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Washington Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

In Washington you must have a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to become licensed and practice as either an advanced generalist or clinical social worker. There are many social work schools in Washington offering accredited programs that meet the licensure requirements, and this page will help you understand differences between these programs. Although it is not necessary for licensure in the state, you may wish to complete a bachelor’s degree in social work as this often decreases the length of time it takes to complete an MSW degree program. There are no online social work degree programs currently offered in Washington, though online programs that meet licensure requirements may be available from schools located in other states.

Quick Facts

  • 9 schools offering social work programs in Washington are in our database (see below)
  • Of the social work schools in Washington, none offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 9 offer bachelor’s degrees, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 20182
  • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs in 20183
  • No schools ranked in Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs in 20184
  • Across 7 schools, 11 bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs in Washington are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)5

Top-Ranked Schools with Social Work Programs in Washington

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Washington-Seattle (#7 in-state, #17 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs 2018

  • University of Washington-Seattle (#5 tie)
  • Eastern Washington University (#105 tie)
  • Walla Walla University (#174 tie)

Schools with Social Work Programs Accredited by the CSWE

  • Eastern Washington University
  • Heritage University
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • Saint Martin’s University
  • Seattle University
  • University of Washington-Seattle
  • Walla Walla University

Schools in Washington with Social Work Degree Programs

BSW and Other Undergraduate Programs

University of Washington

With campuses located in Seattle and Tacoma, the University of Washington is a large public institution offering accredited undergraduate and graduate social work degrees. UW’s School of Social Work was ranked #3 in the US by US News & World Report in 2016. The Seattle campus has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) and the Tacoma campus offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW). Both programs teach students about the foundations of social work and prepare them to work in generalist practice settings, such as case management and advocacy. Students can apply to the program either as early admission applicants during the freshman year or as standard applicants in the sophomore year. In the final year, students complete a field education placement and a capstone project to connect theoretical learning to real-world contexts. Degree candidates who are interested in international social work may complete international partnership experiences with the Royal University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Seattle University

Seattle University is a Jesuit Catholic university offering a four-year, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) that develops generalist practice skills for a variety of social work practice settings. The university was ranked #6 in the Regional Universities (West) category by US News & World Report in 2016. Prospective students must be admitted to Seattle University and begin liberal arts studies and pre-requisite social work courses before applying for BSW admission in their junior year to complete the final two years of the program in the College of Arts and Sciences. All students attend classes in history, language, human behavior, social policy, and research. In the final year of the program, students spend at least 450 hours in a field education placement supervised by an experienced social worker and complete a capstone project in an advanced seminar. A complementing minor in Social Welfare is also offered. The university prides itself on its holistic approach to learning, small class sizes, and engaged professors.

MSW and Other Graduate Programs

Walla Walla University

Founded in 1892, Walla Walla University is a private institution located near the Washington-Oregon border linked to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was ranked #42 among regional universities in the western US by US News & World Report in 2016. The university’s CSWE-accredited MSW program within the School of Social Work and Sociology prepares students for advanced generalist practice and takes two years to complete through full-time study. MSW classes are taught on Mondays and Tuesdays. In the first year of the program, students take classes on the foundations of social work theory, research, policy, and practice. During the second year, students develop advanced practice competencies to provide services in many different areas of practice, such as child welfare, healthcare, and aging/gerontology. Admission to the MSW program requires official transcripts, references, a resume, and an admission essay. Once admitted, all students are assigned an advisor to help them choose appropriate classes and field education placements based on their future career goals. The school also offers an accredited BSW degree.

