For those interested in coming alongside individuals and families in the midst of challenges and for those who have the ability to understand systems and organizational structures, the field of Social Work may be a great fit. Earning a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) can open the door to a career in social service agencies, hospitals, schools, community clinics, and countless other organizations where people are in need. A BSW can also lead to a graduate degree program in the field of Social Work, often giving students advanced standing for Master’s programs. Most accelerated MSW programs require BSWs granted from Council on Social Work Education-accredited programs. In addition, requirements for licensure and field placements in Social Work is determined by each state — check with your state’s requirements before enrolling in a program. Below is a list of schools that offer an online bachelor’s degree in Social Work taking only cost into consideration. These are the cheapest online bachelor programs in Social Work. Program tuition does not include fees — check with the institution for a complete list of costs. Our data was taken from the university websites.
#1. Western New Mexico University
Western New Mexico University is a public university located in Silver City, NM with over 3,500 students enrolled across five campuses and in online programs. Their Bachelor of Social Work degree requires 120 credit hours for completion and prepares students for a variety of careers within the field of social work. Graduates work in hospitals, schools, community mental health clinics, child welfare agencies, and drug and alcohol treatment facilities, among many other agencies and organizations. All classes are taught by licensed professional social workers who have had experience in the field. The program emphasizes the core social work values of the dignity and worth of the person, social justice, service, the importance of human relationships and competence in a caring and nurturing environment. This program requires 49 Core Social Work Credits in courses such as Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work, Diversity in Social Work Practice, Social Work Research Methods, and Social Work Field Placement. Students may take electives in any area but are given the opportunity to focus on their specific interests by enrolling in Social Work electives such as Sustainable Development, Social Work with the Homeless, Introduction to Social Work Practice with the Military, and Social Work in the School Setting. Graduates must also successfully complete 6 credit hours in a language other than English or demonstrate fluency in another language. This program runs on a traditional semester schedule, can be completed entirely online with no travel required to WNMU, and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Accreditation: Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $37,805
#2. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
A part of the University of Louisiana system, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public institution with four campuses throughout the state. NSU offers 39 online degrees including a Bachelors of Social Work degree which prepares graduates either for direct entry into social work or human service professions or for graduate degree programs in social work. Students with a BSW from NSU are often able to enter Master’s of Social Work programs with nearly half of the required credits for the graduate program completed. NSU’s BSW program is a generalist program which allows graduates to enter social work within any area and to move around throughout their career. Faculty are engaged with online students in academic advisement as well as in career choices. This degree requires 120 credits for completion with core courses including Critical Writing/Thinking in Social Work, Generalist Practice, Techniques of Interviewing/Values and Ethics, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Research Methods. NSU does not charge any out-of-state fees for online students and offers a per-credit discount for students who take more than 12 credits per semester. The below program tuition reflects the cost of taking 12 credits or less per semester and any savings would make the tuition costs lower than the number reflected here. NSU’s BSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Accreditation: Northwestern State University of Louisiana is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $45,000
#3. Indiana Wesleyan University
A private Christian university based in Marion, Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University is the largest private school in the state with over 14,000 students enrolled in degree programs in 2016. IWU’s Bachelor’s of Social Work degree is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and prepares graduates for entry-level generalist practice social work through a variety of classroom, volunteer, and field experiences, as well as with advanced standing for Master’s of Social Work programs. IWU’s virtual classroom affords online students the same sort of opportunities as on-campus students – a supportive cohort model with other students and individualized attention from faculty members with academic credentials and learning from real-world Social Work scenarios and case studies. This program requires 120 credits for graduation, with Core Courses including Introduction to Social Work, Minority Group Relations, Social Welfare Organization, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Statistics for Social Sciences. After all coursework is complete students participate in a Field Placement with a social service agency in their area. IWU’s Coordinator for Field Experience works closely with each student and agency to ensure the practicum is a good fit for the student’s professional goals and development needs. Practicums are completed within 6 months and usually require 17 hours per week at the agency.
Accreditation: Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $45,960
#4. Liberty University
As the largest Christian university in the world and the largest non-profit university in the United States, Liberty University, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers nearly 550 degrees with over 94,000 students enrolled in online programs. Liberty’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree emphasizes ethics and critical thinking as students learn to integrate their faith with the social work profession in engaging individuals, families, and organizations. This degree requires 120 hours for graduation which includes 60 credits within the Social Work major. Major courses include Intercultural Communication and Engagement, Social Problems, Ethics in Professional Helping, and Social Welfare and Policy. While all the courses are fully online, there is one intensive required at the beginning of the program which requires travel and a short stay at Liberty. The program tuition below reflects the cost of attending Liberty full-time which is 12 hours or more per semester.
