How to choose an MSW program?

Consider accreditation, course format, and student status.

Returning to school as a professional, was a scary decision. I was worried about how I would find the time to attend classes, complete assignments and intern. Working part-time or not working at all was not an option for me, so I’d have to find a program that would accommodate a full-time employee. Here are 3 things I considered when I decide to pursue a graduate degree in social work.


Is the MSW program you are applying to accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)? The first step in choosing my program involved a search of accredited universities. Graduating with an MSW from a CSWE accredited program is required to sit for licensing exams. CSWE Accredited Universities

Online vs. In-Class

Do you want to pursue your education on-line, in-class or a hybrid? The program that I am in now is a hybrid program, with the option of on-line classes varying per semester. It also caters to professionals, so the courses are offered in the evening. Some individuals find online classes difficult because you must establish self-discipline to work through the coursework. On the other hand, individuals find online classes appealing particularly if the program would require you to travel long-distances or if the classes are at inconvenient times.

Full-time vs. part-time

Do you want to go back to school full-time or part-time? Since I work full-time, I decided to return to school part-time. While it will take me 3 years instead of 2 to complete the degree, this option allowed me to digest the dearth of education that I have acquired. Also, it has allowed me time to explore research opportunities. Keep in mind that the MSW program requires you to intern. It would have been incredibly difficult for me to work full-time, complete a rigorous course load full-time and intern 16-20 hours/ week without losing my sanity.

What other criterion did you consider when pursuing your MSW?

Why Pursue a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Degree?

Since higher education is expensive, I had to really ask myself why I wanted to get an MSW degree.

I just completed my first year of graduate school pursuing a Master’s of Social Work Degree. Since higher education is expensive, I had to really ask myself why I wanted to get an MSW degree. I have my bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sociology. The last five years I built a career in human services including domestic violence and child welfare. I had no intentions of returning to school, but I found that if I wanted to elevate in my career field I would need to make myself more marketable. The MSW would do just that! Here are some reasons you may want to consider attaining the MSW Degree:

  • work with people in schools, hospitals, government agencies, and nonprofits.
  • become licensed as a therapist or counselor, policy analyst, researcher, program developer
  • specialize in child welfare, domestic violence, addiction, mental health, social justice, trauma
  • advocate for the oppressed
  • teach in higher education

I hoped to attain an MSW to offer me the flexibility that comes with being a licensed therapist. However, since starting my graduate program I have learned that there are a plethora of fields offered by the MSW.

What are some reasons why you pursued the MSW?