Last updated April 29, 2023
As part of our series How to Fully Fund Your Master’s Degree, here is a list of universities that offer fully funded Master’s in Social Work (MSW) programs. A Master’s degree in Social Work can lead to many careers, including being a clinician, advocate, community organizer, or administrator, as well as opportunities in academia, medicine, and more.
“Full funding” is a financial aid package for full-time students that includes full tuition remission as well as an annual stipend or salary during the entire program, which for Master’s degrees is usually 1-2 years. Funding usually comes with the expectation that students will teach or complete research in their field of study. Not all universities fully fund their master’s students, which is why researching the financial aid offerings of many different programs, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad, is essential.
The ProFellow database for graduate and doctoral study also spotlights external funding opportunities for graduate school, including dissertation research, fieldwork, language study, and summer work experiences.
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Here is the list of universities that offer to fully funded Master’s programs in social work.
(San Marcos, CA): The Department of Social Work at California State University San Marcos offers various stipend programs for MSW students. The Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program is available to incoming MSW students enrolled in the full-time program. Students selected to participate in the stipend program receive an annual stipend of $18,500 each year for up to 2 years. Scholarship opportunities are available to a variety of students from all backgrounds.
(New York, NY): The School of Social Work at Columbia University awards scholarships, typically ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to full-time students who demonstrate financial need. Scholarship awards are usually renewed in the second year of study, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. Columbia University offers other sources of funding to graduate students, including language-study stipends and research-based fellowships or grants.
(Houston, TX): Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston offers several scholarships, stipend programs, assistantships, and fellowships to students as funds are available. Stipend recipients are chosen by a committee composed of GCSW and CPS representatives. Full-time students will receive a stipend of $5,000 a semester for up to five semesters. Assistantships are available to full-time students admitted unconditionally to the M.S.W. program. Students must apply and interview for positions.
(Normal, IL): Illinois State University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support for good-standing full-time students. They receive a monthly stipend or hourly wage and a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment. Endowed scholarships and fellowships are awarded competitively by the Graduate School in the fall and spring semesters.
Need some tips for the graduate school application process? See my article How To Get Into a Fully Funded PhD Program: Contacting Potential PhD Advisors.
(St. Paul, MN): The School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota offers financial support for social work MSW and Ph.D. students through training grants, fellowships, scholarships, and graduate assistantships.
(St. Louis, MO): Prospective students at Saint Louis University will be automatically screened for merit-based scholarship eligibility. There is a full-tuition fellowship funded by the School of Social Work for new and continuing students. By ﬁlling out a graduate assistantship application, you will automatically be considered for a full or partial graduate assistantship.
(El Paso, TX): UTEP’s Department of Social Work also offers stipends for specific internships, scholarships based on financial need, and paid work positions as Graduate Assistants (GA’s) and Research Assistants (RA’s). Currently, department-specific grants allow the Department to offer partial and full financial support to many students. All students are eligible for need-based and merit-based programs through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
(Seattle, WA): The University of Washington School of Social Work provides different types of funding for MSW students in the form of fellowships, scholarships, assistantships, and additional programs that may help to supplement your education.
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