Illinois Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

If you are considering pursuing your social work education, you will find there are many social work schools in Illinois offering programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). As you must have an accredited social work degree to become licensed, choosing between Illinois social work programs is an important decision. It is possible to study for a generalist Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) in locations across the state, and in some cases also complete specializations for additional credentials in related areas, such as addictions counseling and child welfare risk assessment. There are also several Master of Social Work (MSW) programs to choose from, depending on your area of specialization, preferred location, and future career plans.

Quick Facts

  • 43 schools offering social work programs in Illinois are in our database (see below)
  • Of the social work schools in Illinois, 15 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 21 offer bachelor’s degrees, and 16 offer a master’s or advanced degree1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 20182
  • 12 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 24 schools, 35 bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs in Illinois are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)5

Top-Ranked Schools with Social Work Programs in Illinois

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#30 in-state, #18 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs 2018

  • University of Chicago (#3 tie)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (#17 tie)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (#24 tie)
  • Loyola University Chicago (#38 tie)
  • DePaul University (#88 tie)
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (#105 tie)
  • Illinois State University (#128 tie)
  • Dominican University (#147 tie)
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (#174 tie)
  • Chicago State University (#201 tie)
  • University of St. Francis (#201 tie)
  • Governors State University (#220 tie)

Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Schools with Social Work Programs Accredited by the CSWE

  • Aurora University
  • Bradley University
  • Chicago State University
  • DePaul University
  • Dominican University
  • Governors State University
  • Greenville University
  • Illinois State University
  • Lewis University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • MacMurray College
  • Methodist College
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
  • St. Augustine College
  • Trinity Christian College
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Springfield
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of St. Francis
  • Western Illinois University

Schools in Illinois with Social Work Degrees

BSW and Other Undergraduate Programs

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Located in the central-east region of Illinois, the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a CSWE-accredited BSW program with a diverse range of research and practice specializations, from child and family services to clinical work to policy analysis. In 2016, the UIUC social work graduate school was ranked #16 by US News & World Report. The BSW program curriculum aims to provide students with a solid foundation in theory and practice for generalist social work, further social work career progression, or advancement in related fields. Required general education courses include liberal arts, social science, and communications. Students also complete social work courses covering social work theory, policy, and research. Students will also complete a BSW learning plan and 512 hours of supervised field education in a relevant community agency to prepare for full-time social work practice. In addition to the BSW degree, the social work department also offers MSW and PhD degree options.

Bradley University

Ranked #4 among regional universities in the Midwest by US News & World Report, Bradley University developed through the values of leadership, community, and service set by its founder, Lydia Moss Bradley. Bradley’s Department of Sociology and Social Work currently offers a CSWE-accredited generalist BSW program and prides itself on small program enrollments with low student-to-staff ratios. The core components of the BSW program are organized into four main areas: Social policy, research, human behavior, and practice. The Bradley University BSW program encourages students to take a broad variety of liberal arts courses in addition to social work education. Students may elect to complete the BSW with a double major in another field as well. To further increase student support, BSW students are assigned a social work advisor to help guide them through the program. BSW candidates complete a field education placement in the final semester of the program to prepare for the job field.

MSW and Other Graduate Programs

Illinois State University

Illinois State University offers a CSWE-accredited MSW program that admits approximately 40 students each year. The MSW program offered by ISU’s School of Social Work takes a well-rounded liberal arts focus and is composed of two parts – a foundational curriculum and a specialization curriculum. Individuals with an accredited BSW completed within the past eight years may be eligible for advanced standing, which allows students to proceed directly to the specialization curriculum of their choice. Possible specializations include child and family practice, gerontology, and school social work. The school social work specialization allows candidates to meet the requirements for school social worker certification in Illinois. Illinois State University also offers a CSWE-accredited BSW program focusing on generalist practice. In 2016, the US News & World Report ranked Illinois State University #104 among social work graduate schools across the country.

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago is consistently ranked within the Top 100 national research universities by US News & World Report. Completing the CSWE-accredited MSW at Loyola University Chicago offers many flexible options for students interested in graduate social work. Loyola’s School of Social Work offers an MSW with a clinical focus, helping students develop specialized skills to work with children, families, or in mental health settings. The MSW is also offered as a dual degree program with the Juris Doctor (JD) law degree, a Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) law degree specialized in Child and Family Law, a Master of Divinity, or an MA in either Women’s Studies or Social Justice. Students who have graduated with a BSW from an accredited program in the past five years are eligible for advanced standing MSW admission, which takes 10 months to complete with full-time study or two years with part-time study. It is also possible to complete an MSW as part of a five-year combined BSW-MSW program. Loyola University Chicago also offers CSWE-accredited BSW and PhD degrees in social work.

