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Best Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Michigan for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Online MSW programs in Michigan prepare students to play an important role in their communities by helping the most vulnerable people. Find out what the best master of social work programs in Michigan have to offer, and how they can help you shape your career.

Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Social workers make significant contributions to their community by helping people in need to navigate their challenges and improve their lives. If you feel called to lead others and shape the policy for people who provide vital services to those in crisis, a career in higher levels of social work may be the right path for you. It’s also a great time to explore a social work career according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This field is expected to grow by 7 percent in the coming years, with 53,800 new jobs projected between 2022 and 2032.

In Michigan, there are currently 30,000 licensed social workers around the state, but there is still a great need for this profession to assist all the communities in need. If you’re interested in helping to fill the shortfall of social workers in the state, an online MSW program in Michigan can help you do it. It’s an ideal step for people who have earned a social work bachelor’s degree, are currently working in an entry-level position, and want to explore more opportunities. You can also earn a valuable MSW if you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and want to use that education to enter the social work field. Whatever you want to advance in social work or start a second career, the master of social work programs in Michigan can help you write the next chapter of your life.

Continue reading to find out about these programs, including what MSW online programs in Michigan include, what the best schools offer, and what funding is available to pay for your education. You will also find information on the careers you can pursue after graduation and what you may earn.

Best Colleges to Earn a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Degree in Michigan: Campus-based

If you’re going to pursue an MSW program in Michigan, you want to ensure that quality training is at the forefront so you have the knowledge and skills employers need. You also want to make sure the program you choose is right for your individual needs.

This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, and we’re here to help you make that choice. We’ve listed some of the best master of social work programs in Michigan, which we chose based on their affordability, student support, and accreditation. These stand-out schools are a great place to start, but you’ll be able to find more on the page at a later date, as we feature an entire list of ranked MSW schools for you to review.

The University of Michigan’s social work master’s degree program provides a great deal of flexibility, as students are able to travel different paths to their career goals. Students not only have the option to complete the program on campus or online, but the university also allows students to enroll on a full- or part-time basis.

The University of Michigan also offers an advanced standing option, which is designed for those who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE), if they maintained at least a 3.50 GPA in their undergraduate studies. Also, people who want to combine their social work studies with 27 months of volunteer service in the Peace Corps can enroll in the Master’s International Volunteer Program.

The tuition for this MSW program is $16,295 per semester for on-campus in-state students and $26,056 for non-residents. Those who complete the program online are charged $11,605 each semester if they are Michigan residents and $18,556 if they are from out of state.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Community action and social change undergraduate minor

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Social Science

Wayne State University’s MSW program trains students to help people, groups, and families in their communities by practicing social work based on the principles and research that guide the field. When students complete this program, they’re qualified to help people in a compassionate manner, fight injustice and inequality in their communities, and collaborate effectively with colleagues and members of the larger community.

To build these skills, Wayne State University requires that students complete 36 credits of coursework that includes foundation classes covering social work practice methods, lifespan development in social contexts, and social policy and advocacy.

Students also have the opportunity to concentrate their coursework on interpersonal practice or innovation in community, policy, and leadership. The interpersonal practice concentration focuses on contemporary social work theory, developmental issues, resilience, and psychosocial disorder assessment strategies. The innovation in community, policy, and leadership concentration stresses the importance of creating sustainable practices and policies that can support communities and effectively help people in need.

In addition to this coursework, students are required to participate in hands-on training through a practicum. Wayne State University offers traditional and online versions of its MSW program.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

Specialization Options:

  • Interpersonal practice
  • Innovation in community, policy, and leadership

The social work master’s degree offered by Michigan State University allows students to choose between two concentrations: clinical social work and organization and community leadership. In the clinical social work concentration, students focus on micro-level interventions that social workers participate in when they work with groups, families, and individuals. When students complete this curriculum, they’re able to help those who are struggling with issues such as physical or sexual abuse, mental illness, aging, and grief. The common interventions that social workers use to address these issues — such as narrative, art, emotion-focused, and dialectical behavior therapy — are also taught.

In the organization and community leadership concentration, students learn how social workers provide interventions on the macro level. The program focuses on how social workers create community programs based on an assessment of client needs, advocate on behalf of underserved groups, analyze the effectiveness of social welfare programs, and administer services to people in need.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

Specialization Options:

  • Clinical social work
  • Organization and community leadership

Top Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Michigan

If you have a busy lifestyle but still want to earn a social work master’s degree, online MSW programs in Michigan are a great alternative to traditional methods. Although you will be need to be in-person for the required hands-on training, many programs allow you to complete your entire coursework online. In other cases, courses may be provided both online and on campus, which is a great option for students who want to take advantage of face-to-face classroom interactions.

To give you an idea of what you can expect from MSW online programs in Michigan, we put together the following information about some top choices.

Ferris State University’s MSW program allows students to choose the online format that works best for them. In some cases, students may prefer to take classes weekly over Zoom, or they may want to take classes that are not taught during specific time periods to work at their own pace. Those who prefer a hybrid approach can enroll in classes that are a combination of scheduled Zoom meetings and independent work.

