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Virginia Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

In Virginia, you must have a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Master of Social Work (MSW) to be licensed as a social worker; therefore, it is important to understand your options and the strengths of the various social work schools in Virginia. Virginia social work programs will give you the education and training you need to develop a social work career in either urban or rural areas across the country. In addition to traditional face-to-face programs available at various schools in the state, a hybrid online MSW program that provides scheduling flexibility is offered at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Quick Facts

  • 15 schools offering social work programs in Virginia are in our database (see below)
  • Of the social work schools in Virginia, none offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 15 offer bachelor’s degrees, and 4 offer a master’s or advanced degree1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 20182
  • 4 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 14 schools, 18 bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs in Virginia are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)5

Top-Ranked Schools with Social Work Programs in Virginia

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • George Mason University (#99 in-state, #100 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs 2018

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (#30 tie)
  • George Mason University (#75 tie)
  • Norfolk State University (#147 tie)
  • Radford University (#147 tie)

Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018

  • Virginia Commonwealth University

Schools with Social Work Programs Accredited by the CSWE

  • Christopher Newport University
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • Ferrum College
  • George Mason University
  • James Madison University
  • Liberty University
  • Longwood University
  • Mary Baldwin University
  • Norfolk State University
  • Radford University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Union University
  • Virginia Wesleyan University

Schools in Virginia with Social Work Degree Programs

BSW and Other Undergraduate Programs

Christopher Newport University

Christopher Newport University is a public institution located in Newport News that was ranked #14 by US News & World Report in the southern regional universities category. CNU’s Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology has developed a reputation for leadership and service opportunities and offers a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program that focuses on generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students must apply to the program after completing introductory courses in liberal arts and social work with a strong GPA as well as an interview with the director of the program. Once admitted to the program, students continue taking courses from the liberal arts foundation paired with courses on social work values and ethics, human behavior, and social justice. All students complete at least 224 hours of supervised field education in social service organizations throughout the area. Candidates interested in social work research have the option to complete an intensive reading course or an independent study project supervised by a faculty mentor.

James Madison University

In 2016 James Madison University was ranked #7 among regional universities in the South by US News & World Report. The JMU Department of Social Work’s CSWE-accredited BSW program offers specialization minors in gerontology, family studies, or nonprofit studies. This BSW program also provides students with opportunities to learn about rural social work issues, with periodic experiential learning courses offered in rural areas for credit. The field education placement component of the curriculum is designed to take place four days per week for one semester for a total of 472 hours, providing students with opportunities to put their classroom learning into action. Placements can be in either urban or rural areas in Virginia and Washington DC and include organizations working in children and family services, corrections facilities, and healthcare and mental health services.

MSW and Other Graduate Programs

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public institution located in the state capital of Richmond. The social work graduate school was ranked #11 in the US by US News & World Report in 2016. In the first year of the CSWE-accredited MSW program, students in the VCU School of Social Work learn about the foundations of social work values, ethics, theory, and research. This prepares students who do not have a BSW to proceed to the second specialization year. Two specializations are offered: Clinical social work or administration, planning, and policy. Both specializations prepare students to become advanced practitioners in Virginia. The school has over 500 community partners that offer field education placements in a variety of practice settings. Students complete two placements during the program; the first placement develops generalist practice skills and the second placement develops advanced practice skills in the area of specialization. Candidates who have previously earned a BSW may be eligible for advanced standing to proceed directly to the second year of the program. The program can also be completed through online part-time study in four years.

George Mason University

Located in Fairfax, George Mason University was founded in 1972 and was recently placed #16 by US News & World Report in the rankings of the most innovative national universities. George Mason University’s Department of Social Work, of the College of Health and Human Services, offers a CSWE-accredited MSW program with specializations in either Social Change or Clinical Practice. The program can be completed in two years of full-time study or three to four years of part-time study. Individuals with a BSW completed within the past five years may be eligible for advanced standing to begin the program with the second year curriculum. All students begin the program in the fall term. In the first year, students learn about the history of the social work profession, guiding theories and values, and contemporary issues. In the second year advanced coursework and a field education placement relating to each individual’s goals are completed. As part of the field education experience, all students complete 1,050 hours of supervised practice in social service organizations. George Mason University also offers a dual MSW and Conflict Analysis and Resolution degree, as well as an accredited BSW program.

