MSW Online

The MSW online is an intensive 7-week module format, not the traditional semester format,  giving students six start dates while still completing the program in approximately 2 years of full time study or 3-1/2- 4 years of part time study. The online program is asynchronous meaning coursework is done at your own pace with guided dates and deadlines.  This program is year-round with 1-2 week breaks between modules. Students will enroll in 1 (part time) or 2 (full time) courses each module in a prescribed order set forth by the faculty. 

The program is open to all US residents living in the United States with the exception of residents in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New York. These states currently do not accept our MSW online program. No international students can be accepted.

Those with a BSW who are eligible for advanced standing may enter twice a year (see deadline dates on our online webpage and the advanced standing eligibility criteria). It should be noted that enrolling in two online courses is the equivalent of a full-time campus course load. Those who are working 40 hours a week need to keep this in mind when scheduling. Students should plan to spend a minimum of 15 hours per week per class on coursework.  Internships are completed in social service agencies in home areas (not online) during these 7-week modules in block placements (40 hours/week) or over four modules (16-18 hours/week).  There are no night or weekend placements. Students who work full time will make arrangements to complete the internship while working. See the online link for more detailed information as well as the internship video on the field internship link that explains the two options available to complete the internship.  

Cost is $539 per credit hour for in or out of state. Admission and program requirements are the same for the MSW Online and the Baton Rouge campus. The LSU School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and has been offering graduate education since 1937. No academic credit is granted for work or life experiences.

Criminal Background:   If a student has a criminal background, it is in the student’s best interest to disclose this information prior to beginning the program and prior to the field internship placement process. A criminal background may pose difficulties in securing a field placement for the student and/or may result in the inability to place the student. Students who have a criminal background should understand that some agencies may be precluded by law from accepting them in field placement. Additionally, some agencies are unwilling to supervise students having certain criminal charges. The field education team will make every effort possible to assist students in securing a field placement. However, if a placement cannot be accomplished for any reason, the student may not be able to complete the degree program. Students should also be aware that even if field placements are secured and a degree is awarded, certain criminal offenses may preclude them from obtaining employment as a social worker and that some states may refuse to license the applicant as a professional social worker. Students should seek counseling from the School of Social Work if questions arise regarding such matters.


Admission Requirements 

School of Social Work admission requirements for ALL programs are the same. The following requirements must be completed prior to admission to the Full time, Part time, Advanced Standing and MSW Online programs:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
  • Demonstration of a liberal arts undergraduate preparation through completion of at least 12 credit hours in the social and behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, human geography, economics, political science, curriculum & instruction, etc.), and at least 9 hours in the humanities (literature, languages, history, women’s studies, art or music history, philosophy, cultural and comparative studies, communication studies, etc.);
  • “C” or better in an introductory statistics course in any undergraduate department; this course cannot be taken concurrently with MSW courses;
  • A 3.0 cumulative grade point average on undergraduate or graduate course work for regular admission; Minimum of 2.55 cumulative or last 60 hours gpa for probationary admission in certain cases; 
  • Evidence that the applicant possesses the personal qualities and aptitudes essential for the social work profession;
  • A genuine interest in people and emotional stability;
  • Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

How to Apply

Application to the School of Social Work is the same for all programs-- Full time, Part time, Advanced Standing and MSW Online. Application to LSU is a two step process. Applicants must submit 1) MSW supplemental application materials to the School of Social Work, and 2) a graduate application to the LSU Graduate School.

Submit to the School of Social Work:

  • Supplemental Application submitted in pdf format to
  • Letter of Intent submitted in pdf format to
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • A total of three (3) recommendation forms are required for your admission file to be complete. A letter of support is optional.
    • Two (2) recommendations must be Academic (college instructors, internship supervisors) and the remaining one (1) recommendation must be a Professional (Work/Volunteer) Reference. Family friends, clergy, therapist and high school teachers are not appropriate.
    • Applicants who have been out of school for 2 or more years and cannot ascertain academic references may substitute other professional recommendations for academic.
    • For any applicant, if two are not academic recommendations and one is not professional, please include a statement and email this to with your application explaining the reason for the substitution.
    •  It is strongly recommended that if an internship was part of the degree program and the internship has been completed at the time of application, a recommendation from the internship supervisor be included as the professional recommendation.
    • Due to the unique nature our admission process, the School of Social Work has its own recommendation form. To avoid confusion for recommenders, applicants should insert under the three recommendation fields on the LSU Graduate School application. The MSW admissions committee will only review the School of Social Work Recommendation form, not this letter of support from the graduate school application.
    • These forms need to be sent by the recommender to
  • Current resume or vita.
  • One official copy of all transcripts from all universities attended. Transcripts may be mailed in sealed envelopes to the LSU School of Social Work, 313 Huey P. Long Fieldhouse, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or sent electronically from a university to (all transcripts are required, whether or not credit was earned or is desired). Official transcripts of work taken at LSU are not required. 

Submit to the LSU Graduate School:

  • Complete the LSU Graduate School application, which includes the application fee, official copies of transcripts from all universities attended sent in sealed envelopes to the LSU Graduate School, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or sent electronically from a university to (all transcripts are required, whether or not credit was earned or is desired). Official transcripts of work taken at LSU are not required. For international applicants whose native language is not English, scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    • Applicants DO NOT need to submit a writing sample or program of study to the LSU Graduate School. Simply type N/A on this section of the online application. 
    • Applicants DO NOT need to submit letters of recommendation to the LSU Graduate School as the School of Social Work has its own letter of recommendation form
  • Note: If pursuing the online MSW, please be sure to select "Online" as your campus, not the Baton Rouge campus.
  • Applicants with missing application materials by the School of Social Work deadline will not be considered. A completed application is the LSU Graduate School application, fee payment, Social Work supplemental application, letter of intent, three Social Work recommendation forms, resume, and transcripts.

How to Obtain the MSW Degree

To obtain the MSW degree, students must:

  • successfully complete 60 hours of study, following the prescribed course sequence including passing internship courses 
  • maintain an overall grade point average of 3.00, with no grade less than “C” in any course offered for the degree
  • cannot be on probation
  • no more than two C’s toward the MSW degree

Thesis Option: Students are encouraged to undertake a thesis, yet it is not required to graduate. Students choosing to write a thesis must submit a thesis proposal to a prospective thesis committee chair by the last day of class in the fall semester, generalist year or the last day of class of the second module. Six total credit hours of SW 8000 are required for the thesis, and no more than six credit hours can be used toward the MSW degree. 



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