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2021 Best Social Work Master's Degree Schools

259 Colleges
$43,545 Avg Salary
$40,139 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Social Work Master's Degree 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 Master's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 259 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best master's degree programs for students. The factors used to develop this ranking include those related to how in-demand the school is, the overall quality of the school, and post-graduation wages, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Social Work Master's Degree Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools for a Master's in Social Work

Our analysis found University of Maryland - Baltimore to be the best school for social work students who want to pursue a master’s degree in the United States. University of Maryland - Baltimore is a medium-sized public school located in the large city of Baltimore.

While working on their Master's Degree, social work majors at University of Maryland - Baltimore accumulate an average of around $53,596 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 $557.

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#2

St Catherine University

Saint Paul, MN

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend St Catherine University. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. St. Kate's is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Saint Paul.

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#3

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Loma Linda University. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. Loma Linda University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Loma Linda.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at Loma Linda University take out while working on their Master's Degree is $67,903. 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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Out of the 259 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of California - Berkeley landed the # 4 spot on the list. UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Berkeley.

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A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Minnesota State University - Mankato is a great place for social work students working on their master’s degree. Located in the city of Mankato, Minnesota State University - Mankato is a public college with a large student population.

On average, social work graduates from Minnesota State University - Mankato take out $25,313 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $290, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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With a ranking of #6, University of California - Los Angeles did quite well on this year’s best schools for social work students working on their master’s degree. UCLA is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles.

On average, social work graduates from UCLA take out $53,576 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $656, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#7

Anna Maria College

Paxton, MA

Anna Maria College landed the #7 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree social work programs. Anna Maria is a small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Paxton.

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San Jose State University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools ranking. San Jose State is a fairly large public school located in the large city of San Jose.

Social Work majors at San Jose State take out an average of $34,283 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $418, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Southern California came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

On average, social work graduates from USC take out $109,531 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. 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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#10

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for social work students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #10 on the list. 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 $68,340 in student loans while working on their Master's 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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#11

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree 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 $50,175 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $591.

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#12

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

With a ranking of #12, University of Pennsylvania did quite well on this year’s best schools for social work students working on their master’s degree. UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at UPenn take out while working on their Master's Degree is $65,512. 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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#13

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

University of North Dakota came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools ranking. UND is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Grand Forks.

Social Work majors at UND take out an average of $36,191 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $359.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for social work students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #14 on the list. Located in the city of Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public school with a very large student population.

After completing their Master's Degree, social work graduates from U of Michigan carry an average student debtload of $44,628. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $478, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#15

Augsburg University

Minneapolis, MN

Augsburg University came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Minneapolis, Augsburg is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that social work majors at Augsburg take out while working on their Master's Degree is $44,241. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $478, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#16

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston University came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston.

After completing their Master's Degree, social work graduates from Boston U carry an average student debtload of $53,136. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $593, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of St Thomas Minnesota ranked #17 on this year’s Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the large city of Saint Paul, UST MN is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

On average, social work graduates from UST MN take out $51,792 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $560.

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Columbia University in the City of New York landed the #18 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree social work programs. Located in the large city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population.

While working on their Master's Degree, social work majors at Columbia accumulate an average of around $80,111 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $897.

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University of Minnesota - Twin Cities landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree social work programs. Located in the city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public school with a very large student population.

While working on their Master's Degree, social work majors at UMN Twin Cities accumulate an average of around $39,779 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $457, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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California State University - Long Beach ranked #20 on this year’s Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the large city of Long Beach, Cal State Long Beach is a public school with a fairly large student population.

On average, social work graduates from Cal State Long Beach take out $32,932 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $378.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey ranked #21 on this year’s Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the suburb of Mahwah, Ramapo College is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

On average, social work graduates from Ramapo College take out $28,732 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $262, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for social work students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #22 on the list. Located in the small city of Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh is a public college with a large student population.

While working on their Master's Degree, social work majors at UW Oshkosh accumulate an average of around $26,336 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 $249.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison ranked #23 on this year’s Best Social Work Master’s Degree Schools list. Wisconsin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Madison.

After completing their Master's Degree, social work graduates from Wisconsin carry an average student debtload of $36,015. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $344, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Connecticut landed the #24 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree social work programs. UCONN is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Storrs.

On average, social work graduates from UCONN take out $33,342 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $354.

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#25

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

With a ranking of #25, Texas Tech University did quite well on this year’s best schools for social work students working on their master’s degree. Texas Tech is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Lubbock.

Social Work majors at Texas Tech take out an average of $30,125 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree.

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Rest of the Top Best Social Work Master's Degree Schools

#29

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA
#31

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA
#32

Simmons University

Boston, MA
#33

Keuka College

Keuka Park, NY

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Social Work Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
39 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
40 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
41 Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA
42 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
43 California State University - Monterey Bay Seaside, CA
44 New York University New York, NY
45 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
46 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
47 Smith College Northampton, MA
48 Southern Connecticut State University New Haven, CT
49 Springfield College Springfield, MA
50 California State University - Dominguez Hills Carson, CA
51 University of Washington - Tacoma Campus Tacoma, WA

Social Work by Region

View the Best Social Work Master's Degree 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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