Online Advanced Standing MSW Programs

Embarking on an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work (MSW) Program is an exciting journey for individuals who have already earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree and are seeking to further their expertise in the field. This article is designed to guide prospective students through the nuances of these accelerated programs, offering a quicker pathway to an MSW and facilitating career advancement in social work.

What Is an Online Advanced Standing MSW Program?

An Advanced Standing MSW Program is a specialized track designed for students who have already completed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. It allows these students to bypass foundational courses, enabling them to complete their Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in a shorter period, often within one year.

Online Advanced Standing MSW Programs Overview

An advanced standing MSW program is available for students with previous education in the field, typically at the undergraduate level. To qualify for an MSW program, you must hold a BSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program.

The primary difference between an advanced standing and a traditional MSW program is the time frame and scope of courses. While traditional programs may initially focus on foundational courses, advanced standing programs dive straight into new ideas, concepts, and skills.

The Application Process

To see if you qualify for an online advanced standing program, start by applying to a specific university. Each program has its own admissions requirements. For example:

  • Hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the past five years.
  • Have a cumulative and/or social work class GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Pass a background check and drug test.
  • Provide one or more letters of recommendation.
  • Submit a resume.
  • Complete one or more admissions essays.

20 Online Advanced Standing MSW Programs

1. Appalachian State University MSW

Program Highlights

  • CSWE Accredited: Appalachian’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Comprehensive Training: The program focuses on advanced clinical practice, leadership, community development, advocacy, and innovative program planning and administration.
  • Licensure Eligibility: Graduates qualify to apply for clinical social work and social work manager licenses.
  • Integrated Field Education: In-depth field education integrated with academic learning.
  • Advanced Standing Options:
    • Available to graduates with BSW degrees from CSWE-accredited programs or equivalent international credentials.
    • Offered as both full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 years) tracks.
    • Accessible on-campus or online.
  • Interdisciplinary Opportunities: Part of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, linking graduates to a network across various health disciplines including nutrition, nursing, health care management, and more.
  • Professional Networking: Prepares for professional partnerships and collaborations within a wide network of health and social work professionals.

Admission Requirements:

  • State Specific Licensure: If seeking professional licensure outside North Carolina, understand specific state requirements where you plan to apply.
  • Degree Requirements: Must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Graduate School Application: Complete the application to the Graduate School.
  • GRE Scores: Official general GRE exam scores required unless waived.
  • Educational Background: An undergraduate liberal arts background with knowledge from various disciplines is necessary.
  • GPA and Test Scores:
  • 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official test scores, or
  • 2.5 GPA and scores at the 25th percentile level on the appropriate admission test(s).
  • Advanced Standing Option: Available for applicants with a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program completed within the last seven years before class start, with a 3.2 GPA in BSW courses.

2. Auburn University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Accreditation: The MSW program is fully accredited, focusing on advanced clinical social work in health and mental health.
  • Faculty Expertise: Learn from faculty with extensive clinical experience.
  • Practical Experience:
    • Engage in internships and service-learning with an emphasis on health disparities, prevention, and policy.
    • Complete a significant 512-hour advanced clinical placement internship, spread over two semesters.
  • Advanced Standing Program:
    • 39 credit hours designed for students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Flexible Study Options:
    • Available full-time (3 semesters or 1 year on campus).
    • Part-time over 6 semesters (2 years), suited for working professionals.
    • Fully online options available.

Admission Requirements:

  • Eligibility: Open to candidates with an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • GRE Requirement: Not required unless GPA is below 3.0.
  • Application Process: All applications and fees must be submitted through Auburn University’s Graduate School.
  • Advanced Standing:
    • Candidates must meet general admission requirements.
    • Requires a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution.

3. Baylor University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Advanced Standing Program:
    • Tailored for students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • Comprises 30 credit hours.
  • Research and Curriculum:
    • Located at a Research 1 institution, Baylor’s curriculum is innovative and research-grounded.
    • Equips students with skills, theories, and models to tackle complex social justice issues.
  • Program Flexibility:
    • Offers both in-person/residential and online formats to accommodate different learning preferences.
    • Full-time (10+ credit hours) and part-time (up to 9 credit hours) pathways available in both formats.
  • Online Learning Design:
    • Features a mix of asynchronous and synchronous content delivery.
    • Online courses are crafted by faculty using the latest distance education research and best practices to ensure a personal and student-centered experience.

Admission Requirements:

  • Completion of relevant coursework in the applicant’s bachelor’s program.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, considered along with all other application materials.
  • Demonstrated effective written communication and critical thinking skills through essay submissions.
  • High-quality letters of recommendation from academic and professional references familiar with the applicant’s graduate school preparedness.
  • GRE scores are not required.

