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Campus and Online MSW Programs in North Carolina

If your career goals involve helping those in need and you’re ready to earn your master’s, an MSW program in North Carolina may be the right educational move for you. Read our guide to learn about standout online and on-campus programs, MSW degree types, and social work career prospects in the state.

Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A woman in Charlotte escapes an abusive husband and she and her child need housing. A family in Durham falls on hard times and needs access to public services. A foster care student in Winston-Salem needs extra support to make sure he graduates from high school on-time. These are the types of scenarios that social workers in North Carolina face daily.

In order to effectively assist individuals facing serious challenges and provide them with essential support, social workers require robust training from a high-quality MSW program. This guide will provide insight into the nature of this training, as well as how North Carolina MSW programs – whether delivered online or on campus – help students develop into effective social workers. By continuing to read, you will discover the various program types that are available, which educational institutions offer them, and what job opportunities await graduates of MSW programs in North Carolina.

Best Overall MSW Programs in North Carolina for 2024

This list is designed to help individuals seeking to pursue a career in social work or advance their current position by identifying schools in NC that offer MSW programs. The list highlights exceptional institutions throughout the state that provide CSWE-accredited MSW programs, taking into account factors such as affordability, accessibility, and student support. Each of the top schools is briefly described to provide you with a glimpse of what they can anticipate as a graduate student in one of these programs.


NC State University

Those in the master’s degree programs at NC State University benefit from an expert faculty involved in research on numerous social work topics and published in the Journal of Social Work, the Journal of Early Childhood Research, and the Journal of Social Work Education. The school offers a traditional MSW option that is made up of 60 credit hours of coursework designed to familiarize students new to the profession with social work concepts. Classes cover topics such as social justice, generalist social work practice, child welfare, and research methods for social work. To be admitted into the program, applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. In addition, prospective students must complete prerequisite classes in biology, statistics, and the social sciences.

The school also offers an advanced standing MSW program that allows those with a bachelor’s in social work to jump into a more advanced curriculum, which includes classes about legal aspects in social work, social work in schools, direct practice with older adults, and hunger and homelessness. Admissions requirements for this degree include having a social work bachelor’s degree with a 3.5 GPA, a B average in all social work classes, and educational and professional references.


  • On-Campus

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
  • No-GRE


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Since its founding in 1920, the School of Social Work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been dedicated to the mission of advancing equity, transforming systems, and improving lives in the community by offering rigorous degree programs designed to create professionals who are as compassionate as they are skilled. The school is also actively involved in social work research and is the home to research programs that cover areas such as older adult services, child welfare, behavioral health, and interpersonal violence.

UNC Chapel Hill offers several master’s degree programs to meet the individual needs of students at different points in their education path. For example, there are two traditional MSW programs, one full time and one part time, that give students expertise on social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and human behavior. In both cases, students are required to participate in field experiences to discover how their classwork is applied in practice. Also, there are 12-month and 20-month advanced standing MSW degrees for students who studied social work as undergraduates. These intensive programs provide advanced training on social work policy, theory, and research, as well as an advanced field practicum.


  • On-Campus


  • Community, Management, and Policy Practice
  • Direct Practice

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE


North Carolina Central University