Online MSW No GRE Required

Last updated January 12, 2023
Online MSW No GRE Required By Marie McCollum
Marie McCollum
Master of Social Work (MSW, University of Georgia)
School Program Admissions
Our Lady of the Lake University Online Master of Social Work
No GRE Required, CSWE Accredited, 12 month program for BSW holders.
Our Lady of the Lake University CSWE Accredited MSW Program
Campbellsville University Online Master of Social Work
No GRE or GMAT required. Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks available. Program can be completed in less than a year.
CSWE Accredited
Sacred Heart University Master of Social Work
No GRE required. CSWE Accredited, Direct Clinical Practice or a Direct Community Practice specialization.
CSWE Accredited
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Master of Social Work
GRE waived. 100% Online, Advanced Standing available.
CSWE Accredited
University of Denver Online Master of Social Work
GRE scores are not required to apply.
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Click to view accredited online MSW programs that are taking applications for 2024.

Some Online MSW Programs that do not require a GRE for entry or admission are available. One year No GRE MSW programs are often referred to as Advanced Standing MSW Programs, and have requirements that differ from traditional MSW programs. Some Advanced Standing MSW programs have a GRE waiver that you can also apply for based on prior education and experience.

A MSW program with no GRE requirements for admission has a distinct advantage with the lower time-frame for completion. The field of Social Work itself is fast-paced and requires extensive experience regardless of the specialty you choose for your degree. Those with a BSW already working in the field have a great option that many other career fields do not have: the Advanced Standing MSW, or one year MSW degree.

What is the Online MSW and why is a GRE required?

At first, people were not too keen on the idea of allowing students to complete their degrees online, due to the reliability of online systems and the use of the honor system with upper-division college students. Caught into the trend of traditional education, such a tremendous change was not initially welcomed by accreditation agencies and college students.

Requirements for admission vary, but typically one year MSW programs require a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, some programs may require previous work experience in the field. Prerequisites for admission vary so be sure to check with each program to understand the differences.

Top Online Programs with No GRE Requirement, Updated for 2023

The GRE has been a part of graduate-level acceptance for many years. This examination is helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses within upcoming students, so that universities can determine how successful these students could be within their programs. Taking into consideration different factors such as test anxiety and improper preparedness, these tests can also prove to be ineffective in tallying a student's abilities accurately.

While the GRE is a useful tool for universities that have a high number of applicants, it is not always a requirement for all universities offering the online MSW. The most important component for admissions into these programs is more focused on your prior experience in the field of Social Work and your previous completed degree programs.

In order to make your journey to the online MSW a little easier, our team has located a few schools that offer the online MSW without the GRE requirement. Even though the universities below do not require the GRE, they still have specific requirements for admission for upcoming students. Each school's MSW program is accredited by the CSWE, making each of them a great choice for your master's program.

The University of Southern California - Online MSW

  • The GRE is not a requirement for admissions into the online MSW program as USC.
  • This program was designed for professionals in the field of Social Work or people that are transitioning to Social Work from other undergraduate degree programs.
  • Some specializations in this degree program focus on mental health, social work for people from all age groups, and change within the social work domain.
i sponsored

Fordham University Online Advanced Standing MSW

  • No GRE required
  • Credits Needed for Advanced Standing Degree: 31
  • Requirements: BSW, Letters of recommendation, fieldwork evaluation form from BSW and personal statement.
i sponsored

Rutger's University - Online MSW

  • Rutger's University current has an innovative online MSW program that has no GRE requirement.
  • This program promotes success in students through the integration of smaller class sizes and close interaction with instructors.
  • Students that enroll in this degree program can have the option to choose specializations such as Public Health, Substance Abuse, Child Welfare, or Corrections.

Colorado State University - Online MSW

  • CSU is another university that does not require upcoming students to complete the GRE prior to being admitted.
  • This university focuses on human behavior, social welfare policy, and research as a means for instructing students on becoming helpful social work professionals.
  • Some specializations at this university are Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health, Military and Veteran Culture, and PreK-12 School Social Worker.

Boise State University Online Advanced Standing MSW

  • Cost: $495 per credit hour
  • Credits Needed for Advanced Standing Degree: 37
  • Requirements: BSW within last 7 years (or 10 years and professional social work experience), recommendation letter, and essay.

Columbia University Online Advanced Standing MSW

  • Cost: $1,734 per credit hour
  • Credits Needed for Advanced Standing Degree: 33
  • Requirements: BSW within last 5 years, essay, letters of reference, fieldwork evaluation form from BSW

Indiana University Online Advanced Standing MSW

  • Cost: $597 per credit hour for Indiana residents, $716 per credit for out of state
  • Credits Needed for Advanced Standing Degree: 41
  • Requirements: BSW within last 10 years and essay.
School Program Admissions
Our Lady of the Lake University Online Master of Social Work
CSWE Accredited
Adelphi University Online Master of Social Work
CSWE Accredited
University of Kentucky Online Master of Social Work
CSWE Accredited
University of West Florida Online Master of Social Work
CSWE Accredited
Virginia Commonwealth University Online Master's in Social Work
i sponsored

Click to view all online MSW programs that are currently accepting applications.

Prerequisites for One Year MSW Program

If you are interested in taking advantage of Advanced Standing degree programs, you should prepare yourself from the beginning of your college experience. The BSW program typically takes anywhere from 3-4 years to complete. Paired with a 1 year MSW program, you could potentially completed your Master’s in Social Work in around the same time it would take you to complete a standard bachelor’s degree.

