MSW Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing

The School of Social Work recognizes proficient academic performance by students who have graduated from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited undergraduate social work program (BSW).  Advanced standing students are exempted from 18 hours of first-year core or foundation courses and the first semester of field education and may therefore accelerate their graduate study by completing only the remaining 38 hours of degree requirements in one calendar year.

Specific courses exempted are: SW 600, SW 601, SW 603, SW 610, SW 620, SW 690, and SW 650/651. 

The review of applications is a holistic process. Reviewers examine the evidence provided by the applicant for each criterion, in an effort to provide a balanced and strength-based review.

A successful candidate will, by way of the electronic GVSU MSW Admission application, submit evidence of their success related to the following criteria: 

  • An overall GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate coursework. The University calculates the relevant GPA based on the applicant’s last 60 credits.
  • Official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended. Advanced Standing applicants must have a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program
  • A minimum grade of 3.0 in all Social Work courses; or a 3.5 or above cumulative GPA in all Social Work courses
  • Three professional recommendations, using the electronic GVSU MSW Admission Recommendation Form (sent to references by GVSU).  One of the recommendations should be the applicant’s BSW field supervisor or faculty field liaison.
  • Completion of a BSW Degree within eight years prior to enrollment in the MSW program, preferred.

Advanced Standing Graduate Eligibility Degrees

Advanced standing is awarded only to graduates holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs:

  • Accredited by Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Recognized by its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service
  • Covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors

BSW Graduates who do not meet Advanced Standing Admission Requirements:

Baccalaureate graduates who have a B.S.W., but do not meet the requirements for the Advanced Standing Program, receive a waiver for equivalent generalist courses completed in their B.S.W. Program in which the student has earned a B+ or better and in the case of Field Education and Seminar earned Credit.

The generalist courses are:

SW 600- Cultural Competency for Social Work;
SW 601- Social Work Foundations;
SW 603 – Integrated Methods;
SW 610 – Social Welfare Policy and Services;
SW 620- Human Behavior in the Social Environment;
SW 650 – Field Education I; SW 651 – Field Seminar I

This equivalency is determined through transcript, course description, and syllabus review, completed by the M.S.W. Director, upon admission. When two or more courses equate to the MSW generalist course, the grades achieved in those courses will be averaged and the average must be a B+ or better to waive the associated generalist course.

The M.S.W. course will be waived, however, the credits required for graduation will not be waived, meaning the student must fulfill the 60 M.S.W. credits required for the Regular Standing Program, through other courses (electives etc.). The exception for both the Advanced Standing and the Regular Standing programs is SW 690 – Social Research I, which requires a test out for all M.S.W. admitted students, both advanced and regular standing.