20 Cheapest Online MSW Programs in California

In recent times finding cheap online programs might be very frustrating. Still, to save you from the stress of doing research all day without finding exactly what you’re looking for, In this article, we have compiled the best and cheapest online master of social work programs that can be found in California.

Students in California have many quality options for finding an Online Master of Social Work program. Among these several options, we have selected the cheapest and best Online Master of Social Work Programs.

As a student that is considering going back to school to earn a Master of Social Work (MSW), this is the best time to top up your game. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, they expect the number of jobs for social workers to raise by 12% in the next 10 years, which means there’s a future in social work.

So many people may find it hard to obtain a master’s degree in social work because it is easier said than done, those who work, those that have families, and even those who live in more rural areas might find it very difficult.

Many Universities in California state offer MSW programs, But this list of the Cheapest Online MSW Programs in California was compiled to allow students to complete a degree from anywhere around the world, as long as they meet the requirements.

This article also contains a shortlist of the Cheapest MSW Programs in California, it might also interest you to skip through the list of Fully Funded Master of Social Work to gain some insight on MSW scholarships.

Before you continue, it might interest you to also read our previous articles on (TOP) 20+ Free Online MSW programs 2023 and 20 Best Post-MSW Certificate Programs Online 2023

10 Cheapest Online MSW Programs for Californian

Here are some of the most Affordable online MSW programs in California that might be your interest.

Note: These Programs are not arranged in any form of ranking order.

Mizzou University of Missouri

The Mizzou University of Missouri was accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the institution offers two different online MSW programs.

This program is 100% online with 60 credit hours, and 39 Advanced Standing credit hours.

Advanced Standing Estimated Cost: $20,728.50

Estimated Cost: $31,890.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

The MSW program was recently ranked among the top 10 online programs in the country by SR Education Group and it is also accredited by Council on Social Work Education and also commissioned on accreditation.

The program is also 100% online and there is a possibility of admitting students from all 50 states as well as international students and also the military.

Cost of degree: $21,000 for the standard online program. Although it varies based on the location where you are applying from.

University of Central Florida

This is one of the universities that offer cheap online MSW programs that are available for Canadian residents and social workers who are trying to acquire capabilities for refined social work practice.

This program curriculum includes global health, trauma, and individual mental health. The cost to acquire this degree is about $14, 462 for an advanced online program and $31,085 for the standard online program.

Capella University

Acquiring a fully online Master of Social Work Program at Capella could cost you between $35,720 and $70,900.

This program is aligned with national standards and also it is designed around advanced generalist practice licensing standards.

The program is fully online and in-person, it has 8 core courses, 2 Elective courses, and 3 practicum/internships, it is CSWE accredited.

Aurora University

This program offered at Aurora University prepares you to be able to help your communities, family members, and individuals. This program will teach you to advance social change that improves the well-being of vulnerable populations.

The curriculum covers; Addictions, Child welfare, Forensics, Gerontology, Health care, Leadership administration, military and Veteran social work, and School social work.

Aurora University also offers premier-clinical programs and is accredited by CSWE. This program lasts for less than 3 years, with 60 credit hours, and the full program cost $37,080, $618 per credit.

The generalist Curriculum lasts for about 27 hours, Specialist curriculum lasts for 33 hours with many interesting courses.

Fordham University

Online MSW at Fordham University is future-focused and it has the interest of its student at heart. The program is CSWE accredited, the program prepares students for noteworthy careers across a range of practice scopes.

The program curriculum covers, Clinical practice, Organizational leadership, and Advocacy.

The curriculum consists of both a generalist phase and a specialist phase, traditional MSW students must have to complete both the generalist and specialist phases, while advanced standing MSW candidates need only to complete the specialist phase.

The Cost for this degree is $61,690 for the traditional online program and $30,845 for the advanced standing online program.

The advanced-standing plan of study consists of 31 credits of refined direct-practice coursework and might last for 8 months for full-time, Traditional plan of study is made of 62 credits of generalist and standard direct-practice coursework, and it may last for 16 months full-time, or 24 to 32 months part-time.

Adelphi University

Adelphi has one of the cheapest online MSW programs that are available for Californian residents, the master of social work online students at Adelphi are given unique opportunities to prepare for licensure.

The institution’s program integrates information from past exams into the coursework of the program, and students in Adelphi’s online MSW program have the chance to network with other students from different locations.

This program can be completed 100% online, the program is very flexible when it comes to its entrance requirements and requires no GRE.

They also offer both online and on-campus programs, there’s also an accelerated advanced standing option for students who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited college or university.

At Adelphi University there is always a scholarship award for every MSW student admitted, the scholarship is about $20,000 which automatically reduces your tuition fee to under $60,000, for every advanced standing MSW student there is a scholarship consideration of $10,000 as stated by the university.

The actual cost for this phase is $57,920 for the traditional online program and $28,960 for the online advanced standing program.

