Columbia School of Social Work 2024: Acceptance Rate, Admission, Tuition

Columbia School of Social Work is a world-renowned social work school that offers a highly respected program in social work. The school has an acceptance rate of 98%. This means that Columbia School of Social Work is one of the highest-rated social work schools in the United States. In addition, the school has been awarded numerous awards and recognition, including being placed first in the nation for social work programs in the Social Action Guide to America, being ranked as one of the top five schools for social work programs by Forbes Magazine, and being included in Forbes’ “Best Colleges for Social Work” list.

Columbia School of Social Work 2022: Acceptance Rate, Admission, Tuition, Scholarships

Columbia School of Social Work is a private, nonprofit school that offers courses in social work and social work administration. In May of 2018, the school announced that it had accepted 204 students, an increase of 15% from the 2017 acceptance rate. Columbia School of Social Work is located in New York City.

Columbia School of Social Work (COSSW) is an internationally respected and selective social work school that offers a rigorous, professional program in social work. We are constantly working to increase the success rate of our students and staff. Latest news and updates about COSSW acceptance rates can be found on our website.

Where is Columbia School of Social Work Located?

The School is housed in an 11-story building on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 122nd Street in New York City—a short walk to the northeast of Columbia’s Morningside campus. The building has technologically advanced classrooms, seminar, and conference rooms; a 50-seat computer lab; role-play rooms; and a 7,000-square-foot library that houses one of the world’s premier collections in social work and social services.

About Columbia School of Social Work

Columbia University’s School of Social Work (CSSW) is a high ranking school and the first social work school established in 1898 in the U.S.

CSSW is a leader in social work education and research since 1898. It fuses rigorous academic theory with real-world practice to enhance the welfare of citizens and communities in New York, the nation, and the world at large.

With 120 years of accomplishment and advancements, the Columbia School of Social Work seeks to utilize human well-being to its highest maximum in order to enable them to reach their full potential.

Additionally, the faculty, staff, and students are committed to eradicating injustice, alleviating suffering, combating racism, rectifying systemic inequities, and promoting full and fair access to opportunities in all sectors of life.

With highly accredited programs, students are given access to an active research and innovative studies while working side by side with experienced teachers. In all their programs, leadership skills are honed, so as to prepare graduates who emerge as leaders who will inspire and create positive change in their different environments.

CSSW community houses individuals from different backgrounds, disciplines, and experiences; by accepting new ideas, openness to learning, and commitment to mutual esteem and support.

According to the Dean, Melissa D. Begg, “We are a vibrant community that is always seeking new members with a demonstrated commitment to social justice, unbridled curiosity, and wide-ranging perspectives and expertise so that we can pursue better systems and better science for a better society. We are waiting to welcome you”

Why Should I Study In Columbia School of Social Work?

Columbia School of Social Work moves to develop leaders in social work practice and research whose work reflects professional values, knowledge, and skills. Here students are made to understand the value of knowledge and learning endlessly with a firm belief that knowledge is a tool for human growth and societal advancement.

CSSW offers a wide array of program options, robust student support, diverse field placement opportunities, and an extensive alumni network.

Here, students gain access to interface with professors whose scientific research is setting the pace for generating new knowledge about social work issues and problems.

So, whether you join CSSW in New York City or become an MSW student in their online campus, you will learn from some of the nation’s famous researchers and social service practitioners in child and family support policies, racial inequity, criminal justice, social school work, advanced clinical practice, and other related areas. Earning an MSW from Columbia School of Social Work gives you a solid academic foundation and practical mastery that makes you stand tall and make a meaningful impact in the lives of people and the society at large.

To sum it up, the School aims to:

  • Furnish graduate students for advanced social work practice and professional leadership within a diverse learning environment.
  • Advance knowledge for effective social work practice and education.
  • Enhance the well-being of the people and communities of New York City, the nation, and around the world.
  • Further the goals of the University and the social work profession through collaboration, consultation, and public service.

If you are eager to learn which evidence-based tools can help to promote social change, care about helping others, and want to advocate on behalf of marginalized and oppressed populations, you need to get prepared academically.

At the Columbia School of Social Work, you will find a ready-made community of people of diverse backgrounds who share your passion for social service—along with a commitment to groups and activities centered on social causes.

