Washington State boasts a rich tapestry of educational opportunities, particularly in social work, where its Master of Social Work (MSW) programs stand as pillars of excellence. Aspiring social workers seeking to make a meaningful impact in communities across the Evergreen State are met with a diverse array of MSW programs tailored to various career paths and specializations. From the bustling urban landscapes of Seattle to the serene corners of rural Washington, these programs offer a blend of academic rigor, practical experience, and a commitment to social justice. In this article, we delve into the landscape of MSW programs in Washington, exploring their unique features, esteemed faculties, and the transformative opportunities they offer for those dedicated to advancing the welfare of individuals and society as a whole.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Washington

Washington 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), you’ll need to enroll in one of Washington’s traditional MSW programs. These two-year programs offer a comprehensive curriculum, typically through an average of 60 credits, though Washington’s MSW programs tend to be a bit longer (see more below). 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

Washington Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

If you already have a BSW and a 3.5 GPA, you can apply for advanced-standing MSW programs. These types of programs allow students to obtain their MSW in as little as one year and have a typical 35-credit courseload. All of the admissions requirements listed above will apply. Below are a few advanced-standing MSW programs available in Washington:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Washington MSW Program Tuition and Costs

The most significant difference you’ll notice among Washington MSW programs is that they tend to be extensive. Because of the longer programs, the cost tends to be higher. Here are a few tuition cost ranges as reference:

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Washinton$621 (Resident)
$1,062 (Non-resident)
75$47,340 (Resident)
$79,722 (Non-resident)
Seattle University$84966$56,034
Eastern Washington University$564 (Resident)
$935 (Non-resident)
90$50,794 (Resident)
$84,129 (Non-resident)

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

Both online and campus-based MSW programs offer a high-quality education. 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 Washington

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

One of the most important factors to remember when applying for MSW programs in Washington is accreditation. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the accrediting body for all MSW programs leading to licensure. Look for the CSWE seal on MSW program websites when applying.

Learn more about Social Work Degree options:

Getting Your Washington Social Work License

Social workers in Washington will need to get licensed. Licensing requirements will vary from state to state. To find out the details of Washington’s process, check out our Social Work Licensure 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.

Female social worker talking with elderly female woman

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 Washington

Cheney, WA

Seattle, WA

Master's Programs
900 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122-4340
(206) 296-6000

Master's Programs
1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100

Tacoma, WA

Master's Programs
1900 Commerce St
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100
(253) 692-4400

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
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