Western Kentucky University Online Master of Social Work, Kentucky

Why Western Kentucky University?

The online Master of Social Work  program offered by Western Kentucky University recruits students with an undergraduate degree in the Liberal Arts. Western Kentucky University,  a medium-sized public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky, expects applicants to have completed at least 30 undergraduate hours of liberal arts coursework (social sciences, humanities, natural science, communication, mathematics, etc),  including at least one course in sociology, psychology, or anthropology and at least one course in American government, political science, or economics. All courses counted towards the liberal arts requirement must have been completed with a final grade of “C” or higher. 

Standardized test scores are not required, and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75  is expected.  

Program Snapshot

University Name Western Kentucky University
Location Bowling Green
State Kentucky
Niche.com Grade B-
Name of Degree Master of Social Work
School or Department Administering Program Department of Social Work
Credits 60
Cost per credit $1,152.00
Tuition for Entire Program $69,120
Test Requirements No
Minimum GPA 2.75
Prerequisite Courses and Skills At least 30 hours in liberal arts coursework with at least a C grade including one course in sociology, psychology or anthropology and at least one course in politics, government or economics 
Campus Visit Required? Orientation
Typical Time to Complete 3 years
When Can Students Start the Program? offered every second year
Program Concentrations none
Synchronous Classes No
Required Courses
  • Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Foundation of Social Work Research Methods
  • Rural Community Organization and Development
  • Foundation of Social Welfare Policy
  • Generalist Social Work Practice
  • Generalist Field Practicum I and II
  • Group Dynamics in Social Work Practice
  • Social Work Administration and Supervision
  • Advanced Psycho-Social Approaches for Rural Practice
  • Social Work Clinical Assessment and Intervention
  • Advanced Generalist Field Practicum I and II
  • Integrated Social Work Practice with Families
  • Rural Social Welfare Policy
  • Applied Social Work Research
  • Practice Readiness Examination
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Yes
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? Yes
Other Features that Make the Program Unique Capstone field readiness exam; emphasis on service in rural areas
Program Objectives  To increase the number of social workers in rural areas with professional values and ethics equipped to serve rural diverse populations; To encourage the creation of new knowledge and understanding of the needs of rural communities, including research and continuing education; To empower residents of rural areas and influence policy and services in these areas 
Program Description This 60-credit program prepares students to  serve as well-rounded social workers primarily in rural or underserved areas.  All students must complete a practicum and pass a required capstone field readiness exam. Rural communities and culture are emphasized in coursework. 

What will I Learn?

The Western Kentucky program was designed to increase the number of professional social workers working with rural populations, particularly in Kentucky and surrounding regions. Students learn to apply critical knowledge that cultivates and synthesizes an understanding of the complex needs within the culture of rural communities, including research, training, continuing education, and other relevant projects. They are equipped as leaders to impact the social, economic, and political environments of rural areas in order to empower constituents and influence social welfare policies, practices, and services.

Required courses in the program include Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Foundation of Social Work Research Methods and Rural Community Organization and Development. Leadership perspectives are taught in Foundation of Social Welfare Policy, Social Work Administration and Supervision, Rural Social Welfare Policy, and Group Dynamics in Social Work Practice. Professional skills are covered in Generalist Social Work Practice, Advanced Psycho-Social Approaches for Rural Practice and Social Work Clinical Assessment and Intervention. The required practicum is accompanied by required Field Practicum courses. Advanced skills are taught in Integrated Social Work Practice with Families and Applied Social Work Research. All students take a Capstone  Field Readiness Exam. 

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 3 years and pay $1,152.00 per credit for a total of 60 credits, or $69,120 in total.

How does the program fit into my life?

All classes are asynchronous, meaning that students complete coursework every week on their own schedule. Students must attend a required on-campus orientation. All students move through the program as a cohort, with little flexibility in course choice, but greater predictability and opportunities to make connections with peers. The program starts every second year, so planning ahead is essential for those wishing to enroll.


The Western Kentucky University online Master of Social Work program offers a distinctive opportunity to ground social work professional education in the needs and perspectives of rural communities and rural people. The program is less flexible than some, but offers greater opportunity to build connections with peers. The emphasis throughout on building professional experts in rural communities, including testing that expertise with a required Field Readiness exam, will inspire applicants wishing to contribute to society.