Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in North Carolina - Campus and Online

The state of North Carolina is home to twelve universities and university collaboratives that have Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, including ten individual state schools in the University of North Carolina System, a collaborative program offered by two public universities, and one private nonprofit historically black university (HBCU). All of the MSW programs offered by schools in the state have advanced standing tracks for students who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), as well as tracks for traditional students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any field or discipline.

Students in North Carolina have numerous options for pursuing different MSW specializations, including programs that focus on advanced generalist practice, clinical social work, or macro practice/community practice social work. In addition, students can pursue their MSW on-campus, online, or through a hybrid program that combines face-to-face and online instruction.

The schools offering MSW programs in North Carolina are listed below, all programs in the state are fully accredited by the CSWE.

  • Appalachian State University (Accredited)
  • East Carolina University (Accredited)
  • Fayetteville State University (Accredited)
  • Johnson C. Smith University (Accredited)
  • North Carolina A&T State University/University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative (Accredited)
  • North Carolina Central University (Accredited)
  • North Carolina State University (Accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Accredited)
  • Western Carolina University (Accredited)

Traditional and advanced standing MSW programs are separated into different sections below to help students quickly identify programs that require a BSW for admission. Programs are also separated based on delivery methods: campus and hybrid programs versus online programs. Programs that require more than two campus visits per year are classified as hybrid programs and are included in the campus section. Fully online programs, and online programs that required two or fewer visits per year, are classified as online programs.

To learn more about MSW programs offered by schools in North Carolina, see the following sections below.

Traditional MSW Programs in North Carolina

All twelve of the schools in North Carolina that have MSW programs offer at least one program designed for bachelor’s program graduates who meet academic admissions requirements but who are not required to hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. These programs, which are often referred to as traditional MSW programs, are full-length master’s programs that provide training and instruction in clinical and/or macro practice social work and prepare students for careers in various areas of advanced social work practice.

In addition to didactic coursework, traditional programs require students to engage in a minimum of 900 hours of field education, a signature pedagogy in social work that involves working under the supervision of licensed social workers at agencies, clinics, and organizations that provide social work services. Students who enroll full-time in a traditional MSW program typically graduate in about two years, while students who enroll part-time typically earn their degree in three to four years.

Campus

Traditional Campus-Based MSW Programs in North Carolina

Appalachian State University offers a CSWE-accredited MSW program through its Beaver College of Health Sciences. The program has a campus-based traditional track that is designed to be completed in two years of full-time enrollment or four years of part-time study. Students are required to engage in four 240-hour field placements, for a total of 920 hours of field internships. The Appalachian State program has two concentration options: Individuals and Families (clinical practice); and Community and Organizational Practice (macro social work).

East Carolina University (ECU) has a full-length MSW program for traditional students who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. The program has a Clinical Community Social Work specialization with a curriculum that allows students to pursue a certificate in Substance Abuse, Gerontology, or School Social Work through elective coursework. This is a 60-credit program that includes three 336-hour field internships, totaling 1008 hours of field education. Traditional students have several enrollment options: an on-campus, full-time, two-year completion plan with classes that are held at ECU’s main campus in Greenville; and part-time, three-year plans that utilize a hybrid format in which students can attend face-to-face classes on the Greenville campus or at one of two satellite campuses located in New Bern and Rocky Mount, while also receiving some online instruction.

Fayetteville State University offers a traditional, campus-based MSW program in a full-time, two-year format that holds daytime weekday classes, and in a part-time, three-year format that holds classes on Friday evenings and on Saturdays. The program has two concentrations: Children and Family Services; and Mental Health. Students in the program can further specialize by completing a certificate in Advanced Clinical Practice, Substance Abuse Studies, or Military Behavioral Health. This is a 61-credit program that requires students to complete a minimum of 900 hours of field education. To be eligible for the program, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on a four-point scale.

Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), a private, nonprofit, historical black university located in the city of Charlotte, offers a traditional MSW program that is fully campus-based. The program has an Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice curriculum designed to prepare students for careers in clinical and/or macro practice social work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. This is a full-time, two-year program that consists of 60 credits. Traditional students engage in 400 hours of field education in the program’s first year and 500 hours in the second year for a total of 900 hours of field internships.

The North Carolina A&T State University/University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative offers a joint MSW (JMSW) program in a traditional format that holds face-to-face classes at the North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) campuses. This is a full-time, 60-credit MSW program with a Multicultural Clinical Social Work curriculum and elective courses in school social work, children’s social services, and trauma-informed practice. Traditional students in the JMSW program are required to complete four semesters of coursework as well as 1112 hours of field education. The program is designed to be completed in two years.

North Carolina Central University (NC Central) has a traditional, campus-based MSW program with an Advanced Generalist Practice curriculum that prepares students for careers in macro and/or clinical practice social work. Applicants to this 58-credit program are required to have a bachelor’s degree and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher on a four-point scale. The program is offered full-time and includes four 336-hour field practicums for a total of 1334 hours of field education. Traditional students can complete their MSW degree at NC Central in two years.

North Carolina State University (NC State) has a traditional, campus-based MSW program with an Advanced Generalist Practice (AGP) specialization that provides training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work. The program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time enrollment and requires students to complete 672 hours of field education each year for a total of 1334 hours. Applicants to the NC State’s traditional program are required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. In addition, applicants are expected to have completed college-level biology and statistics courses prior to beginning their MSW studies.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) offers a traditional MSW program with three campus-based enrollment options. Traditional students can complete the program in two years of full-time enrollment or in three years of part-time enrollment at the school’s main campus in Chapel Hill. The three-year, part-time enrollment option can also be completed by attending the first two years of classes at the Forsyth County Department of Social Services in Winston-Salem and then finishing the third year at the Chapel Hill campus. The program has two specialization options: Direct Practice (DP); and Community, Management, and Policy Practice (CMPP). Both specializations require students to engage in 1000 hours of field education.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has a campus-based MSW program that is designed to be completed in two years of full-time enrollment. The program has an Advanced Social Work Practice specialization that provides advanced generalist training in clinical and macro practice social work. Students in the program can opt to further specialize in school social work through elective coursework and school-based field placements. Traditional students in the UNC Charlotte School of Work’s MSW program are required to complete 464 hours of field education per year for a total of 928 hours of field-based experiences. UNC Charlotte requires graduate school applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNC Pembroke) has an Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice MSW program with a curricular emphasis on rural and indigenous populations and optional specializations in School Social Work and Substance Use and Addiction Recovery. The program utilizes a hybrid format in which students attend classes on campus once or twice per week when school is in session and receive additional instruction online. Traditional students in the UNC Pembroke program are required to engage in 930 hours of field education. The program has a two-year, full-time completion plan and three-year and four-year completion plans for part-time students. Applicants to the program are expected to have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher on a four-point scale. However, applicants with at least a 2.5 GPA may be considered for admission if they meet other criteria.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC Wilmington) offers a campus-based MSW program that gives students the option of focusing on clinical social work practice or macro social work practice and of earning a certificate in Substance Use Disorders and Addictions, or a credential in Child Welfare or School Social Work. Traditional students in the UNC Wilmington program complete a 62-credit curriculum that includes 900 hours of required field education. The program can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment or in three years of part-time enrollment. Students interested in studying abroad while earning their MSW degree at UNC Wilmington have the option of participating in a global social work program that places students in London, Ireland, and India.

Western Carolina University (WCU) has a traditional MSW program that it offers at its main campus in Cullowhee and at its Biltmore Park campus in Asheville. The program is primarily campus based but uses a hybrid instructional model in which some courses hold online classes. WCU’s MSW program has an Advanced Generalist curriculum with a focus on social work practice in rural contexts. Students in the program are prepared for clinical and/or macro practice social work and can further tailor their training by completing a certificate in Addiction Studies, Child Welfare, Culturally-Based Native Health, or School Social Work. WCU also offers students the option of focusing their studies on Integrated Healthcare. The time to completion for WCU’s 62-credit traditional MSW program is two years of full-time enrollment. Part-time students can earn their degree in four years. All students are required to engage in a minimum of 900 hours of site-based field education prior to graduating.

Online

Traditional Online MSW Programs in North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) is currently the only school in North Carolina that offers an online traditional MSW program. The program provides the same Advanced Social Work Practice curriculum as the campus-based program and is designed to be completed in three years of part-time enrollment. Students in the program receive training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work and can opt to specialize in school social work. This is a 60-credit traditional program in which students complete 48 credits of coursework and 12 credits (928 hours) of site-based field education. Admission to the program requires applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. While the online MSW program offered by UNC Charlotte provides most of its didactic instruction via distance learning, students are required to attend a limited number of campus-based professional development seminars.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in North Carolina

An advanced standing MSW program is a master’s program in advanced clinical and/or macro practice social work that requires applicants to have completed a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, often within the last five, six, or seven years. Advanced standing programs commonly have additional admission requirements, such a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale and/or a GPA of 3.25 or higher in all social work major courses. Students who qualify for a program’s advanced standing track are credited with all or most of the foundational social work training they have already received at the bachelor’s degree level.

