Affordable Online Social Work Degrees

An online social work degree prepares students for a career spent serving and helping others. These four-year programs are catered to individuals seeking work in human services and related areas, while also positioning them well for an eventual transition into master’s-level studies.

Through an affordable social work degree online, you’ll explore concepts related to human development, psychology, displaying empathy, and working with people from all backgrounds and across cultures. Earning a bachelor’s degree also allows you access to higher-paying and more rewarding career opportunities compared to having an associate degree or high school diploma.

While many graduates enter entry-level positions as social workers, they may also serve in child protection services, corrections, anti-poverty work, aging services, and other human services. Social workers are in high demand, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting that the career field will grow by 12% between 2014 and 2024. The average social worker made $46,890 in 2016, according to the BLS.

Social work majors tend to be passionate individuals who love to help people. Below you will find rankings of fully accredited, relatively cheap online social work degrees—most of which offer the freedom and flexibility of being completed entirely online. The methodology used in these rankings allows you to find the program that will provide you with the best return on investment.


15 Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Social Work
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Value Score 6.77
Students Receiving Financial Aid 72%
Net Price $8,632
Graduation Rate 39%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%

An affordable online social work degree can prepare students for careers as school counselors, child welfare advocates, military social workers, and more. Earning a bachelor of social work from Northwestern State University in Louisiana helps students develop the skills and credentials necessary to transition into a career or graduate school. This 120-credit online program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program is designed to provide a general education in social work, giving students the foundational knowledge to pursue an array of career options. Classes include government, general psychology, principles of sociology, and economics of social work. Students have options for field work and general practice. NSU is a medium-sized public university headquartered in Natchitoches and is part of the University of Louisiana System. Full-time students can complete the program in about four years.


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2

Brandman University

Value Score 6.56
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $9,918
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%

Brandman, part of the Chapman University System, is a private, nonprofit school located in Irvine, California. Utilizing the iDEAL or instructional design for engaged adult learning model, Brandman has a focus on adult, online, and hybrid learning. Students can expect eight-week class sessions and a flexible schedule.

Brandman offers an affordable social work degree online, which is one of only 16 online programs to be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The bachelor of arts in social work degree is a cheap option for students who seek work in child and family social work, gerontology, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and more. In addition to the online social work degree academic course offerings, students are required to complete 400 hours of field work through a nearby agency. Students are taught through theory and practice to prepare them for clinical, community, or academic career options.


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3

Eastern New Mexico University

Value Score 6.45
Students Receiving Financial Aid 57%
Net Price $9,938
Graduation Rate 32%
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 9%

With a higher than average projected career growth of 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning a cheap online social work degree from Eastern New Mexico University can lead to a rewarding career. ENMU’s online social work degree takes a multidisciplinary approach with classes in other social sciences and education in the theory and practice of social work. The small, public state university works prepares students for jobs in schools, courts, nursing homes, state offices, and community organizations. The program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education and is designed to fulfill the ethical standards of the National Association of Social Workers. ENMU offers financial aid to online students. The program accepts up to 50 transfer credits. The 120-credit degree prepares students for licensing exams and graduate studies in social work.


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4

Touro University Worldwide

Value Score 5.88
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $15,017
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 4%

Touro University Worldwide is an online university with a focus on community and citizenship. The school offers a bachelor of the arts in social work. The cheap online social work degree teaches the skills and values necessary for licensing exams, graduate programs, and employment. TUW prepares its students to become “culturally competent,” and graduates are also prepared for multiple master’s programs at the school. The 120-credit program includes 51 credits of major courses and 24 credits of electives. Students may transfer up to 45 credits, and courses are taught in eight-week sessions. The social work online degree can be completed in three and a half years; students have up to seven years to complete the program. Touro University Worldwide is part of the nonprofit Touro system which provides affordable degrees online. The school’s teaching philosophy is influenced by its Judaic roots and aims for global citizenship.


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5

Northern Arizona University

Value Score 5.68
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Net Price $11,930
Graduation Rate 52%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%

Northern Arizona University started in the late 1800s with fewer than 25 students and has emerged as an education resource for local residents and online learners. Students can get an online degree in social work from the Flagstaff institution. The bachelor in social work is designed to prepare students for careers in social justice and change. The program is 120 credits and allows some transfer credit. The program includes general education requirements in mathematics and writing. To fulfill the credit requirement, students will be required to take multiple elective courses. Social work courses prepare students to advocate for social justice, identify critical situations with social work, and learn the theories underlying the field. Students will learn about public policy, crisis intervention, research methods, and more. The program is taught completely online. Graduates will have the skills necessary to work in disabilities or youth services. They are also prepared for graduate level studies.


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6

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

Value Score 5.42
Students Receiving Financial Aid 82%
Net Price $28,098
Graduation Rate 65%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 19%
7

University of North Dakota

Value Score 5.41
Students Receiving Financial Aid 81%
Net Price $11,999
Graduation Rate 53%
Student to Faculty Ratio 21:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 2%

Nationally known for its successful hockey team, the University of North Dakota also offers a top-ranked bachelor’s in social work online. The affordable degree starts each fall with applications due in the early summer. All students are offered in-state tuition rates regardless of residency, and there are no distance learning fees. The social work online degree features live classes taught twice a week and a traditional semester schedule. The 39-credit program has a strict curriculum with courses such as human behavior and social policy. Online learners will visit the campus to meet their cohort; the rest of the programs can be completed online in about two years. With a focus on social justice, UND’s program is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment, licenses in certain states, and graduate education. UND is part of the North Dakota University System and is located in Grand Forks.