Columbia School of Social Work Rankings

Here’s a breakdown of CSSW ranking performance across websites:

  • Columbia University ranks as #3 Best School for Social Work by
  • #1 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs by Social Work Degree Center’s Guide to Social Work Education
  • #2 Best International School Work Degree Programs by Social Work Degree Center’s Guide to Social Work Education

What Majors Are Offered At Columbia School of Social Work?

The Columbia School of Social Work CSWE-accredited Masters of Social Work (MSW) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in social work. They also offer opportunities for licensed social workers to earn continuing education credits.

MSW Program

The MSW program at CSSW joins rigorous academic theory with real-world practice aimed at enhancing the welfare of citizens.

The MSW curriculum combines a foundational understanding of social work practice with a specialized focus on the students. This degree program exposes students to on-ground field training under the tutelage of experienced social work practitioners

The MSW program curriculum at Columbia emphasizes:

  • promoting social and economic justice, particularly for populations at risk;
  • practicing with diverse populations; and
  • evaluating practice outcomes.

To earn an MSW, you need to complete a progressive sequence of courses in accordance with the standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the School’s accrediting body. All students are required by the CSWE to take courses in:

  • human behavior and the social environment,
  • social welfare policy and services,
  • research,
  • social work practice, and
  • field education.

Additionally, students can choose among learning platforms, programs, concentrations, minors, and dual degrees. You can also enroll in an MSW online program. Online MSW students take classes with leading Columbia faculty and are placed at a field agency in their nearest metropolitan area.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work

The Columbia School of Social Work’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program has groomed many of the world’s most influential leaders in social work and social welfare scholarship since its inception in 1950.

The doctoral curriculum helps students develop and demonstrate the capacity to examine highly complex human problems in depth, arriving at new knowledge and solutions with rigorous and exacting minds.

The program is offered by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and administered by the School of Social Work. It equips candidates for careers as researchers, scholars, and educators. Doctoral students can choose from three concentrations

  • Advanced Practice
  • Social Policy and Policy Analysis
  • Social Policy and Administration (currently not accepting new applications)

A PhD in Social Work aspirant will complete approximately two years of full-time coursework, master content in a social work method, a related behavioral or social science, and a substantive field of practice, and prepare and defend a dissertation.

Doctoral students enjoy opportunities to learn from and conduct research with nationally and internationally recognized scholars in their respective fields that go beyond the School of Social Work. This interdisciplinary exposure provides equilibrium to social work’s professional concerns.

The PhD program requires approximately two years of course work (three semesters of full-time residency are required) and includes two to three advanced social work method courses at CSSW, plus courses in other professional schools and graduate divisions of the university.

Click here for more details.

Continuing education

CSSW offers a lifelong learning platform that expands your thinking, strengthens your practice, and helps to shape social work and related professions to meet the 21st-century standard.

This program offers:

  • Continuing education workshops on the latest mental health practices as well as pressing social issues that affect social work clients and agencies, hosted by the Social Work Office of Professional Excellence (SWOPE).
  • Training in complicated grief therapy, hosted by the Center for Complicated Grief.

You can also enroll for the program online.

Click here for more details.

What Is Columbia School of Social Work’s Acceptance Rate?

The acceptance rate of Columbia School of Social Work is undisclosed at the moment. However, Columbia University’s acceptance rate is 55%. This signifies that admission into the school of Social Work is highly competitive.

Therefore, your eligibility scores will compare with other applicants’ own to determine if you’ll be admitted.

Columbia School of Social Work Admission Requirements

Students of Columbia School of Social Work are keen to improve lives and strengthen communities by performing their roles as social work practitioners.

To make it into the institution, you need to satisfy the following requirements:

DSSW MSW program eligibility requirements

Candidates for the MSW program must meet the following criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Academic record suggesting the ability to excel at graduate-level study.
  • A serious commitment to the profession of social work and the capacity to meet the demands of professional training, often demonstrated by internships and life experiences.
  • For non-native English speaking applicants only: a combined TOEFL score of 100 or higher; IELTS Band of 7.0 or higher; Duolingo English Test score of 120 or higher.

Please note that this program doesn’t require GRE scores.

Application deadlines

For spring term (January) admission:

  • October 15 of the preceding year

Available program options: 16-month Program (on-campus only); Extended and Reduced Residency Programs (on-campus & online).
For fall term (September) admission:

  • FINAL DEADLINE: February 15

Available program options: Two-Year, Advanced Standing, Extended, Transfer, and Reduced Residency Programs (on-campus & online) and the International Program (on-campus only).

