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Online MSW Degree

social worker speaking in small group circle setting

Address Complex Mental Health and Social Issues With a Focus on Clinical Social Work

Personal Support and Small Class Sizes

Advanced Skills for Diverse Settings

Explore Recovery Theories, Values, and Skills

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  • Duration 8 semesters
  • Cost per Credit $775
  • Credit Hours 60

Program Benefits

  • No GRE/GMAT required
  • Field work support and guidance
  • Experienced faculty of practitioners
  • 900 hours of clinical field experience

Student-Centered Support and Client-Centered Curriculum

Utica University’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program, focusing on clinical social work and recovery values, prepares you for social work careers that drive mental health for diverse populations. Graduate ready to apply to take your state’s licensure exams.*

A Master of Social Work degree is ideal for those passionate about supporting others through the promotion and treatment of mental health. The online MSW program’s innovative design bridges the historical divide between clinical practice and recovery-oriented care and integrates these complementary orientations throughout the curriculum. Utica’s approach strengthens students’ ability to engage and support the empowerment of diverse and often marginalized populations using a psychodynamic, recovery-oriented, and social justice lens.

Utica’s MSW program includes a four-hour personal psychotherapy requirement, designed to illustrate the value of self-awareness in clinical social work and helps you understand what it is like to be in the client’s seat. When it comes to fieldwork, faculty in the online MSW program will work with you to identify and secure field placements that provide you with relevant experience.

Through a success coach and career coach, you’ll have the individualized support you need to develop skills as a clinician who successfully advocates for individuals, families, and groups in hospitals, schools, and other social service settings.

The online MSW is currently accepting applicants who reside in New York. An advanced standing MSW program for students with a BSW is also available.

Career Outlook: Impact Your Community With a Rewarding Career

Utica’s online MSW program enables you to become an excellent clinical social work practitioner in any setting you choose. A fulfilling social work career can be found in a variety of fields, from supporting bereaved animal caregivers suffering a loss at the veterinary clinic to helping police agents deescalate emergent crises on the street. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12% increase in social work jobs between 2020 and 2030, compared to an average 8% increase across all fields.1

Social workers typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.1 They also may need other credentials, such as a state-issued license or certification, depending on the state and the job. Utica’s online MSW program includes the coursework and hands-on experience necessary to pursue licensure in New York.*

Utica’s online MSW program prepares you for clinical work in hospitals, government institutions, social service agencies, school settings, and private practice.

Jobs and Income
social worker meeting with client in office

Curriculum: A Progressive Approach to Social Challenges

The 60-credit-hour MSW online program accommodates any schedule, allowing you to maintain a comfortable work, life, and family balance as you pursue your ideal social work career. Graduates will be prepared to sit for licensure exams in their state.* The online MSW program has no residency requirements and can be completed 100% online in as few as eight semesters.

As the only program in clinical social work in the nation that centers on recovery theories, values, and skills, the online MSW program includes courses in trauma-informed practice, assessment of mental health, motivational interviewing, and cognitive-behavioral therapies. You’ll learn about the evidence-base and potential of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help all people move from “better” to “well.” Even research and policy courses are designed to improve your skills as a mental health practitioner.

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CSWE Accreditation Candidate

Utica University’s MSW in clinical social work has been granted candidacy status for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Candidacy status affirms the program meets the initial criteria set by the CSWE to move forward with the accreditation process. This allows all students in the program to date to be recognized as graduating from an accredited program once the program achieves full accreditation, expected by 2024.

Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation applies to all locations and delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

For more information about social work accreditation, contact CSWE.

Program Outcomes

You’ll complete this program ready to address the following outcomes for clinical social workers:

  • Recognize every person’s basic human rights to freedom, safety, privacy, an acceptable standard of living, health care, and education.
  • Appreciate the nuanced ways that institutional and interpersonal traumas converge to marginalize and “other” the vulnerable.
  • Develop insight, self-care, and resiliency to prevent past traumas from impacting your professional life.
  • Implement evidence-based interventions informed by your expertise.
  • Understand how to improve mental health policy.
  • Help individuals find pathways to resilience and well-being through shared decision-making and treatment planning.
  • Assess clients’ strengths and resources, as well as internal and external barriers to growth, while considering their unique backgrounds and the DSM.
  • Support clients using trauma-informed interventions, including educating their family, friends, significant others, and allies.
  • Evaluate services in terms of achieving goals and remaining consistent with recovery values.

Admission Requirements

The online MSW program is currently only accepting applicants who reside in New York. To apply to the online MSW degree, there is no GRE or GMAT required. You’ll need the following:

  • Completed application
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • 2.5 minimum GPA
  • Résumé
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation from either a current or former work supervisor or a course instructor. Letters from a coworker, friend, family member, doctor, or therapist are not acceptable.

All applications are evaluated holistically by considering GPA, work experience, personal statement, and references. Applicants who do not meet this minimum will be reviewed by the admissions committee on a case-by-case basis.

