Master in Social Work in USA: Top Colleges, Fees, Admissions, Scholarships, Jobs

Master in Social Work in USA is a full-time course lasting for one to three years is focused on teaching students how to provide optimum care to their future clients. The primary aim of social workers is to provide comfort and support so that people can fight against mental turmoil. For applying to MSW (masters in social work) in US Universities, you will be required to have a four-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and work experience.

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Pursuing masters in social work in USA from top universities can range from 16,000 USD to 59,000 USD. The Indian currency approximates to 11 lakhs to 43 lakhs. To cover such a high amount can be difficult for a student on a budget. In such cases, you can always apply and avail of scholarships available for masters in USA. These will help you cover some of your tuition and/or award you with a specific amount to sustain your higher education in USA.

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On completion of MSW from USA, a student receives the certificate from the Council of Social Work Education that enables you to work with the public and private sector within the US. The average salaries as reported by BLS (2020) are 50,470 USD/year. This means you can earn around 37 LPA INR with masters in social work degree in the USA.

Top Universities for Master in Social Work in USA

According to the report of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 500 bachelors and more than 200 master programs in social work are recognized by the accrediting agencies of the USA. Similarly, the employers of this country also look for students who passed out from CSWE accredited MSW programs. Some of the CSWE and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredited top-ranking universities for Masters in Social Work in the USA are:

US News Rank (2020) University Course Duration Total Course Fees (in USD)
1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 2 years 44,448
2 Washington University 2 years 82,740
3 Columbia University 1.3 years 76,393
3 University of California 2 years 40,436
3 University of North Carolina 3 years 49,950
3 University of Washington 3 years 103,122
8 University of Texas 2 years 53,072
9 Case Western Reserve University 1 year 46,524
10 Boston College 2 years 59,272
10 University of Pennsylvania 2 years 113,572
13 New York University 2 years 75,134
13 Ohio State University 2 years 36,096

Aspirants for the MSW program from USA must note that BLS divides social workers into four broad categories- Child, family & school; mental health & substance abuse; healthcare; and all. The names are suggestive of the type of sector you work in. To pursue a career in USA with an MSW degree you must focus on getting the license/certificate as to work in all these categories you will be mostly asked for your certification.

Why Study Masters in Social work in USA

Social working in the US leads to a reduction in the juvenile arrest rate by 68% between 1996 to 2015. Therefore, the demand for social workers in this country has been rising with the passage of time. In addition, the masters passed out students can be recruited either by the hospitals, or nursing homes, or by rehabilitation centers in the USA.

  • As per the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the demand for social workers in the US will be increased by 11% by the year 2028.
  • The demand for mental health social workers and healthcare social workers will be increased by 18% and 17% by the year 2028 respectively.
  • The aging population of the USA will be increased by 79 million people by the year 2060. Consequently, the demand for social workers will increase more in the future.
  • Approximately 707,400 employees are engaged in social work in the USA in the year 2018.
social workers employed in the United States
chart showing social workers employed in the United States of America and a projection for employment in 2028

Master in Social Work in USA: Admissions

International applicants who wish to study in USA are well aware of the fact that in most cases, you are required to have a four-year bachelor’s degree. This is because for entry to a master’s program in the US 16 years of education is required. Social work degrees are slightly different here. Though a four-year bachelor is a requirement, applicants with a 3-year degree and relevant work experience are considered for admissions to the program. Other supporting documents and relative requirements are mentioned below:

  • Statement of purpose for USA
  • Work experience (Not mandatory).
  • Letter of references (LORs)
  • Certificates of extracurricular activities.
  • Two passport size photos
  • Photocopy of your international passport.

Eligibility for Master in Social Work in USA

International students are required to submit IELTS or TOEFL test scores to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. The minimum score requirement along with the minimum percentage requirement for some of the popular universities of USA is tabulated below:

Name of the University Minimum IELTS Score Min. TOEFL Score Min. Percentage in Bachelors
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 7.0 PBT: 600,
CBT: 250,
iBT: 100
Washington University 7.5 iBT: 90,
PBT: 577,
CBT: 233
Columbia University 7.0 iBT: 100 85%
UC Berkeley 6.5 iBT: 90 64%
University of North Carolina 6.0 iBT: 71 75%
University of Washington 6.0 iBT: 76 70%
University of Texas 6.5 iBT: 79,
CBT: 213,
PBT: 550
Case Western Reserve University 7.0 iBT: 90,
PBT: 577
Boston College 7.5 iBT: 100 70%
University of Pennsylvania 7.5 PBT: 600,
iBT: 100
New York University 7.0 PBT: 580,
CBT: 237,
iBT: 92
Ohio State University 7.0 iBT: 79
PBT: 550