Can I Study In CSSW As An For International Student?

International students who wish to study in CSSW will have to enroll in the International Students Program (ISP) designed for international students who are pursuing higher degrees in social work but are unfamiliar with the U.S. social welfare system.

All you need to do is enroll for a five-term International Students Program, which features a Professional Immersion Seminar in the fall term covering U.S. social services as well as English-language enhancement courses.

It offers international students an opportunity to get up to speed on the special features of U.S. social services, and to improve and enhance their English skills, before beginning field education. As a member of the ISP, you’ll receive an introduction to social work practice in the United States—including the organizational structures and operation of American social service agencies—and learn about a variety of social welfare issues in this country.

To apply for an MSW as an international student, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Academic record suggesting the ability to excel at graduate-level study.
  • A serious commitment to the profession of social work and the capacity to meet the demands of professional training, often demonstrated by internships and life experiences.
  • For non-native English speaking applicants only: a combined TOEFL score of 100 or higher; IELTS Band of 7.0 or higher; Duolingo English Test score of 120 or higher.

English proficiency: TOEFL Or IELTS SCORES

Candidates who obtained their bachelor’s degree in a country where the primary language of instruction was not English must submit either of the following:

  • TOEFL: Required score minimum is 100 (or 600 paper-based). Scores must be sent directly from ETS. SOPHAS applicants use Institutional Code. HAMPCAS applicants use Institution Code #B589.
  • IELTS: Required scores minimum is 7.5. If submitting IELTS, please have them sent directly to our Office of Admissions.

PhD of Social Work eligibility requirements

A prototypical student’s route to the PhD in Social Work generally requires the completion of a
minimum of 49.5 credits. At a minimum, students must complete 30 credits within the Columbia
University system, 18 credits of which must be attained within the School of Social Work. This section provides a quick reference and overview of the program curriculum.

How Much Does It Cost To Study In Columbia School of Social Work? Columbia School of Social Work Tuition

Charges for all full-time entering MSW students are estimated to be a flat tuition rate of $25,400 per semester and are eligible to enroll for 10.5 to 19.5 credit hours each term. Students enrolled in the part-time programs will be charged $1,692 per credit. Students also are charged $1,692 per credit for credits over 19.5.

NOTE: Tuition charges for students in the 5-term International Students Program are estimated to be $21,270 each for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 terms. Students in the Advanced Standing Program will be charged $10,152 for the Summer 2022 term. Ph.D.? students registered for 9 or more credit hours in a term will be charged $26,070 and those registered between 3 and 8 credit hours in a term will be charged $14,120.

For a detailed analysis containing other fees payable, click HERE.

Can I Study Online At Columbia School of Social Work?

Columbia University is never far away, you can access their MSW program from anywhere in the globe.

Columbia School of Social Work is the first among the top five social work schools (U.S. News & World Report) to offer our MSW degree online and the first and only Ivy League school to do so.

Students in the online campus are held to the same high academic standards just like the on-campus students. Therefore, online students complete field placements in their own communities. Also, they have access to Columbia’s online library service, writing experts, and career guidance counselors.

So, if you have a tight work schedule and want to get an MSW degree without having to tweak your work schedule, an online MSW at Columbia School of Social Work is one that gives you flexibility. All you need to do to make the best out of the program is have excellent time management skills so, as to keep up with the program and still do your work.

New enrollees in the online campus join a cohort of students who are starting their studies at the same time.

In addition to the online MSW, Columbia School of Social Work is constantly exploring ways to offer continuing education in an online, location-independent format. Already, they offer:

  • 10-video series on the core techniques of complicated grief treatment: Watch online at your own pace, for four CEs. There is also a forum to share comments and ask questions. Ordering information here.
  • NEW: Registration is now open for Professor Robertson’s Coursera MOOC on social policy, which he talks about in this episode of the School’s Social Work LIVE program on Facebook:

How Much Does It Cost To Study Online At Columbia School of Social Work?

Here’s a breakdown of the tuition fees for online campus:

Two Tear Online Fall Spring Total
$25,400 $25,400 $50,800
Advanced Standard Online Summer Fall Spring Total
$10,152 $25,400 $25,400 $60,952
Extended Online Fall Spring Total
$10,152 $10,152 $20,304
Reduced Residency Online Fall Spring Total
$10,152 $10,152 $20,304

Available Scholarships At Columbia School of Social Work

Columbia School of Social Work grants every student access to quality education irrespective of his or her financial capabilities. As a student of CSSW, you will have access to financial aid options, like scholarships, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, and Private educational loan.

