MSW Advanced Standing

Many schools of social work offer "Advanced Standing" entry into the graduate program for MSW applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree in social work. The major undergraduate prerequisite is that the bachelor's degree be from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program. In most cases an Advanced Standing MSW can be completed in one full year rather than two academic years. Some schools require three semesters.

Obtaining Advanced Standing Status

The two elements that shorten the MSW for students with a bachelor's in social work are the academic basics that have already been covered at the undergraduate level, and the field work experience that undergraduates are also required to complete as part of their major. The graduate schools meet CSWE requirements for field work by allowing the transfer of credits given for that field work, along with some of the academic credits. In that fashion an Advanced Standing entry ties together all of the requirements for a master's degree contained in CSWE standards and that might be defined in state licensing standards.

Advanced Standing MSW Formats

At Boston University the requirements for advanced standing include a 3.0 undergraduate GPA in the social work degree, which must have been completed no more than six years prior to application to the MSW program. After meeting those requirements the Advanced Standing student is credited for 24 semester hours, leaving 41 to be completed for the MSW academic requirement. The field work component for advanced standing (At BU) is advanced field work, requiring 24 hours a week on the job. Most students can complete this program in two semesters plus part of the summer session if they are full time students.

At the University of North Carolina, Advanced Standing students enroll in the summer session and complete two course during that period, and then move on to complete 27 credit hours over the following two semesters of the school year. As with Boston University, the field work requirement is for the advanced work typically done in the second year of a MSW program. The field work an Advanced Standing student has done as an undergraduate is generally basic in nature and requires a commitment of fewer hours that the MSW second year, which is devoted to the student's area of concentration.

This program is a one year sprint - it's not an easy challenge. At New York University the Advanced Standing degree requires the completion of ten classes over a two semester period - five classes per semester, which would be a burden for most full time students. But in addition to the academic load, there is a field work obligation that requires 600 hours. This particular School of Social work has working relationships with over 600 nonprofit organizations and public agencies spread throughout the tri-state area so an Advanced Standing candidate is going to have to engage in substantial research to secure the appropriate field work location.

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