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Online MS in Social Work Programs

Reshape Your Worldview Through Social Work

  • A Curriculum Committed to Social Justice
  • Degree Customization Options
  • Learn From Acclaimed Clinicians, Policy Analysts, and Organizers
  • 100% Online Coursework
  • Placements in Transformative Practicum Experiences
  • Advocacy for Anti-Oppressive Practices

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To learn more about the Master of Science in Social Work from the Columbia School of Social Work, please fill out the fields below to download a brochure. You can also contact an admissions counselor directly at (212) 488-1784 or (866) 627-4750 (toll-free).


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What is your primary goal for your MSW?

Promote social justice & equality

Contribute to world-changing research

Learn evidence-based practices

Move into a leadership role

Change my career

Program Overview

The Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) was the first institution of its kind in the United States and, after more than 120 years, continues to break new ground in education, research, social policy, and advocacy. By earning a Master of Science in Social Work, you will become part of that legacy of intellectual rigor and join in our commitment to build a more just world. CSSW applies a power, race, oppression, and privilege (PROP) framework to our curriculum, practices, operations, and personal interactions in order to foster brave spaces.

As an Online Campus student, you will gain the benefits of a Columbia social work education, including access to our worldwide network of students and alumni, without leaving behind your established connections. We will match you with social work practicum placements in your region, empowering you to embed the sophisticated methods and resources you learn at CSSW.

Achieve real change and make the greatest possible impact with insights and mentorship from experts who are engaged in vital research on the frontiers of the discipline.

Our online MSW offers multiple customization options so you can develop specialized skills in evidence-based practices for clinical, policy, management, or advocacy roles. Choose from six pathways, including Advanced Standing and Part-Time.

Take the next steps in your commitment to a profession that offers a multitude of opportunities to make a difference.

Men shaking hands
91%In 2020, 91% of Columbia graduates who took the examination required to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in New York passed on their first attempt, compared to a 75% national average.
Melissa Begg

“The world needs social workers more than ever. Faced with persistent social, racial, and economic injustices, there is so much work ahead. Our programs prepare students to take on these challenges and create change for the better.”

Melissa Begg, Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work and Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics

Within one year, 98% of Columbia MSW graduates are either employed or enrolled in further education.

MSW Online Degree Pathways


On our most commonly followed path, you will enroll full-time, finishing your master’s in social work in two years of consecutive fall and spring terms by attending classes two or three days a week and participating in the practicum three days a week.

Advanced Standing

This accelerated social work degree pathway was designed for those who have already shown their dedication to making positive change in communities by earning a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Engage with the most sophisticated thinking in the discipline and further develop your skills by finishing the advanced standing MSW program in one year, starting with a two-course summer intensive.

Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended)

Transition into a full-time commitment to coursework and practicum instruction by taking a part-time MSW course load in your first year. Finish all course and practicum requirements in three to four years.

One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency)

If you already have more than two years of full-time, direct-practice experience at a social services agency, this option allows you to keep working for part of your degree while you take classes part-time. In the reduced residency MSW program, you may be able to complete all practicum requirements at your current agency. Students on this pathway become full-time during their final year and may take up to four years to complete all degree requirements.


This pathway is for students who have already completed one year of coursework and a practicum placement in a CSWE-accredited MSW program. Finish your degree as an MSW transfer student at Columbia in just one year.


In this pathway, students complete the same amount of coursework and practicum placements as the Two-Year pathway. The difference is that they take fewer credits per term and fewer practicum work hours per week, allowing for more time to fulfill the degree requirements.

Develop Specialized Skills in Columbia MSW Programs

Focus on the areas of knowledge and skills that interest you most by choosing one method specialization and one field of practice. The following options are available for any of our online paths:

Method Specializations

  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Integrated Practice and Programming
  • Policy Practice
  • Leadership, Management, and Entrepreneurship for Social Justice

Fields of Practice

  • Aging
  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Family, Youth, and Children’s Services
  • Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities
  • International Social Welfare Services
  • School-Based and School-Linked Services
  • World of Work

About the Columbia School of Social Work

With more than 120 years of accomplishment behind us and our eyes fixed firmly on the future, the Columbia School of Social Work seeks to maximize human well-being and ensure that all can reach their full potential. Cutting-edge education, rigorous research, and an abiding dedication to social justice form the pillars supporting all that we do.

Our MS in Social Work program is rooted in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a curriculum that uses a power, race, oppression, and privilege (PROP) framework to understand and address racial, social, and health inequities.

CSSW faculty, staff, and students commit themselves to eradicating injustice, alleviating suffering, combating racism, rectifying systemic barriers, and promoting fair access to opportunity in all sectors and strata of society.


  • No. 5 in Best Schools for Social Work (U.S. News & World Report)

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CSSW Building