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

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    Komal Yadav

    Study Abroad Expert

    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. 

    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.

    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 USA

    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 Minimum TOEFL Score Minimum 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.

    For more scholarships in USA, click here

    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. 


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

    Ans. It is worthy to complete masters in social work from the USA. It not only helps to gather more knowledge on the subject but is also beneficial to earn more than the undergraduate students. In addition, the growth rate of social workers in the USA is predicted to be increased by 11% till 2028. 

    Ques. What is the career prospect of doing a Master 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 work 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?

    Ans. Some of the renowned Universities in the USA for MSW coursework are University of Michigan, Washington University, Columbia University, University of North California, University of Washington, University of Texas, Case Western Reserve University, Boston College, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Ohio State University etc. 

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

    Ans. The international students have to appear for TOEFL or IELTS exams and need to attach the scores with the application to apply for Masters in Social Work in USA. 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. If you are opting for part-time coursework, it may take 3 to 4 years to be completed.