Arizona State University

The program will teach you how to promote social justice and how to find practical solutions to social problems and pressing issues facing the most vulnerable in society. The program will also prepare you to be able to work with families, communities, individuals, and the world at large.

The cost of this degree is estimated at $14,173 as shown by the university tuition calculator.

Baylor University

Baylor’s MSW online program curriculum is designed to help prepare aspiring social workers to improve their quality of living and also to serve clients from all backgrounds. After your graduation, you will make a great impact on the life of others and you will also be confidently qualified to drive influential change at local, national, and global levels.

The university is also accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Its standard MSW is a 60-credit program for students with bachelor’s degrees from a regionally accredited college or institution.

The school’s curriculum accommodates all levels of social work scholars, it includes the Generalist stage and Specialized stage.

The cost to complete this degree is approximately $66,000 for a standard program of 60-credit hours and $35,000 for an Advanced standing program of 32-credit hours.

Boise State University

This institution offers both regular MSW programs and advanced standing MSW programs, the standard program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in other disciplines, while the advanced standing MSW is made for students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate social work accredited by CSWE.

You stand a chance to apply for Boise state university’s advanced standing program if you graduated with a bachelor’s in social work from a CSWE-accredited school within the last five years.

The Degree cost approximately $32,030-$32,330 for a regular MSW program and $19,550-$19,850 for an advanced standing program. Although there might be other additional expenses like a personal computer, webcam, headphones with mic, and internet access.

5 Cheapest Online MSW Programs in California

Below are some of the cheapest online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in California for interested students.

  • California State University, Northridge
  • Cal Poly Humboldt
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • University of Southern California
  • Brandman University

California State University, Northridge

This is one of the cheapest Online MSW programs in California, this program was designed to offer full and outstanding online quality education together with personalized support, at a state-university price. This online program can prepare students in less time and can cost as low as half of a private university program.

This MSW program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). And candidates are considered for admission when they meet the outlined requirements;

  1. Have a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution;
  2. Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; and
  3. Have satisfied one of the following conditions:
    • Attained a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 in a baccalaureate degree program,
    • Attained a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted, or
    • Hold a post-baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution and a 2.5 GPA in either the undergraduate cumulative GPA or the last 60 units.

The cost of obtaining a degree at California State University, Northridge is $45,960 for 60 units of programs.

Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt MSW program is an advanced generalist with a priority on working in rural and indigenous communities. This program was set up to enlighten applicants for professional social work practice that is responsive to the challenges being faced in so many rural and indigenous communities.

The program is fully CSWE accredited and it offers several variations;

  • Full-time, two-year course of study on campus
  • Part-time Advanced Standing 2-year Distributed Learning/online program for candidates with an accredited undergraduate degree in social work
  • Full-time Advanced Standing one-year program on campus for candidates with an accredited undergraduate degree in social work
  • Part-time 3.5-year Distributed Learning/online program

The Cal Poly Humboldt online MSW program cost $510 per unit.


California State University, San Bernadino

California State University, San Bernadino is one of the cheapest online MSW programs and it is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

It offers an MSW Advanced Standing Program and its student are advised not to get involved in work of any kind during this program, it is 36 units and it is meant to be completed in 12 months.


  • BASW from a CSWE Accredited program within the past five years. (June 2018 graduates or more recent.)
  • 3.0 overall GPA or 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semesters units /90 quarter units

This program costs $13,000 for the part-time online MSW program and $8,416 for the on-campus program annually.

University of Southern California

This online MSW program requires no GRE and it has a full-time and part-time program. It can be completed within 16 months.

The program courses are taught fully online by the school’s best faculty and experts, its curriculum analyzes emerging needs in the area to prepare social workers who can fish out comprehensive, integrative solutions for resolving the problem being faced in this 21st century.

As a social work student, after you have built your foundation in social work principles and practice, you can then focus your studies on your field of curiosity.

There are many specializations in this program; Adult Mental Health and Wellness, Children, Youth and Families, Social Change and Innovations, Military Populations and Settings, and School and Educational Settings.

The University of Southern California Full-time Estimate tuition for 4 semesters is $85,890, with 42 units and a $2,045 per unit rate, while Part-time tuition for 6 semesters is $85,890.

Brandman University

This program is fully an online MSW program that will equip you with the needed knowledge and experience to succeed in the rewarding field of MSW. It is flexible and affordable, it’s probably one of the cheapest online MSW programs in California.

It has 2 specializations which include; Child protective services agencies (Criminal justice,  legal service, and military organizations), Local, state, and federal agencies (Home- and school-based programs).

The Tuition cost for acquiring a degree at Brandman University is $695 per credit unit.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Cheapest Online MSW Programs in California

What is the easiest MSW program in California to get into?

California State University, Northridge with a 2.5 GPA and acceptance rate of 51%.

What is the cheapest online MSW program in California?

California State University, Northridge.

How much does an MSW cost in California?

MSW in California costs between $8,000 to $100,000 depending on the institution.


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