4. Boston University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Advanced Standing Track Availability:
    • Charles River Campus (Boston): Offers both full-time and part-time Advanced Standing options.
    • Off-Campus Program: Fall River and Bedford campuses provide part-time Advanced Standing.
    • Online Program: Available with part-time Advanced Standing.
  • Credit Requirements:
    • Advanced Standing students receive 22-25 credit hours upon acceptance.
    • Additional 43 credits required for graduation, reduced to 40 credits with a pass in the Research 1 Waiver Exam.
    • Credits must be completed at the School of Social Work or through a School-approved course of study.
    • No transfer credits accepted towards the MSW degree.

Admission Requirements:

  • General Applicant Requirements: Must be met by all candidates.
  • Degree Requirement: Must have an undergraduate social work degree from a CSWE-accredited college or university.
  • Degree Recency: Degree must be obtained within six years of program entry.
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Field Evaluation: Submit a copy of the final field evaluation from senior year field placement.

5. Case Western Reserve University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Top-Ranked Institution: Earn a degree from Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, ranked #9 in the country.
  • Designed for Professionals: The MSW program is offered online, catering to working professionals nationwide.
  • Online Learning Experience:
    • Features weekly live classes and in-person field education.
    • Continuous student support throughout the program.
    • Seamless integration into various lifestyles without the need for campus visits.
    • Maintains the same rigor as on-campus and intensive weekend options.
  • Digital Classroom:
    • Utilizes Zoom, an intuitive platform accessible on desktop and mobile.
    • Small online classes of about 15 students, promoting close collaboration with faculty and peers.
  • Expert Faculty:
    • Program designed and led by the same distinguished faculty who teach on-campus.
    • Learn from leaders in social work education committed to shaping the field and training future social work leaders.
  • Comprehensive Student Support:
    • Full access to dedicated student-support staff, including technology support, academic advising, and field placement assistance.
    • Career services provided, including counseling and networking opportunities, to prepare students for post-graduation success.

Admission Requirements:

  • Uniform Admissions Standards: Online MSW program shares the same admissions criteria as the full-time, on-campus, and intensive weekend programs.
  • Degree Requirement: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 required.
  • GRE and Fees:
    • GRE not required for application.
    • No application fee.

6. Fairfield University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Specialized Curriculum: Focuses on clinical specialization, with a strong commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression, intersectionality, and justice.
  • Professional Preparation: Trains highly competent professionals in prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.
  • Diverse Practice Settings: Prepares clinical social workers for various settings such as private practice, hospitals, community mental health, primary care, and agencies.
  • Low-Residency Model: Combines online courses with on-campus residencies, enhancing learning through interaction with faculty and peers.
  • Accreditation:
    • The MSW program is accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE).
    • Initial accreditation granted through 2029, confirming compliance with all standards and policies.
  • Completion Time: Varies from 9 to 48 months, accommodating both full-time and part-time schedules.
  • Advanced Standing:
    • Available to graduates of accredited BSW programs.
    • Enables completion of a 30-credit curriculum and 650 hours of field experience full-time in three semesters.
    • Courses begin in the summer.
  • Certification Assurance: All students, whether in the two-year or advanced standing tracks, will graduate from a CSWE-accredited program.

Admission Requirements:

  • Degree Requirement: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • GPA Requirement: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is preferred.
  • Application Process:
    • Complete an online application.
    • Pay a non-refundable $65 application fee, waived for current Fairfield students and information session attendees.
  • Supporting Documents:
    • Submit a professional resume detailing employment and educational history.
    • Provide a personal statement (1–2 pages) explaining the motivation for graduate studies in social work.
    • Supply official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, showing a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved service.
  • Recommendations:
    • Two recommendation forms and letters are required, preferably one from a current employer or supervisor.
    • Recommendations are to be completed online; applicants must provide email addresses and names of their recommenders.

7. Florida State University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Pioneering Online Format: FSU’s Online MSW program was the first nationally to offer asynchronous online instruction.
  • Licensure Preparation: Program designed to prepare students for social work licensure, training them to work with diverse clients in various settings.
  • Weekend Workshops: Requires attendance in Tallahassee during the second and third semesters for clinical skills training with faculty and peers.
  • Graduation Participation: Encouragement for all online students to attend graduation ceremonies to celebrate their achievements.
  • Part-Time Program:
    • Typically involves 6 hours of coursework.
  • Clinical Social Work Concentration:
    • Focuses on providing therapeutic services.
    • Facilitates client access to community resources.
    • Promotes cooperative work with human service professionals and organizations.
    • Empirical evaluation of social work practice interventions.
  • Program Tracks:
    • Traditional Program: Open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
    • Advanced Standing Program: Requires a Bachelor of Social Work degree for admission.

