Advanced Standing Online MSW Program

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 in less than 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 12 Months

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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 also offers an on-campus MSW advanced standing program. Learn more about the on-campus MSW advanced standing program on our website.

Program Requirements

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.






Certificate Options

The advanced standing program consists of 34 credits. The program takes less than 12 months to complete, consisting of three 14-week terms. As a student in the advanced standing track, you will complete 2-3 courses per term and work at a clinical field placement site during your second and third terms.

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. Students may choose one of two MSW + certificate options:

  • Mental Health Practice
  • Trauma Practice

Students pursuing an advanced standing MSW + certificate will be required to complete 46 credits. All certificate options require students to complete four specified courses. Advanced standing students pursuing a certificate will take their certificate courses within the standard four-term plan of study, allowing them to complete their MSW + certificate in as few as 16 months.

If students are interested in spreading their courses out over more terms, they may work with their advisor to develop of a customized plan of study. These students will complete the first certificate course as their elective, and then will complete the remaining three certificate courses (9 credits) in a fifth term that will be added to the standard four-term advanced standing curriculum. This option can be completed in approximately 20 months.

Fieldwork in Advanced Standing

Those in the advanced standing MSW will also complete 672 hours of fieldwork at a Simmons-approved clinical 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.

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Online MSW Admission Requirements

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.

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.

Term 1  
(14 Weeks)
Term 2  
(14 Weeks)
Term 3
(14 Weeks)
569 Advanced Standing Seminar (3)
404 Social Welfare Policy (3)
Elective (3)
424A Advanced Clinical Practice (3)
596 Field Education (5)
414 Assessment & Diagnosis (3)
424B Advanced Clinical Practice (3)
597 Field Education (5)
509 Evaluation in Social Work Practice (3)
Elective (3)
Total Credits: 9
Total Credits: 11
Field Placement
Total Credits: 14
Field Placement

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Apply to Simmons’ online advanced standing program and take the next step in your career in as few as 12 months.

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