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University offers a CSWE-accredited MSW program that can be completed through traditional classroom or hybrid online courses. To be eligible for the EWU School of Social Work program, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree with at least three credit hours of statistics. To apply for advanced standing to skip the first year of the program, candidates must have a CSWE-accredited BSW degree awarded within the past seven years that included at least three credit hours of statistics. Once admitted to the MSW program students learn about social work theory, research, policy, and diversity. While most of the program is delivered through face-to-face courses at the Cheney/Spokane and Riverpoint campuses, select online classes are available. In the hybrid program, core courses are taught in person and electives are taken online part-time over three years of study. Field placements are available across the state and are based on the student’s learning goals, location, and preferences. Eastern Washington University also offers an accredited BSW program and was ranked #18 in public regional universities in the western US by US News & World Report in 2016.

Accreditation Information for Washington 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
Eastern Washington University 46% N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes #105 tie $11,954
Heritage University 19% 26% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $10,797
Pacific Lutheran University 68% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $25,086
Saint Martin’s University 48% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $19,953
Seattle University 78% N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $34,360
University of Washington-Seattle 84% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #5 tie $10,374
University of Washington-Tacoma 55% N/A No Yes Yes No Not Ranked $9,410
Walla Walla University 56% N/A No Yes Yes Yes #174 tie $23,766
Washington State University 67% N/A No Yes No No Not Ranked $16,427

*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 Washington 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).

Central Washington University
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
(509) 963-1111
http://catalog.acalog.cwu.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=31&poid=6912&returnto=1065

Student Review: “The best part about my experience was how genuine the faculty was towards alleviating the overall well-fare of those in need. It’s very hard to come by people in today’s world that TRULY care about maximizing your full potential through psychology based nourishment. One thing I liked a lot about the program is the major requirements are such that students are encouraged to organize their program of study to include a minor in an area of interest or specialization outside of sociology. Some areas that fit well with this major include psychology, ethnic studies, family studies, gerontology, women’s studies, community health, and the like. The wide variety of options to specialize in allows you to seek out your best interest and work towards it.” – Student at Central Washington University
stars-4

Eastern Washington University*
526 5th St
Cheney, WA 99004-2496
(509) 359-6200
http://www.ewu.edu

Heritage University*
3240 Fort Rd
Toppenish, WA 98948
(509) 865-8500
http://www.heritage.edu

Pacific Lutheran University*
1010 122nd St S
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
(253) 535-7411
http://www.plu.edu

Saint Martin’s University*
5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503-7500
(360) 491-4700
http://www.stmartin.edu

Seattle University*
900 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122-4340
(206) 296-6000
http://www.seattleu.edu

University of Washington-Seattle*
1400 NE Campus Pkwy
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100
http://www.washington.edu

Student Review: “My experience at the University of Washington School of Social Work program was mostly positive. I obtained my Masters in Social Work through their advanced standing program. During my summer quarter, I found that many of the professors had a bias for and against certain students which made the quarter difficult to complete. However, once we were divided into our formal concentrations my experience improved. I found that my professors offered some of the best career advice and were open to opposing viewpoints when controversial material was brought up. In addition, the professors were very committed to the success of the students, ensuring that they were grasping the specific concepts that were being presented and using activities that were relevant to real life in order to ensure that we fully grasped the concepts. The entire staff of the program wants to see students succeed and ensured that we were accessing all of the tools we needed to achieve a high bar of success.” – Student at University of Washington
stars-4

University of Washington-Tacoma
1900 Commerce St
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100
(253) 692-4400
http://www.tacoma.uw.edu

Walla Walla University
204 S College Ave
College Place, WA 99324-1198
(509) 527-2615
http://www.wallawalla.edu

Student Review: “My time in Walla Walla University’s Master of Social Work program was some of the best of my life. It was an immersive experience in which students were encouraged to do personal work on themselves and bond on subjects while learning to think about concepts in completely different ways than we had been. The campus is beautiful and the professors were all knowledgeable and approachable. The only area of improvement I could identify would be the university’s administrative staff, who were somewhat less approachable and from whom it could be difficult to get complete information.” – Student at Walla Walla University
stars-4

Washington State University
PO Box 641030
Stadium Way, 324 French Administration
Pullman, WA 99164-5910
(509) 335-3564
http://www.wsu.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