Admission Requirements:

  • GRE Requirement:
    • GRE waived for all applicants through the 2026 admissions cycle.
  • Application Components:
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Resume
    • Letters of Recommendation
  • GPA Requirement Exception:
    • Applicants with a GPA below the minimum of 3.0 may petition the MSW admissions committee for an exceptional waiver.

8. Fordham University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Top-Tier Education Online: Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service ranks as one of the nation’s best, offering the same high-quality education online.
  • Future-Focused Curriculum: OnlineMSW@Fordham delivers an advanced integrated practice curriculum relevant across populations and contexts.
  • Fieldwork Training: Extensive fieldwork training is conducted locally, allowing students to apply graduate-level social work concepts within their communities.
  • Licensure Preparation: Graduates are prepared to sit for social work licensure in their respective states.
  • Advanced Standing Online MSW:
    • Available to those with a Bachelor of Social Work or who have completed the first year of a CSWE-accredited program within the last five years.
    • The program includes 31 credits of advanced direct-practice coursework.
    • Can be completed in as few as eight months full-time or 16 months part-time.
  • Career Preparation:
    • Emphasizes holistic, 21st-century social work practice as defined by the CSWE.
    • Prepares students for diverse careers, including:
      • Clinical Practice: Providing direct services to enhance clients’ well-being.
      • Organizational Leadership: Effectively working within communities and various organizations.
      • Advocacy: Leading organizations, crafting policy, and promoting social, economic, and political change.

Admission Requirements:

  • Student Profile: Seeks dedicated students committed to the values and ethics of the social work profession.
  • Holistic Review: Applications are reviewed holistically to admit a diverse and qualified student body with various academic and professional backgrounds.
  • Admission Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
    • Minimum GPA of 2.6 (3.0 or higher preferred).
    • At least 18 undergraduate liberal arts credits.
  • Application Components:
    • Online application.
    • Personal statement.
    • Undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate transcripts (electronic preferred).
    • Letter of recommendation.
    • Current résumé/CV.
    • $60 application fee.

9. Michigan State University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Program Type: Statewide Blended Advanced Standing, MSW (Master of Social Work).
  • Hybrid Course Delivery:
    • 36 total credits required.
    • Minimum duration of 1 year.
    • Combines online learning with face-to-face instruction/Zoom videoconferencing.
    • Classes start fully online in the Summer.
    • Monthly Zoom classes during fall and spring semesters.
    • Remaining coursework completed independently online.
  • Accreditation: Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  • Specializations:
    • Clinical Practice.
    • Organization and Community Leadership (OCL).
  • Program Formats:
    • Available in full-time (3 semesters) and part-time (two-year) formats.
  • Program Outcomes:
    • Provides the knowledge, skills, and values needed for effective professional social work practice.
    • Integrated coursework and field experience prepare students as skilled social work practitioners.
    • Optional learning opportunities available, including certificate programs, Advocacy Scholars Program, Research Scholars Program, Education Abroad, and dual degree options (MSW/JD and MSW/MPH).

Admission Requirements:

  • Degree Requirement:
    • Must hold a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a recognized institution.
    • Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are not accepted.
  • GPA Requirements:
    • Minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale required.
    • Primary consideration given to the GPA of the last 60 credits of undergraduate study.
    • Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 must explain circumstances and readiness for graduate study.
  • Application Materials:
    • Résumé.
    • Personal statement: A 3-page double-spaced essay with specific guidelines available at
    • 3 letters of recommendation from professional, academic, or volunteer settings.
    • Official transcripts from all attended institutions.

10. Samford University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Christian Learning Community: Samford University’s MSW program emphasizes a Christian perspective, preparing graduates for service in diverse practice settings.
  • Academic Rigor:
    • Focuses on mastery of core social work knowledge, values, and skills from an evidence-based perspective.
  • Commitment to Justice:
    • Promotes human rights and social and economic justice reflecting God’s desire for justice and love for all humanity.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration:
    • Encourages collaboration across professions to address complex human needs effectively.
  • Cultural Sensitivity:
    • Prepares practitioners to work with cultural sensitivity, recognizing human diversity as a global community strength.
  • Integration of Faith:
    • Integrates faith in practice, respecting diversity and differences across cultures.
  • Flexible Study Options:
    • Full-time and part-time study options available.
    • Evening courses to accommodate working students.
  • Plans of Study:
    • Part-time program over four years.
    • Full-time program over two years.
    • Advanced Standing options: two years part-time or one year full-time.

