Program Description

Develop your passion for helping others with George Mason University’s online CSWE accredited Master of Social Work (MSW)*. Our interdisciplinary approach focuses on social justice to give you the latest understanding of equity and human rights in social work. As you learn, take advantage of Mason’s established community connections and explore rich fieldwork opportunities for hands-on learning with a variety of organizations.

The Master of Social Work offers a choice between two specialized practices in either Adults & Healthy Aging or Children, Youth, & Families. When you complete your MSW with George Mason University, you’ll be ready to:

  • Take the next steps toward becoming a licensed social worker and working directly with clients
  • Integrate intersectionality and diversity into your practice
  • Advance human rights and social and economic justice
  • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to your work

Learn online and advance your career at a pace that works for you. Graduate prepared to enter practice as a social worker in any community, ready to meet the diverse needs of all kinds of people.

Focus on Social Justice and Empowerment

With an emphasis on empowerment and systems transformation, George Mason University’s Master of Social Work program will prepare you to meet the needs of underserved populations and advance the ideals of social justice.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the curriculum is built around a Social Justice Core, delivering interdisciplinary perspectives on topics like human behavior, social policy, research methods, and clinical practice.

Learn From Faculty With Real-World Experience

Mason’s faculty is made up of active researchers and social workers with years of experience. Learn from current research findings, develop an evidence-based practice, and establish strong relationships with practicing social workers, some with extensive international experience that will lend a global perspective to your education. Click here to learn more from Emily Ihara, Ph.D., MSW, FGSA – Chair of the Department of Social Work at George Mason University.

Self-Service Counseling Tools

Knowing that every social worker needs access to their own mental health tools, Mason has partnered with Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) to provide our students with the access they need to help reduce the high stress of their environment. TAO is a free and confidential web-based tool that provides 24/7 support to the Mason community. Click here for more information

Application Deadline

The online MSW program accepts applications on a rolling basis and is currently accepting applications. Applicants for the online program should apply here. Applicants for the on-campus MSW should apply here.

Virtual Open House

The George Mason University faculty dedicates time throughout the year to hold interactive sessions online for those who want to learn more about the programs we offer. If you would like to find out more about what you can expect from an online Master of Social Work, visit our pre-recorded Virtual Open House and watch at your convenience. For information on upcoming sessions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

*The MSW online option was approved by CSWE in June of 2019.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Master of Social Work

Degree: MSW

College/School: College of Health and Human Services

Credits: 60 total

Who should apply?

Mason’s online MSW program is ideal for students of all academic backgrounds. Whether you are a current social work professional looking to build on your Bachelor of Social Work or you’re new to the field, this program is designed to help you take the next step toward a career in advancing social justice through direct client service. Work experience is not required, just a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.

Graduates are prepared to enter a variety of social work settings including, but not limited to, aging and disability services, family assistance, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, international NGOs, child protection, lobbying and advocacy, poverty alleviation, employee assistance, and school social work.

Why choose Mason?

Students choose Mason’s online MSW because of its:

  • Renowned faculty of experts and researchers with years of experience
  • Curriculum developed around social justice and systems transformation
  • Flexible online format designed to accommodate busy working students
  • Competitively priced value for a respected master’s degree program
  • Financial aid programs and lifetime access to Mason’s career services

Program requirements for the online Master of Social Work are subject to change.

Requirements: 60 total credit hours

Courses for George Mason University’s online MSW are offered in a convenient, part-time, online format that’s asynchronous so you can study when and wherever works best for you. Students will also complete two supervised field practica to apply their social work learning to real-world practice. The online curriculum mirrors Mason’s on-campus program.

Specializations

The Master of Social Work offers a choice between two specialized practices in either Adults & Healthy Aging or Children, Youth, & Families. In order to graduate with the MSW degree, students must successfully complete the generalist courses and the courses for one specialization. Before beginning Specialization Courses, students must complete all Generalist Courses.

