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Master’s of Social Work

Traditional MSW Program

Our Traditional MSW program is offered in Autumn, Spring and Summer semesters and is available on the Columbus campus and online. It is designed for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in something other than social work or who received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSSW) more than five years ago. Our Traditional MSW degree can be completed full time in two years or part time in either three or four years.



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Traditional MSW Program Admissions Requirements

No GRE Required!

  • Any baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (based on a 4.0 system) for last highest degree earned (excluding associates degree) is preferred. Applicants who do not meet the 3.0 GPA will be reviewed for admission on a case-by-case basis.
  • At least 15 quarter or 10 semester credit hours of coursework in the social sciences (examples of approved subjects are typically: anthropology, communications, criminology, economics, geography, globalization studies, international studies, political science, psychology, sociology, speech and hearing science, and world politics). If you believe you have taken a social science course, but it is not directly from one of the departments listed, a course syllabus will be needed for review.

A complete list of application requirements can be found here: MSW Application Checklist

Application Process

The MSW program application opens annually on Sept. 1. This includes both the advanced standing (ASAP) and traditional MSW program applications.

To be considered for fellowships, the application and all supporting materials must be received by Dec. 1. Learn more about fellowship requirements here:

The College of Social Work scholarship deadline is March 1.

Please note: Your application file to be considered for admission to the MSW Program will include contact you have had with Graduate & Professional Admissions, the Graduate School, and the College of Social Work staff. This includes emails, phone calls, and in-person communication.

MSW Curriculum

Our Traditional MSW program is 63 credit hours. You can complete the program full time in two years, or part time in either three or four years. The Traditional MSW program is available at the Columbus campus or online.

2-year MSW Curriculum Breakdown  Hours
2-year MSW Curriculum Breakdown
Foundation Courses  19 hours 
Areas of Emphasis  6 hours 
Advanced Practice Methods Courses  12 hours 
Practice Evaluation Courses  6 hours 
Field Education & Seminar  11 hours 
Elective Courses  9 hours 
Total  63 hours 

Click here to learn more about our two, three and four-year curriculum options!

Areas of Emphasis

You will develop the competencies needed to successfully practice in a variety of fields. In our integrated courses, you will develop competencies in policies, theories, issues, services, best practices and desired outcomes. Areas of emphasis include:

  • Aging and Health
  • Mental Health and Substance Misuse
  • Child and Youth Services
  • Community and Social Justice
Program Hours Estimated Tuition
MSW Tuition Estimates (Ohio Residents)
ASAP Full Time (1 year) 3 semesters $19,500
ASAP Part Time (2 years) 6 semesters $33,000
MSW Full Time (2 years) 4 semesters $26,000
MSW Part Time (3 years) 8 semesters $49,000
MSW Part Time (4 years) 11 semesters $51,000

Ohio residents and online students, even those outside of Ohio, pay in-state tuition, which is $6,500 per semester for a full-time student (8-18 credit hours). On campus, out-of-state students pay out-of-state tuition rates. Learn more.

Congratulations, you’re ready to apply!

Please note: if you are applying to an online option, first select the “Master of Social Work – Online” application and your start date.

Apply Today!

Application Fee Waivers

If you’re an Ohio State alumni applying for our online program or have a 3.0 or higher GPA and are applying to our on campus or online program, your application fee may be waived.

Big Ten Academic Alliance

Students who have a 3.0 or higher are eligible for the Big Ten Academic Alliance Free Application

Alumni Online Program Applicants

The Ohio State University Alumni Association is piloting a new benefit: application fee waivers for OSU alumni who are applying to online programs at Ohio State.

For fee waiver eligibility and requirements, visit

Transfer students

As a transfer student, you must complete the same MSW application process. If admitted, you may transfer up to 18 quarter hours or 12 semester credits from another college/university toward your MSW degree. The coursework must be taken within the past six years to count for transfer credit.

Graduate Non-Degree Option

Some of our students have a class or two they’d like, or need, to get in before they start their actual program. Graduate non-degree is an option for students who wish to familiarize themselves with our MSW program prior to being admitted. You can apply to be a graduate non-degree student during any semester. As a graduate non-degree student, you can take up to ten credit hours of graduate level electives that can be transferred into the program. For additional information on how to apply as a graduate non-degree student visit

Questions? Email

Our ONLINE, Traditional MSW Program

Our online program is available in 49 states (except Colorado). You have the opportunity to select from asynchronous and/or synchronous courses, including in both formats.

  • Asynchronous: you can take online courses on your own schedule. Course materials, lectures and learning activities are released weekly and can be completed at any time during a one-week window.
  • Synchronous: although you will take classes online, you will virtually attend a class session each week, at the same time as your instructor and classmates.

Ohio State academic programs are designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure and certification and state licensing board contact information at

Ohio State makes every effort to ensure state licensure and certification information is current; however, state requirements may change. Please contact the applicable licensing board(s) in the state where you may want to pursue licensure or certification before beginning an academic program to verify whether a program meets educational requirements for licensure or certification in the state.

For more information on state authorization requirements and disclosures related to online programs, please visit

*Not sure if online learning is for you? Click here for the Online Readiness Assessment.


