In Illinois, the landscape of Master of Social Work (MSW) programs is rich and diverse, offering aspiring social workers many opportunities for professional growth and specialization. With a focus on academic excellence, practical experience, and a commitment to addressing the diverse needs of communities across the state, MSW programs in Illinois stand as pillars of social advocacy and change. From urban centers to rural communities, these programs serve as incubators for tomorrow’s leaders in social work, empowering individuals to navigate complex societal challenges with compassion, innovation, and resilience. This article delves into the dynamic realm of MSW programs in Illinois, exploring their distinctive features, academic offerings, and their profound impact on shaping the future of social work practice in the state and beyond.

2024 - Best MSW Programs in Illinois

Uncover's ranking of premier MSW programs in Illinois, meticulously tailored to spotlight top-tier institutions. Our methodology scrutinizes completion rates, cost of living, institutional competitiveness, program diversity, and faculty expertise for a comprehensive assessment. Delve deeper into our ranking process on our methodology page for a thorough comprehension.


Loyola University Chicago

Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago's Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers specialized tracks in clinical practice and social policy and school social work. With flexible options for online and on-campus study, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. Prepare for impactful careers in social work with Loyola's comprehensive curriculum.


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Master of Social Work (MSW) program is renowned for its excellence in social work education. With a focus on clinical and leadership practice, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. Prepare for impactful careers in social work with UIUC's comprehensive curriculum and supportive faculty.


Aurora University

Aurora, IL

Aurora University's Graduate Program in Social Work offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. With a focus on clinical practice and social work leadership, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. Benefit from small class sizes and personalized mentorship. Prepare for impactful careers in social work with Aurora's comprehensive curriculum.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Illinois

Illinois Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

If you want to become licensed as a social worker and don’t currently have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, you’ll need to enroll in a traditional MSW. These two-year programs offer a comprehensive curriculum, typically through an average of 60 credits. You’ll need the following to apply:

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology or a related area, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Resume or CV outlining relevant experience
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as psychology, sociology, or human services)
  • GRE scores (some programs may waive this requirement)
  • Interview (some programs may require an interview as part of the application process)
  • Background check and/or fingerprinting

Illinois Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

If you’re hoping to get your MSW in a year or less, check out the following advanced-standing MSW programs offered in Illinois:

Not everyone will be eligible for an advanced standing MSW; you’ll need all of the above requirements, a BSW, and a GPA of at least 3.5.

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Illinois MSW Program Tuition and Costs

If you’re looking for an MSW program in Illinois that suits your financial needs, you’ll likely have plenty of options to choose from. On average, you’ll find that these programs range from $287 to $877 per credit, depending on the program and whether you’re an Illinois resident. Check out the options below:

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Illinois$287 (Resident)
$571 (Non-resident)
56$16,072 (Resident)
$31,978 (Non-resident)
Illinois State University$422.57 (Resident)
$877.72 (Non-resident)
60$25,345 (Resident)
$52,663 (Non-resident)
Northeastern Illinois University$463.53 (Resident)
$861.90 (Non-resident)
60$27,811 (Resident)
$51,714 (Non-resident)

Are Online MSW Programs in Illinois as Good as Campus-Based?

Flexibility and convenience are often two words that describe online MSW programs, but for some, there are drawbacks. Take a look at the table below to see if enrolling in an MSW program is the right choice for you.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Illinois

Traditional MSW ProgramsOnline MSW Programs
FormatIn-person classesOnline classes with some in-person requirements
FlexibilityLimited scheduling optionsMore flexibility in scheduling, often part-time options
LocationGeographically limitedAccessible from anywhere with internet connectivity
Learning EnvironmentClassroom-basedVirtual classroom, discussion boards, and online resources
NetworkingLocal networking opportunitiesNetworking with students and professionals from diverse locations
CostTuition, commuting, and relocation expensesGenerally lower tuition and flexibility to continue working
Hands-on ExperienceField placements and internshipsVirtual or field placements and internships arranged in the student's local area

Whether you choose a campus-based or online MSW program in Illinois, you should ensure that your degree program is properly accredited by a trusted agency such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learn more about Social Work Degree Options:

Getting Your Illinois Social Work License

All social workers in Illinois must get licensed to work directly with clients. To learn what that entails, take a look at the specific social work licensure requirements in Illinois.

Popular Social Work Careers

Discover the specializations available to you within social work. These social work careers can help you work with diverse populations in a variety of environments.

Social worker talking to clients in their home.

School Social Worker

School social workers provide counseling, support, and advocacy for students facing social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop student success strategies, provide crisis intervention, and facilitate support groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers assess patients' social, emotional, and practical needs. They provide counseling and support, coordinate care with healthcare providers, advocate for patients' rights, and connect patients and their families with community resources to ensure holistic and comprehensive care.

Court Social Worker

Court social workers assess the needs of individuals involved in court cases. They develop intervention plans, provide counseling and support, monitor progress in court-ordered programs, collaborate with legal professionals, and advocate for clients' best interests in legal proceedings.

List of MSW Degree Programs in Illinois

Aurora, IL

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

Carbondale, IL

Master's Programs
Lincoln Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901-4512
(618) 453-2121

Champaign, IL

601 E John Street
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000

Chicago, IL

Master's Programs
1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000

1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Master's Programs
5500 N Saint Louis Ave
Chicago, IL 60625-4699
(773) 583-4050

Master's Programs
601 S Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-7000

Edwardsville, IL

Master's Programs
Il State Rte 157
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1259
(888) 328-5168

Romeoville, IL

Master's Programs
One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

University Park, IL

Master's Programs
1 University Pky
University Park, IL 60484
(708) 534-5000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Joel Gill
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