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Master of Social Work Online

Complete Coursework: 2 years full time or 1 year with a BSW Credit Hours: 60 Tuition: $509 per credit hour*

The Master of Social Work degree program online at LSU is aimed at students seeking a rewarding career that enables them to transform lives and help people in areas such as child welfare, substance abuse treatment, gerontology, and more. Our online courses are in seven-week modules, and are taught by LSU's respected faculty, composed of renowned international scholars and researchers.

This master's in social work online program is a direct concentration program that focuses on working with individuals, groups and communities. The degree can be completed in two years if taking two classes at a time, or in one year if the student has a bachelor's degree in social work.

The first year of the program is the "foundation year," which provides instruction in areas like social work practice, history, policy, research, diversity and oppression, research, and human behavior. Once a student completes all foundation course work, including both SW 7007 & SW 7008 Foundation Internships I & II, they may continue to the advanced year of the program. It is not possible to register for advanced instruction courses until all foundation courses (including internship) have been completed.

The second year of study, or "advanced instruction year," includes courses such as advanced direct practice; community and agency contexts for direct practice; advanced social policy, and 12 hours of electives.

Students with a BSW may be able to enter the advanced year as an advanced standing student if they have successfully met admission criteria.

To obtain the MSW degree, students must:

  • Successfully complete 60 semester hours of study, following the prescribed sequence
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.00
  • Satisfactorily complete the exit requirement: a thesis or a non-thesis option.

Thesis Option: Students choosing to write a thesis must submit a thesis proposal to a prospective thesis committee chair by the end of the foundation year. Once the faculty member approves the proposal and agrees to chair the committee, the student may register for 3 hours of SW 8000: Thesis Research as early as the following summer and fall semesters. Six total credit hours of SW 8000 are required for the thesis, and no more than six credit hours can be used toward the MSW degree. These six hours count toward elective credit.

Non-Thesis Option: Students may also choose the non-thesis option, which is a Capstone Experience. The Capstone Experience (CE) is an integrative and reflective non-thesis option composed of three major components, all of which must be satisfactorily completed by students:

  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Portfolio of Representative Work
  • Integrative Seminar

*The LSU Board of Supervisors may modify tuition and/or fees at any time without advance notice.

To learn more about the field experience watch our video click here!

Online Courses


Foundation Year

– 30 hours required

Socio-behavioral science base of social work practice; interrelationship of biological, psychological, social, and cultural determinants of human behavior; major biopsychosocial developmental achievements and adaptations of human beings from conception through death.
Development of social work as a profession; evolution of social welfare policies and programs; nature of social policy and policy formulation.
Introduction to social work theory, principles, and intervention skills common to social work practice with individuals and families; psychosocial perspectives in intervention.
Application of foundation knowledge, skills, values, and ethics to practice in an approved internship agency. 240 clock hours.
Standards and methods of scientific inquiry applied in social work research; concept formulation; research design; sources, collection, and presentation of data.
Social science base of social work practice; social systems in which human beings develop and live; focus on research related to social interaction.
Social dynamics of human oppression; effects of institutional discrimination, inequality, stigma, and prejudice stemming from racism, sexism, ageism, and classism; implications of human oppression and multiculturalism for human behavior, social work practice, and social policy.
Techniques of working with various types of groups including treatment groups and planning action groups; community organization techniques.
Diagnostic and treatment tools for examining the functionality of human behavior in the context of diverse social systems.
Application of knowledge, skills, values, and ethics to practice in an approved internship agency. 240 clock hours.

Advanced Year

– 30 hours required
– In addition to the below list, four prescribed electives (12 hours) will be required. Please contact your advisor for additional information.

Types of research, designs, and instruments used in social work; research processes from specification to hypotheses and collection of data.
Advanced methods of effective individual, family, and group treatment of systemic issues in a holistic perspective.
Dimensions and patterns of social policy; evolution and design of provisions and services; current issues, problems, and trends.
Organizational, and social aspects of social work practice; indirect practice skills associated with effective social work practice in multiple service environments.
Supervised internship in an approved agency setting where advanced knowledge, skills, values, and ethics are applied in the practice setting. 240 clock hours.
Supervised internship in an approved agency setting where advanced knowledge, skills, values, and ethics are applied in the practice setting. 240 clock hours. Three elective courses.
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