Part-time online MSW programs are a specialized learning option that cater to the needs of busy adult learners. While the program consists of the same elements as standard MSW programs, the program offers students more flexibility that the traditional program. If you are a full-time employee that is seeking advancement in your career, a parent catering to the needs of children, or simply a new high school graduate looking for maximum flexibility with your college courses, the part-time online MSW could be the right choice for you to pursue.

Online MSW Programs Available Part-Time

Degree programs may have long been developed ideally for recent high school graduates moving straight into higher education. As the years progressed and technology became a more influential part of society, universities have made changes in degree programs that have made them more useful for adults with varying needs.

The influx of online MSW programs opened doors for students that may have never had the opportunity to learn without them. Additional modifications to the program - including the option of full-time and part-time learning options - expanded the capabilities of the program even more along the way.

Benefits of Studying in a Part-Time MSW

The average full-time student in a traditional graduate degree program spends - on average - about 5 hours per day in a college classroom. At the full-time rate, these students typically complete their programs in around 2 years, giving these students little free time for additional responsibilities.

Historically, a lot of adults have viewed traditional master's programs as unattainable due to the demand of adult responsibilities. The implementation of multiple enrollment options has made it possible for people from a variety of different lifestyles to indulge in the higher learning process.


The part-time element of this program can support a smooth transition into graduate-level programs. Some programs allow students to take 1 course at a time, while others allow up to 2 courses over the semester. Compared to the standard 4-course semester, this option can allow students to focus more on less subjects - increasing their absorption capabilities.

The online component of this degree program may be ideal for adult learners that cannot set aside large quantities of time for travel and attending classes away from home. A lot of the online options for this type of program require that learners log on 2-3 times per week in each course and complete assignments within the online classroom.

Less Time Commitment

Students currently enrolled in the part-time online MSW program typically commit around 8-10 hours a week to studying and the completion of homework in the online classroom. You can choose to log in during the early hours of the day, at night, or even on weekends.

Study Anywhere

An added benefit to engagement in these programs include the ability to log in to your courses from any location that has an internet connection, making it possible to travel throughout the year for work or leisure without having to postpone your trips for upcoming classes.

Part-time degree programs can continue to provide you with the opportunity for progress at a pace that works for you. Most programs allow you to choose to take 1 course at a time or 2, so that you can choose the optimum degree of flexibility for what your schedule allows.

Online Options

If you are intrigued by what this type of program can provide to you as an adult learner, you may already be interested in seeing some schools that offer this type of learning experience. Depending on where you reside in the United States, there may be several different universities offering exactly what you need to move forward in your career.

Through our experts' research, it was determined that there are several well-known universities offering part-time online options for the MSW.

  • The University of Southern California may be one of the leading providers of this program in the western U.S. USC's online MSW offers students the convenience of either full-time or part-time degree programs. This program requires 60 credit hours for graduation and can cater to the needs of busy adults seeking higher education at a pace that works for them.
  • On the East coast, Boston University is another convenient option for students to consider. This program in particular requires that students engage in 65 credit hours throughout the duration of their program. Learners can also choose between taking 1 or 2 courses at a time over the course of 7 week terms.

Each of these options could be ideal for learners without the free time to attend courses on campus. There may be a multitude of online and part-time options available in different parts of the U.S., making it worth your while to seek out the best program for you.

Length of Programs

Part-time online MSW programs can cater to the needs of enrolled students. One particular program of this design allows students to choose from taking 1 or 2 classes per term, which take around 10 weeks to complete total. At this rate, students can complete this program in 3-4 years depending on the number of classes taken per semester.

Another university offering online and part-time MSW programs allows students to engage in course work at half of the full load, essentially doubling the time it would take to complete the traditional MSW program. For students that are balancing work, school, and family, the flexibility of programs like these are unfounded in the traditional learning setting.

Overall, one of the most profound benefits of online and part-time degree programs is that students can choose to take more or less courses per term as they move through the curriculum. This can create a customizable degree plan with varying completion dates from student to student.

If you have a certain amount of time in mind for completion of your degree program, you can work with your enrollment counselor to arrange your courses accordingly. In some cases, some universities can even allow students to exercise breaks in classes during different semesters to further take advantage of program flexibility.


Students enrolling in part-time degree programs may be interested in knowing how a supervised clinical experience can fit into an online degree program. Universities offering the MSW online often have practicum requirements associated with their completion.

At one university, students begin planning for their supervised experience component at the onset of their program. A location is decided upon and clinical visits are scheduled for the student to attend.

During this part of the degree process, students may be required to spend a designated portion of time on-site with a license supervisor. This experience can count as credit toward the degree program, as well as contribute to the licensure experience requirements.

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Degree programs leading to licensure should also hold the proper accreditation for the licensing purpose. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the most trusted accrediting body for social work degree programs, even those offered in online and part-time format.

In addition to practicum requirements, MSW learners may also be required to complete an examination prior to being permitted to hold licensure. This part of the process is completed after you have received your degree and finished all supervision requirements.

Each state may have a varying licensure process for upcoming social work professionals. Our team encourages you to explore what your state requires for licensure prior to choosing a degree program and beginning your experience.

Career Options

If you have spent a significant amount of time working towards a MSW degree, you may desire to have plentiful career options awaiting you after completion. The field of social work can be an excellent place to exercise your skills and abilities in this field, as well as use your knowledge to help others lead healthier and happier lives.

A MSW and professional licensure can permit you to apply for positions as clinical social workers, medical social workers, or even social services case workers. Some management positions in these fields also prefer master’s-level degree holders, often paired with a certain amount of professional experience in the field.

As a social worker, you may be responsible for working directly with clients that are in need of specialized care or guidance for different purposes in their lives. As an example, medical social workers may assist adults make important medical decisions, arrange specialists appointments, and coordinate benefits coverage for specific procedures.

One unique attribute of the MSW is graduates’ capability of providing mental health services to the public. Under the supervision of licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), MSW holders can provide counseling services to individuals struggling with the demands of everyday life, or those going through difficult life circumstances.

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In some areas, social workers can also work with the court system and be assigned to particular clients by court order. Drug rehabilitation, child protective services, and disability services are just a few topics that could warrant the use of social work professionals.

Upcoming students interested in engaging in careers that can help others work through challenges or barriers within their lives should take advantage of the convenience of online and part-time MSW programs.