1. A Bachelors of Social Work

At the forefront of your college experience, enrolling in a Bachelor’s of Social Work program is your best option if you are confident about moving forward into higher degree programs in the future. The most common and prominent requirement for enrolling in 1 year MSW programs is already having a BSW from a CSWE-accredited degree program. Accreditation is vital factor in determining if your degree will be accepted by graduate schools.

2. GRE Test Scores

In addition to having the right type of degree, you may also find schools that require you to take the Graduate Level Examination (GRE) prior to applying. The GRE is a tool for testing your abilities in critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and verbal reasoning. While there are a large number of traditional and online schools that still have this requirement, students may also choose a school without the GRE requirement. There are Online MSW Programs with no GRE requirements available, as well.

3. Minimum GPA

Whether you excelled in undergraduate education or fell short, your progress at the lower degree level can have a direct effect on whether or not you are accepted into one year MSW programs. Since this is an Advanced Standing degree program, students are often expected to prove their worth in these programs by presenting a minimum 3.0 GPA from undergraduate studies. The GPA may be measured by your total performance during your bachelor’s program or by just the final 2 years – which likely contained the majority of your Social Work curriculum.

4. Field Work Experience

This next requirement is only part of the admissions requirements for a few schools offering the one year MSW, but it is important to consider if you are planning for this degree program. Some one year MSW programs encourage their applicants to have some work experience in the field of Social Work prior to applying. Experience in the field can sometimes promote a better understanding of the curriculum as well as the job itself.

5. Reference Letters

Lastly, students that are applying for the one year MSW programs across the country should be prepared to provide letters of reference from previous instructors, employers, or personal acquaintances. This requirement is quite common for universities to include in their admissions process, since it can give them a better idea of your personal attributes that are relevant to the degree program. After applying to select universities, you may also have to sit for a face to face interview prior to being accepted.

One Year vs Two Year MSW Programs

One year MSW programs are a great way for students to quickly get involved in the field of Social Work. If you are given the opportunity to finish your degree quickly, it is hard to turn it down. There are many advantages to pursuing your degree through Advanced Standing programs, some of which cannot be obtain through traditional two year programs.

Shorter but more intense courses

The one year MSW often includes expedited courses that can be completed in as little as 7 weeks. While this is a great option for dedicated learners, there are some students that need more time to fully absorb all of the information gained within one entire course. Quick learners and experienced Social Work professionals could benefit more from these types of courses than entry-level Social Work students.

Financial benefits to less time in school

The financial sacrifice that two year learners take to pursue their degree program often goes underrated by enrolled students. If you were to complete your degree program in a year, you could have one whole year of additional income working at the master’s level. Students that are already working full-time and take part in two year programs may not feel the advantage as much as others, which is why traditional programs are sometimes the path of choice for upcoming master’s students.

Curriculum and classes tend to be the same

The curriculum and instruction for both programs falls within a similar realm. Both programs must be CSWE-accredited in order to solicit students for the purpose of MSW licensure, so quality is not an issue between the two programs. Often times, the same instructors teach both programs at the same university, so students are getting the same experience regardless of which path they take.

Advanced Standing MSW degree programs were designed for students that have already completed the BSW. This allows for lower credit hour requirements, which are typically between 30-40 for one year programs. Two year programs can have credit hour requirements that range from 45-65 hours depending on the university. Two year programs are also the best and only option for students that are coming from unrelated bachelor’s programs.

One Year MSW Coursework

Coursework will vary by the concentration the student chooses. Many online programs have Clinical or Community Social work tracts. Clinical Social Work will include classes such as: clinical theory, assessment, social work with families, and addictions. Community social work will include classes such as: Community theory, International social work, evaluation, and policy. Most schools list the classes required and their descriptions.

The online MSW is one of the top growing degrees

Online degree programs have overcome these naysayers and became one of the leading sources of higher education for students all over the world. Online MSW programs have gained national recognition for their quality and have also been eligible for accreditation through the CSWE. Requirements for online MSW programs are similar to traditional programs, with some still requiring the GRE for admissions.

One of the main reasons that students may still see the GRE requirement for some online MSW programs is that online programs require students to have an already identified set of skills. Online degree programs require students to engage in consistent independent learning and self-teaching. Students that score higher on the GRE may be more likely to succeed in independent learning programs, making this a great measure for success in future online students.

Another reason that you may see the GRE at this level is due to high enrollment. In an effort to further screen students for a full program, universities will often add more requirements to their admissions process in order to choose the best candidates from the application pool. If you choose a program that has a high number of applicants each year, you might want to prepare to take the GRE in order to stand out among their other participants.

What is the GRE and why is it required for some programs?

Students that have completed their bachelor’s programs and are planning to pursue a Master’s in Social Work are often plagued by some of the admissions requirements set forth by well-known universities. Some of these requirements involve working full-time in their field, successfully maintaining a certain GPA, and hunting down professors to provide letters of recommendation.

One of the most misunderstood requirements for entering into a graduate-level program is the GRE. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that was designed to test the ability of upcoming graduate students. It consists of material that is suitable to test your ability to think critically, analyze literature, communicate verbally, and complete different types of mathematical problems.

The reason the GRE has been used as an admission requirement is its ability to measure your abilities within one combined score, rather than through the use of several years of academic transcripts. One argument against the GRE is the GPA requirement. Some students feel like both scores provide the same outlook on a student’s abilities and that the GRE is irrelevant for graduate-level educational programs.

In response to this criticism, some universities have replaced the GRE with other degree-relevant requirements. Some of these replacement requirements include work experience, high GPA scores, and high recommendations. When you are seeking out online MSW programs, you are destined to find plenty that offer the option of enrolling in their program without having to take the GRE.