Structure of Hybrid MSW Programs: Blended versus Distance Education

Last updated: March 2020

A hybrid MSW program is a type of social work degree that mixes online and on-campus learning. On OnlineMSWPrograms.com, we classify any MSW program with an online component that requires a student to visit the campus three or more times per year as a hybrid program. There are currently over 15 CSWE-accredited schools that offer these types of programs. Please note, while we have done our best to create a comprehensive list of schools that offer these programs, we did not include programs where the majority of classes were only offered on-campus.

The majority of schools offer programs designed for traditional standing students (16). In addition, 11 of those schools also offer programs for advanced standing students (those who completed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited undergraduate program). Various programs offer part-time options, full-time options, or both. Though the format of hybrid MSW programs varies by institution, you will typically see two main categories of hybrid programs based on how they combine online and face-to-face instruction.

  • Hybrid and Blended MSW Programs: Typically, hybrid or blended programs follow one of two formats (although others do exist): 1) online courses with a reduced number of campus visits or 2) a combination of separate online and on-campus courses. For the former, classes may meet on-campus once a week, once a month (typically on the weekends), or even twice a semester (also typically on the weekends), with the rest of instruction taking place online. Programs that have separate online and on-campus courses may require students to take certain classes online or may only offer a limited number of classes online at this time. For the hybrid programs listed below, we have done our best to describe the structure of the program within each school listing.
  • Hybrid / Distance Education MSW Programs: With regard to MSW programs, the majority of programs that use the term distance education involve on-site instruction at an off-campus location. For example, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa has a distance education program designed for students on islands neighboring Oahu. Students attend classes at local sites and instruction is conducted in real-time via interactive television from the Manoa campus. For many distance education MSW programs, students attend classes on Friday evenings or all day Saturday.

In addition to coursework, all hybrid MSW programs require field education. Traditional programs include a minimum of at least 900 field education hours to graduate, but the number of hours vary depending on the university. Students typically complete two internships over four semesters. For advanced standing programs, the number of hours required ranges from 450 to 680 hours and students typically complete one or two internships over two to three semesters. Students in full-time programs should expect to work 16 to 20 hours per week to meet the graduate requirements.

Length of Hybrid MSW Programs: Full-Time and Part-Time Options

Students have several options when considering hybrid MSW programs and should find a program that fits their schedule and career goals. Typically, full-time programs do not recommend students to work full-time while pursuing their degree. Therefore, students who have other obligations that require them to work full-time while in school should really consider a part-time program.

Traditional MSW Programs:

  • Full-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take two years to complete about 60 credits.  Start times will vary by program.
  • Part-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take three to four years to complete (depending on the program) and require about 60 credit hours to graduate.  Start times will vary by program.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs:

  • Full-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take one year to complete with classes in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. The number of credit hours required to graduate ranges from about 30 to 40 depending on the university. Start times vary.
  • Part-Time Hybrid MSW Programs: Typically take two years to complete with students taking classes over five to six semesters. The number of credit hours required to graduate typically ranges from 30 to 40 and programs starts vary.
For students who are also interested in earning a MSW online with limited or no requirements to attend classes in person, we have compiled a complete list of online masters of social work programs all 100% online, complete with program information and admission requirements.

CSWE Accredited Hybrid Online MSW Programs (Schools are Listed Alphabetically by State)

All schools listed below offer CSWE accredited hybrid MSW programs. This list contains schools that offer traditional and/or advanced standing degree programs as well as full-time and/or part-time programs. School information includes program options, description of the program(s), length of the program(s), admission information, field instruction requirements, and more. Information, especially student eligibility, tuition costs and admission requirements, are subject to change at any time; therefore, students should speak with an admission advisor to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information before applying.


Alabama

University of Alabama: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Primarily online classes with limited face-to-face sessions and field education placements
Concentrations: Adolescents, and their Families, Adults and their Families
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work Distance Education Programs
Program Length: Full-Time program can be completed in 3 semesters; Part-Time takes longer
Program Start Dates: Summer

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Distance Education Program
Program Length: Full-Time program can be completed in 3 semesters; Part-Time program takes longer
Program Start Dates: Spring or Summer admission – students start by taking bridge classes before joining second year students
Admission Requirements: Students must have earned a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program
Eligibility Restrictions: Most of the programs field agencies are located within Alabama, although it is possible to arrange for field education placements in neighboring states.

California

California State University, Chico: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Online and campus instruction with field education practicum placements
Concentrations: Advanced generalist social work practice with focus areas in Mental Health, Youth & Family Services and Gerontology
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: MSW Distributed Learning Program
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 3 years to complete (Fall, Spring and Summer semesters)
Program Start Dates: Next cohort begins in Fall 2021 (admission every three years)

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: MSW Distributed Learning Program
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 1 year to complete
Program Start Dates: Next cohort begins in Fall 2020 (admission every three years)

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB): School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure Type: Hybrid (Distance Education Program)
Structure: Classes are held on Saturday at specific locations throughout the entire course of the program. 
Concentrations: Children, Youth, and Families
Degree Types: Traditional Standing Only
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work Distance Education Program
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 3 years to complete Program Start Dates: Fall admission only

Colorado

Colorado State University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Online instruction with campus visits (twice per semester)
Concentrations: Advanced generalist social work practiceDegree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in Social Work
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 3 years to complete (three semesters per year)
Program Start Dates: Spring admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in Social Work – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 2 years to complete (three semesters per year)
Program Start Dates: Spring admission only
Admission Requirements: Students must have earned a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program within the last 7 years
Eligibility Restrictions: At least 400 hours of human services work or volunteer experience is required for admission into the program

