Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Program

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Discover How a Trauma-Focused MSW Program Creates Meaningful Change

The online CSWE-accredited MSW program at Widener University incorporates trauma as a central theme in all coursework. Your understanding of trauma as a potential root cause in mental health challenges means you’re well-prepared to advance your client base and career in treating individuals, families, and communities in the area in which you would like to have the greatest impact. The program offers a Regular admission option or an Advanced Standing admission option for those who have earned their BSW degree.

Regular Admission, Advanced Standing, Dual Degree, and Certificate Options

All of the following program options may be completed in under four years. To meet the many needs of our diverse student population, we offer multiple program options:

  • Regular Admission
    The 57-credit hour Regular admission option is available to all applicants who have earned a regionally accredited undergraduate degree. It is not required to have a BSW or related social sciences degree.
  • Advanced Standing
    The 36-credit hour Advanced Standing option is available to applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree in social work, within the last six years, from a CSWE-accredited program. It can be completed within just two years. These applicants are eligible to apply to the Advanced Standing option; however, holding an undergraduate degree in social work does not guarantee acceptance.
  • Hybrid Dual Degree: Master Of Social Work / Master of Education, Human Sexuality Studies (H/MSW/MEd)
    To learn more about this unique dual master’s degree click here.
  • Trauma Certificate
    While earning your MSW, you have the option of also applying for a trauma certificate to deepen your knowledge and direct experience. The trauma certificate includes participation in a two-semester Trauma Supervision Seminar. To review the rest of the details of this valuable credential, click here.

Learn How a Curriculum That Centralizes Trauma Affects Your Career

Identified as a core issue in mental health, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) defined standards for competent practice in response to trauma as an ethical obligation in social work education.

Trauma is oftentimes the preceding cause of mental-health challenges. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 90 percent of clients in the U.S. in public behavioral health care settings have experienced trauma.1

  • Serve a Wider Range of Clients
    Overcoming trauma's effects—substance abuse, illness, inability to maintain gainful employment, and other social-emotional issues—requires a skilled, trauma-trained social work professional. Given that 61 percent of men and 51 percent of women report exposure to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime1, this online, trauma-focused MSW curriculum exceeds CWSE standards and best prepares you to serve a greater population of those in need of mental health care.
  • Learn in a CSWE-Accredited Program
    The online, CSWE-accredited MSW curriculum weaves trauma and its impact on mental health into all coursework. This prepares clinical social workers to deliver culturally competent, evidence-based social work services. This focus has earned us a Top ranking as an Online MSW Program by To view the full 57-credit MSW curriculum, click here.

How to Fit a Challenging Program Into Your Already Packed Life

As social work professionals themselves, our faculty has an intimate understanding of the challenges you face in making the decision to go back to school. Carving out time to work and complete fieldwork hours and coursework is a top concern among students who pursue their MSW. This is why the online MSW at Widener remains dedicated to a collaborative and supportive experience throughout your entire program.

Here are the many ways we support your success in the program:

  • Limited Credit Hours Per Semester
    Many programs "push" you through their program in two years, leaving you scrambling to figure out how to balance multiple courses at once, fieldwork, work, and your life. Widener understands the rigor of an MSW program, and what's at stake if you don't succeed. To support your success and have you gain the full benefit of the valuable investment you've placed in your advanced education, you'll take just one 7-week course at a time until at least the second semester in your second year. In any given semester, you’ll take a maximum of two courses. 
  • Traditional Semesters
    Learning on a traditional-semester timeline means you may have breaks between coursework, lessening the chance of burnout and increasing the likelihood of success. At a rate of two courses per semester, it will take you under four years to complete this program (Advanced Standing students can complete it in approximately two years).
  • A Truly Collaborative Fieldwork Experience
    Completing fieldwork hours is one of the greatest challenges students face in completing their MSW degree—so we strive to make it the high-value experience it's supposed to be. From interning at your current location, to working part of your placements outside of traditional hours, to taking an extra semester to complete hours for the second field placement, we do everything we can to help you. For more information, click here.
  • “Test” Portal for Students
    We know you won't have a great deal of time in your schedule to "figure things out" once your courses start. Though our online learning platform is fairly intuitive, you'll enjoy taking a look around the online platform, becoming oriented to the program and platform, and getting your questions answered four to six weeks before classes start.
  • Online Program with No Residency Requirement
    Our online program is asynchronous—meaning you can complete coursework in the pockets of time that are most convenient to you. While there are still weekly deadlines, there are no set "log-in times" for classes. Also, we don't require an on-site residency at any point, so you can study and learn at your own pace.

Expert Faculty Guide You in Becoming an Advanced Social Work Professional

Our diverse faculty includes clinicians as well as community and clinically informed policy and social researchers, many of whom are considered experts in the social work field. They aim to prepare you for a wide range of social work positions with training in:

  • Advanced assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills
  • An active understanding of policy, empowering you to empathize with and advocate for those in need
  • Self-reflection and critical thinking capacity to provide purposeful, informed interventions
  • Cultural, gender, and racial sensitivity that will help you be effective in working with diverse populations
  • A strong understanding in trauma-informed practice

Become Eligible for Licensure

In addition to developing an enhanced understanding of trauma and the ability to serve a wide range of clients, you will be eligible to sit for your state's licensing exam upon completion of the online MSW program. Learn more about licensing options in your state.

Get Started Now

Learn in a Top Ranked Online MSW Program that’s nationally recognized for a commitment to career leadership and service. Address issues at the root of the problem. Take an active role in your community. Pursue your passion for helping others. Be the future of social services.

Contact a Program Manager at 1-844-386-7321 or click here to request a free program brochure.


In addition to the online MSW program, Widener also offers the program on campus in Chester, Pennsylvania.