US Visa Process for International Students

In order to apply for a student visa in USA, the international students proceed with the following steps:

  • Submit the acceptance letter for reserving a seat in the university.
  • Attach the complete details of the course subject, length, and the cost structure of your applied course.
  • Provide documents like your previous education in the form of academic transcripts.
  • Attach the marks of your English proficiency test (such as IELTS or TOEFL).
  • Mention the accommodation and travel history to that country before applying for a visa.
  • Provide the consent letter from your guardian.

Cost of Study Master in Social Work in USA

It is dependent both on the pre-arrival cost, tuition fees, and cost of living during the period of studying in the USA.

Pre-Departure Expenditure

The pre-arrival expenses of the students consist of fees of the tests required to study in USA such as TOEFL or IELTS, on flight fare, and on the visa fare.

Types of Expenditure Fees (in USD)
IELTS fee 215 – 240
TOEFL fee 180
Transcription Cost of Prior Educational Certificates 80
One way flight fare 700
Visa application fee 1200
SEVIS Fee 200

Tuition Fees of Master in Social Work in USA

Masters in Social Work in USA costs around 16,000 USD to 59,000 USD per annum for an international student. The annual tuition fees for pursuing masters in social work in the USA range from 20,000 USD to 58,000 USD at various top universities. Given below are the fees for Indian students planning to pursue masters in social work in the US:

University Course Fees for Indian Students (INR)
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 33 lakhs
Washington University 61 lakhs
Columbia University 56 lakhs
University of California 30 lakhs
University of North Carolina 37 lakhs
University of Washington 76 lakhs
University of Texas 39 lakhs
Case Western Reserve University 34 lakhs
Boston College 44 lakhs
University of Pennsylvania 84 lakhs
New York University 55 lakhs
Ohio State University 26 lakhs

Cost of Living in the USA

The average cost of transportation and accommodation in the USA is expensive compared to other countries. The annual cost of expenditure of a student in varied between 10,000 to 12,000 USD. An estimate of expenses required while living in the USA are tabulated below.

Types of Expenditures Annual Cost (in USD)
Hostels or room rent $5000-$7000
Cost of food $2500
Public transport $350-$800
Entertainment cost $1000-$1200

Scholarship for Master in Social Work in USA

In order to bear the huge cost structure of the MSW coursework in the USA, the government and the universities offer some specific scholarship programs for the meritorious fellows.
Some of scholarships for international students in USA are discussed in the following:

Scholarship Amount (USD) Eligibility Criteria
ABE Judith Hom University 1200 Given by American Board of Examiners
American School Health Association (ASHA) Scholarship 250 Need to be a current member of ASHA. Applicable for full-time graduate students and should get 3.0 GPA in undergraduate.
Arthur W. Pense Scholarship 1000 (per semester) Should be nominated by the NYSARC chapter.
Bethesda Lutheran Communities Service Scholarship UP to 10000 Students should get at least 3.0 GPA and require to submit a recommendation letter.
Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship Up to 4000 Need to be a NASW member and the students should include personal essays and academic references.

Scope of Master in Social Work in USA

Students who completed their master in social work in the US, can show their excellence in the fields like counseling, psychology, sociology, and human services. Apart from this, behavioral management aide, eligibility screener, rehabilitation caseworker jobs are also renowned professions for the MSW passed out students.

Some of the highest paying locations in the USA are Plainfield City & Westfield Town, Inner Mission & Castro Puma, Fairfield, New Canaan.

Job Designation Average Annual Salary (in USD)
Case management 47,726
Counseling 46,484
Patient education 48,769
Group therapy 45,197
Patient Counseling 48,673

Masters in social work lead to getting higher remuneration compared to the bachelor passed out students. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the social workers in the USA can experience a 11% growth within the year 2028. The growth rate is much faster than the other occupations in the country. Hence, choosing MSW coursework can inevitably open up the career path for the students.


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Originally posted 2021-11-15 13:01:10.

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