Metropolitan State University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Combination of fully online courses and hybrid courses that combine online and face to face sessions
Concentrations: Individuals and Families (Clinical); Mental Health (Clinical); Leadership and Management (Macro)
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in Social Work
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 4 years to complete, Full-Time takes 2 years
Program Start Dates: Fall admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in Social Work – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Part-Time program takes 2 years to complete, Full-Time takes 1 year
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only
Admission Requirements: Students must have earned a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program within the last 6 years

Georgia

Valdosta State University: Division of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Combination of online courses with 5 weekend visits to campus per semester and a field practicum
Concentrations: Advanced Generalist Practice
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Web Hybrid MSW Program
Program Length: Program takes 2 years Full-Time, 3 to 4 years Part-Time
Program Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Web Hybrid MSW Program – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Full-Time 1 year program
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only
Admission Requirements: Program requires students to have earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program within the last five years
Eligibility Restrictions: Field education requirements can only be completed in the geographic region served by Valdosta State University

Hawaii

University of Hawai’i at Manoa: Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure Type: Hybrid (Distance Education Program)
Structure: Combination of different delivery methods including online, hybrid and on-site (at specific locations throughout Hawaii) with field practicums (note: students must visit the Oahu campus once a year)
Concentrations: The university may offer some of their following specializations through the distance program: Behavioral Mental Health, Child and Family, Gerontology, and Health.
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Masters of Social Work Degree Distance Education Option
Program Length: Part-Time program takes 3 to 4 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Fall admission only (program admits students two out of every three years in cohorts)

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Masters of Social Work Degree Distance Education Option – Advanced Standing
Program Length: 1 year Full-Time program
Program Start Dates: Fall
Admission Requirements: Students must have a BSW from a CSWE accredited school
Eligibility Restrictions: Students are required to travel to Oahu once a year to visit the campus

Illinois

University of Illinois: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Combination of fully online courses and blended courses requiring up to 4 face to face meetings per semester at the Illini Center or Urbana Campus
Concentrations: Leadership and Social Change and Advanced Clinical
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: iMSW
Program Length: 8 semesters
Program Start Dates: Summer

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: iMSW Advanced Standing
Program Length: 5 semesters
Program Start Dates: Spring
Admission Requirements: Students must have a BSW from a CSWE accredited school that was earned in the last seven years

Maine

University of Maine: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Online with a limited number of campus visits (two Saturdays per semester) with field education experiences
Concentrations: Advanced Generalist
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Online – Hybrid MSW Program
Program Length: Part-time program that takes 3 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Fall admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Online – Hybrid MSW Program – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Part-time program that takes 2 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only
Admission Requirements: Students must have a Bachelor’s in Social Work from a CSWE accredited program earned within the last 7 years

Michigan

Michigan State University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure Type: Hybrid (Blended Online Program)
Structure: A combination of on-campus, videoconferencing and online instruction with field education
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work, Organization and Community Leadership
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Statewide Blended Clinical MSW Program
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 3 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Statewide Blended Clinical MSW Program – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 2 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only
Admission Requirements: Students must have graduated from a CSWE accredited BSW program within the last six years
Eligibility Restrictions: Program is designed for Michigan residents who do not live within 50 miles of the East Lansing, Oakland or Saginaw campuses. Out-of-state students must live within 50 miles of the Michigan border

New Jersey

Rutgers University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure Type: Hybrid (Blended Online Program)
Structure: Online classes for first 2 years, some online and some in person classes during year 3
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: MSW Blended Online Program
Program Length: 3 years to complete
Eligibility Restrictions: Program is designed for New Jersey residents

New York

Touro College: Graduate School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure Type: Hybrid (Blended Online Program)
Structure: A combination of on-campus, online, and blended courses
Concentrations: The Aging Population, When Veterans Come Home, Mental Illness
Degree Types: Traditional Standing

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Master of Social Work Flex Option
Program Length: Full-Time, 2 year program
Program Start Dates: Fall

Texas

University of Houston: Graduate College of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Courses are a mix of online and face to face classes
Concentrations: Clinical Practice: Health, Behavioral Health
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: Graduate College of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Students
Program Name: Hybrid MSW Program
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 3 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Fall admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Hybrid MSW Program – Advanced Standing
Program Length: Part-Time program that takes 2 years to complete
Program Start Dates: Fall admission only
Admission Requirements: Students must have graduated from a CSWE accredited BSW program

Virgina

Virginia Commonwealth University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Online with 2 campus visits per semester with field education experiences
Concentrations: Clinical Social Work Practice
Degree Types: Traditional Standing Only
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Standing Students
Program Name: MSW Distance Education Program
Program Length: Part-Time program takes 4 years to complete, Full-Time takes 2 years
Program Start Dates: Summer and Fall

Washington

Eastern Washington University: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Blend of online and in-person classes
Concentrations: Advanced Generalist
Degree Types: Traditional Standing Only
Website: School of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Standing Students
Program Name: MSW Hybrid Program
Program Length: Vancouver, Everett, Eastern Washington campuses offer a 3 year Part-Time program. Cheney/Spokane is 2 years Full-Time

Wyoming

University of Wyoming: School of Social Work

Program Overview
Structure: Blend of online classes, streaming video, and face to face
Concentrations: Advanced Generalist
Degree Types: Traditional and Advanced Standing
Website: Division of Social Work 

Program Information – Traditional Standing Students
Program Name: Hybrid MSW Program
Program Length: Full-Time 2 year program
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only

Program Information – Advanced Standing Students
Program Name: Hybrid MSW Program - Advanced Standing
Program Length: Full-Time 1 year program
Program Start Dates: Summer admission only