By reducing the number of credits and field education hours students must complete in order to earn an MSW degree, advanced standing tracks are able to shorten the time it takes to earn an MSW degree. Typically, students can complete an advanced standing program in one year of full-time enrollment and in two years for students who attend part-time. All twelve of the North Carolina schools that offer CSWE-accredited MSW programs have advanced standing programs.

Campus

Advanced Standing Campus-Based MSW Programs in North Carolina

Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Science offers its MSW in an advanced standing campus-based format for qualified graduates from CSWE-accredited BSW programs whose degree was conferred within the last seven years. In addition, advanced standing applicants are required to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher on a four-point scale. Advanced standing students in the Appalachian State University program complete a 33-credit curriculum that includes 480 hours of field education and a transitional seminar held during the final week of the summer session immediately prior to the start of fall semester courses. The program offers a clinical practice specialization (Individuals and Families) and a macro practice specialization (Community and Organizational Practice). The advanced standing program track has a one-year, full-time completion plan and a two-year, part-time enrollment option.

East Carolina University (ECU) offers a Clinical Community Social Work MSW program with an advanced standing option for qualified students who hold a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program in social work and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. Students granted advanced standing status complete a 43-credit curriculum that includes 672 hours of field education and can earn their degree in one calendar year of full-time enrollment at ECU’s main campus in Greenville. Students also have the option to enroll part-time and take courses at the Greenville campus or at campus locations in New Bern and Rocky Mount. The part-time programs are designed to be completed in two years and use both on-campus and online instruction. Students in the ECU MSW program have the option of earning a certificate in Substance Abuse, Gerontology, or School Social Work through elective coursework.

Fayetteville State University offers a 35-credit, full-time, one-year advanced standing MSW program that requires students to have graduated from a CSWE-accredited BSW program within the last five years and maintained a GPA of 3.0 on a four-point scale in their undergraduate program. Advanced standing students begin their MSW studies in the summer, attend classes in the subsequent fall and spring semesters, and engage in a minimum of 500 hours of field education prior to graduating. The program’s advanced standing curriculum features specializations in Children and Family Services, and in Mental Health, as well optional certificates in Advanced Clinical Practice, Substance Abuse Studies, and Military Behavioral Health.

Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) has an MSW program that it offers in an advanced standing format for qualified applicants who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program. The program, which is offered in a fully campus-based format at JCSU’s Charlotte campus, provides training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work through an Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice curriculum designed to prepare graduates for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Advanced standing students begin the program in the summer and then complete two semesters (fall and spring) of coursework along with 500 hours of required field education. The completion time for this full-time program is one calendar year.

The North Carolina A&T State University/University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative has a joint MSW (JMSW) program that is fully campus-based and that offers an advanced standing option for qualified graduates of CSWE-accredited undergraduate programs. To qualify for advanced standing status, applicants must have earned their BSW degree within the last ten years and achieved a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale and a GPA of at least 3.5 in all social work major courses. The program has a Multicultural Clinical Social Work Practice specialization with optional electives in various areas of practice, including school social work, children’s social services, and trauma-informed practice. Advanced standing students in the JMSW program begin their coursework in the summer term and then complete two semesters of full-time study that include 672 hours of required field education. They are thus able to graduate from the program in one calendar year.

North Carolina Central University (NC Central) offers its Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice MSW program in an advanced standing format that requires applicants to hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program earned within the last seven years. In addition, students applying for advanced standing status are expected to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better on a four-point scale and at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA in their social work major courses. Students admitted to the advanced standing track begin their coursework during the summer session and complete the rest of the program’s curricular requirements over two semesters of full-time enrollment. This includes two 336-hours field practicums for a total of 672 hours of field education.

North Carolina State University (NC State) has a traditional, campus-based MSW program that is offered in an advanced standing format for qualified students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program with a 3.5 or higher undergraduate GPA and a grade of B or better in all social work major courses. Advanced standing applicants are expected to have completed college-level courses in biology and statistics. The NC State MSW program provides training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work through its Advanced Generalist Practice (AGP) curriculum, which includes 672 hours of field practicum. This is a full-time, one year program that begins with a summer session and continues through the subsequent fall and spring semesters.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) has a campus-based MSW program with two specializations: Direct Practice (DP); and Community, Management, and Policy Practice (CMPP). The program has an advanced standing track for qualified students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program conferred within the last seven years. Advanced standing students in the UNC Chapel Hill program can choose to complete their degree in twelve months of full-time enrollment or 20 months of part-time enrollment. As part of their MSW studies, advanced standing MSW students are required to engage in 600 hours of field education. (BSW graduates whose degree was conferred more than seven years ago can submit a formal request for advanced standing consideration to UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work and may be granted a waiver of this requirement on a case-by-case basis.)

