Social Work MSW Online

About the Online MSW Program at Loyola

Now more than ever, individuals and communities need well-trained professionals to help them to overcome personal, emotional, and societal challenges. If you are passionate about making a difference in the world, a master's in social work can equip you with the advanced training you need to make a lasting positive impact.

With over 100 years of experience in training social work professionals, Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work offers an internationally recognized and respected MSW program. We bring that same quality to our MSW Online Program, giving you access to our distinguished master's in social work from anywhere in the world.

Program Structure

Traditional MSW

The online MSW program requires 49 credit hours of coursework and is designed to be completed in eight consecutive semesters, including summer terms. The program follows a cohort model for the first five semesters and is delivered completely online in synchronous class sessions. The courses also include asynchronous content. The program requires two internships for a total of 1,000 hours.

Advanced Standing Option

If you’ve received a BSW degree within the past five years, the MSW Online Advanced Standing option can help you complete your master’s degree in one year. The Advanced Standing program is 23 credit hours and requires one internship for a total of 600 hours. Please note the Advanced Standing Option is Spring start only.

Students in the Online Master's in Social Work program can select an area of specialization in Micro Practice or Leadership, Mezzo, & Macro Practice (LMMP).

Please note that the LMMP specialization with a track in Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP) is paused indefinitely for new students.

Micro Practice

The Micro Practice Specialization extends foundation knowledge of generalist practice and requires a critical understanding of diverse theories and their related evidence-informed practice models with a diverse population. Critical analysis is used to examine these models from an antiracist, strengths, and systemic perspective to plan for interventions that are most effective in situations of increased complexity within our global world. Critical thinking skills, reflexivity, and an appreciation and understanding of diverse political, economic, and social systems as they impact micro practice in diverse settings (e.g. schools, mental health clinics, health care facilities, and others), are utilized to assess and engage client systems in prioritizing and managing clinical problems, and treatment goals. Practice modalities from diverse cultural contexts are emphasized to deepen students’ understanding and ability to apply, modify, and develop practice models relevant to clients’ culture and experience of oppression in society.

Students in the Micro Practice Specialization can choose between the Advanced Clinical Practice and the School Social Work/Professional Educator License (PEL) tracks.

Advanced Clinical Practice Track

The Advanced Clinical practice track prepares students for micro-level clinical practice across a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient practice, extended care facilities, and community mental health agencies. This track is consistent with Loyola University School of Social Work’s mission to provide a transformative education for practice-informed social work. Students will take 15 credit hours of practice courses taught by faculty members with expertise in course content. Courses include a variety of modalities, populations, and client concerns, including individuals, children, adults, crisis intervention, treatment in addictions, and more. All courses integrate content on policy as relevant to the course topic. For more information, please view the course sequencing template.

School Social Work/Professional Educator License (PEL) Track

To learn more about this track, please visit the Academic Catalog webpage and view our course sequencing template. Please note that students must live in Illinois to be eligible for this track.

Please note that the LMMP specialization with a track in Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP) is paused indefinitely for new students.

The Leadership, Mezzo, and Macro Practice area of specialization extend foundation knowledge and skills in working at the mezzo and macro levels of social work practice. Informed by an anti-racist framework and social work ethics, LMMP courses educate students in critical thinking, reflective attention to affective factors, and informed decision-making for action. These overarching values and processes are applied to the development of theoretical knowledge of community change, organizations, leadership and supervision, and policy advocacy.

The courses address skill development for mezzo/macro practice, including: leading people; managing programs, services, and organizations; developing and evaluating programs and policies; supervising and supporting the work of individuals, teams, and groups; assisting the professional development of others; developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating budgets; engaging in policy advocacy and coalition building; working with advisory and/or policy boards; supporting evaluation and research endeavors to assess effectiveness and efficiency; performing development activities such as fund-raising and grant writing.

The Leadership, Mezzo, & Macro Practice Specialization (LMMP) offers a track in Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP). For more information, please view the course sequencing template.

LMMP Suggested Electives

  • SOWK 602: Health and Behavioral Health Policy and Systems

  • SOWK 606: Practicum in Research and Evaluation

  • SOWK 654: Global Social Work: Reflective Practice for Justice and Peace

  • SOWK 663: Women in a Global Context

  • SOWK 709: Social Work and the Law

  • SOWK 714: Philanthropy, Public Policy, Community Change

  • SOWK 730: Migration Dynamics and U.S, Social Policy

  • SOWK 732: Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights

Courses meet all Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation standards and prepare you to sit for the LSW and LCSW examinations to work as a licensed social worker.

Why Choose Loyola for Your MSW Degree?

At Loyola, you will have the opportunity to study in one of the nation's best MSW programs. From our world-class faculty of social work practitioners to our focus on social justice, you will experience a truly distinctive program in a format that works best for you.

Intentionally designed MSW

Learn in a meticulously designed program that offers comprehensive training in an accessible online format.

Get the same quality of instruction online as you would in person. Our program leverages the latest instructional technologies to create engaging learning experiences such as simulation practice in the internship seminar courses. The courses include both synchronous class sessions and asynchronous content.

Apply the concepts and skills you have learned in an internship in your community. If you do not reside in Chicago, you can complete your internship requirement at an organization close to you and make a difference in communities close to home.

Learn from social justice-minded practitioners who bring diverse experiences and interests to the classroom. Nearly 100% of our faculty hold a terminal degree in social work and have more than five years of experience in social work practice. Additionally, 43% of our full-time faculty are people of color, and the majority of our faculty actively research ways to eliminate oppression in our communities.

Join an institution with a long history of recognition for producing successful social workers. Loyola's master's in social work program is ranked #28 in the nation for graduate social work by U.S. News & World Report and has been internationally recognized for excellence and innovation.

Meet the Faculty

Loyola is proud to have talented and nationally-recognized scholar-teachers as part of our diverse community of exceptional faculty, students and staff. Loyola faculty are known for their commitment to teaching, the dissemination of knowledge through innovative and interdisciplinary scholarly research, and a commitment to social justice and cura personalis, or care for the whole person. Visit the School of Social Work faculty and staff directory to learn more about the teachers and mentors involved with the Social Work MSW Online program.

Faculty and Staff