MSW Advanced Standing: Policies & Procedures

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, that examines the evidence provided by the applicant of success among several criteria to ensure 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
  • Official transcripts noting that the BSW degree has been awarded 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 Forms (sent to references by GVSU).  One of the recommendations should be the applicants’ BSW field supervisor or faculty field liaison.
  • Completion of a BSW Degree within five years prior to enrollment in the MSW program.


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


UPDATED 8/13/2020