The Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Social Work offers a fully online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, providing working professionals and place-bound individuals an accessible way to pursue a career in social work. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the LSU MSW online program in depth, covering admissions, curriculum, areas of specialization, costs, and career outcomes. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what an LSU MSW online entails and how it can help you achieve your goals in the social work field.
What is the LSU MSW Online Program?
The LSU MSW online program is a 60 credit hour graduate degree designed for working professionals seeking increased responsibilities and career advancement in social work. The curriculum has been thoughtfully adapted for the online learning environment while upholding the same rigorous academic standards as the campus-based MSW program.
Students complete the foundation and concentration years of the MSW through online coursework with virtual class sessions, interactive learning experiences, and field placements in their local communities. There is no requirement to physically attend classes on the LSU campus. The program is competency-based and aligned with the Council on Social Work Education’s educational policy and accreditation standards.
Admission to the LSU MSW online program is competitive. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Relevant undergraduate coursework and experience in the social and behavioral sciences is preferred but not required.
The application process involves submitting transcripts, resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. A background check and interview may also be part of the process. The GRE is not required for admission. International students must meet additional requirements.
The priority application deadline is January 15th for fall admission, though rolling admissions are accepted until the program reaches capacity. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance as admission is selective each year.
The LSU MSW online curriculum follows a two-year structure with foundation and advanced concentration coursework:
- Foundation Year (30 credits): Core social work courses covering human behavior, social policy, research methods, practice skills, and a 400-hour field placement. This establishes a base knowledge for generalist social work practice.
- Concentration Year (30 credits): Students choose between a Direct Practice or Community and Organizational Practice concentration with specialized courses and a 400-hour advanced field placement.
Core foundation courses explore social work values and ethics, cultural diversity, social and economic justice, behavioral theory, practice models, policy analysis, and foundation-level skills. Advanced courses build expertise in the student’s chosen concentration area.
The program culminates in a capstone project integrating social work knowledge with a student’s area of practice interest. Field placements offer hands-on experience under an agency supervisor and faculty liaison. Virtual classroom instruction allows interaction with instructors and peers across the live video conference.
Students select from two concentrations for specialized learning in the second year of the LSU MSW online program:
Direct Practice – Focuses on clinical skills and interventions with individuals, families, and small groups. Graduates are prepared for micro-level practice roles such as medical social work, mental health therapy, and school social work.
Community and Organizational Practice – Develops competence in program development, community organization, administration, and macro-level change efforts. Careers may include nonprofit management, policy advocacy, program evaluation, and social services planning.
Both concentrations blend online didactics with real-world application through the advanced field placement. This practical experience allows students to directly apply their classroom learning with clients, communities, or organizations.
Tuition and Financial Aid
As a state-supported university, LSU keeps tuition costs lower than private graduate social work programs. For Louisiana residents, current per credit hour rates are:
- Foundation Year: $475 per credit hour
- Concentration Year: $510 per credit hour
Non-resident tuition is 2-3 times higher. Total estimated program costs including fees and books range from $30,000-$40,000 depending on residency status and time to completion. Part-time enrollment options exist.
The financial aid office assists students in applying for scholarships, grants, work-study funds, and federal loans. Common sources of funding available to MSW students include TEACH Grants, Graduate Assistantships, and private endowments. Payment plans help manage education costs. Many students continue working part-time during the program as well.
Career Opportunities and Licensure
The LSU MSW online equips graduates with a generalist or advanced practice foundation for numerous career paths in social work and human services. Common entry-level roles include:
- Medical Social Worker – School Social Worker
- Mental Health Therapist – Child Welfare Case Worker
- Nonprofit Program Coordinator – Substance Abuse Counselor
- Community Organizer – Victim Advocate
With two years of supervised post-master’s experience, graduates may become licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Licensure expands career opportunities and earning potential in private practice, hospitals, clinics, and other clinical settings. Other certifications like Academy of Certified Social Workers broaden marketability as well.
The LSU MSW online program prepares students for leadership roles and management positions with increased experience. Some alumni have pursued doctoral work to attain higher education roles as well. Social work careers often involve public service, so the LSU MSW online is a meaningful investment in individuals and communities.
Enrolling in the LSU MSW Online Program
Are you ready to take the next step in your career by earning your MSW online from LSU? The admissions office welcomes inquiries and offers virtual information sessions to learn more. Students find that the accessibility and flexibility of online learning fits well with other life responsibilities.
With dedication to the profession and its evidence-based curriculum, the LSU MSW online delivers a top-quality graduate social work education. Graduates leave equipped to tackle our society’s most pressing social issues with competence and care. If you have a passion for empowering others and making an impact through social work, apply today to start your journey with LSU.