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Tuition Details

Tuition for the online MSW program is $775 per credit hour. The 60-credit-hour program has a total estimated tuition cost of $46,500. You can reduce the total tuition cost by transferring up to six credits toward first-year courses or electives, as well as applying for scholarships or financial aid.

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Faculty in the online MSW program are experienced educators and practitioners in professional social work and recovery services and are focused on student success. You’ll receive one-on-one support to build your academic foundations, practice clinical skills, and explore social work careers.

Joe Hunter

Joseph Hunter, Ph.D.

Professor of Practice, Master of Social Work Program

Dr. Joseph Hunter’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Le Moyne College, and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Social Work from SUNY Albany. He was the recipient of a SAMHSA Dissertation Grant completing a statewide study on adolescent substance use disorder best and promising practices. Dr. Hunter has served in the capacity of Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY, for 15 years, where he completed post-doctoral training as a VA/Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholar, and he was awarded “Gold Status Fellow” in 2017 as a winner of VA’s interdisciplinary national “Shark Tank” competition for a community suicide prevention innovation.

Dr. Joseph Hunter has also been a part-time Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work, teaching online courses in their Master of Social Work (MSW) program (2013-2022).Dr. Hunter has also provided a variety of live online and in-person continuing education courses for licensed social workers in New York State for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Dr. Hunter joined Utica University in August of 2022 as full-time Professor of Practice and assumed the role of the Director of the Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention.

Honors and Distinctions

  • SAMHSA Dissertation Award Recipient
  • Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholar
  • VA Innovation Shark Tank Winner and Gold Status Fellow
  • VA National Community Partnership Award

Selected Publications

  • Hunter, J. (2020). Understanding and Preventing the Dynamics of Suicide: An Introduction to the Self Preservation Theory of Human Behavior. The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, Vol. 22 (2), 21-31.
  • Hunter, J. (2010). Effective Community Based Chemical Dependency Treatment for Adolescents: Matching program services with individual difference variables. ProQuest Dissertation. Publication #3404353.

Leigh Ann Hewes, MSW, LICSW

Director of Field Education, Master of Social Work Program

Leigh Ann Hewes has been a licensed social worker since 1995, first at the Bachelor’s level for three years then at the Master’s/Clinical level for the past 24 years. She has practiced in the areas of mental health, medical social work (including hospital, hospice, home health, public health and dialysis), and case management. In addition to these direct practice settings, Mrs. Hewes has taught Social Work at both the bachelor’s and master’s level at two universities. Mrs. Hewes has a passion for teaching both the fundamentals and intricacies of Social Work practice, and she believes that field experience is the absolute best way to learn how to become an ethical and competent Social Worker.

Honors and Distinctions:

  • Masters in Social Work, University of Alabama, 1998
  • Bachelors of Science in Social Work, UAB, 1995
Paige Brown

Paige Brown

Field Coordinator, Master of Social Work Program

Paige Brown has worked in the academic setting for 6+ years and became a part of Utica’s MSW Program team in October 2022. Paige is passionate about helping students achieve their goals as a social worker through comprehensive field experience

Honors and Distinctions

  • B.A. in Special & General Education

Benefits of Being an Online Student

Whether you are advancing your career or switching it, online learning gives you a unique perspective from your instructors and fellow students. You’ll get the same high-quality education, credentials, and faculty support without slowing down your life.

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Planning Your Budget

Paying for an online education doesn’t have to be stressful. We’ve compiled helpful resources that can get you well on your way to financing your education. Learn more about available options and how you can get started.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the online MSW degree, including admission requirements, curriculum, and tuition. You can also request more information or get in touch with an enrollment counselor at 1-866-295-3106.

To learn about state authorization and licensure, click here.

Yes. The online MSW degree is built to incorporate the busy lives of working professionals and is offered in both a part-time and full-time format. Review the MSW’s curriculum here.

The first step toward applying for the MSW degree online is to begin your online application. Then, you’ll need to gather official transcripts, a résumé, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. You can review all admission requirements here.

Yes, the MSW degree online accepts transfer credits for courses taken at a regionally accredited college that are equivalent to those taught at Utica University and for which you’ve received a grade of “C” or better. You can transfer up to six credit hours toward the MSW degree online. A new Advanced Standing option for students with a BSW will be available soon. Note that we require official transcripts from all colleges you’ve attended, as well as a transcript showing the degree awarded. You can review all admission requirements here.

The MSW online degree program contains 20 courses that total 60 credits. Review the MSW’s curriculum here.

The MSW degree program requires you to complete 900 field hours before graduation, which prepares you to sit for licensure exams* in your home state and gives you crucial field experience that applies to your social work career. Review the MSW’s curriculum here.

*Students are responsible for verifying the licensure requirements in the state in which they plan to practice.

The online MSW is currently only accepting applicants who reside in New York. Graduates will be prepared to sit for licensure exams* in their state. Contact an enrollment counselor at (866) 295-3106 for more information about licensure.

*Students are responsible for verifying the licensure requirements in the state in which they plan to practice.

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Source and Disclaimer

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Social Workers.” April 2022. Retrieved May 16, 2022.

*View this grid to verify licensure requirements for your state.