Boston University School of Social Work

Frequently Asked Questions about Studying Online at Boston University School of Social Work

What are the admissions requirements for the online Master of Social Work program?

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in the liberal arts, from an accredited college or university, and an undergraduate conferred grade point average of at least 3.0 (B).

Advanced Standing applicants must have a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and have earned a minimum of a 3.0 (B) undergraduate academic GPA. The Bachelor of Social Work degree must have been received within six years of entry into the program. If a graduate of an undergraduate social work program, a copy of your final field evaluation from your senior year is required; if currently enrolled, a copy of your mid-year evaluation from your senior year is required. (The person who completes your field evaluation should not also submit a reference for you.)

Candidates with at least two years of supervised, direct human or social service experience may apply to be considered for the Human Service Experience Track (a single 1,000 hour field internship). Other applicants without this experience may be eligible to apply to the traditional program track (2 field internships, a total of 1,200 hours).

Applications for the Online MSW Program are accepted each semester and applicants can apply to enter the online program in September, January, or May. 

For all the admissions details, please visit the Admissions page.

How do online courses work?

Courses in the Master of Social Work Program are delivered online with both asynchronous and synchronous (real time) components. As an online student at Boston University, you’ll be given access to an online learning system. Students log on to the virtual classroom and complete assignments and exams, the same as in a traditional college course. Students interact frequently with faculty, support staff and fellow students through lively discussion forums. Coursework can be accessed online any time, day or night, and assignments must be completed by the due dates as specified on the course syllabus. Students are required to attend Live Classroom online sessions for which students register in advance. For more, please see the Online Learning Details page.You can also view a demo of an online course here.

The online program requires a field internship, which students complete within their own community whenever possible. You will work out the details of the internship with a faculty advisor.

How much time should I set aside for my online studies, and how long will it take to earn the online Master of Social Work degree?

Master’s of social work classes are rigorous. Courses are taken one at a time and most students spend about 20-25 hours per week on each class. The program also requires a field internship, which will necessitate an additional commitment of time each week. The online Master of Social Work degree can be can be completed in nine semesters, or approximately three years. The study time required per week and the time it takes to earn the degree will vary according to your individual study habits and how closely you keep to the recommended course schedules. Fortunately, a dedicated team of faculty and staff is committed to helping you each step of the way.

What kind of support is available? Will I get less attention because I’m studying online?

No. A variety of academic, field, and program supports is available to students including technical support which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor upon entering the program and students keep the same advisor throughout the program. In addition, online students in the MSW program are assigned to a Student Services Coordinator, who stays with the student through the program and helps them navigate general Boston University issues.  Online students at Boston University receive the same support and attention as those on campus. Faculty members are available and accessible via telephone and email, and a variety of support teams are ready to assist with any non-academic matters. You can view the supports offered for online students by visiting the following webpages:

Do I have the right computer equipment and software for online learning? What are the system requirements?

Nearly all modern computers far exceed the minimum system requirements to use Boston University’s online learning system. Please see our Online Learning Details page for complete specifications. Online programs are accessible to both Windows and Mac OS X users. To fully participate in the program, students must have computer, a web cam, a headset with a microphone and high speed internet access. In addition, students must attend Live Classroom sessions for sixty to ninety minutes in length either Sunday or Monday evenings. Students register for these sessions in advance.

Are your online programs accredited?

Yes. All of Boston University School of Social Work programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Master of Social Work degree you earn online is identical to the degree offered on campus.  Boston University degree programs are also regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

How much does it cost? Is financial aid available?

Financial aid in the form of loans is available to those who qualify. For more information about financial aid qualifications, potential employer tuition reimbursement and to discuss tuition rates and various payment options, please visit the Tuition Financial Aid Overview page.

What if my GPA score is below a 3.0 (B) or English is not my first language?

For applicants who have a GPA below a 3.0 and for applicants whose first language is not English, the criteria for admission also includes standardized test scores. Advanced Standing applicants must have earned a minimum of a 3.0 (B) undergraduate academic average.

Are there specific guidelines for the personal statement?

Yes. Please see our personal statement guidelines for information on what to include in your statement.

What is the process for admissions review?

Our review committee convenes three times each year, immediately following application deadlines. All applications are reviewed at once for each term, and applicants are notified of the decision via email.

How do I get started?

Call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative right away to begin your journey toward an exciting and rewarding career opportunity with the online Master of Social Work degree. Visit the Admissions page for more details about admissions requirements and application procedures. You can then Apply Online or Request More Information and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.

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