Master of Social Work

Have a greater impact with a master’s degree in social work

Make a difference for individuals, families, and communities with a Master of Social Work from East Carolina University.  Earn the credentials to create a better future for people in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and addiction and long-term care rehabilitation centers. With a master’s degree in social work, you’ll be ready to tackle big social problems and improve the quality of life for people within your community.

You’ll work with experienced faculty to address social injustice, evaluate social programs, and protect human rights. Whether you want to pursue a career in healthcare, social services, start your own clinical practice, or pursue doctoral education, ECU’s master’s degree in social work will equip you to advocate for and better serve your community.

Designed for flexibility

We offer part-time online and full-time in person coursework as well as accelerated/advanced standing pathways so you can earn your MSW degree while maintaining work-life balance. Our affordable and flexible degree program makes it easier for you to finish your MSW degree and get ahead in your career.

Why study social work at ECU?

ECU’s School of Social Work is the second oldest in North Carolina and has been preparing graduate students for careers in social work for more than 35 years. Our flexible and CSWE-accredited master’s degree in social work combines challenging coursework with modern applications and faculty mentorship to prepare students for a successful career in a variety of settings.

Develop clinical skills

Employers state that our MSW degree graduates are better prepared than most to work in clinical settings. Our coursework and practicums challenge you to apply your learnings in real-world scenarios—so you’re ready for your career immediately upon graduation.

World-class instruction

Our faculty bring their professional experience into the classroom. You’ll have opportunities to work with them on research projects exploring relevant topics such as gerontology, child welfare, policing, housing justice, cancer treatment, and substance abuse.

Connect with peers

Many MSW students participate in student organizations such as the Phi Alpha Honor Society, Graduate Association of Social Workers, and the People Helping the Aging Community Thrive & Sigma Phi Omega . These organizations help you serve your community while advancing the field of social work and building your professional network.

Courses you will take for our master’s degree in social work

Our social work master’s degree coursework aligns with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines. You’ll build on foundational knowledge in human behavior and social work practice while deepening your understanding of trauma response, mental health, and substance abuse, all through the lens of embracing human diversity.

Your path to an MSW degree is based, in part, on your undergraduate coursework and will determine your specific required courses and time to degree completion. Refer to the academic catalog for a complete list of coursework.

As an ECU Master of Social Work student, you’ll complete core coursework, electives, and field experiences that will let you tailor your degree to your interests.

Add a certificate to your master’s degree in social work

Apply your electives toward a graduate certificate in gerontology, substance abuse treatment, or integrated behavioral health with rural youth. We also offer a mentored pathway to school social work licensure for North Carolina.

Hear from our MSW degree students

“My education in the ECU School of Social Work primed me to be a professional licensed clinical social worker dedicated to promoting, advocating, protecting, connecting, and serving communities. The professors inspired us to be better people for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Attending ECU for my Master of Social Work was the best decision I ever made, and my learning experience at ECU was the foundation of who I have become today.”

—Maudia A., BSW ‘14, MSW ‘15

Integrated care coordinator, Community Care of North Carolina
Project MEND social work case manager, Access Inc.
Current Ph.D. social work student

What can you do with your social work master’s degree?

A master’s degree in social work provides the credentials you need for a rewarding career. When you choose ECU, you’re investing in a better future—for yourself and your community. Earn an affordable and flexible degree from a recognized educational leader in North Carolina.

Launch your career in a fast-growing field

Social work is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 9% through 2031, faster than the average 5% for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The skills you develop in our social work master’s degree apply to a variety of settings. Your ability to demonstrate empathy, patience, listening, leadership, and critical thinking will make you a highly marketable job candidate in schools, hospitals, prisons, rehabilitation centers, and other settings.

Where are ECU Master of Social Work graduates working?

Our MSW degree graduates are known for excellence in clinical practice, school social work, child welfare, healthcare, and substance abuse treatment counseling.

Get started on your social work master’s program

Take the next step toward earning your MSW degree and advancing your career. We have the resources to help answer your questions and guide you through the application and enrollment process.

Accreditation for the MSW degree at ECU

ECU’s social work master’s program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Program assessment results (2019-20) (2020-21)

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements include a completed graduate school application, overall 3.0 GPA in a bachelors degree from an accredited undergraduate institution, official transcriptsfrom all institutions attended, personal statement, 3 letters of professional reference, and resume.

  • The priority application deadline for the full-time Regular Pathway 2-yr program is February 1st. The last date for submitting applications is August 1st.
  • The priority application deadline for the Summer start programs (both part-time programs and full-time Advanced Standing) is January 15th. The last date to submit applications is May 1st.
  • Applications submitted after the priority deadlines will be placed on a waitlist contingent on their qualifications.You are encouraged to submit by the priority date due to limited space.

Program Requirements

Required Courses

MSW Available Electives

The MSW program requires completion of field education. For Regular Pathway students, there are two placements. Advanced Standing students complete one year-long placement. MSW students are required to spend 24 hours a week in the field, for a minimum of 336 hours a semester.

Delivery Methods

The MSW program is offered on-campus in a face-to-face format and online. The full-time programs are on-campus in Greenville. The part-time programs are 100% online. There are four different options in which students may enroll if the required criteria are met.

  • Full-Time Regular Pathway MSW: A 60 credit-hour program with a curriculum that is divided into generalist and specialized practice.
  • Full-Time Advanced Standing MSW: Available for students who have earned a BSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program. This is an accelerated, full-time (entire calendar year) program. Enrollment includes both summer sessions, fall, and spring semesters
  • Part-Time Regular Pathway and Advanced Standing MSW: Both options are for students who need more flexibility while pursuing their graduate degree. These 100% online programs are completed over a three-year period.