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Online Clinical Master of Social Work

Make the world a better place with a clinical social work degree.

Fulfill your call to serve humanity and extend your reach to individuals, couples, families, and groups within your role as a mental health professional with the online clinical Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from The Catholic University of America’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS). This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and paves your path to clinical practice with the advanced knowledge and experience you need to fill professional roles that reach more people at a deeper level.

Additionally, this clinical MSW online degree prepares you to pass your Licensed Graduate Social Work (LGSW) exam, the first step toward clinical social work licensure.

95 percent of our graduates pass their LGSW exam on their first attempt.

The online MSW program attracts culturally and religiously diverse professionals from various educational and professional backgrounds who make the decision to attend the social work program at CUA so they may walk this path of service with their peers. It facilitates a personal connection with other professionals across the nation who — like you — seek daily strength and virtue by living and learning within the Catholic tenets of social justice, service, and compassion.

Earn Your MSW Online

When you earn your online clinical MSW at CUA, you’ll join a legacy of social work professionals who support each other in their journey to improve the health and well-being of the clients and the communities they serve.

Expand Your Knowledge and Network:

  • Learn with professional peers who share similar values
  • Connect with mentors, teachers, and community leaders
  • Bond with strong allies to address common concerns

Prepare for Your Social Work License

The Catholic University’s online MSW program prepares students to sit for the Licensed Graduate Social Work (LGSW) exam in most states. Passing this exam is the first step toward clinical licensure as an independent practitioner to diagnose and treat clients appropriately. Impressively, 95 percent of our students pass the LGSW exam on their first attempt — a testament to the quality of our clinical social work curriculum and outstanding faculty. This is one of the many reasons the National Catholic School of Social Service at CUA is ranked among the top 50 in Best Graduate School for Social Work schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

Learn from a Clinical MSW Curriculum

Building on its strengths as one of the top-ranked social work programs in the country, the online MSW enhances your skills and knowledge through a rigorous curriculum. 1

Graduates can demonstrate an ability to apply advanced theories to all aspects of clinical practice — treating individuals, families, couples, and groups. The dimensions of assessment and diagnosis are thoroughly addressed across the life span to enhance your knowledge of human development and psychopathology. This advanced micro practice instruction is also complemented by mezzo and macro courses, so graduates can understand how their clinical practice fits into the overall framework of social work in our government and society.

Clinical Coursework

The full clinical MSW curriculum takes you through all foundation and advanced courses, so if you’re changing careers or the focus of your practice, you’ll be well prepared to meet the challenges of a variety of professional roles and client issues as a clinical social worker.

The Advanced Standing option considers your former social work education and experience in determining the coursework needed. If you qualify, you’ll focus solely on the Advanced Curriculum to complete your degree — shortening the length of time it takes you to earn your MSW degree and work towards your clinical license.

Field Experience

The online MSW field experience prepares you for the rigors and reality of clinical practice — it’s considered the gold standard of practice to obtain an online social work degree. Throughout your tenure in the program, you’ll prepare for evidence-based practice by participating in role-plays and completing case studies. Field experience builds upon this to provide you with real-world capabilities as you treat clients under the guidance and supervision of a social work practitioner. The Office of Field Education will work with you to approve your choice of an agency, so consider this an opportunity to explore and develop your career goals.

Ranking and Accreditation

We are proud to have earned the following accreditations and rankings for our program.

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
    The CSWE is the sole accrediting agency for social work education in America. We work diligently to align NCSSS’s online social work program to the mission of the Council on Social Work Education to “ensure and enhance the quality of social work education for a professional practice that promotes individual, family, and community well-being, and social and economic justice.”
  • Best Graduate School of Social Work
    Ranked in the top 50 of U.S. News & World Report 2017’s list of Best Social Work Graduate Schools in the Country due to its dedication to provide education in the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work, as well as hands-on clinical experience.
  • Best Value Christian College with CSWE-accredited Programs
    The Social Work Degree Guide rated The Catholic University of America as #1 in its list of the 35 Best Value Christian Colleges with CSWE-accredited Programs 2015. Rankings were made in consideration of the schools’ average tuition, return on investment, accreditation, and student to faculty ratio.

Student-Centered Faculty

The online MSW offers a close-knit learning environment where you are encouraged to develop a professional working relationship with faculty. In the true spirit of mentorship, faculty welcome students to become part of their professional network, a valuable opportunity that provides a firm foundation to further their careers, connections, and support groups.

Careers in Clinical Social Work

The recent policy changes to health insurance and laws regarding drug-abuse consequences mean that more people have access to affordable mental healthcare and treatment options in rapidly-growing fields and positions such as healthcare and substance abuse — which are growing at a rate of 19 percent.2 Find more social work career information here.

Fields that Demand an MSW Degree

The comprehensive, clinical-based coursework offered throughout the program successfully prepares you for a variety of fields where an MSW is required, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Elderly Care
  • Child Welfare
  • K-12 Education
  • Research
  • Advocacy

Challenging Positions for MSW Social Workers

Overall, social work positions are growing at a rate of 12 percent.2 Some, like marriage and family therapists, and clinical supervisors, are growing faster than 17 percent.3 You’ll be prepared for a number of new professional opportunities when you obtain your online social work degree, including:

  • Marriage/Family/Individual Therapist
  • Clinical Social Worker For At-Risk Families
  • Trauma Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • Play Therapist
  • Healthcare Social Worker
  • Social Work Educator
  • Program Administrator
  • Social Work Researcher
  • Community Advocate

Earning your clinical MSW degree at CUA means you’ll have a strong foundation of respect for all forms of diversity. You’ll further the conversation between faith and reason, impart truth and excellence in research, and assist those in need in service to the Church, the nation and the world you live as you continue your career as a mental health professional.

Answer the Call to Social Justice

Although an undergraduate degree in social work is not required to apply to our online MSW program, a true desire to service humankind through the program’s mission, is.

If you wish to improve the human condition, and make life better, longer, and healthier for the clients you’ll serve, and wish to grow professionally, join a religiously and culturally diverse group of men and women in The Catholic University’s online clinical MSW who, like you, are committed to excellence in social work. Learn more about our online MSW, or call 855-295-5711 today.


1 Top 50 Social Work Program – U.S. News & World Report 2017
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Social Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited September 21, 2016).
3 http://www.cswe.org/about.aspx