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8

Brescia University

Value Score 5.41
Students Receiving Financial Aid 59%
Net Price $9,547
Graduation Rate 29%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 8%

Transfer students and associate degree-holders can earn a bachelor of social work at Brescia University. The small, private Catholic school located in Owensboro, Kentucky, offers a BSW completion program to assist students in gaining the credentials and skills necessary for a career in the field or graduate studies. The Council on Social Work Education-accredited online degree in social work completion program requires 45 transferred credits for admission. Students who don’t meet this requirement may complete additional online classes through Brescia. Students with enough transfer credits can focus on the 42-credit core social work curriculum and avoid the general education requirements. Brescia students will learn the social science theories underlying social work and the practical requirements for a career. Brescia’s program is affordable, with many students receiving financial aid. The degree is designed for adult learners and can be completed in two years. Brescia also provides a master’s degree that students can easily transfer to for more advanced career opportunities.


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9

University of Utah

Value Score 5.34
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $11,517
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 1%

The University of Utah is the flagship state university and a large, public research institution. Located in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah offers a wide range of programs to students on campus and online, including social work degree online. The bachelor of social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The curriculum focuses on marginalized communities and long term solutions to create a better environments. Online learners receive many of the benefits of a classroom education with Utah’s peer review assignments, online office hours, faculty email access, and student forums. The program offers all BSW courses online, including government, sociology, child welfare, and social work as a profession classes, but not general education requirements. The 51-credit program has internship requirements and can be completed in four to five semesters.


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10

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Value Score 5.16
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $7,139
Graduation Rate 25%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 6%

Colorado residents can earn an online social work degree from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Open to students in Fort Collins, Pueblo, Grand Junction, and everywhere else in the Centennial State, MSU-Denver allows for easy, convenient, and affordable social work education. Students are prepared for licensure requirements. The curriculum includes the social work core and other social sciences. Junior year courses include philosophy of social work and welfare policy. Senior year classes include practical experience and practice evaluations. The program is offered completely online with many flexible courses; some classes are taught synchronously. The MSU-Denver Office of Social Work Student Services works with students to provide a healthy learning environment. The program is open to transfer students and requires 120 total credits or 55 major credits.


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11

Union Institute & University

Value Score 5.15
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $13,551
Graduation Rate 29%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 10%

Union Institute and University offers online social work degrees with an emphasis on social justice. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Union’s online program includes a strong field work component and has students practice the techniques, morals, and values of social work in their professional lives. The program’s social justice emphasis can range from multicultural social work and human diversity to welfare policy and economic justice. Union’s 120-credit social work online degree is provided completely online with options for full or part-time students. Classes run on eight-week schedules and students can transfer up to 90 credits. Online learners can work with faculty for academic and career mentoring or coaching and will build professional contacts through practicum experiences. Research-focused students may pursue an academic track that’s focused on graduate school, while others may choose a career in social services, welfare, healthcare, or the justice system. Union Institute is a private research university located in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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12

Huntington University

Value Score 5.04
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $20,007
Graduation Rate 66%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 7%

Huntington University’s online social work degree is more rigorous in its practical work than its peer institutions. It’s among online social work degrees to require 600 hours of field work along with coursework in social work and social sciences. The cheap online social work degree focuses on the Council of Social Work Education’s 10 core competencies. Graduates are ready for entry-level careers, state licensing tests, or a master’s of social work degree. Huntington, a private Indiana college affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, incorporates faith into its curriculum. The university uses a “holistic perspective” for teaching with a psychological education and spiritual learning. Online learners can join the social work student council for a better community and talk to faculty through the Web.


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13

Western New Mexico University

Value Score 4.88
Students Receiving Financial Aid 51%
Net Price $11,535
Graduation Rate 21%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 13%

Student diversity is at the core of Western New Mexico University and has been since its founding. The rural public university located in Silver City has increased its student diversity since offering online classes. WNMU’s online social work program is designed to instill values and industry skills. Students can enroll in the program once admitted to WNMU. Applicants must have maintained a 2.5 GPA. The program features general education requirements, electives, and 49 credits of social work courses, including research methods, social welfare policy, human services, and field placement. Elective classes in child welfare or social work with the homeless allow for specialization. WNMU maintains small, online classes. The BSW program is one of only 16 accredited by the Council of Social Work Education in the U.S. Graduates are prepared for master’s studies or careers in child welfare services, out-patient clinics, alcohol treatment facilities, and more.


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14

Wayne State University

Value Score 4.76
Students Receiving Financial Aid 77%
Net Price $10,896
Graduation Rate 35%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 3%

Wayne State University offers an online social work degree through its Where Online Works! program. The cheap bachelor of social work degree requires 60 credits before enrollment, which can be earned at Wayne State or another institution, and a 2.5 GPA. The program can be completed in only two years and includes 51 social work credits and nine elective credits. The curriculum teaches practical and ethical skills for social work students. Wayne State’s mission is to create lifelong learners who will continue education officially or unofficially after they graduate. Support services, financial aid, and learning communities are available to distance learners. The curriculum is based around the concepts of values and ethics, social justice, oppression and discrimination, and at-risk populations. Wayne State is a large public university located in Detroit.


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15

Limestone College

Value Score 4.73
Students Receiving Financial Aid 56%
Net Price $21,415
Graduation Rate 39%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%

Social work at Limestone College is about understanding social problems and how to solve them on a social, economic, and community level. Students are required to complete 400 hours of field work and take courses online in subjects such as cultural diversity, social work intervention for families, and psychology. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Limestone’s program can lead to careers in school system, community, health center, and industrial social work. The Gaffney, South Carolina, school prepares students for license requirements in the coastal state and others; students should check their state’s requirements. Classes are offered in eight-week terms that are delivered six times a year. All classes are taught online and offered in a hybrid format as well. Limestone is a private, liberal arts college and among the oldest in South Carolina.


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