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2021 Best Social Work Schools

389 Colleges
$36,459 Avg Salary
$30,084 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Social Work School for You

Social Work is the #19 most popular major in the country with 57,499 degrees and certificates awarded in 2018-2019.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house. Also there are many trade schools that offer short-term programs that open up more career options.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best Social Work Schools ranking. This report analyzed 389 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Social Work Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Social Work Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Social Work

Our analysis found Concordia College at Moorhead to be the best school for social work students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Concordia College Moorhead is a small private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized suburb of Moorhead.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Minot State University. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Social Work Schools list. MSU is a small public school located in the remote town of Minot.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at MSU take out is $15,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $156, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Winona State University. The school came in at #3 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Winona State is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Winona.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from Winona State carry an average student debtload of $25,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $259, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means University of Maryland - Baltimore is a great place for social work students. University of Maryland - Baltimore is a medium-sized public school located in the large city of Baltimore.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from University of Maryland - Baltimore carry an average student debtload of $47,770. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $557.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Bemidji State University. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Bemidji State University is a small public school located in the remote town of Bemidji.

On average, social work graduates from Bemidji State University take out $24,982 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $259, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#6

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

University of North Dakota landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best social work programs. UND is a fairly large public school located in the city of Grand Forks.

On average, social work graduates from UND take out $27,402 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $304.

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#7

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for social work students. It came in at #7 on the list. Loma Linda University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Loma Linda.

Social Work majors at Loma Linda University take out an average of $61,267 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $714, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#8

St Catherine University

Saint Paul, MN

St Catherine University ranked #8 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. St. Kate's is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Saint Paul.

While working on their degree, social work majors at St. Kate's accumulate an average of around $30,343 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $315, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Minnesota State University - Mankato ranked #9 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Located in the city of Mankato, Minnesota State University - Mankato is a public school with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at Minnesota State University - Mankato take out is $24,088. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $266.

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With a ranking of #10, Nebraska Wesleyan University did quite well on this year’s best schools for social work students. NWU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Lincoln.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from NWU carry an average student debtload of $26,086. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $271, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of California - Berkeley did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for social work students. It came in at #11 on the list. UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at UC Berkeley take out is $35,318. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $402.

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Minnesota State University - Moorhead landed the #12 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best social work programs. Located in the suburb of Moorhead, Minnesota State University - Moorhead is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

On average, social work graduates from Minnesota State University - Moorhead take out $21,500 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $223.

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University of Nebraska at Kearney ranked #13 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Located in the distant town of Kearney, UNK is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

While working on their degree, social work majors at UNK accumulate an average of around $19,500 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $202.

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The College of Saint Scholastica ranked #14 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Located in the city of Duluth, St. Scholastica is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from St. Scholastica carry an average student debtload of $32,928. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $371.

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University of California - Los Angeles ranked #15 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. UCLA is a very large public school located in the city of Los Angeles.

While working on their degree, social work majors at UCLA accumulate an average of around $56,291 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $656, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#16

Bethel University Minnesota

Saint Paul, MN

Bethel University Minnesota did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for social work students. It came in at #16 on the list. Located in the suburb of Saint Paul, Bethel University Minnesota is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

On average, social work graduates from Bethel University Minnesota take out $21,773 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $226.

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#17

Capital Community College

Hartford, CT

Capital Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for social work students. It came in at #17 on the list. Capital Community College is a small public school located in the medium-sized city of Hartford.

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#18

Anna Maria College

Paxton, MA

Anna Maria College landed the #18 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best social work programs. Anna Maria is a small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Paxton.

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University of Southern California ranked #19 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from USC carry an average student debtload of $115,136. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $1,342.

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#20

Viterbo University

La Crosse, WI

Viterbo University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Schools ranking. Viterbo is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of La Crosse.

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#21

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University ranked #21 on this year’s Best Social Work Schools list. K - State is a very large public school located in the small city of Manhattan.

On average, social work graduates from K - State take out $24,875 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $258.

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#22

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Schools ranking. UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia.

After completing their degree, social work graduates from UPenn carry an average student debtload of $62,260. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $725, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Rutgers University - Camden did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for social work students. It came in at #23 on the list. Located in the small city of Camden, Rutgers Camden is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

On average, social work graduates from Rutgers Camden take out $32,306 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $362.

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#24

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Schools ranking. Located in the city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

On average, social work graduates from UChicago take out $69,034 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $804.

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#25

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Schools ranking. Located in the small city of Chestnut Hill, Boston College is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

On average, social work graduates from Boston College take out $50,720 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $591.

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Rest of the Top Best Social Work Schools

#26

Metropolitan State University

Saint Paul, MN
#27

Brandman University

Irvine, CA
#31

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA
#32

Boston University

Boston, MA
#35

Augsburg University

Minneapolis, MN
#38

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY
#39

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA
#43

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud, MN
#44

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA
#47

Keuka College

Keuka Park, NY
#50

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

Additional Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Social Work Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 389 different United States social work schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
52 College of Our Lady of the Elms Chicopee, MA
53 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
54 Whittier College Whittier, CA
55 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
56 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg, PA
57 University of Washington - Tacoma Campus Tacoma, WA
58 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Social Work students that almost earned our Best Social Work Schools award.

Rank College Location
59 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg, PA
60 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
61 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
62 Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT
63 Simmons University Boston, MA
64 Southern Connecticut State University New Haven, CT
65 Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH
66 Heritage University Toppenish, WA
67 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
68 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
69 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
70 Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA
71 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
72 Stockton University Galloway, NJ
73 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
74 California State University - East Bay Hayward, CA
75 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
76 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
77 California State University - Stanislaus Turlock, CA

Social Work by Region

View the Best Social Work Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Social Work is one of 5 different types of programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Social Work

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Administration 17,444
Human Services 13,768
Public Policy 6,021
Community Organization & Advocacy 2,832
Other Public Administration 971

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Army Medicine.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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