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Masters in Social Work in USA: Course Guide for International students

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

Masters in Social Work (MSW) in USA is a 1 - 3-year full-time course 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. 

  • Students receive a certificate from the Council on Social Work Education after completion of Masters in social work from USA universities
  • The growth rate among the passed out students to be engaged in this profession has increased by 3.87% in the USA after their masters. 
  • Number of applicants for Masters in Social Work in universities of USA has been increased by 3.17%
  • Students can earn around 53,773 USD per annum after completion of MSW from USA

Why to Study Masters in Social work in USA

Social working in the US leads to reducing the juvenile arrest rate by 68% between 1996 to 2015. Therefore, the demand for social workers in the USA 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 US. 

  • As per the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the demand of the 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 with social work in the USA in the year 2018.
Social Workers employed in USA

Top Universities offering Masters in Social Work in USA

According to the report of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), there are 500 bachelors and more than 200 Masters programs fall under the recognized accrediting agency of the USA. Similarly, the employers of the country are also looking for students 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:

Name of the UniversityUS News 2020 RankingCourse durationCourse Fees in USD (Annually)
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor#12 years22,224
Washington University#22 years41,370
Columbia University#31.3 years58,764
University of California#32 years20,218
University of North Carolina#33 years16,650
University of Washington#33 years34,374
University of Texas#82-3 years26,536
Case Western Reserve University#91 year46,524
Boston College#102 years29,636
University of Pennsylvania#102 years56,786
New York University#132 years37,567
Ohio State University#132 years36,096

Most of the universities in the USA offer following specializations in masters in social work:

  • Community change
  • Global social work practice
  • Management and leadership
  • Program evaluation and applied research
  • Welfare of children & family, policy & political social work
  • Research methods with statistical applications
  • Human behavior, social justice, and human diversity
  • Social welfare policies and services
  • Political and economic environment etc.

Admission Process for Masters in Social Work in USA

International students are required to have a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field to apply for master's in social work in USA.

 Admission Requirements for Masters in Social Work in USA

  • Submit their 10+2+4 educational marks to enroll name in full-time MSW coursework.
  • Attach the application form of the respective university.
  • Statement of purpose to help the university authority understand the reasons for selecting that particular university.
  • If you have any kind of work experience, you need to attach it (Not mandatory).
  • Letter of reference (LORs)
  • Certificates of extracurricular activities.
  • Two passport size photos
  • Photocopy of your international passport. 

Eligibility for Masters in Social Work in USA Admission

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

Name of the UniversityMinimum IELTS ScoreMinimum TOEFL ScoreMinimum GPA Score in Bachelors
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor7.0PBT: 600;
CBT: 250;
iBT: 100
Washington University7.5iBT: 90;
PBT: 577;
CBT: 233
Columbia University7.0iBT: 1004.0
University of California6.5iBT: 902.5 (3.0 GPA is preferable)
University of North Carolina6.0iBT: 713.25
University of Washington6.0iBT: 763.0
University of Texas6.5iBT: 79;
CBT: 213;
PBT: 550
Case Western Reserve University7.0iBT: 90;
PBT: 577
Boston College7.5iBT: 1003.0
University of Pennsylvania7.5PBT: 600;
iBT: 100
New York University7.0PBT: 580;
CBT: 237;
iBT: 92
Ohio State University7.0iBT: 79
PBT: 550

Visa Process for International Students

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

  • First you should submit the acceptance letter for reserving a seat to the USA university for MSW. 
  • You should attach the complete details of the course subject, length and the cost structure of your applied course.
  • You have to provide the documents like your previous education in the form of academic transcripts.
  • In addition, you should attach the marks of your English proficiency test (such as IELTS or TOEFL).
  • It is important to mention the accommodation and travel history to that country before applying for a visa.
  • At last, you have to provide the consent letter from your guardian. 

Cost of Study for Masters in Social Work in USA

It is dependent both on the pre-arrival cost and the 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 English proficiency test such as the cost of TOEFL or IELTS, on flight fare and on the visa fare.

Types of ExpenditureFees (in USD)
IELTS fee$215-$240
TOEFL fee$180
Transcription cost of prior educational certificates (For Masters students)$80
One way flight fare$700
Visa application fee$1200
SEVIS Fee$200

Cost of Living in the USA

The average cost of living in the USA is expensive compared to other countries. The annual cost of expenditure of a student in varied between $10000 to $12000 USD, when he is studying in the USA.

Types of expendituresCost in USD (Annually)
Hostels or room rent$5000-$7000
Cost of food$2500
Public transport$350-$800
Entertainment cost$1000-$1200
Tuition fees of MSW in USA

Scholarship for Masters 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: 

Name of the Scholarship programAmount of Scholarship (USD)Eligibility Criteria
ABE Judith Hom University$1200Given by American Board of Examiners
Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust$2000-$5000Should live in New Hampshire.
American School Health Association (ASHA) Scholarship$250Need 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 ScholarshipUP to $10000Students should get at least 3.0 GPA and require to submit a recommendation letter.
Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial ScholarshipUp to $4000Need to be a NASW member and the students should include personal essays and academic references.

Loan Application Process

Unless you apply for a study loan, it will be difficult for your survival in the US. The cost structure and the cost of living of the country is much higher than the other countries. If you want to start the process, you should proceed with the fill-up of i20 form. 

Name of the financial institutionAmount of loan (in USD)Percentage of processing fee
HDFCMaximum amount of loan $269541.5%
State Bank of India$40431 maximum2%
Axis bank$10,100 Maximum---

Scope of Masters in Social Work in USA

Students who completed their masters 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 designationPay scale (Annually in USD)
Case management$47726
Patient education$48769
Group therapy$45197
Patient Counseling$48673
Certified nurse assistant$19000-$42000
Licensed Practical Nurse$31000-$60000
Registered Nurse$43000-$90000
Social worker$33000-$67000
Case manager$30000-$72000
Medical assistant$24000-$48000
Licensed vocational nurse$33000-$64000
Mental health therapist$35000-$61000
Certified occupational therapy assistant$32000-$63000

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 15% growth in their career within the year 2026. The growth rate is much faster than the other occupations in the USA. Hence, choosing MSW coursework can inevitably open up the career path of the students. 


Ques. Is it useful to complete a master's in social work from USA?

Ans. It is worthy to complete masters in social work from the country. It not only helps to gather more knowledge on the subject but also it is beneficial to earn more than the undergraduate students. In addition, the growth rate of social workers in the USA will be predicted to be increased sharply. 

Ques. What is the career prospect of doing a Masters in Social Work from USA?

Ans. The passed out students can get varieties of opportunities to start their careers. For instance, the MSW students can join as a medical social worker, substance abuse counselor, child welfare caseworker, school social worker, and clinical mental health social worker. 

Ques. What are the best colleges and Universities for Masters in Social Work in USA?

Ques. What entrance exams the international students should pass for getting into the Masters in Social Work in USA?

Ans. The international students appear for TOEFL or IELTS exams and need to attach the scores with the application for Masters in Social Work. They should get at least 6.0 in IELTS and 90 in TOEFL (on average).

Ques. What is the course duration of Masters in Social Work in USA?

Ans. The full-time Masters coursework in social work in the USA is completed within 2 years (on average). If you are opting for part-time coursework, it may take 3 to 4 years to be completed.

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