What Is the Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Program?
SocialWork@Simmons offers an online Master of Social Work (MSW) advanced standing program for students who have earned their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and meet certain academic criteria that exempt them from introductory MSW courses.
Students accepted into the advanced standing program can earn their MSW via a two-term option that can be completed in as few as 9 months or a three-term option that can be completed in as few as 12 months. As an advanced standing student, you will not have to fulfill as many credits as students in the traditional MSW program in order to graduate, allowing you to advance in your social work career sooner.
Applicants Who Hold a BSW May Graduate in as Few as 9 Months
If you do not hold a BSW but have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field outside of social work, you can still earn your MSW online from Simmons University. In our accelerated program track, you can complete the traditional MSW program in as few as 16 months.Learn more about the accelerated program.
Simmons’ advanced standing program track includes the same rigorous training and clinical focus as the traditional MSW program but within a condensed time frame. As an advanced standing student, your course load and the courses you take each term will differ from other MSW tracks.
The advanced standing program consists of 34 credits. There is a two-term option that can be completed in as few as 9 months or a three-term option that can be completed in as few as 12 months. As a student in the advanced standing track, you will complete 2-3 courses per term and work at a community placement site. To ensure you have as much support as possible, you will engage in a weekly practicum seminar with other advanced standing students during each of the two terms you are in placement.
Elective and Certificate Options
Advanced standing students may choose one elective course. Through elective courses, students will be able to explore topics such as substance use, addiction, and mental illness; groups and families; children and adolescents; or trauma.
If students want to develop deeper knowledge within a specific area of social work, they also have the opportunity to pursue a certificate with their MSW. MSW. Students may choose one of three MSW + certificate options:
Mental Health Practice
Clinical Practice with Active Service Members, Veterans, and Families
Students pursuing an advanced standing MSW + certificate will be required to complete two additional courses (six additional credits) to complete the certificate of their choosing. Due to the intense advanced standing course load, it is expected that students will add one additional term to their plan of study during which they will take these additional two classes; however, some students pursuing the 12-month advanced standing option may be able to incorporate the extra certificate classes into their three terms of study. All advanced standing MSW + certificate students will need to work with their academic advisor to develop a customized plan of study to ensure all 40 credits can reasonably be achieved within the desired timeframe.
Practicum Education in Advanced Standing
Those in the advanced standing MSW will also complete 672 hours of practicum at a Simmons-approved social work site. These immersive experiences will allow you to apply what you are learning in the online classroom to real-world social work settings in or near your community. As an advanced standing student, you will complete an average of 24 hours per week at your placement site over the course of your final two terms.
Most advanced standing online MSW programs require students to hold a BSW and meet additional admission requirements. These may include GPA requirements for social work-specific courses, a student’s overall GPA, and having attended an accredited undergraduate institution.
To be considered for the Simmons online advanced standing MSW program, you must meet the following requirements:
You must have earned a BSW within the past seven years from a regionally accredited college or university.
The program that granted your BSW must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or covered under its memo of understanding with international social work accreditors.
You must have received a grade of B or better in each of your BSW courses, or a 3.3 GPA for all social work coursework.
You must have earned an overall undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
Simmons’ advanced standing program has the same application requirements as the traditional MSW program, with a few additional components. These include:
a letter of recommendation from your BSW internship supervisor: One of the two letters of recommendation required must come from your BSW internship supervisor. If you have been employed in a social work position for at least one year since earning your BSW, you may submit a letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor at your current job.
an advanced standing essay: In addition to the required statement of professional and educational intent, you must write and submit a two- to three-page, double-spaced essay that discusses what you learned in your BSW internship, including:
social work models and approaches that you used
a case example that exemplifies how you applied theory to guide understanding of the case and intervention or treatment plan
a self-assessment of what you have learned to date, and the goals and challenges you anticipate in an advanced clinical placement
your most recent BSW field placement evaluation
Since advanced standing students have already completed a foundation in social work practice and theory within their BSW studies, students in the Simmons’ online program dive into advanced coursework. The table below shows which courses you will take in which terms as an MSW advanced standing online student for both the two-term option and three-term option.
Please note that Course Sequences are subject to change. At the start of your studies and prior to registration for your first term, you will receive your official plan of study from your student success specialist, which you can consult for future planning.