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Boise State Online Social Work Program Ranked 18 in the Country

By: Cienna Madrid   Published 9:51 pm / January 22, 2017

Boise State’s online Master of Social Work program recently was ranked No. 18 in the nation for its affordability and quality education. SR Education Group, a nonprofit organization that independently reviews hundreds of higher education institutions based on affordability, accessibility and quality, released 2017’s Top Online Colleges for Social Work Degrees.

“I continue to be impressed by the quality work done by the faculty and administration in social work,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “Their efforts have been favorably  acknowledged by the students, alumni and external groups that create rankings for schools of social work.”

“Our online program is enormously popular,” explained Randy Magen, director of the School of Social Work. “We are getting more than six applicants for each slot in the regular program, as opposed to our advanced standing program. This means we are enrolling very good students – those with high grade point averages and extensive volunteer or paid experience in social services. The online program also allows us to hire highly qualified adjunct instructors who do not live in Boise. This semester, we have experienced, Ph.D. trained faculty teaching as adjunct instructors in the online program who live in Canada, Florida and Maryland.”

MSW students

This map shows the locations of all online MSW students enrolled in Spring 2017 classes. Orange bubbles signify regular standing; blue signifies advance standing.

Advanced standing Master of Social Work (MSW) programs are designed for students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited undergraduate degree program.

According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are more clinically trained social workers than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined. That fact, along with the higher cost of services associated with psychologists or psychiatrists, means that clinical social workers provide the majority of behavioral health services in the United States. The demand for social workers is great in our country and continues to grow – especially in rural areas.

While nearly one-third of Boise State online MSW students reside in Idaho, the program currently has students enrolled in 36 different states.

“Given that all of the counties in Idaho are designated under-served in terms of behavioral health, Idaho students, when they graduate, will go a long way toward improving behavioral health services in the state,” Magen said.

To be considered for SR Education Group’s rankings, schools needed to offer at least one fully online degree in a given subject for the degree level that was required, or higher. That information was then weighed with program data including available degrees, tuition rates and details about program coursework, which were collected from official school websites.

Boise State’s School of Social Work offers both full-program Master of Social Work (MSW) and advanced standing MSW programs. The online curriculum is the same curriculum as the in-person curriculum delivered in Boise, Twin Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston. Megan adds that almost all of the online courses have been developed and are taught by full-time Boise based faculty.

You can find out more about Boise State social work programs here.