Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated June 12, 2023
Find the best online bachelor's in social work programs from accredited colleges. Learn what it takes to launch a career in this in-demand.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Social Work Undergraduate Programs

Social workers support communities by providing social services, helping clients manage mental health disorders, mentoring children, and connecting clients with resources.

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) can pave the way to a meaningful and in-demand career assisting society’s most vulnerable people and groups as a licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW). Specific job duties vary by specialty, state, and employer. Yet, social workers help people access community resources, like healthcare or food stamps; respond to crisis situations, like child abuse; and provide counseling or psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and families.

Professional social workers need a bachelor’s in social work at a minimum. Find the best schools for social work, as well as common career options for graduates.

Featured Social Work Degrees

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Top Programs for a Bachelors in Social Work

#1 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Central Florida

  • Location-markerOrlando, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,368
  • Out-of-state$19,810
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate41%
  • Students Enrolled68,010
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment9%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Georgia

  • Location-markerAthens, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,790
  • Out-of-state$28,830
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate43%
  • Students Enrolled40,598
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment20%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Florida State University

  • Location-markerTallahassee, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,616
  • Out-of-state$18,746
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate25%
  • Students Enrolled44,134
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment58%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Location-markerAustin, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,576
  • Out-of-state$46,498
  • Retention Rate97%
  • Acceptance Rate31%
  • Students Enrolled52,331
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,168
  • Out-of-state$18,566
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate64%
  • Students Enrolled54,906
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Washington

  • Location-markerSeattle, WA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,927
  • Out-of-state$38,757
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate48%
  • Students Enrolled52,989
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment19%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of South Florida

  • Location-markerTampa, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,559
  • Out-of-state$15,473
  • Retention Rate90%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled49,708
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

  • Location-markerEau Claire, WI
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,276
  • Out-of-state$17,627
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled9,579
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment51%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Location-markerChampaign, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$12,254
  • Out-of-state$29,704
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate45%
  • Students Enrolled56,947
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Wisconsin Whitewater

  • Location-markerWhitewater, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,519
  • Out-of-state$15,391
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled11,446
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment70%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Harding University

  • Location-markerSearcy, AR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$21,690
  • Out-of-state$21,690
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate45%
  • Students Enrolled4,793
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment30%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

  • Location-markerStevens Point, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,698
  • Out-of-state$15,402
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate89%
  • Students Enrolled8,011
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Arkansas

  • Location-markerFayetteville, AR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,666
  • Out-of-state$25,420
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate79%
  • Students Enrolled30,966
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment35%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

California State University, Fresno

  • Location-markerFresno, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,742
  • Out-of-state$17,622
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Acceptance Rate97%
  • Students Enrolled25,047
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

University of Wisconsin Madison

  • Location-markerMadison, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,722
  • Out-of-state$37,904
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled49,886
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment27%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

  • Location-markerSlippery Rock, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,716
  • Out-of-state$11,574
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled8,283
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment62%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Texas State University

  • Location-markerSan Marcos, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,221
  • Out-of-state$21,461
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate89%
  • Students Enrolled37,799
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment67%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Georgia State University

  • Location-markerAtlanta, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,948
  • Out-of-state$27,986
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate61%
  • Students Enrolled35,467
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Appalachian State University

  • Location-markerBoone, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,950
  • Out-of-state$20,246
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled20,554
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment60%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

The Ohio State University

  • Location-markerColumbus, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,936
  • Out-of-state$36,173
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate53%
  • Students Enrolled60,684
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment77%
  • AccreditationYes

Featured Social Work Degrees

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What Is Social Work?

Social workers support individuals, families, and communities struggling with issues such as poverty, mental health disorders, and behavioral issues. Social workers may help clients access social services and address problems through behavior modification. Many social workers at the master’s level also provide counseling services.

Social workers have several specialization options. For example, school social workers help children and adolescents overcome challenges at school, while substance use and behavioral social workers help clients manage substance use disorders and behavioral problems. Clinical social workers diagnose and treat behavioral and mental health disorders.

The largest employers of social workers are local and state government agencies, individual and family services, and ambulatory healthcare services.

What Is a Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in social work prepares students for entry-level, generalist positions in social work. Graduates of social work bachelor’s programs can also apply to online master of social work programs.

Many students need or prefer the flexibility and convenience of earning a social work degree. Typical social work majors include college students who know they want to become social workers, working professionals who want to change fields, and healthcare administration professionals who want to advance their career and earning potential by earning a BSW.

Bachelor’s in social work programs provide a foundational understanding of the history, major theories, and practices of the profession. Programs cover case management, human growth and development, and professional identity. Students gain critical thinking, advocacy, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Choosing a Program

Students looking for bachelor’s in social work programs have a lot to consider when choosing a degree, including individual career goals and academic interests, cost, accreditation, program length and flexibility, and specializations.

Read on to learn more about how to choose the right social work degree.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor’s in Social Work Program?

Bachelor’s in social work (BSW) students develop foundational social work skills like case management, crisis intervention, and treatment planning.

A typical curriculum offers courses in social work research, human behavior in the social environment, basic skills for social work practice, and diversity and multiculturalism. Many social work bachelor’s programs do not offer concentrations, instead focusing on preparing students for general practice social work.

Students who plan to pursue a master of social work should use their electives to gain specialized knowledge during undergraduate studies.

Bachelor’s in Social Work Curriculum

  • Social Work Practice: This course covers common social work environments, the skills required for specialist and generalist social work, and the core values of the field. Students explore the modern social service system and different models for providing social work services. The course also covers topics like levels of intervention, theoretical social work foundations, and client services.
  • Social Service Delivery Systems: This course introduces social work majors to U.S. social policy and service delivery systems. Students learn about social services, mental health, and healthcare systems, with an emphasis on the historical development of these systems and their current challenges. The course also addresses specialized social services for distinct populations, such as the elderly and children.
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment: This course covers the development of social environments and human behavior within those environments. Students examine the role of culture in shaping individual values, worldviews, and beliefs with a focus on the way society shapes personal identity. The course also explores human development across the lifespan.

Social Work Specializations

Mental Health and Substance Use

Social workers who specialize in mental health and substance use help individuals struggling with mental health challenges and addiction. This specialization explores mental health assessment, trauma, substance use intervention policy, and suicide risk assessment. Students who plan to pursue an MSW and become clinical social workers can benefit from this specialization.

Community Social Work

This specialization focuses on working directly with specific communities to improve daily life for people in that community. Community social workers often work on particular issues with citizens, nonprofit groups, and government agencies. For example, they may help start a new school or create a public health initiative.

Child, Family, and School

Child, family, and school social workers typically offer support to children and their families. They can work both in and outside of school settings, including at government agencies and social service agencies. Job duties may include conducting training for school staff, helping parents with children who struggle with behavioral issues in school, and intervening when a child experiences bullying.

Careers in Social Work

There are many specialities that you can pursue after earning a bachelor’s in social work. However, note that some careers require at least a master’s in social work, so it’s important to check with local licensure requirements and potential employers if you are pursuing one of these social work careers.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work

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