Accreditation Information for Virginia 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
Christopher Newport University 68% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $20,996
Eastern Mennonite University 62% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $20,559
Ferrum
College
25% 56% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $19,961
George Mason University 67% 20% No Yes Yes Yes #75 tie $17,347
James Madison University 82% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $14,772
Longwood University 66% 26% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $15,871
Mary Baldwin College 43% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $18,728
Norfolk State University 33% 19% No Yes Yes Yes #147 tie $11,874
Radford University 59% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #147 tie $13,875
Virginia Common-
wealth University
59% 26% No Yes Yes Yes #30 tie $19,335
Virginia State University 42% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $15,042
Virginia Union University 26% 22% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $19,164
Virginia Wesleyan College 48% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $23,652

*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 Virginia 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).

Christopher Newport University*
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, VA 23606-3072
(757) 594-7000
http://www.cnu.edu

Eastern Mennonite University*
1200 Park Rd
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
(540) 432-4000
http://www.emu.edu

Ferrum College*
215 Ferrum Mountain Rd
Ferrum, VA 24088-9000
(540) 365-2121
http://www.ferrum.edu

George Mason University*
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
(703) 993-1000
http://www.gmu.edu

James Madison University*
800 South Main St
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-6211
http://www.jmu.edu

Liberty University
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000
https://www.liberty.edu

Student Review: “I loved my time in my social work classes at Liberty University. The professors always showed excellence and knowledge in their subjects and I was able to learn a lot from them. In each class, I was taught and challenged to think with a new perspective. I learned family dynamics, client relationships, and more important aspects of working in social work. We also frequently had the opportunity to hear guest lectures from professors and social workers in other areas so that we were exposed to the field related challenges facing different professionals across multiple contexts (suburban, urban, etc.) and how we should react to those challenges. I honestly believe that many colleges or institutions focus on the textbook aspect of learning in regards to sociology/social work, which I grant is necessary. However, I feel my time at Liberty University gave me that in addition to applicable field training that I can take with me and put into practice in my professional career.” – Student at Liberty University
stars-5

Longwood University*
201 High St
Farmville, VA 23909
(434) 395-2000
http://www.longwood.edu

Mary Baldwin College*
318 Prospect St
Staunton, VA 24401
(540) 887-7000
http://www.mbc.edu

Norfolk State University*
700 Park Ave
Norfolk, VA 23504-8000
(757) 823-8600
http://www.nsu.edu

Radford University*
801 E Main St
Radford, VA 24142
(540) 831-5000
http://www.radford.edu

Virginia Commonwealth University*
910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23284-2512
(804) 828-0100
https://www.vcu.edu

Student Review: “I am proud to say that I had a wonderful experience with VCU’s School of Social Work. I greatly enjoyed the diversity amongst the students. It was common to have working adults, parents, and typical college students in your class. The class sizes were fairly small, with roughly 25 people or less per class. It was very easy to feel comfortable speaking in class and presenting to your peers and professor. The curriculum was very difficult and challenging. Each course required multiple papers. However, by my senior year, writing became a breeze. The professors were always available when you needed extra help or clarification. For the fieldwork piece of the curriculum, I was skeptical that they chose our placements for us. However, I am pleased that they took the option away from us. They forced us to look outside of our comfort zone and work with populations we had not previously worked with, or had much knowledge on. My experiences at my internships helped me narrow down which path I wanted to take with my degree. Overall, I am so happy to say that I graduated from VCU’s School of Social Work and I proudly recommend it to others.” – Student at Virginia Commonwealth University
stars-4

Virginia State University*
1 Hayden Dr
Petersburg, VA 23806
(804) 524-5000
http://www.vsu.edu

Virginia Union University*
1500 N Lombardy St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 257-5600
http://www.vuu.edu

Virginia Wesleyan College*
1584 Wesleyan Dr
Norfolk, VA 23502-5599
(757) 455-3200
http://www.vwc.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