aging that relate to social work practice with older adults and their families. Domains of inquiry include biological, psychological, and sociological perspectives of aging. Students apply the evidence-based practice to the theories and issues that impact aging.
Duration: 7 Weeks weeks
Credit Hours: 3
Trauma-informed professionals provide individual work and also work with agencies/schools/programs through a trauma-responsive lens. This course moves from understanding “what trauma is” to “what to do with it” by: identifying appropriate assessment and intervention strategies/skills, examining best-practice models and other resources; and analyzing treatment implications across multiple levels of care.

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