Admission Requirements:

  • Reference Letters Requirement:
    • Submit three letters of reference through the application portal: one from a current or previous professor, one from a work supervisor, and one from a professional colleague.
  • Academic Prerequisites:
    • Must have completed an undergraduate statistics class with a grade of C or higher from an institutionally accredited college or university.
  • Additional Requirements for Advanced Standing Applicants:
    • Field Evaluation: Submit the final evaluation from your undergraduate social work field placement. If unavailable, provide a letter from the field supervisor detailing the nature and quality of work performed.
    • Confirmation of Good Standing:
      • A letter or email from the program Field Education Director confirming the student’s good standing in the field education program.
      • A letter or email from the current field supervisor confirming the student’s good standing with the field site.
  • Credit for Experience:
    • Samford University’s MSW program does not award academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.

11. Simmons University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Program Overview:
    • Clinically focused, CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work (MSW) program.
    • Curriculum incorporates social justice values and a multicultural perspective.
    • Prepares students for direct practice in various clinical settings.
  • Credit and Practicum Details:
    • Offers 34-65 graduate-level credits through advanced standing and traditional MSW programs.
    • Includes two practicum education experiences.
    • Provides over 1,000 hours of practicum education.
  • Completion Time:
    • As few as 9 months to complete the program.
  • Advanced Standing Track:
    • Available to holders of a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • Requires completion of 34 credits.
    • Can be completed in as few as 9 months with the two-term option, or 12 months with the three-term option.

Admission Requirements:

  • Program Overview:
    • The advanced standing online MSW program requires 34 credits.
    • Can be completed in less than 12 months.
  • Admissions:
    • Multiple start dates available throughout the year.
    • Applications reviewed on a rolling basis for quicker admission decisions.
  • Eligibility for Advanced Standing:
    • Requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher in BSW coursework.
    • Applicants must demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the social work field.

12. Syracuse University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Target Audience: The Syracuse University online M.S.W. Advanced Standing program is tailored for individuals who have already completed a Bachelor of Social Work and want to accelerate their path to a Master of Social Work.
  • Program Features:
    • Immersive Fieldwork: Offers significant fieldwork opportunities that allow students to apply learning in real-world settings.
    • Engaging Online Classes: Live, interactive online classes promote engagement with faculty and peers.
    • Focus on Social Justice: Prepares students to advance human rights and social justice through diverse engagement and evaluation methods.
  • Online Student Experience:
    • Immersive Online Campus: Centralized platform for Zoom HD classes, self-paced coursework, break-out rooms, and progress tracking.
    • Flexible Scheduling: Accommodates working professionals with variable class times and 24/7 access to coursework via a mobile app.
    • Smart Platform Features: Includes user-friendly options like dark mode, castable content, variable video speeds, and closed captioning for accessibility.

Admission Requirements:

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Must have graduated within the past 10 years from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
    • Requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in all social work courses for admission to the online Advanced Standing M.S.W. program.
  • Application Requirements:
    • Transcripts: Needed from all postsecondary institutions from which degrees were earned or will be earned, plus any institutions where prerequisite courses were completed.
    • Resume or CV: Should detail employment history and academic accomplishments.
    • Essay: A 600–800 word personal essay discussing professional goals, future plans, academic interests, and reasons for selecting the Advanced Standing online M.S.W. program.
    • Prerequisite Coursework:
      • At least 30 credits of liberal arts coursework, including:
        • 3 credits in Physical or Natural Science.
        • 6 credits in Computational Skills.
        • 6 credits in Humanities.
        • 12 credits in Social Sciences.
    • Letters of Recommendation: Three required, with one from a practice instructor, one from a field supervisor or field placement coordinator, and one from an academic or professional source.

13. Temple University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Rigorous Training: Students learn to advance social and economic justice through Temple University’s Master of Social Work (MSW), part of the College of Public Health.
  • Real-World Experience:
    • Integration of theory with hands-on skills via field practicum courses.
    • Placements available at over 500 human service and social change organizations in and beyond the Philadelphia region.
  • Renowned Faculty:
    • Faculty are nationally-recognized experts in various fields including aging, children and families, LGBTQ health, mental health, and substance abuse.
  • Diverse Student and Faculty Population:
    • Diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds enhance classroom interactions and learning experiences.
  • Concentrations:
    • Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families: Training for clinical therapy roles in both outpatient and inpatient settings; career options include case management and private practice.
    • Macro Practice in Organizations, Communities, and Policy Arenas: Training for leadership in nonprofit and governmental agencies, with a focus on management skills and promoting systemic change.
  • Program Format:
    • Regular Entry MSW Program: 60 credits, can be completed full-time in two years or part-time in three to four years.
    • Advanced Standing MSW Program: For those with a BSW earned within the past five years, comprising 34.5 credits plus 25.5 transferred credits. This can be completed full-time in 12 months or part-time in 18 months.