Our ON-CAMPUS, Traditional MSW Program

Our on-campus program allows you to enjoy the benefits of The Ohio State University, located near downtown Columbus, the nation’s 14th-largest city. A warm and welcoming academic community, a picturesque campus and a vibrant city are all within your reach. Columbus is the 13th fastest-growing city in the United States, one of the many reasons that Forbes named it one of America’s “Cities of the Future.” Click here to Experience Columbus!

The Ohio State University College of Social Work offers a very competitive tuition rate. Ohio residents and online students, even those outside of Ohio, pay in-state tuition, which is $6,500 per semester for a full-time student (8-18 credit hours). On campus, out-of-state students pay out-of-state tuition rates.

Master of Social Work students have the option of being full-time or part-time students. A student taking between 8-18 credit hours a semester is considered full time. Anything under eight credit hours a semester is considered part time. Keep in mind, eight credit hours costs the same as 18 credit hours, even if you are a part-time student who is taking 8 or 9 hours.

Tuition and Fees

Planning for Your Future

Financial aid is intended to help you finance your education when family and personal resources are not adequate to meet your total educational costs.

Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans. Please visit the web site of OSU’s Student Financial Aid Office for more information or contact the office at:

Student Financial Aid

1st Floor SAS Building
281 W Lane Ave,
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone: 614-292-0300
Toll-free: 800-678-6440 

To see OSU’s Student Tuition and Fee Tables, please visit the
Office of the University Registrar’s web site.

OSU School Code for FAFSA is 003090. 

Graduate School Fellowships

There are a number of fellowships offered through the Graduate School.  If you are interested in being nominated for fellowships, please visit the Graduate School web page to determine your eligibility and deadlines to apply. Fellowships are available for full-time on campus students only. 

Please note: in order to be considered for a University Fellowship nomination, applications must be submitted by Dec. 1. 

Graduate School Fellowships

College of Social Work Scholarships

The College of Social Work understands the financial challenges you may face in completing your social work education and offers numerous scholarship opportunities made possible through the generous contributions of our donors. The College of Social Work Scholarship application for the 2023-24 academic year will open at 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 and close March 1. Our scholarships are varied and awarded based on academic achievement, financial need, and professional area of interest in social work. Scholarship awardees will be notified of their selection in April and funds will be applied in Autumn and Spring.

If you are interested in being considered for a need-based scholarship, you must also complete the FAFSA by Feb. 1.

Apply Now!

Dual Degree Program Options

Students with cross-disciplinary interests may want to consider one of our dual degree programs. While working on their MSW, students can pursue a second master’s degree in one of three programs established with other academic units at Ohio State:

  • Master of Arts (MA) from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs
    Master of Public Health (MPH) from the College of Public Health
    Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) from the Knowlton School of Architecture

Learn more at Dual Degree Fact Sheet


Combined MSW/PhD Program Option

The combined MSW/PhD is an accelerated program that requires a single application and admission process. This program is for people who are interested in making a difference through research and teaching.

Learn more about MSW/PhD Program Options


School Social Work

The School Social Work (SSW) Licensure program is a specialized curriculum that trains you to be the link between the school, home and community. All licensure requirements are completed during the program and graduates are eligible for a SSW license from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

We are writing to notify our Social Work candidates interested in completing the School Social Work curriculum that the College of Education and Human Ecology  recently made some changes to some of the Special Education courses starting AU20.

ESSPED 6650: Introduction to Exceptional Children will no longer be offered as a combined course for both UG and G students. We will be cancelling it for this AU20. Instead we will ask the enrolled undergraduate students to enroll in ESSPED 2251 and ask the graduate students to enroll in ESSPED 6650.

Learn more about School Social Work


University Partnership Program

University Partnership Title IV-E Child Welfare Training (UPP) offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students who are passionate about working with children and families. UPP offers specialized child welfare classes and the ability to complete your field placement in a public children services agency. A $5,000 financial incentive is available upon completion and successful employment in an Ohio public children services agency.

Learn more about the University Partnership Program

Learn more about our curriculum and program highlights

Field Education is one of the most vital components of your social work education – it turns your advanced study into real-life experience. All full-time and part-time MSW students are required to complete 224 hours of a generalist field placement and 672 hours of an advanced field placement. Based on your goals and desired learning experiences, our Field Education team will match you with one of the more than 1,200 agencies we partner with in Ohio and across the United States. During your field experience, you will develop specific skills and knowledge in an area of practice related to your chosen specialization.

All Traditional MSW students complete a total of 896 field hours

Program Hours
Breakdown of field hours for a Traditional MSW student (full time)
MSWI (First Year) 16 hours per week, 224 total
MSWII (Second Year) 24 hours per week, 672 total

Learn more about field placement

For students who are currently living abroad, interested in living abroad, or are considering an international experience during their MSW program, we highly recommend contacting the Office of Field Education ( to create a plan for completion of your field practicum prior to applying for this program.

In addition, for international students considering our online program, It should be noted a country may or may not regulate distance education provided to students in its jurisdiction, and may or may not require foreign higher education institutions to comply with distance education regulations. At this time, The Ohio State University cannot guarantee that a program meets curriculum requirements in your country.