Certification

By completing this program, you may be eligible to sit for one of these national licensing exams:* Licensed Social Worker or Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Generalist Courses:

  • SOCW 600 Foundations of Social Work and Social Welfare
  • SOCW 623 Human Behavior and Social Systems
  • SOCW 644 Community Practice Across the Life Course
  • SOCW 656 Poverty, Oppression, and Inequity
  • SOCW 659 Organizing and Advocating for Change
  • SOCW 660 Foundations of Direct Practice
  • SOCW 671 Research Methods for Social Workers
  • SOCW 672 Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar I
  • SOCW 673 Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar II
  • SOCW 674 Psychopathology

Elective Courses:**

Select at least 1 or up to 4 courses from the following:

  • SOCW 653 Immigration Policy
  • SOCW 654 Social Policy for Children and Youth
  • SOCW 655 Aging Programs and Policies
  • SOCW 663 Global Human Rights Policy
  • SOCW 676 Selected Topics in Social Work and Social Change
  • SOCW 684 Social Work and the Law
  • SOCW 685 Organizational Leadership for Social Workers
  • SOCW 664 Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
  • SOCW 667 Advanced Group Theory and Practice
  • SOCW 675 Selected Topics in Clinical Practice
  • SOCW 677 Family Therapy
  • SOCW 678 Trauma and Recovery
  • SOCW 679 Military Social Work
  • SOCW 682 Substance Abuse Interventions

Specialization in Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)

Core Courses:

  • SOCW 630 Forensic Social Work Practice
  • SOCW 650 Advanced Social Work Policy Practice Skills
  • SOCW 683 Clinical Practice with Children, Youth, and Families
  • SOCW 688 Program Evaluation for Social Workers
  • SOCW 696 Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I
  • SOCW 698 Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II

Specialization in Adults and Healthy Aging (AHA)

Core Courses:

  • SOCW 640 Clinical Practice with Adults
  • SOCW 650 Advanced Social Work Policy Practice Skills
  • SOCW 688 Program Evaluation for Social Workers
  • SOCW 689 Clinical Practice with Older Adults
  • SOCW 696 Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I
  • SOCW 698 Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II

*Licensing requirements differ by state, but the MSW degree is the qualifying degree for any state license.
**Elective curriculum is subject to change.

Tuition & Fees (2020–2021):

Tuition is $775 per credit hour. An additional charge of $35 per credit hour applies for a Distance Learning fee.

Financial Aid:

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers, and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social workers is high and expected to grow 16 percent by 2026—a rate more than double that of all other positions.1

Mason’s MSW graduates go on to fill roles in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Aging/Gerontology
  • Family Services
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services
  • International Governmental and NGOs
  • Child Protection, Foster Care and Adoption
  • Housing/Homelessness Programs
  • Community Development
  • Health and Mental Health Practice
  • Forensic Social Work
  • Lobbying and Advocacy
  • Disabilities
  • Nonprofit Agency Management
  • Domestic Violence
  • Poverty and Welfare
  • Employee Assistance
  • School Social Work

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited October 28, 2018).

If you are unable to find the answers to your questions, submit a Request For Information form or contact our admissions representative via the contact information below.

Phone: 703-348-5006
Email: online2@gmu.edu

How do I apply?

Applicants for the online MSW should apply here. Applicants for the on-campus MSW should apply here.

Admission FAQs

How long does it take to complete the program?

The part-time online MSW is 60 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 3 years.

When are classes held?

MSW classes for part-time online students are offered in an asynchronous format, meaning they can be viewed interactively at your convenience. However, there may be opportunities for synchronous participation in some courses.

What accreditations do George Mason and the MSW program hold?

The MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). George Mason University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

How much does it cost to apply?

While there is a $75 application fee, there are multiple times throughout the year that the fee may be waived.

What are the admissions recommendations?

  • Completed online application
  • $75 application fee
  • Resume
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose essay
  • Undergrad GPA-minimum 3.0 (submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts)
  • GPA Addendum essay if undergrad GPA below 3.0
  • Required courses Statistics, English Composition, History or Government, Social Science
  • Work or volunteer experience in related field highly recommended
  • One Letter of Recommendation must be from a supervisor