Scholarships at CSSW

The Columbia School of Social Work makes every effort to assist students with funding their education by offering scholarship aid.

The available scholarships are:

  • Need-Based Scholarships
  • Competitive awards
  • Columbia-Wide Graduate Student Funding

Need-Based Scholarships at CSSW

The Columbia School of Social Work grants 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. To qualify for a need-based award, you must be:

  • enrolled full-time (at least 10.5 credits) and in field education;
  • a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen; and
  • in good academic standing.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines your scholarship eligibility; you do not need to submit any other materials. Students who receive the general scholarship award as part of their initial financial aid package may have this award exchanged for a named award prior to or during the fall term. These endowed awards are products of the generous donations by CSSW alumni and friends:

  • Mary Powell Scholarship to Promote Social Responsibility
  • Ethel Lucas Mathiasen Memorial Scholarship
  • Myrna I. Lewis Endowed Scholarship
  • Helen Lehman Buttenwieser Scholarship

Competitive Awards at CSSW

CSSW awards several competitive scholarships and fellowships for students who are entering their final or advanced, year of study. Eligible candidates will be invited to apply via an email from the Office of Financial Aid. Award recipients are generally notified by the start of the fall term.

  • Paige E. Cook Jr. Fellowship: Awarded on the basis of academic excellence; preference is given to those with a career interest and work experience in substance use, the world of work, men’s issues, and cross-cultural issues in clinical practice.
  • Benjamin and Agnes Louard Fellowship: Awarded based on academic excellence and leadership potential; preference is given to full-time students who are committed to employment in the public, the voluntary non-profit sector, or in local grassroots groups serving primarily, but not restricted to, an African-American population.
  • Overbrook Fellowship for Advanced Study in Clinical Social Work: Awarded on the basis of leadership potential; preference is given to those pursuing clinical social work.
  • Mae L. Wien Prize in Family Planning, Counseling, and Population Control: Awarded for academic excellence; preference is given to those pursuing careers in family planning, counseling, and population control.
  • Honjo International Scholarship Foundation Scholarship at CSSW: Supports annual scholarships to CSSW students who demonstrate an interest in, and past commitment to, furthering U.S.-Japan relations through their program of study and/or related activities.
  • Fisher Cummings Washington Fellows Program: This fellows program provides an enriching educational and professional experience for final year Policy Practice students who aspire to be leaders in social policy, administration, and community practice at the national level.
  • Lowenstein Loan Repayment Fellowship: Awarded to graduating students to assist with the repayment of loans borrowed while at CSSW. Applicants must demonstrate need and have taken out at least $20,500 in loans in their final year at CSSW.

Columbia-Wide Graduate Student Funding

Columbia University offers other sources of funding to graduate students, including language-study stipends and research-based fellowships or grants. In addition to those listed below, the CSSW Office of Financial Aid will notify students via email when other University-sponsored funding opportunities become available.

  • Interschool Fellowships: Interschool fellowships are need-based institutional awards that are not restricted to students in one Columbia school or college. Annual amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. These scholarships have highly specific criteria, which students can read about here.
  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights: The Human Rights Essay Contest and Colloquium aim to encourage and acknowledge students who have written exceptional academic papers that address issues related to human rights.
  • European Institute: The European Institute offers summer travel grants to master’s students to support research and unpaid internships in Europe.
  • School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): The International Fellows Program at the School of International and Public Affairs is a two-semester seminar open to students of all graduate degree programs at Columbia University. All fellows receive a stipend and study an international affairs curriculum. Weekly meetings of the International Fellows Program are supplemented by study trips to Washington, D.C., and the United Nations.
  • Weatherhead East Asia Institute (WEAI): WEAI offers summer and academic year funding for graduate and professional school students who have language and/or research interests in Asia.
  • Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS): In affiliation with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), ILAS provides grants, scholarships, and fellowships to Columbia University graduate students with language and/or research interests in Latin America. For instance, the Lemann Foundation Interschool Fellowship provides financial assistance to master’s students with a commitment to addressing crucial development challenges facing Brazil, such as public health and education.

Click HERE to APPLY.


Studying at Columbia School of Social Work is rewarding; it is also a big commitment. As you contemplate which school is the best fit for you and your requirements as a budding social work professional, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about us and the wider university community.

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