logo

Kentucky Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

Social work schools in Kentucky prepare future social workers for rewarding and challenging careers in the state and across the country. In Kentucky, you must have either a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Master of Social Work (MSW) accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to become licensed and practice social work. An MSW is required for clinical or independent practice and many Kentucky social work programs offer specializations in clinical practice. If you prefer to complete your studies online, Brescia University offers an online BSW degree, and the University of Louisville offers an online MSW degree.

Quick Facts

  • 22 schools offering social work programs in Kentucky are in our database (see below)
  • Of the social work schools in Kentucky, 6 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 15 offer bachelor’s degrees, and 8 offer a master’s or advanced degree1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 20182
  • 5 schools ranked in US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs in 20183
  • 2 schools ranked in Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs in 20184
  • Across 14 schools, 22 bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs in Kentucky are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)5

Top-Ranked Schools with Social Work Programs in Kentucky

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Louisville (#73 in-state, #74 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs 2018

  • University of Louisville (#38 tie)
  • University of Kentucky (#59 tie)
  • Western Kentucky University (#147 tie)
  • Spalding University (#201 tie)
  • Asbury University (#220 tie)

Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018

  • Campbellsville University
  • University of Louisville

Schools with Social Work Programs Accredited by the CSWE

  • Asbury University
  • Brescia University
  • Campbellsville University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Kentucky Christian University
  • Kentucky State University
  • Morehead State University
  • Murray State University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Spalding University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Pikeville
  • Western Kentucky University

Schools in Kentucky with Social Work Degree Programs

BSW and Other Undergraduate Programs

Kentucky State University

Kentucky State University is located in the state capital, Frankfort, between Louisville and Lexington. The School of Public Administration, Social Work and Criminal Justice offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) degree program that is accredited by the CSWE and offers specialization opportunities in gerontology or child welfare. Entrance into the program is competitive; students must complete social work prerequisite courses, maintain a cumulative 2.2 GPA, and pass an interview with social work faculty members. Students with a lower GPA may be admitted on a provisional basis at the discretion of the faculty committee. The university works with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to offer its Public Child Welfare Certification Program; high-achieving students passionate about a career in child welfare practice may be offered tuition assistance and living stipends to complete the state’s required training for child welfare employees during the BSW. Several honors societies and the social work club keep students active in extracurricular activities throughout the program.

Brescia University

Brescia University is a small private Catholic university in Owensboro. Historically a women’s college, the institution is now co-ed but still has a predominantly female undergraduate student enrollment. The university has four guiding philosophies: Catholicism, liberal arts, career preparation, and service to others. The Department of Social Work’s BSW program is accredited by the CSWE and prepares students to work with different populations at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. The program can be delivered in-person or online. Students must first be admitted to the university and satisfactorily complete prerequisite courses in social work, sociology, psychology, biology, and math or have completed comparable transfer credits; they may then apply to the social work major. In the final year, a field placement is completed in a local agency; previous placements have been with shelters, hospitals, correctional facilities, and family resources centers. Students interested in child welfare social work may specialize their training through the Public Child Welfare Certification Program offered in collaboration with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

MSW and Other Graduate Programs

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is a public, research-focused university in the state’s largest city. In 2016, US News & World Report ranked the university’s Kent School of Social Work #37 among all social work graduate schools in the country. The school offers CSWE-accredited BSW and Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) programs and a PhD in social work. In the MSSW program, students learn about regional issues impacting social work practice such as chronic poverty, mental health, cultural diversity, and addictions. Students have access to field education placements in international, national, and regional organizations. Many placements are available in health social work as the university is the only institution in the US offering a specialization in oncology social work. Other possible MSSW specializations include military, gerontology, and couples and family therapy. Dual degrees in Pan-African Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Law, Divinity, and Bioethics are also offered. The program can also be completed fully online.

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky (UK) is a public institution offering over 120 graduate programs, including a CSWE-accredited MSW degree at UK’s College of Social Work. The MSW program is offered full- or part-time through day or weekend intensive classes. An advanced standing option, which decreases the number of required courses for students with a CSWE-accredited BSW degree, is available. Courses are offered at the main campus in Lexington, the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard, and occasionally online. Students choose between two specializations: Clinical Social Work or Community and Social Development. Further specializations in school social work, gerontology, and developmental disability practice are also offered, but all students must take at least two required courses in substance abuse and psychopathology. The College of Social Work was ranked in a tie for 44th place among all social work graduate schools in the country in 2016 by US News & World Report.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University runs a Master of Social Work degree program that is flexible to the needs of working professionals. The study for this degree is generalized so that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in virtually any area of social work. However, while the plan of study is generalized, a particular emphasis is placed on social work practice in non-urban and rural areas. Core courses include Rural Community Organization and Development, Social Work in Diverse Rural Areas, and Integrated Social Work Practice with Families. While earning the MSW, students may pursue additional certification in public child welfare. All MSW candidates complete at least 12 credit hours of field practicum. Students are also able to access the resources of the school’s Academic Center for Excellence, Institute for Rural Health Development and Research, and South-Central Kentucky Area Health Education Center, among many other opportunities

