The most common accreditation questions. If you are a program representative and have a specific question about accreditation, please contact your accreditation specialist.
Are programs outside the United States accredited by CSWE?
Are there any CSWE-accredited, distance-learning social work programs?
Most accredited social work programs utilize distance education for some of their courses. Most offer part-time, extended-day, or evening courses at their main, satellite, or branch campuses, which may or may not use distance education.
CSWE has accredited a small number of social work programs that use distance-education technology (such as online courses, television, other types of instruction, or a hybrid approach of face-to-face and distance education) to complete a large section of their baccalaureate and master's degree requirements.
You can view a list of accredited distance education programs that requested to be included on our web page. All accredited programs are subject to the same accreditation standards and review criteria by the Commission on Accreditation, regardless of the curriculum delivery methods used. Thus, if you find a program with distance education components that is not on this list, that program will still be accredited if it is listed in our Directory of Accredited Programs.
Each program design is different, and each may have specific admissions requirements for its distance-education programs. Please contact these schools directly.
How do I decide which social work program is right for me?
Ask practical questions:
- Can I live here for the next 2 or 4 years?
- Is it affordable?
- Is the institution too big or too small?
- Does the program offer the specialization or concentration I want?
- Does the program appear to have a faculty and staff with whom I can work? Are there ample field placement opportunities in my area of interest?
The answers to such questions will affect your life more than the questionable long-term benefit of attending a well-known program. Furthermore, even if you hear that a particular program is well known or is highly rated, you may not necessarily find it to be a good fit for you. You can access CSWE’s online Member Program Directory to see a listing of accredited and in-candidacy master’s and baccalaureate social work programs.
If I am upset with my program, how do I file a complaint?
What does it mean when a program is in candidacy?
Candidacy is the "first step toward the initial accreditation process" (Handbook of Accreditation Standards and Procedures, 5th ed., 2003, p. 3).
Once a program is granted initial accreditation, it "automatically covers those graduating classes of students who were admitted during or after the academic year, August to June, in which the program was granted candidacy.
Students admitted prior to the academic year in which the program was granted candidacy [such as precandidacy] will not have graduated from a Council-accredited social work education program" (Handbook of Accreditation Standards and Procedures, 5th ed., 2003, p. 6).
Which are the best social work programs in the United States?
Why does CSWE not accredit associate's or doctoral programs?
Doctoral degrees in social work are typically research-oriented and primarily prepare students for academic, research, or administrative positions. In most instances, persons seeking a doctorate in social work already have a master's degree in social work.