Navigating the myriad of Master of Social Work (MSW) programs available in Virginia can be both exciting and overwhelming for prospective students. With a rich array of options across universities in the state, individuals seeking to pursue advanced studies in social work are presented with a diverse landscape of academic offerings, each with its own unique strengths and specialties. Whether aspiring to specialize in clinical practice, policy advocacy, or community development, Virginia’s MSW programs provide a fertile ground for personal and professional growth. In this article, we explore the landscape of MSW programs in Virginia, shedding light on the distinct features, educational philosophies, and opportunities awaiting those embarking on this transformative educational journey.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Virginia

Virginia Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

In most cases, students looking to become social workers must enter a traditional MSW program. These programs take around two years and 60 credits to complete and are usually geared toward individuals who don’t currently have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). Here’s what you’ll need to submit along with your application:

  • 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

Virginia Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

Advanced-standing MSW programs require the same admissions requirements as traditional MSW programs with two exceptions – you need to have a 3.5 GPA and a BSW to enroll. The benefit to these types of programs is that you can graduate in one year instead of two. Here are a few advanced-standing MSW programs available in Virginia:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Virginia MSW Program Tuition and Costs

As the figures below show, Virginia MSW tuition costs are in line with national averages. Typically speaking, you can expect to pay between $26,808 and $38,040 for your total MSW tuition as a resident and $45,000 to $89,160 as a non-resident.

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
Virginia State University$634 (Resident)
$750 (Non-resident)
60$38,040 (Resident)
$45,000 (Non-resident)
Virginia Commonwealth University$447 (Resident)
$892 (Non-resident)
60$26,808 (Resident)
$53,496 (Non-resident)
George Mason University$572 (Resident)
$1,486 (Non-resident)
60$34,320 (Resident)
$89,160 (Non-resident)

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

There are obvious advantages to online MSW programs, such as the ability to get your education delivered straight to your living room or home office. However, many students are deciding to stick to on-campus programs. No matter which delivery method you choose, you will receive a comprehensive and high-quality social work education. Take a look at the pros and cons of each below.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Virginia

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

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is responsible for accrediting all MSW programs in the US. As you apply to these programs, make sure that they’re all accredited by the CSWE, or else you won’t be eligible for licensure.

Learn more about Social Work Degree options:

Getting Your Virginia Social Work License

Licensure is the big draw to MSW programs among those who want to work in the rewarding field of social work. In order to get licensed in Virginia, it’s imperative to understand the state’s requirements, as each state will differ. Find out more in our Social Work Licensing Guide.

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 Virginia

Charlottesville, VA

Master's Programs
1827 University Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903-2628
(434) 924-0311

Fairfax, VA

Master's Programs
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
(703) 993-1000

Lynchburg, VA

Norfolk, VA

Master's Programs
700 Park Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23504-8000
(757) 823-8600

Radford, VA

Master's Programs
801 East Main St.
Radford, VA 24142
(540) 831-5000

Richmond, VA

Master's Programs
910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23284-2512
(804) 828-0100

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

Tara Moretti, LMHC
Share This: