The Master of Social Work degree will prepare you for a career as a social worker, where you can help individuals, families, and your community. To earn an accelerated MSW degree, you will need to apply to an advanced standing program, which is specifically designed for those who already hold a bachelor's degree in social work. There are several accelerated advanced standing programs that are located in California, some of which we will discuss in detail below in terms of degree and admissions requirements.
Advanced Standing MSW Programs in California
California State University - Long Beach
At California State University - Long Beach, you will be able to complete an advanced standing MSW program in one year, including a summer semester. For this program, you must first take the summer bridge module, which is an intensive program that requires fieldwork and modules on research, social work policy, human behavior, and other topics. Upon successful completion of the summer bridge module, you will receive a waiver for the 30-unit MSW core courses and will move into the second-year coursework. This program will also require a 660-hour field education placement and a thesis project or an applied social work project.
California State University - Los Angeles
California State University - Los Angeles has a one-year advanced standing MSW program that requires 33 units. For this accelerated program, the first year of foundational coursework will be waived so that you can jump straight into second-year coursework. You will then most likely take classes in therapy, counseling, social welfare, and policy analysis. This program will also require a research project or a thesis as well as 720 hours of field work that needs to be completed during the one-year program time frame.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California also has a one-year accelerated advanced standing MSW program. Like the previous discussed programs, once admitted to this advanced standing program, you will get to skip the first-year foundational coursework and move right into the second-year coursework. This is a 37-credit program that will allow you to specialize in youth, families and children, social change and innovation, or adult mental health. Your elective coursework will depend on your chosen specialty. For example, an adult mental health concentration will include courses on working with older adults, psychotherapy, and crisis intervention. This program will also require 790 hours of community-focused field placement.
Azusa Pacific University
The advanced standing MSW program at Azusa Pacific University is 36-unit program that can be completed in only ten months, including two three-unit bridge courses that take place during the summer. This university also offers a part-time advanced standing program that can be completed in two years with the same two three-unit summer bridge courses. In this program, you will need to choose a specialization in either community leadership and program admin or clinical practice with families and individuals, and your specific coursework will depend on that specialization. During your fall and spring semester, you will also be required to complete 20 hours of fieldwork each week.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University offers a one-year advanced standing MSW program that will require 38 credits in total. This program will also require that you take three summer bridge courses before you begin taking the advanced second-year coursework that will include classes on social policy, research, and human behavior. This program will also require you to complete a comprehensive written exam or a thesis. You will also need to complete 20 hours of field practicums per week.
Common Entrance Requirements for Advanced Standing MSW Programs
It's important to note that they only way to be accepted to an accelerated advanced standing program is if you have already earned a bachelor's degree in social work from a school that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Most programs also require that your bachelor's in social work was completed within the last five years and that you had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Other application materials may include an application, transcripts, and a personal statement. When it comes to letters of recommendation, some programs will require or highly advise that they come from social work professors or from previous field supervisors.
Advanced standing MSW program are available from several California schools, and they allow students to earn their master's degree in an accelerated format - typically only one year. These programs require rigorous coursework and extensive fieldwork, and you must already have completed a bachelor's degree in social work in order to apply to these types of programs.