Admission Requirements:

  • Application Components:
    • Application form
    • Transcripts from all educational institutions attended
    • Résumé or CV
    • Goal statement detailing professional aspirations
    • Letters of reference
  • Additional Requirements for Advanced Standing Applicants:
    • Submit a copy of the final evaluation from senior field placement.
    • One of the three required letters of reference must come from a faculty member within the applicant’s BSW program.

14. University of Central Florida MSW

Program Highlights

  • Accreditation and Ranking:
    • Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
    • Ranked in the top 30 percent of social work programs by US News & World Report.
  • Online MSW Program:
    • Flexible course schedule with part-time plan of study.
    • Courses conducted in seven-week terms, taken one at a time.
    • Cost savings up to $200 per credit hour compared to similar online MSW programs.
    • Admissions available in fall, summer, and spring.
    • Support from dedicated success coaches to ensure academic and professional progression.
    • Cohort-based learning for enhanced peer support.
    • Opportunities for hands-on field placements across the United States and other territories.

Admission Requirements:

  • Eligibility: Designed for students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program within the last six years.
  • GPA Requirement: Must have a GPA of 3.3 in the last 60 credit hours.
  • Admission Timing: Admits once a year in the fall semester.
  • Program Structure: Completes 32 credit hours over four semesters.
  • Cohort Model: Students progress through the program with the same group of peers.

15. University of Connecticut MSW

Program Highlights

  • Program Overview:
    • A 60-credit online MSW program designed to meet state and national workforce needs.
    • Entirely online with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous, part-time classes.
  • Ranking & Recognition:
    • Ranked #28 among best graduate schools for social work by U.S. News & World Report.
    • Positioned in the top 9% of programs nationwide.
  • Cost and Accessibility:
    • Tuition cost is $880 per credit.
    • Uniform cost for all students, regardless of state of residency.
  • Employment Outlook:
    • 7% projected growth in employment of social workers from 2023-2032.
  • Program Flexibility:
    • Designed to accommodate the schedules of professional adult students.
    • Offers a flexible path to clinical and direct practice careers.
  • Course Structure:
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of social work theory and practice.
    • Focus on Individuals, Groups, and Families Practice (IGFP).
    • Coursework designed to maximize flexibility without compromising educational quality.
  • Application Information:
    • Next application deadline is July 1, 2024, for Fall 2024 admission.
  • Advanced Standing Option:
    • Available for students who qualify to accelerate their studies.
    • Can complete the MSW in less than one year or 18 months with this option.
  • Flexible Learning Options:
    • Full-time track can be completed in less than one year.
    • Focus areas include Individual, Groups, and Families; Policy Practice; or Community Organizing.

Admission Requirements:

  • Online MSW Application Requirements:
    • Must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
    • Requires a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, with particular focus on the last two years of undergraduate studies.
    • Applicants should have a broad liberal arts background with skills in creative, analytical, and dialectical thinking, developed through studies in literature, the arts, politics, economics, history, philosophy, and the human and natural sciences.

16. University of Denver MSW

Program Highlights

  • Program Overview:
    • The University of Denver offers a top-ranked Master of Social Work (MSW) online program designed to advance equity across communities.
    • No GRE or prior work experience required for admission.
  • Ranking:
    • Ranked #1 in Colorado and #11 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Program Duration and Structure:
    • Advanced Standing track: Complete in as few as 18 months.
    • Traditional track: Complete in as few as 21 months.
    • Offers flexible field placement options, combining virtual and in-person experiences.
  • Concentrations and Flexibility:
    • Two concentrations available.
    • Four start dates annually: January, March, June, and September.
    • Traditional MSW students may complete some field internship hours virtually.
  • Educational Experience:
    • Program integrates online live classes with self-paced content.
    • Field internships apply classroom concepts in practical settings, with options for virtual field experience.
  • Faculty and Support:
    • Access to expert faculty for individual interaction during live sessions or office hours.
    • Comprehensive career support and connectivity with a global alumni network.
  • Program Legacy:
    • 90 years of history in social work education advancement at the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) at the University of Denver.

