The Online Master of Social Work from Case Western Reserve University

Equity. Innovation. Transformation.

Our Master of Social Work

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the online MSW (now in its 10th year) offers the same rigorous degree in social work as our world-class on-campus master of social work degree program and the intensive weekend master of social work degree program. Coursework is all online, with no campus visits required.

Online Program Track Options

You can choose from two online program tracks based on your educational background.

Traditional Track

  • Can be completed in as few as two and a half years
  • 60 total credits: 18 credits of generalist courses and 42 credits of advanced practice and specialized courses
  • Fieldwork requirement: 900 hours
  • Explore the option of completing your field work at your place of employment

Advanced Standing Track

  • For applicants with a Bachelor of Social Work, earned within the last seven years
  • Can be completed in as few as a year and a half
  • Earn up to 21 credits toward your MSW degree
  • Fieldwork requirement: 500 hours
  • Explore the option of completing your field work at your place of employment

View course descriptions for both tracks.

Trauma-Informed Practice Certificate

Students also have the option to pursue a Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice to further specialize their masters-level studies. 

View Certificate Details

The Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) Experience

Designed for students on the traditional track, CWRU’s Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) seminar introduces what it means to be an effective change agent. During the first two weeks of the program, CHAI  students and faculty come together to examine the values, perspectives and self-awareness required of social workers to address today’s most challenging social justice issues.

At CWRU we are committed to social equity. As an extension of CWRU’s university-wide initiative, Diversity 360, CHAI presents students with opportunities to reflect upon the role of privilege, oppression and discrimination in their own lives and the lives of others. Exposure to diverse worldviews, perspectives and individuals enables students to approach the field of social work with cultural humility, empathy and effective strategies to address social, educational, health and other types of disparities.

Within CHAI’s unique and interactive framework, students will be challenged to engage, understand and discuss real cultural obstacles in the context of current events. Consequently, students are better prepared to address key issues in the field of social work, such as structural racism, systemic inequality and educational disparities.

Join Our Community of Change Leaders

Elevate your career and impact lives with a Master of Social Work degree.

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Fieldwork Placement

You will start leading change long before you complete your master’s in social work program.

The field education experience for the online social work program enables you to immediately apply what you learn in the online classroom to the field, connecting theory with real-life social work. We partner with more than 1,000 placement sites so you’ll be able to complete your field experience near your community. You may even be eligible to complete the required fieldwork at your current place of employment.

Three Paths of Study

At the Mandel School, we prepare and empower students to confidently enact change at every level. We offer three paths of study for you to pursue: Children, Youth and FamiliesMental Health with Adults; and Community Practice for Social Change.

Children, Youth and Families

Help someone transform their life. Provide a broad range of services to families and individuals of all ages. Courses explore themes such as autism, adoption, child abuse, childhood trauma, mental health transitions to adulthood and LGBTQA youth.

Possible careers:

  • Child and family social worker
  • Child protection specialist
  • Case manager therapist
  • Residential therapist
  • Trauma services manager

Sample courses:

  • Child and Family Policy and Service Delivery
  • Family System Interventions
  • Problem Identification, Screening and Assessment/Diagnosis
  • Trauma-Informed Social Work Practices with Children and Families
  • Social Work with Child Abuse and Family Violence

Mental Health with Adults

Support psychological growth and personal change. Clinical social workers and therapists address violence, trauma, suicide and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. Prepare for community-based mental health practice across a variety of professional settings, such as hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs and mental health centers.

Possible careers:

  • Clinical case manager
  • Crisis response worker
  • Family therapist
  • Mental health counselor
  • Psychotherapist

Sample courses:

  • Mental Health Policy and Service Delivery
  • Social Work Practice in Mental Health: Adults
  • Social Work Intervention in Co-occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Cognitive Behavioral Interventions

Community Practice for Social Change (Macro)

Help communities foster change. For those who want to make systemic improvements across society to create a more just world, this specialization will help you develop an understanding of the broad social challenges facing communities—and how you can work alongside community members to change them. Those challenges include cultural diversity, globalization, human rights, inequality, oppression, poverty and women’s issues

Possible careers:

  • Community organizer
  • Government official
  • Policymaker
  • Program developer
  • Researcher

Sample courses:

  • Strategic Power Building with Communities
  • Community Practice Policy: Analyzing and Changing Social Policy
  • Program and Practice Evaluation
  • Planning and Implementing Social Change
  • Nonprofit Revenue Planning and Development

“I am a macro social worker focused on environmental, food and health equity. My brand of social work isn’t traditional, but I believe this field uniquely prepared me to be an important part of the collaborative solution. From fieldwork to class projects, I got to shape what I learned to fit the change I want to be in this world.”

—Emily Jennings (’16) Portland, Oregon

Follow Your Passion for Helping Others

Become a social work leader with a Master of Social Work from the Mandel School.

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Our innovative social work curriculum is led by some of the leading researchers, trainers and practitioners in the field. Because we value your commitment to social justice and your lived experiences, we offer you three flexible program formats to achieve your professional goals. Our admissions standards are the same across all our MSW formats: online, on-campus and through our intensive weekend option.

To support your professional and personal lifestyle, we offer three cohort start dates: January, April and August

We value inclusive perspectives, and believe that diversity enriches our community of learners.  For more information about applying to our online MSW program, visit our admissions page.

The Mandel School: A Century of Social Work Change Leadership

When the Mandel School was first chartered in 1915, social work was not yet considered a profession. Much has changed over the last 100 years, but our mission remains the same: a steadfast commitment to advancing leadership in social work and nonprofit education to help change lives and communities.

Our Guiding Principles

At the Mandel School, we prepare social work leaders to:

  • Empower the vulnerable and oppressed.
  • Improve the well-being of our society.
  • Advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
  • Enhance the capacity of individuals to address their own needs.

Our Faculty

Our world-class faculty members are leading researchers, trainers and practitioners that are shaping public policy, informing social change and transforming lives. We emphasize interdisciplinary and interprofessional education, which equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to support change on the individual, family community and policy levels.

The Harris Library

As an online MSW student, you’ll have access to the Lillian & Milford Harris Library, the oldest social work library in the country and one of only a handful dedicated to social work literature and scholarship. Our dedicated librarians are available online and in person to help you navigate the library’s nearly 45,000 volumes.


Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Online Social Work at CWRU fulfills the requirements for social work licensure through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

The Online Master of Social Work at Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation since 1919, the first year graduate social work education was available. In addition, Online Social Work at CWRU fulfills the requirements for social work licensure through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Upon completion of the Master of Social Work online at CWRU, you will have fulfilled the requirements needed toward obtaining advanced social work licensure.

Meet the Growing Demand

9% Growth

The number of social work jobs is expected to grow 9% between 2021 and 2031.1

8,300+ Alumni

Our alumni are making a lasting impact across industries, from schools and hospitals to financial companies and professional sports teams.

50 States, 41 Countries

You can network with alumni located across the U.S. and around the world to make a difference in a range of communities.

Social Change Starts Here

Over the past 100 years, CWRU’s work has proven one thing: We’re up for the challenge of building a more just world. And we’re looking for change leaders like you to help us imagine and influence the future. Request more information about our online master’s in social work program.

1 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2023.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference