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Arkansas Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

Arkansas social work programs prepare you for a rewarding career. Where to study and what degree to pursue is an important decision because you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to become licensed and practice as a social worker in Arkansas. To engage in clinical or independent practice in the state, you must earn a master’s degree in social work (MSW). Several social work programs are offered across the state, both in traditional, on-campus formats and online.

Quick Facts

  • 11 schools offering social work programs in Arkansas are in our database (see below)
  • Of the social work schools in Arkansas, 2 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 10 offer bachelor’s degrees, and 3 offer a master’s or advanced degree1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 20182
  • 2 schools ranked in US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs in 20183
  • 1 school ranked in Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs in 20184
  • Across 9 schools, 12 bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs in Arkansas are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)5

Featured Online Social Work Programs

Top-Ranked Schools with Social Work Programs in Arkansas

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Arkansas (#59 in-state, #57 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs 2018

  • University of Arkansas (#88 tie)
  • Arkansas State University (#201 tie)

Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018

  • University of Arkansas Little Rock

Schools with Social Work Programs Accredited by the CSWE

  • Arkansas State University
  • Harding University
  • Philander Smith College
  • Southern Arkansas University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Schools in Arkansas with Social Work Degree Programs

BSW and Other Undergraduate Programs

Harding University

Harding University is a private Christian liberal arts institution in Searcy. In 2016, US News and World Report ranked the school #22 among regional universities in the South. The School of Social Work’s BSW program is CSWE-accredited and prepares students for generalist social work in many different practice settings, such as mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and gerontology. In their senior year, all students complete a field education placement at a social service organization in the local area. The university also offers a collaborative program in child welfare social work that provides tuition and living assistance while preparing students for a career with the Arkansas Division of Child and Family Services upon graduation. All students are paired with a faculty advisor during the program to help them choose appropriate courses to meet the university’s liberal arts and social work graduation requirements and prepare for their career goals.

Philander Smith College

Philander Smith College is a small private college located in the state capital city of Little Rock. The college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has approximately 550 undergraduate students, and is designated as a “Historically Black College” by the US Department of Education. It was tied for 47th place among regional colleges in the South in 2016 by US News and World Report. PSC’s Division of Social Sciences & Social Work offers a social work major that leads to the award of a CSWE-accredited BSW degree and is housed within the Department of Social Science. The BSW program has received strong evaluations in all of the student learning outcomes set by the CSWE. The entire college is built upon a philosophy of social justice and the school runs a Social Justice Institute that provides additional opportunities for students from all academic programs, including social work, to become involved in social justice activities at the university and in the community.

MSW and Other Graduate Programs

University of Arkansas

Located in the northwestern city of Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas is a public institution with over 20,000 undergraduate students. The university operates under a “students first” philosophy and has CSWE-accredited BSW and MSW degree programs, as well as a one-year full-time Online Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Program for students who have a BSW. The MSW degree offered under the J.William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences School of Social Work takes two years to complete with full-time study or three years with part-time study. The program also offers advanced standing for applicants with a CSWE-accredited BSW degree. Advanced standing students begin the program in the summer term and study full-time for one year. All students must complete a capstone project that brings together social work theory and practice. Students have the option of completing a thesis as part of their MSW program coursework, though a thesis is not required. A dual degree in social work and law is also offered, as well as a combined MSW and PhD in Public Policy. The university was ranked #129 among national universities by US News and World Report in 2016.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is a public university in the northeastern city of Jonesboro. Its School of Social Work offers CSWE-accredited BSW and MSW degree programs. The MSW program focuses on rural social work practice and clinical skills. It is offered on a full-time or part-time basis, either through a traditional two-year curriculum or advanced standing, which shortens the program length for students with a CSWE-accredited BSW. Students learn about trauma-informed practice and cognitive behavioral therapy approaches and the unique needs of the rural communities in Arkansas. A certificate program in Addictions Studies is also open to MSW students interested in this area. The social work department is part of the Arkansas Academic Partnership in Public Child Welfare, which prepares social work students for careers in child welfare practice through specialized training and retention activities. In 2016, US News and World Report ranked the university #53 among regional universities in the South.

Accreditation Information for Arkansas Social Work Schools

School Graduation Rate1 Transfer-Out Rate1 Associate’s SW Program Bachelor’s SW Program Graduate SW Program CSWE Accredited5 US News Best Social Work Grad Schools Ranking3 Net Price*1
Arkansas State University-Main Campus 39% 34% No Yes Yes Yes #201 tie $11,499
Harding University 63% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $16,516
Henderson State University 36% 35% No Yes No No Not Ranked $10,249
Philander Smith College 39% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $13,101
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus 31% 26% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $10,087
University of Arkansas 62% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #88 tie $14,466
University of Arkansas at Little Rock 27% 39% No Yes Yes Yes #130 $12,780
University of Arkansas at Monticello 28% 18% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $9,833
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 27% 16% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $7,452

*The net price is calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics by subtracting the average amount of aid (including grants and scholarships) from the total published cost of attendance for in-state/in-district students, which includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses. To gain a better understanding of how to interpret the statistics discussed in this table, see our list of important definitions.

Featured Online Social Work Programs

Directory of Arkansas Social Work School Programs

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Schools with an asterisk (*) have programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Arkansas State University-Main Campus*
2105 E Aggie Rd
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 972-2100

Harding University*
915 E Market Ave
Searcy, AR 72143
(501) 279-4000

Henderson State University
1100 Henderson St
Arkadelphia, AR 71999-0001
(870) 230-5000

Philander Smith College*
900 W Daisy Bates Dr
Little Rock, AR 72202-3799
(501) 375-9845

Southern Arkansas University-Main Campus*
100 E University
Magnolia, AR 71753
(870) 235-4000

University of Arkansas*
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-2000

Student Review: “The University of Arkansas’ Social Work program is by far one of the best. The professors are knowledgeable about the subject and have had real life experience in their field. The classes I have taken have left me feeling confident in my ability to pursue a career in this field. There are many classes offered by the University so I feel I am able to get a well-rounded education. The requirements for graduation include a set number of volunteer hours in the specific social work work settings which will only benefit those who are entering this field after graduation. Overall, I’m very pleased and ecstatic to continue in my education.” – Student at University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas at Little Rock*
2801 S University Ave
Little Rock, AR 72204
(501) 569-3000

University of Arkansas at Monticello*
346 University Ct
Monticello, AR 71656
(870) 367-6811

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff*
1200 University Dr
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
(870) 575-8000

Schools with an asterisk (*) have programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-private-colleges/index.php?table=all
3. US News & World Report Social Work Best Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/social-work-rankings
4. Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018: /degrees/masters/online/
5. Council on Social Work Education: https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs.aspx