Frequently Asked Questions - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions Online MSW Program

Will the online component require synchronous (scheduled) meeting times?
This will be handled on a case-by-case basis according to the instructor. If a synchronous meeting time is required, instructors will attempt to coordinate a meeting time that works for everyone.

Do I have to be an expert with computers?
You don’t need to be an expert with computers, but it is helpful if you have basic computer skills and have experience with Zoom and Youtube. Our technical support team will do an initial Canvas training and the University has resources to answer your computer-related questions and provide assistance with technical issues. New students also receive special support during orientation prior to starting classes.

What courses do online students take and how long will it take to complete the MSW program?
As required for all of our MSW enrollment models, students must complete a minimum of 51 semester credit hours as well as 900 hours of practicum in order to meet the MSW degree requirements. Full program students complete the program in 3 years and advanced standing students complete it in 2 years. *Students with a BSW can apply for Advanced Standing status.

What are the practicum requirements? 
During their practicum education, students work at an agency to complete practicum hours.  The agency provides an opportunity for students to apply classroom knowledge to actual professional experiences in social work. Most Hybrid and Online Students begin their practicum placement in the Fall Semester of their first year. Throughout the program, students complete 900 hours of practicum.

Who are the faculty that teach online courses?
Full-time faculty members and adjunct faculty teach online courses in the GCSW.

What will I need to do to complete the practicum requirements and will I be able to do it while working?
We understand that online students might need flexible practicum hours because of work commitments, and for this reason, we encourage online students to begin thinking about their practicum prior to beginning the program. A practicum coordinator is available to help you identify practicum placement opportunities in your area.

How will I know what classes to take? How do I register for classes?
Registration instructions are provided at summer orientation that precedes your first semester of enrollment. Additional information about orientation is included in the admissions letter.

Can I choose a concentration in Macro practice, such as Administration or Policy?
The GCSW offers Clinical and Macro areas of specialized practice for online students.

Will it be difficult for me to get to know other students in the GCSW?
Like traditional students, our online students will be assigned to a cohort and will take online classes with this same cohort throughout the program. During this time, utilizing innovative technology, students develop supportive professional relationships with their online classmates that enhance the learning environment and help establish a network of support throughout the educational process. 

How big are the classes? How will I have contact with my professor in an online class?
There will be approximately 25 students assigned to a cohort. Because this is a relatively small class size, students will receive individualized attention from instructors.  Most interaction takes place between instructors and students through threaded discussions.  However, some faculty may hold ‘live’ office hours or ‘live’ class meetings via webcam, similar to a video conference.  Many of your courses will require group assignments, where students will have to work together.  The University provides a learning platform that allows for synchronous group meetings utilizing audio and/or video technology.

Are online classes easier than face-to-face classes?
Our online program maintains the same rigorous standards as our face-to-face program.  Oftentimes, students report that more time is spent on coursework in the online environment than in the face-to-face environment. For planning purposes, each 3-hour course requires about 6-8 hours/week of time spent reading or completing learning activities or assignments.

What are the technological requirements for this program? 
Please visit the UH Online & Special Programs link to review the technical requirements for running software programs required for online courses. Certain software downloads are available to students at no cost or a reduced cost.  In addition, courses require a webcam and/or microphone. Our hybrid and online courses use the learning management system (LMS) Blackboard.

Is the Online MSW Program available to students living outside the United States? 
At this time, the Online MSW Program does not have the capacity to support students residing outside the US., except for students on a U.S. military base.

What is the approximate tuition cost for the 3 year Online MSW Program?
You can visit the website at for an idea about tuition cost which will vary each semester depending on how many hours you are enrolled.  Online students incur additional distance education fees.

Is financial aid available?
Financial aid is available for students taking 5 hours or more in one semester. To find out more about federal loans and grants, contact the UH Financial Aid Office at 713-743-1010 or see their website at You might also check with your place of employment to see if reimbursement programs are available.