Admission Requirements:

  • MSW Program Requirements:
    • Undergraduate Education: Must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • GPA Requirement: Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Advanced-Standing MSW Program Requirements:
    • Undergraduate Education: Must hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • GPA Requirement: Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for the BSW.

17. University of Georgia MSW

Program Highlights

  • World-Class Education:
    • Learn current, evidence-based practices from world-class faculty.
    • Ranked No. 18 among public master of social work programs by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Field Internships and Research Opportunities:
    • Gain practical experience through impactful field internships.
    • Engage in research focused on your areas of interest, guided by top scholars and professionals.
  • Flexible Learning Options:
    • Campuses in Athens, metro Atlanta, and online.
    • Full-time, extended-time, and online study options available.
    • Full-time students can choose from three specializations: micro practice, macro practice, or integrated practice.
    • Extended-time and Online programs offer the micro practice specialization only.
  • Dual Degrees and Certifications:
    • Offers dual master’s degrees in public health (MSW/MPH) and law (MSW/JD).
    • Certificates available in substance use counseling, marriage and family therapy, nonprofit management and leadership, and gerontology.
  • Financial and Professional Support:
    • Provides financial resources to support professional goals and make education accessible.

Admission Requirements:

  • Advanced Standing Program:
    • Designed for students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • Allows completion of the MSW in just one additional year (11 months).
    • Enables students to earn both BSW and MSW in less than five years.
  • Eligibility for Advanced Standing:
    • BSW must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
    • BSW must have been earned within five years of starting the MSW program.
    • Requires a minimum 3.2 GPA in undergraduate social work courses.
  • Alternative Options:
    • If BSW GPA is below 3.2 or BSW was obtained more than five years ago, eligibility shifts to the regular MSW program.
    • Applicants with a BSW within ten years who have relevant social work experience may still qualify for advanced standing.
    • Students can choose to apply to the regular MSW program instead of advanced standing by specific request.

18. UNC Chapel Hill MSW

Program Highlights

  • Degree Offerings:
    • Offers Master of Social Work (MSW) and Ph.D. in Social Work.
  • Mission and Online MSW Response:
    • Committed to advancing equity, transforming systems, and improving lives.
    • Developed an innovative Online MSW to meet increasing demand for flexible social work education.
  • Flexibility:
    • Asynchronous and synchronous online courses cater to both working professionals and new graduates.
    • Allows students to manage their study schedules while maintaining current jobs and commitments.
  • Quality:
    • Ranked as a Top 10 school of social work globally.
    • High-touch approach with access to world-class faculty and tailored practicum placements.
  • Accessibility:
    • Online format expands access to the MSW program globally.
    • No GRE required for admission, enhancing accessibility.
  • Preparedness:
    • Curriculum designed to prepare students for advanced practice in both micro and macro social work settings.
    • Training focuses on direct practice as well as community practice, administration, policy, and advocacy.

Admission Requirements:

  • General Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution.
    • A broad academic background from various disciplines.
    • Submission of unofficial transcripts from all attended colleges and universities.
    • A detailed 4-5 page Statement of Purpose.
    • Three letters of recommendation.
    • Current resume or CV.
  • Advanced Standing Program Requirements:
    • Designed for graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • 12-month accelerated program starting in May.
    • Minimum “B” grade average in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study.
    • Minimum “B” grade in all required undergraduate social work courses.
    • Satisfactory completion of 400 clock hours in a direct service placement with a “B” (or higher) grade.
    • At least one recommendation letter from a BSW program faculty member.

19. University of Southern California MSW

Program Highlights

  • Specialization in Integrative Social Work: Focuses on a comprehensive understanding of clients across all domains using historical, cultural, and political perspectives to address social problems and advocate for social justice.
  • Flexible Learning Options:
    • Full-time or part-time study availability.
    • Courses offered fully in-person in Los Angeles, completely online, or in a hybrid format (first year in-person in LA or San Diego, second year online).
  • Curriculum:
    • Foundational courses in assessment, clinical practice, theory, research, social policy, wellness, and ethics.
    • Specialized tracks available in military, adult health and wellness, children, youth and families, and schools or a customizable general track.
    • 1,200 hours of practicum education to apply classroom skills in real-world settings.
  • Additional Education: Opportunity to enhance the degree with specialized certificates available within the School of Social Work and across university programs.
  • Licensure and Credentialing:
    • The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
    • Designed to meet eligibility requirements for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exams.
    • Provides a pathway to licensure but does not fulfill all licensure requirements upon completion.

