The Online Master of Social Work from Case Western Reserve University

Join Our Community of Change Agents

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences is the No. 9 graduate school of social work.1

A Flexible Master of Social Work Degree for Change Agents

The top-50 ranked CWRU’s Mandel School was the first university-based, graduate professional school of social work.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences remains at the forefront of social work education, preparing the next generation of social work leaders to answer the needs of their communities. You can join our community of change agents with our online MSW program, Online Social Work at CWRU.

Our Master of Social Work

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the online MSW offers the same rigorous degree in social work as our on-campus master of social work degree program and the intensive weekend master of social work degree programCoursework 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

Advanced Standing Track

  • For applicants with a BSW, 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

View course descriptions for both tracks.

The Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) Experience

Designed for students on the traditional track, the Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) seminar provides an introduction to what it means to be a social worker at CWRU. Taking place during the first two weeks of the program, CHAI brings students and faculty together to examine the values and perspectives required of social workers to address and overcome today’s most challenging social justice issues.

As an extension of CWRU’s university-wide initiative, Diversity 360, CHAI will present 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 compassion and empathy.

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 Agents

Broaden your impact with a master of social work degree.

Request Information

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 that you’ll be able to complete your field experience near your community. You also may even be eligible to complete the required fieldwork at your current place of employment.

Given that COVID-19 has impacted procedures regarding field education, we are still considering options for the 2021 semesters and making accommodations as needed, putting safety and health first. Reach out to our admissions team at or +1-855-997-2972 with questions.

Three Paths of Study

At the Mandel School, we prepare and empower students to confidently enact change at every level. Online Social Work at CWRU offers 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 change someone’s 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, 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

Help change someone’s thought process. 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 change someone’s world. 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 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, MSSA ’16, Portland, Oregon

Follow Your Passion for Helping Others

Become a social work leader with a master of social work degree from the Mandel School.

Request Information


Our hallmark social work curriculum is led by some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the field. That’s why our admissions standards are the same across all our MSW formats: the Online Social Work at CWRU, the on-campus social work master’s degree program and the intensive weekend social work master’s degree program.

To fit with your professional and personal schedule, we offer three cohort start dates in January, April and August. 

We know that a better world can’t be built until everyone has a voice. Our students represent many diverse cultures and belief systems—their perspectives help shape their cohorts and client interactions. We encourage students from all backgrounds to apply. For more information about applying to our online MSW program, visit our Admissions page.

The Mandel School: A Century of Social Work 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 faculty members are leading research that shapes public policy, informs social change and transforms lives. Because of our emphasis on interdisciplinary and interprofessional education, they represent many research and clinical backgrounds, creating a truly comprehensive experience. Most important, they are passionate about making our world a better place—and helping the next generation of social work leaders do the same.

The Harris Library

As an Online Social Work at CWRU 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 its 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.

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

Meet the Growing Demand

11% Growth

The number of social work jobs is expected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.2

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 agents like you to help us imagine and influence the future. Request more information about our online master’s in social work program.

1 U.S. News and World Report, Case Western Reserve University’s Graduate School Rankings, ranked in 2022arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2 U.S. News and World Report, Best National University Rankings, ranked in 2021arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference