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Master of Social Work candidates gathered in a classroom.

Master of Social Work

Learn how to serve a wide range of people with a developmentally-informed perspective in our online or hybrid MSW programs.

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Watch Erikson’s Master of Social Work Program Video | 00:28
Erikson Institute Master of Social Work.

Master of social work degree program Overview

Transform Your Work and Career with Your Master of Social Work Degree

Gain the in-depth knowledge you need to advance your career as a social worker with our Master of Social Work Degree Program. Whatever population you serve, understanding childhood development helps you build trust with your clients. Enhance your ability to assess family, community, and societal impacts — and make a difference in lives and outcomes of the people you serve.

Watch this video to hear how the Master of Social Work Degree Program is designed to inform your professional practice.

Erikson’s MSW Program is Powerful and Flexible 

Begin your journey to getting a Master’s in Social Work. Start this Fall or Spring* and earn your MSW degree with our online or hybrid program. The Online program is only available part-time.

*Spring term starts will have a longer program of study by one additional term based on practicum and seminar courses.

60 Credit Hours

Hybrid or Online

Fall or Spring* Start Date

Full-Time: 2 years*

Part-Time: 3 or 4* years

Why Erikson

Earn Your Master of Social Work in a Supportive Community

Enhance the well-being of all people with a MSW degree designed for working professionals.

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Flexible Study Options

Study part-time, full-time, or apply for our 100% online MSW program, so you can better balance life, work, and your studies.

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If you have a BSW, you’ll waive up to 25 credit hours and save on tuition, putting your learning into practice even sooner.

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Faculty Experts

Collaborate with our nationally recognized faculty, build a respected network of colleagues, and learn from the field’s leading voices.

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Small, Personal Classes

Be seen and heard working closely with your professors and peers.

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Self-Reflective Supervision Seminars

Gain a professional toolkit so you can be your most effective. Learn resilience and healthy professional practices alongside experienced practitioners.

Gain Experience with Extraordinary MSW Field Placements

Put theory to practice.

Learning can never be confined to a classroom — nor should it. Field work is a critical component of earning a Master’s in Social Work.

For two years, you will be working during the day at custom-selected field placement locations. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to take your learning and lead in your career path.

Field Hours over 2 Years
Chicago-based Field Opportunities

MSW Concentrations

Choose From 2 High-Demand MSW Clinical Concentrations

Become an ally for social justice and antiracism with your MSW from Erikson.

With our distinctive focus on developmental perspectives and reflective practice, you’ll become a more effective and resilient advocate for children and families. Go beyond surface-level and build a toolkit of reflective skills so you can thrive in this demanding field.

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Learn how to support children, adolescents, and adults through evidence-based and developmentally appropriate interventions and strategies.

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Find out how to support the mental, emotional, and physical health and development of children from birth to age 5 and their families.

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Financial Services

How Much Does a Master’s in Social Work Degree Cost?

Getting a Master’s in Social Work Degree shouldn’t break the bank.

With dozens of scholarships and financial aid opportunities, we’re here to help you achieve your professional goals.

Financial Aid Options Tuition & Fees


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Apply Now for Priority Scholarship Considerations

Applications received by March 15th (for Fall) and November 15th (for Spring) will receive primary consideration for scholarship awards.

Start My Application

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Career Services for Master of Social Work Candidates

Join the MSW Program Family for Support at Every Step of Your Journey

At Erikson Institute, our Career Services team works with Master of Social Work candidates every step of the way.

  • Career counseling and workshops
  • Annual job fair and networking events
  • Interview prep and resume reviews
  • Career placement program
  • Student and graduate resume book

With hundreds of partnerships and robust networks of alumni and field experts, the Career Services team is here to help you put your education into practice.

Meet our Career Specialists

Raven Walker
MSW 2020
“ My Erikson experience created space to think about people’s stories. We see a child having trouble in school and often there is not a lot of space to think about the how and why. The Erikson community was just so supportive and allowed space for growth, which is incredibly crucial in my work as a helping professional. We all need a space to unpack and explore how our professional experiences impact us as individuals, so that we can be intentional with how we impact those we serve and collaborate with. ”

Career Paths

Open New Doors with Your Erikson MSW Degree

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to put your degree to work right away. Here are a few of the roles Erikson graduates take on after graduation.

Learn more about Career Services

  • Trauma-informed crisis counselor
  • Individual and group therapist with children and families
  • Social service administrator
  • Research associate
  • Policy advocate
  • Mental health consultant
  • Child welfare supervisor
  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Explore a Few of Our MSW Program Courses

Want to know what you’ll uncover while embarking on your MSW degree? Check out a few examples of the courses you’ll take in our program.

See all MSW courses

Social and Emotional Development I: Infancy and Childhood
This course focuses on the study of social and emotional development in children from birth through age eight.
Youth, Community, and Systems Change
This generalist policy practice course examines how youth, families, and communities affect change in their lives through participation in the public sphere.
Anti-Oppressive Reflective Practice
In this generalist course, students will be introduced to an anti-oppressive approach to practice rooted in the core social work values of social justice and relationships.
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Seek the Best Outcomes in an Accredited MSW Program

Our MSW Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has sought to ensure its accredited programs meet the highest standards of social work education.

As an accredited institution, Erikson Institute continues to demonstrate this commitment as one of the best schools for Master’s in Social Work.

Learn how we assess the MSW

Your Professors are Scholars & Leaders in the Field

Our faculty and teaching staff are nationally recognized. With specific research interests and decades of experience, each of our faculty enriches your academic experience, connecting you to new networks and the latest data as a Master of Social Work candidate.

Meet the MSW Faculty

Headshot of Dennis P. Hopkins, PsyD, Iroquois Mental Health Clinic.
Dennis P. Hopkins, PsyD
Iroquois Mental Health Clinic
“ We’ve hired numerous Erikson graduates. What I love about Erikson is the whole notion about focusing on child development. It doesn’t matter if you are working with a family with children or working with adults — those first few years of life are crucial in everyone’s development. ”

MSW Programs FAQs

Find answers to the biggest questions students ask about the MSW programs.

We award over $2 million in scholarships to students enrolled in our degree and certificate programs. Erikson also participates in the federal Direct Loan programs, and assuming you meet all eligibility requirements, you will have access to both Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans to help finance your Erikson education.

Yes, Erikson offers advanced standing to students holding a BSW. For more information, visit the Advanced Standing page.

The ability to balance the demands of the MSW program, work responsibilities, and your personal/family commitments will depend on many factors. Key among these will be your own organizational and time-management skills, the intensity of the demands on your time, and your personal support system. If it is a priority for you to be able to work full-time for as long as possible while completing the MSW program, we recommend that you consider pursuing the three- or four-year options. The longer program options will allow you to work full-time before starting your generalist field placement year.

Generally speaking it has been our experience that many Master of Social Work candidates are able to work part-time (hours vary by individual student) during the generalist field placement year. Because of the time commitment required for concentration field placements, we have found that students have very limited availability for work during the final year of the program.

The staff in our Field Education and Career Services Office will work with you to prepare you for seeking positions while you’re enrolled at Erikson and upon graduating from the program. You’ll receive feedback on your resume and cover letters, and we also maintain a job board on our campus portal where employers list part-time and full-time positions for which they’re hiring.

The Career Services team also plans an annual social work, early education, and child development job fair for Erikson students and alumni. In concert with the job fair, you can submit your resume to be included in an annual Resume Book that we distribute to organizations and managers who are interested in hiring Erikson students and alumni.

Erikson students live in a wide range of neighborhoods in Chicago and in the suburbs. We do not offer campus housing. While we can’t make specific recommendations about where you should live, we encourage you to find a neighborhood that suits your style, taste, and budget. To help you in your housing search, we work closely with StudentSpace, a free apartment-finding service that specializes in helping graduate students find housing in Chicago.

Because of Erikson’s small size, you’ll have access to a wide range of both informal and formal student support services. These include:

  • The Field Education and Career Services team will help you identify and apply for your internship placement. Erikson has hundreds of pre-approved internship sites, so you don’t have to worry about finding a placement site on your own.
  • Advising about your financial aid options, including personal financial education, is coordinated through the Financial Aid Office.
  • Academic advising is facilitated through your faculty advisor and program director.
  • The Academic Success Center provides services to help you with the academic reading and writing expectations of your program. The Center also sponsors discussion groups for selected master’s program courses.
  • The Director of Disability Services provides advising and support for students with disabilities and students who need accommodations for their academic work.
  • WorkLifeMatters is a confidential student assistance program offered to all Erikson students through Guardian and Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH). You have unlimited access to consult with a professional counselor via telephone. Face-to-face counseling sessions are available, if needed, with an IBH network provider — and up to eight sessions are free of charge as part of WorkLifeMatters.
  • Validated parking at a reduced rate is provided to Erikson students in three nearby parking garages. You will also have access to deeply discounted public transportation through the CTA U-Pass program.