No matter what class format students choose, the curriculum is designed to familiarize them with advanced skills and the latest research that social workers are expected to understand and possibly apply in real-life situations. Specific classes cover human behavior and the social environment, diversity and social justice, social work research methods, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, students are required to participate in an internship for some experience in social work careers.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online
  • Partially-Online

The University of Michigan-Flint recognizes the importance of addressing mental and behavioral health, and its MSW program is designed to help students meet the challenge of working with those struggling with these issues.

To be admitted, prospective students should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and a 3.0 GPA. Also, applicants should demonstrate that they are committed to a career in social work and will adhere to the standards set forth by the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. When they apply, students should submit their transcripts, a current resume, at least two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

This program can be completed entirely online, and students are able to choose between synchronous or asynchronous classes. Synchronous classes are scheduled to meet weekly on Zoom in the evenings, while asynchronous ones allow students to view lectures when it is most convenient for them. Students also participate in internships and have the option to attend on-campus events to periodically engage with their peers and professors in person.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Northern Michigan University has an MSW program available online and on campus, and students have the option to enroll on a part- or full-time basis. In order to be admitted, prospective students are expected to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and a cumulative 3.0 grade point average. When they apply, students should submit their official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining their interest in social work and commitment to ethical practices in the profession.

Students can be admitted into the school’s regular or advanced standing options. The regular standing option is designed for people who completed a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than social work. People in this program take classes to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to become a proficient social worker. The program’s advanced standing option is for students who have already completed social work education on the bachelor’s degree level. This program builds on their previous knowledge so they develop an advanced social work understanding and skills.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Social services minor
  • Human behavior cluster minor
  • Substance use minor

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online
  • Partially-Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Clinical
  • Advanced generalist

Financial Aid and Scholarships for MSW Students in Michigan

There is no doubt that earning a master’s degree can be costly, but that doesn’t have to keep you from your goals. The good news is that there are financial aid options available to students enrolled in online MSW programs in Michigan. People may qualify for scholarships and grants, and also may be able to take out loans to help pay for their education.

People can find scholarships for their MSW degrees in several locations. In some cases, the schools they’ve enrolled in are great sources for scholarships. For example, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and Ferris State University offer scholarships to students in their social work departments. Also, organizations like the National Association of Social Workers Foundation and the National Association of Black Social Workers provide scholarships for MSW students.

For more information about options for funding your online MSW program in Michigan, visit our financial aid, general scholarship, and social work scholarship guides.

Job Outlook and Earnings Potential for MSW Graduates in Michigan

Those who graduate from online MSW programs in Michigan can pursue several career paths after graduation — and many of these careers are seeing a significant amount of growth. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the workforce of substance abuse counselors will grow by 18 percent between 2022 and 2032, which amounts to 71,500 average annual openings.

Also, professionals in these jobs can make a good living, although in some cases Michigan social workers may earn slightly less than the national average. For example, healthcare social workers around the country on average earn $62,760, while in Michigan they make $59,390. Similarly, the national average salary for child, family, and school social workers is $56,680, but in Michigan these professionals earn $53,760.

For more information about how much MSW graduates in different positions can earn, as well as how much job growth they will experience in the coming years, review the table below.

Job Growth Rate
(2022-203
2)
Average Annual Openings (2022-2032)Annual Mean Wage (2023)
Healthcare Social Workers10%18,400$62,760
Substance Abuse Counselors18%71,500$56,230
School Counselors5%18,400$64,200
Marriage and Family Therapists15%10,600$63,300
Child, Family, and School Social Workers5%18,900$56,680

Sources: Projections Central; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Michigan Social Work Professional and Student Resources

Whether you’re currently attending an online MSW program in Michigan or you have already graduated and begun working, there is always more information you can learn about this vast field. The following are some professional and student resources that we have curated to help you learn more about Michigan’s social work field.

  • 8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time as a Social Work Student
    This article from The New Social Worker magazine provides advice on how students can maximize their time in a social work program and position themselves for success after graduation.
  • Master’s Social Work Licensing Guide
    This site contains information from the State of Michigan on the specific licensing requirements for those who have earned an MSW degree.
  • Michigan Board of Social Workers
    This page of the Michigan Board of Social Workers’ website includes information about social work licensing requirements, including forms that professionals need to fill out to receive their license. Also, people can get information about the work the Board does and get answers to common questions about the social work field in Michigan.
  • National Association of Social Workers – Michigan
    The Michigan chapter of the NASW supports social work professionals around the state, as well as students who are studying to enter the field. Membership benefits include access to continuing education, advocacy services, a newsletter, and ethics consultations. There are also career resources and networking opportunities to help members grow in their careers.
  • The Social Work Podcast
    Hosted by Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW, this podcast discusses the work of people in the field, along with policy, research, and social development. Specific episode topics cover social work and policing, social work education, macro social work practice, the NASW Code of Ethics, and self-care strategies for social workers.