University of Illinois – Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Master of Social Work through the Jane Addams College of Social Work. This MSW helps students develop the knowledge and skills that form the foundation for success in the field of social work. With full-time study, students can complete the degree within two years. Extended part-time study and advanced standing programs are also offered. MSW candidates may select a concentration from Child and Family, Community Health and Urban Development, Mental Health, or School Social Work. Optional interdisciplinary concentrations in Gender and Women’s Studies or Violence Studies can also enhance students’ preparation for social work practice. Fieldwork is an integral part of this degree, and placements are made throughout the Chicago area. The Jane Addams College of Social Work also offers a joint MSW/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH) degree program.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University’s School of Social Work maintains a Master of Social Work degree program that emphasizes social work service to build well-being and social and economic justice in the community. Two-year and advanced standing programs are available. Students can choose to concentrate in either Health/Mental Health, School Social Work, or Children, Youth, and Families. Various scholarships and stipends are available for qualified students. MSW candidates may elect to join the Social Work Student Alliance or National Association of Social Workers for extracurricular learning and networking opportunities. An optional graduate certificate in gerontology can be earned as part of the MSW curriculum. A joint MSW/JD in Social Work and Law is also offered in partnership with the School of Law.

Accreditation Information for Illinois Social Work Schools

School Graduation Rate1 Transfer-Out Rate1 Associate’s SW Program Bachelor’s SW Program Graduate SW Program CSWE Accred.5 US News Social Work Grad Schools Rank3 Net Price*1
Aurora University 58% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #172 $17,178
Bradley University 74% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $27,451
Carl Sandburg College 23% 25% Yes No No No Not Ranked $3,673
Chicago State University 19% 50% Yes No Yes Yes #201 tie $10,610
City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College 11% 30% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,073
City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College 23% 20% Yes No No No Not Ranked $9,717
City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College 15% 21% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,083
College of DuPage 17% 30% Yes Yes No No Not Ranked $7,458
College of Lake County 21% 25% Yes No No No Not Ranked $4,615
Concordia University-Chicago 58% N/A No Yes No No Not Ranked $18,450
DePaul University 71% N/A No No Yes Yes #88 tie $29,756
Dominican University 63% 32% Yes No Yes Yes #147 tie $16,505
Elgin Community College 31% 23% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,183
Erikson Institute 76% N/A No No Yes Yes #174 tie N/A
Governors State University N/A N/A No Yes Yes Yes #220 tie N/A
Greenville College 48% N/A No Yes No No Not Ranked $19,728
Illinois State University 72% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #128 tie $16,337
Illinois Valley Community College 24% 19% Yes No No No Not Ranked $7,103
Institute for Clinical Social Work N/A N/A No No Yes No Not Ranked N/A
Lake Land College 34% 20% Yes No No No Not Ranked $5,149
Lewis University 62% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $18,768
Loyola University Chicago 73% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #38 tie $31,069
MacMurray College 29% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $17,555
Millikin University 61% N/A No Yes No No Not Ranked $19,208
Northeastern Illinois University 22% 41% No Yes Yes Yes Not Ranked $16,181
Oakton Community College 17% 37% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,030
Olivet Nazarene University 56% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $19,112
Rock Valley College 25% 18% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,997
Saint Augustine College 32% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $6,817
Sauk Valley Community College 35% 20% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,403
Shawnee Community College 26% 31% Yes No No No Not Ranked $12,164
South Suburban College 18% 49% Yes No No No Not Ranked $4,390
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 44% N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes #105 tie $15,778
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville 50% 38% No Yes Yes Yes #174 tie $15,784
Southwestern Illinois College 25% 22% Yes No No No Not Ranked $9,178
Trinity Christian College 58% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $20,701
University of Chicago 93% N/A No No No Yes #3 tie $34,352
University of Illinois at Chicago 60% N/A No No Yes Yes #24 tie $11,567
University of Illinois at Springfield 49% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $9,049
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 84% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #17 tie $16,249
University of St. Francis 56% N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes #201 tie $17,366
Wabash Valley College 58% 17% Yes No No No Not Ranked $1,711
Waubonsee Community College 24% 23% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,079
Western Illinois University 54% 33% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $16,829

*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.

Directory of Illinois 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).

Aurora University*
347 S Gladstone Ave
Aurora, IL 60506-4892
(630) 892-6431

Bradley University*
1501 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61625-0001
(309) 676-7611

Carl Sandburg College
2400 Tom L Wilson Blvd
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 344-2518

Chicago State University*
9501 S King Dr
Chicago, IL 60628-1598
(773) 995-2000

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College
30 E Lake St
Chicago, IL 60601-2449
(630) 892-6431

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College
347 S Gladstone Ave
Aurora, IL 60506-4892
(773) 602-5000

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College
4300 N Narragansett
Chicago, IL 60634-1500
(773) 777-7900

College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599
(630) 942-2800

College of Lake County
19351 W Washington St
Grayslake, IL 60030-1198
(847) 543-2000

Concordia University-Chicago
7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300

DePaul University*
1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000

Dominican University*
7900 W Division St
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-2490

Elgin Community College
1700 Spartan Dr
Elgin, IL 60123-7193
(847) 697-1000

Erikson Institute*
451 North LaSalle St
Chicago, IL 60654-4510
(312) 755-2250

Governors State University*
1 University Pkwy
University Park, IL 60484
(708) 534-5000