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has an advanced standing MSW program track that is offered in a campus-based format and is designed to be completed in one calendar year of full-time enrollment. The program has an Advanced Social Work Practice curriculum that prepares students for careers in clinical and/or macro practice social work, as well as an optional concentration in school social work. Advanced standing students are required to complete 39 graduate credits, which includes six credits of field practicum for a total of 428 hours of field education. UNC Charlotte’s School of Social Work accepts advanced standing applications from students who earned their BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program within the last seven years. Applicants are required to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a four-point scale to be considered for admission. (BSW graduates whose degree was conferred more than seven years ago can submit a request for advanced standing consideration along with their program application and may be granted a waiver of this requirement.)

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNC Pembroke) has an advanced standing MSW program track for qualified graduates from a CSWE-accredited BSW program who earned their degree within the last five years and attained a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher on a four-point scale. The program has an Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice curriculum that prepares graduates for advanced clinical and/or macro practice social work with an emphasis on rural and indigenous populations. In addition, the program gives students the option of further specializing in School Social Work or Substance Use and Addiction Recovery. Advanced standing students must complete 500 hours of field education and can graduate in twelve months of full-time enrollment or in 24 months of part-time study. This is a hybrid program in which students attend campus classes once or twice per week while also receiving online instruction.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC Wilmington) offers its campus-based MSW program in an advanced standing format for qualified students who hold a BSW degree conferred by a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program. In addition, advanced standing applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a four-point scale. UNC Wilmington’s advanced standing program track consists of 39 credits, including 600 hours of field internships. Students in the program can choose from a Clinical Social Work concentration or a Macro Social Work concentration and have three options for further specialization through certificates and/or credentials in Substance Use Disorders and Addictions, Child Welfare, and School Social Work. The advanced standing program offered at UNC Wilmington is designed to be completed in one calendar year (12 months) of full-time enrollment.

Western Carolina University (WCU) offers its hybrid model MSW program in an advanced standing format at its main campus in Cullowhee and at its Biltmore Park campus in Asheville. To qualify for advanced standing status, applicants must have BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program that was awarded within the last five years, as well an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.85 or higher on a four-point scale or a 3.0 or higher in their last 60 credits of college coursework. WCU’s MSW program has an Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice concentration with a focus on social work among rural populations. In addition to generalist practice training, students can tailor their degree by earning a certificate in Addiction Studies, Child Welfare, Culturally-Based Native Health, or School Social Work while completing their MSW degree. Students can also pursue an optional focus area in Integrated Healthcare. Advanced Standing students in the WCU program can earn their degree in one to two years, which includes 600 hours of field internships. Classes for this program are primarily campus-based but incorporate some online instruction.

Online

Advanced Standing Online MSW Programs in North Carolina

Appalachian State University is the only school in North Carolina school that currently has an online advanced standing MSW program. The program, offered through Appalachian State’s Beaver College of Health Science, is designed for BSW graduates whose undergraduate degree was conferred by a CSWE-accredited program within the last seven years. It requires advanced standing applicants to have attained a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher on a four-point scale. Students admitted to the program begin their graduate studies with a week-long seminar held during the summer session immediately prior to the start of fall semester coursework, matriculate through a 33-credit curriculum that includes 480 hours of required field education, and can graduate in one year of full-time enrollment or two years of part-time enrollment. The program has two specialization options: Individuals and Families (clinical practice) or Community and Organizational Practice (macro social work).

Directory of All Master of Social Work Programs in North Carolina

T Traditional programs, Advanced Standing programs, Campus programs, Hybrid programs (campus and online instruction), Hybrid-Online programs (3 to ~6 campus visits per year), Online programs (fully online to 2 campus visits per year)
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Johnson C. Smith University

(Charlotte)

North Carolina A&T State University / University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative

(Greensboro)
Department: Department of Social Work and Sociology (N.C. A&T), Department of Social Work (UNC Greensboro)
CSWE Accreditation Status: Fully Accredited
Programs:

North Carolina Central University

(Durham)

North Carolina State University

(Raleigh)