Admission Requirements:

  • Traditional Master of Social Work Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • A minimum of 18 units of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework including both social and biological sciences.
    • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for admission into the full-time, 4-semester program.
    • Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA below 2.8 will not be considered.
  • Advanced Standing Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program.
    • Degree must have been earned within the past five years.
    • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in all social work courses.

20. Yeshiva University MSW

Program Highlights

  • Dedicated to Service: The Wurzweiler School of Social Work emphasizes a tradition of service, preparing students for a career dedicated to helping others.
  • Online Flexibility:
    • Study online from anywhere, anytime.
    • Offers full- or part-time enrollment options.
    • Standard program completion in as few as 2.5 years; Advanced Standing students can finish in as few as 1.5 years.
  • Program Structure:
    • No GRE required for admission.
    • 8-week course terms with six terms per year.
    • 30 hours of supervised fieldwork experience required.
    • Three start times throughout the year to accommodate varying schedules.
  • Robust Support:
    • Extensive student support systems including dedicated faculty, social work professionals, and Student Success Coordinators to assist with academic and career preparation.

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application: Must submit a fully completed application form.
  • GPA Requirement: Minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale required.
    • Applicants below 3.0 may be considered for provisional admission, which could include an interview and an additional writing sample.
  • Personal Statement:
    • Must submit a personal statement of no more than 500 words, double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font.
    • Statement should detail personal qualities and skills relevant to succeeding in both the program and as a social worker.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
    • Requires one letter of recommendation from either an academic or professional reference.
  • Official Transcripts:
    • Must provide official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.

Online Advanced Standing MSW Program Benefits

Advanced standing programs offer several benefits for students who qualify.

Accelerated Training

With an advanced standing program, you can earn your MSW degree within one year. Your previous education and coursework allow you to take fewer courses and spend fewer hours studying.

Enhanced Accessibility

  • Geographical Flexibility: Online programs remove geographical barriers, allowing you to attend top MSW programs regardless of your location, without the need to relocate or commute.
  • Learning Environment Choice: Engage with coursework from anywhere you have internet access, whether at home, during travel, or in a setting that suits your learning style best.
  • Adjustable Learning Pace: Many online programs offer asynchronous classes, enabling you to access and complete coursework according to your personal schedule, which is ideal for balancing work, family, or other commitments.

Fulfilling Career Options

An advanced standing MSW opens doors to careers as social workers, therapists, counselors, probation officers, and other professional roles. Graduates of advanced standing programs can make a difference in helping individuals and communities.

In-Depth Education

An MSW is an advanced degree that offers specialized training. It provides you with a deeper understanding, knowledge, and practical experience in social work.

Versatile Skills

MSW programs train you in social policy, education, mental health support, and other critical areas. You’ll develop essential soft skills such as active listening, empathy, and problem-solving, which are valuable in various settings.


Many advanced standing programs allow you to work at your own pace. While some programs may have specific time frames for completing all courses, they are often more flexible than traditional programs.

Networking Opportunities

The flexibility of advanced standing programs invites classmates from diverse backgrounds. As such, these courses provide exclusive opportunities to build extensive professional networks that could prove highly advantageous later in your career.


The accelerated learning journey of advanced standing programs enables you to optimize the time and effort invested in your professional development. These special course arrangements pave the way for a more rewarding and fulfilling career where you can expedite earning an income while pursuing your passions.

How Much Does an Advanced Outstanding Program Cost?

The cost of advanced standing MSW programs varies depending on the location, school, and whether it’s an online or in-person program. Typically, the costs start around $10,000. Tuition for the Advanced Standing MSW online program at the University of Nevada–Reno, for example, is $11,550. However, program costs can range higher.

There are also opportunities for scholarships, grants, and student loans to help reduce or completely cover the cost of your studies. Look for grant opportunities and inquire about graduate assistantships offered by the program.

Common Courses Available in an Online Advanced Standing MSW Program

The specific courses and topics in an advanced standing MSW program may vary. However, you can expect to learn about subjects such as:

  • Social work
  • Social welfare
  • Human development
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Substance abuse policy and therapy strategies
  • Diversity and social justice
  • Social work research

Most programs also include fieldwork as a practical component of your studies. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in an internship, practicum, or hands-on project either throughout the program or as a capstone project.

If you have a particular area of interest within social work, consider exploring popular concentrations. Many graduate programs offer the option to add a concentration to your MSW degree. Some popular options include children, youth, and families; mental health; community administration; community organization and development; clinical work; and healthcare.