Accreditation Information for Kentucky 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 Best Social Work Grad Schools Ranking3 Net Price*1
Asbury University 68% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #220 tie $20,399
Big Sandy Community and Technical College 20% 9% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,175
Bluegrass Community and Technical College 17% 15% Yes No No No Not Ranked $7,779
Brescia University 26% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $10,795
Campbellsville University 39% N/A No Yes Yes Yes Not Ranked $14,646
Eastern Kentucky University 42% N/A Yes Yes No Yes Not Ranked $11,561
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College 24% 10% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,185
Gateway Community and Technical College 30% 12% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,672
Hazard Community and Technical College 31% 6% Yes No No No Not Ranked $5,963
Hopkinsville Community College 21% 18% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,258
Jefferson Community and Technical College 13% 11% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,964
Kentucky Christian University 34% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $19,298
Kentucky State University 20% 41% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $8,386
Madisonville Community College 29% 14% Yes No No No Not Ranked $5,573
Morehead State University 43% N/A Yes Yes No Yes Not Ranked $11,373
Murray State University 52% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $9,970
Northern Kentucky University 36% N/A No Yes Yes Yes Not Ranked $8,298
Owensboro Community and Technical College 31% 14% Yes No No No Not Ranked $6,336
Somerset Community College 25% 10% Yes No No No Not Ranked $5,958
Spalding University 38% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #201 tie $18,334
Union College 32% N/A No Yes No No Not Ranked $15,033
University of Kentucky 61% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #59 tie $14,842
University of Louisville 54% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #38 tie $14,635
University of Pikeville 40% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $16,099
Western Kentucky University 44% 31% No Yes Yes Yes #147 tie $11,072

*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 Kentucky 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).

Asbury University*
1 Macklem Dr
Wilmore, KY 40390-1198
(859) 858-3511
http://www.asbury.edu

Big Sandy Community and Technical College
1 Bert Combs Dr
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
(606) 886-3863
http://www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu

Bluegrass Community and Technical College
470 Cooper Dr
Lexington, KY 40506
(859) 246-6200
http://www.bluegrass.kctcs.edu

Brescia University*
717 Frederica St
Owensboro, KY 42301-3023
(270) 685-3131

Campbellsville University*
1 University Dr
Campbellsville, KY 42718-2799
(270) 789-5000
http://www.campbellsville.edu

Eastern Kentucky University*
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
(859) 622-1000
http://www.eku.edu

Student Review: “My experience at Eastern Kentucky University’s Social work program was overwhelmingly positive, if somewhat misleading. The professors and department affiliates are incredibly kind, wonderful individuals who want nothing more than to see their students succeed. I have on multiple occasions interrupted faculty during non-class or office hours and received very positive reactions. Normally professors are willing to work with you on due dates, requirements, and class information which you do not understand and nearly always try to spin all assignments and requirements to the student’s advantage. the only real draw back I could foresee is that they are not always truthful about the job market for social work majors, but then if they were no one would complete the program.” – Student at Eastern Kentucky University
stars-4

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
600 College St Rd
Elizabethtown, KY 42701-3081
(270) 769-2371
http://www.elizabethtown.kctcs.edu

Gateway Community and Technical College
500 Technology Way
Florence, KY 41042
(859) 441-4500
http://www.gateway.kctcs.edu

Hazard Community and Technical College
One Community College Dr
Hazard, KY 41701-2402
(606) 487-3503
http://www.hazard.kctcs.edu

Hopkinsville Community College
720 North Dr
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
(270) 707-3700
http://www.hopkinsville.kctcs.edu

Jefferson Community and Technical College
109 E Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202-2005
(502) 213-4000
http://www.jefferson.kctcs.edu

Kentucky Christian University*
100 Academic Pkwy
Grayson, KY 41143-1199
(606) 474-3000
http://www.kcu.edu

Kentucky State University*
400 E Main St
Frankfort, KY 40601-2355
(502) 597-6000
http://www.kysu.edu

Madisonville Community College
2000 College Dr
Madisonville, KY 42431
(270) 821-2250
http://www.madisonville.kctcs.edu

Morehead State University*
150 University Blvd
Morehead, KY 40351
(606) 783-2000
http://www.moreheadstate.edu

Murray State University*
218 Wells Hall
Murray, KY 42071-3318
(270) 809-3011
http://www.murraystate.edu

Northern Kentucky University*
100 Nunn Drive
Highland Heights, KY 41099
(859) 572-5100
http://www.nku.edu

Owensboro Community and Technical College
4800 New Hartford Rd
Owensboro, KY 42303
(270) 686-4400
http://www.owensboro.kctcs.edu

Somerset Community College
808 Monticello St
Somerset, KY 42501-2973
(877) 629-9722
http://www.somerset.kctcs.edu

Spalding University*
901 S Fourth St
Louisville, KY 40203-2188
(502) 585-9911
http://www.spalding.edu

Union College*
310 College St
Barbourville, KY 40906-1499
(606) 546-4151
http://www.unionky.edu

University of Kentucky*
410 Administration Dr
Lexington, KY 40506-0032
(859) 257-9000
http://www.uky.edu

University of Louisville*
2301 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40292-0001
(502) 852-5555
http://www.louisville.edu

Student Review: “Overall, I had a pretty good experience at Kent School of Social Work at U of L. Like most everything, it had its strengths and its areas that could be improved. I had some amazing professors who really opened my eyes and created lasting impressions on me that have profoundly shaped my worldview, as well as my career path and aspirations. Almost all of the professors, administrators, and faculty are very supportive and understanding. They really want to see you succeed. My international social work class in which I spent 2 weeks abroad was definitely a highlight of my Kent School career! A lot of people complain about the research and policy classes. Personally, as a macro-oriented practitioner, I liked them and understood the importance. However, people seeking more classes and experience with clinical/direct care should note that this is a MSSW vs. a MSW – virtually the same, but the MSSW does have more of an emphasis on research/data/policy.” – Student at University of Louisville
stars-4

University of Pikeville*
147 Sycamore St
Pikeville, KY 41501
(606) 218-5250
http://www.upike.edu

Western Kentucky University*
1906 College Heights Blvd
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1000
(270) 745-0111
http://www.wku.edu

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

References:
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