Accreditation: Liberty University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $46,800
#5. Campbellsville University
Campbellsville University is a private Christian university based in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Known for it’s high-quality affordable programs both on-campus and online, Campbellsville offers a flexible Bachelor’s of Social Work degree that can be completed in as little as two years with transfer credits. Requiring 120 credits for completion, Campbellsville’s BSW program prepares graduates for work with vulnerable populations within the field of social work. This program emphasizes the fundamentals of the complex field of social work including crisis intervention, social policies, and marriage and family relationships. The Core Curriculum accounts for 42 credits of the degree including courses such as Social Policy and Planning, Human Development, Human Rights, and Research Methods. While there is a field practicum component, this can be completed in the students’ local area so no travel to Campbellsville is required.
Accreditation: Campbellsville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $47,880
#6. Touro University Worldwide
Touro University Worldwide is a part of the Touro College and University System which is a system of Jewish-sponsored nonprofit higher learning institutions. Based in Los Alamitos, California, TUW is open to people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds and emphasizes the Judaic values of commitment to social justice, intellectual pursuit and service to society and the underserved. TUW’s Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree prepares graduates for generalist careers in social work and/or further graduate studies in social work. This degree requires 120 credits for graduation and integrates fully online courses that emphasize the case study model with field training in students’ local areas. Major and core courses make up 51 credits, giving students a strong foundation in human behavior and the social context of the environment, social welfare policy and services, multicultural social work, social and economic justice, and social work ethics and research methods. Courses are 8 weeks long, allowing full-time students to complete the degree in as little as three and a half years.
Accreditation: Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Program Tuition: $48,000
#7. Limestone College
Limestone College is a private non-profit liberal arts Christian school located in Gaffney, SC. Limestone’s Bachelor of Social Work degree is offered fully online and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Emphasizing an understanding of differences in ethnicity, culture, race, and gender, and acceptance and use of these differences to create a better society, this degree prepares graduates for careers in all the various fields of social work. 120 credits are required for graduation and include a course in statistics and research methods as well as Social Welfare Programs and Policy, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Practice with Culturally Diverse Populations, and Social Work with Specialized Groups. Limestone offers a flexible online format allowing students to take two courses per 8-week term with six terms per year, allowing for a total of 36 credit hours to be completed each year.
Accreditation: Limestone College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $51,660
#8. Eastern New Mexico University
Founded in 1934 and based in Portales, NM, Eastern New Mexico University is the most recent addition to the state university system. With over 30 online degree options ENMU offers a flexible and affordable online Bachelor of Social Work degree program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). ENMU’s BSW program prepares graduates to be competent, caring, ethical, and effective social work practitioners. Requiring 120 credit hours for degree completion, the BSW includes 61 credits within the major. Courses include Human Behavior, Working with Aging Populations, Perspectives in Mental Health, and Southwest Peoples and Culture. Juniors and Seniors in the BSW program are required to come to campus in Portales, NM two Saturdays each semester for “Saturday Sessions.” These sessions provide connections and networking opportunities with ENMU’s diverse student population and faculty within the field of social work. The program tuition below reflects the cost for out-of-state students with in-state tuition significantly less.
Accreditation: Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Tuition: $57,625
#9. Brandman University
Brandman University is a private non-profit university with over 25 campuses throughout California and Washington and a virtual campus online. It’s Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree emphasizes building the knowledge and skills needed to serve and impact diverse communities. This degree requires 120 credits for graduation, 30 of which must be completed in residence at one of the many campuses throughout California and Washington. Brandman offers flexible start dates throughout the year and courses run in 8-week sessions. Core requirements include Social Work Foundations, Interviewing and Assessment Skills, Diversity and Social Justice in a Global Society, and Social Policy. In accordance with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a field practicum of 400 on-site hours in the students’ local area is required before graduation. The BASW at Brandman is accredited by the CSWE.
Accreditation: Brandman University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Tuition: $60,000
#10. Union Institute & University
A private non-profit university based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Union Institute & University specializes in distance learning programs. It’s Bachelor of Social Work degree offers a firm foundation in core concepts within the field of social work while applying a real-world approach and on-the-job training experience. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Union Institute’s BSW program emphasizes mentoring relationships with experienced social work faculty who offer professional academic and career advising. 120 credits are required for this degree with major courses including Introduction to Social Work, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Ethical Issues in Social Work, and Social Welfare Policy and Issues. A field practicum is also required in accordance with CSWE standards and can be completed in the students’ local area.
Accreditation: Union Institute & University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $61,200