Career Options and Job Outlook for Online Advanced Standing MSW Graduates

It’s important to consider your career goals before researching specific schools and applying to a graduate program. Here are some popular career options for MSW graduates and their job outlooks:

Social Worker

Social workers protect vulnerable individuals and community groups. They help identify needs, assess situations, and provide resources. The average pay for social workers in 2024 was $66,955, according to Social worker jobs are expected to grow 7% between 2022 and 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Health Education Specialist or Community Health Worker

Health education specialists and community health workers provide education, support, assessments, programs, and connections to individuals with health issues or at risk of health-related difficulties. The average salary for health educators in 2024 was $77,502, according to Jobs for health education specialists are expected to increase 7% between 2022 to 2032, according to the BLS. Community health worker jobs are projected to increase 14% over the same period, according to the BLS.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists work with couples to strengthen their relationships or address issues related to marriage, divorce, and other life events. Therapists in this field earned an average pay of $60,587 in 2024, according to Payscale. Marriage and family therapist jobs are expected to grow 15% between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS.

Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists help probationers and parolees reintegrate into society by providing support and resources. The median pay for these professionals in 2024 was $48,931, according to Jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are projected to grow 3% between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

These professionals work with individuals and communities on mental health and substance abuse issues. The average pay for these positions in 2024 was $46,655, according to Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors jobs are projected to increase 18% between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS.

School or Career Counselor or Advisor

School counselors or advisors work with students to develop their academic opportunities and social skills. Careers as career counselors or advisors involve helping individuals navigate their career goals. These roles had an average pay of $50,925 in 2024, according to Payscale. School and career counselor jobs are projected to grow 5% between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS.

Learn More: What Can You Do with a MSW Degree?

Exploring Options for Advanced Standing MSW Programs

By pursuing an advanced standing MSW program, you can benefit from accelerated training, fulfilling career options, in-depth education, versatile skills, and flexibility. These programs provide opportunities to advance your career, change careers, or increase your earnings potential.

These courses offer flexible scheduling so you can take classes while working. Choosing an advanced standing MSW program can expand your career opportunities and broaden your horizons. However, you should ensure that your selected advanced standing MSW course aligns closely with your desired career pathway. By doing so, you can apply the most valuable lessons to elevate your professional life.

It is also important to consider the field placement opportunities available in a program. Accredited practical work can help fine-tune your skills and knowledge as a professional and ultimately promote trust in your professional reputation. For instance, you might consider speaking with course administrators about the specific settings offered for fieldwork to see if they suit your preferred occupational areas. Depending on your concentration, these placements may include mental health institutes, schools, and public hospitals.

Finally, learning more about a school’s available resources is advantageous for optimizing your learning experience. You can discover the available materials and events by speaking to your course administrator. Specialized resources may include campus or online libraries with exclusive discipline-specific materials and engaging workshops or seminars conducted by industry leaders.

FAQs About Advanced Standing MSW Programs

We’ve rounded up answers to other commonly asked questions from potential candidates in the advanced standing pathway to guide you through a smoother enrollment process.

Why Would I Want To Attend An Advanced Standing MSW Program?

Choosing an advanced standing MSW program can accelerate your training, help you pursue your dream career, and provide an in-depth education that includes versatile skills.

How Do I Know If I Qualify For An Advanced Standing MSW Program?

After submitting your application, you may be invited for an interview to discuss your qualifications and goals. Some programs also require an application fee. Qualified applicants will receive a notification from the school about enrollment details and an official acceptance letter. The document package usually includes lesson schedule dates, program details, and other course information such as payment methods and academic contacts.

Is An Advanced Standing MSW Program Cheaper Than A Traditional MSW Program?

MSW Programs differ in pricing according to university practices. In some cases, they may cost less than traditional programs since they cater to learners with a BSW degree. As such, they require fewer credits with fewer modules for significantly accelerated completion.

How Quickly Can I Complete An Advanced Standing MSW Program?

A traditional MSW program takes between 18 and 24 months for full-time students to complete. Part-time programs typically take about 36 months. An advanced standing MSW can be completed in about 12 months. Part-time advanced standing programs take between 16 and 24 months. This makes an advanced standing track almost twice as fast as a traditional program.

Online advanced standing programs and traditional online programs may offer more flexibility. Many online programs allow asynchronous learning, which means you can take classes on your own schedule rather than attending live streams. Some online programs also offer accelerated course schedules.

Are Advanced Standing MSW Programs Available Online?

Advanced standing MSW programs are offered both online and on campuses nationwide. Online courses offer flexible study and class hours, allowing you to work at your own pace. They are often more affordable than on-campus programs. On-campus programs, on the other hand, provide in-person classes where you can engage in face-to-face discussions and projects with professors and classmates.

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