Greenville College
315 E College Ave
Greenville, IL 62246
(618) 664-2800

Illinois State University*
100 North University St
Normal, IL 61790-1000
(309) 438-2111

Illinois Valley Community College
815 N Orlando Smith Ave
Oglesby, IL 61348-9692
(815) 224-2720

Institute for Clinical Social Work
401 South State St, Ste 822
Chicago, IL 60605-1229
(312) 935-4242

Lake Land College*
5001 Lake Land Blvd
Mattoon, IL 61938
(217) 234-5253

Lewis University*
One University Pkwy
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

Loyola University Chicago*
1032 W Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Student Review: “Loyola University has one of the best social work programs in Chicago. It is great clinically and general social work. The professors are great. Also, the fieldwork experience is lacking during the 2nd year. The focus of Loyola’s program is to shape us into clinicians. In our classes, we studied about the human experience and the DSM 4. I appreciated how in-depth the professor went into the DSM 4. She had vast knowledge and experience with all types of mental disorders. The fieldwork experience is lacking as they push you to find your own placement. The happened when my placement rescinded its offer during the summer going into my 2nd year. I was totally discouraged like I would never go anywhere in social services. Then, upon searching myself, I visited an agency right in my local police department for locked out teens. I inquired and within 2 weeks I had an internship for my 2nd year. Overall, I learned a great deal at Loyola and value its leadership in teaching social work students. It is second to none for training students clinically. But you have to be assertive in fieldwork and know what you want to work towards.” – Student at Loyola University Chicago

MacMurray College*
447 East College Ave
Jacksonville, IL 62650-2590
(217) 479-7000

Millikin University
1184 W Main St
Decatur, IL 62522-2084
(217) 424-6211

Northeastern Illinois University*
5500 N Saint Louis Ave
Chicago, IL 60625-4699
(773) 583-4050

Oakton Community College
1600 E Golf Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268
(847) 635-1600

Olivet Nazarene University*
One University Ave
Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2271
(815) 939-5011

Rock Valley College
3301 N Mulford Rd
Rockford, IL 61114-5699
(815) 921-7821

Saint Augustine College*
1333-45 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640-3593
(773) 878-8756

Sauk Valley Community College
173 Illinois Rt 2
Dixon, IL 61021-9112
(815) 288-5511

Shawnee Community College
8364 Shawnee College Rd
Ullin, IL 62992
(618) 634-3200

South Suburban College
15800 South State St
South Holland, IL 60473-1200
(708) 596-2000

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale*
1263 Lincoln Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901-4512
(618) 453-2121

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville*
Il State Rte 157
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1259
(800) 447-7483

Student Review: “I attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville or SIUE for my bachelors degree in Social Work. I worked full time as well as attending school and the school offered a lot of options that worked with my schedule, I did not feel as though I was unable to attend and have some flexibility. The classes that I attended were great and the professors were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. During my practicum, I had the ability to pick my location and absolutely loved that process and felt as thought the school understood that I was a working student and needed to have some flexibility. I felt like some courses that I was required to take were not needed but I understand that is the process with most any degree. Overall my experience within the school and the program were great. The cost of the school as well as the ability to rent books instead of buying them was amazing. I would definitely recommend this school to others.” – Student at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Southwestern Illinois College
2500 Carlyle Ave
Belleville, IL 62221-5899
(618) 235-2700

Trinity Christian College*
6601 W College Dr
Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929
(708) 597-3000

University of Chicago*
5801 S Ellis Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-1234

University of Illinois at Chicago*
601 S Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-7000

Student Review: “The social work program I was involved with met on Tuesdays for an hour. Once a month, there would be guest speakers who would talk to us about scholarship opportunities and internships. I really enjoyed this because I was able to get in contact with people from my field. In addition to guest speakers, the program also helped us with tutoring. If we were having trouble with material for a class, they would help us understand the material. I think they had a good amount of tutors available since there were many people with different majors. Another thing that I liked was that members were given first choice during busy times in the semester. During midterms and finals, the tutors were available to other students; however, they would accommodate us first.” – Student at the University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Springfield*
One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*
601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000

University of St. Francis*
500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3400

Student Review: “The University of St. Francis is a private Catholic University so the price tag for my Advanced Standing MSW was $35,000. I went full time for a summer, fall, and spring. Some elective classes are offered online, but the main courses are in the classroom. The classes are heavy in theory and applying them to practice. The program is great for someone who wants to practice at a micro level. The classes are offered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday normally 5:30-8:45 at night. However, there are other classes offered during the day. During the summer I took classes all day Friday which put me ahead some. I commuted from almost 2 hours away and the professors were great at accommodating anything I needed. I felt this program prepared me very well for my future, however I wish they offered more help regarding internship findings. I did not have any guidance mainly because of my location. Overall, though if you can afford the program I would recommend it to anyone.” – Student at the University of St. Francis

Wabash Valley College
2200 College Dr
Mount Carmel, IL 62863
(618) 393-2982

Waubonsee Community College
Rte 47 at Waubonsee Dr
Sugar Grove, IL 60554-9454
(630) 466-7900

Western Illinois University*
1 University Cir
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 295-1414

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