Accelerated MSW Programs in NYC

Sep 25, 2019

Social workers play a number of important roles in the community, from clinical practice to policy advocate. Those who wish to enter positions in this field quickly might seek to enter an accelerated Master of Social Work program.

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The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a diverse degree that can lead to a number of career-related outcomes. Read on to learn more about the difference between standard and accelerated MSW programs, some options in New York City, and some common admission requirements.

Accelerated MSW Programs vs. Traditional MSW Programs

Accelerated MSW programs are designed to reduce the amount of time it takes a student to earn the MSW degree from the standard two-year MSW program. Types of acceleration may include advanced standing programs for students holding a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), or 16-month spring start programs where students continue to take classes during the summer months. Regardless of whether students enroll in a standard or accelerated program, they will be required to complete fieldwork in order to gain hands-on experience, though advanced standing students often have a reduced number of hours.

Accelerated MSW Programs in New York City

Adelphi University

Adelphi University offers a 16-month MSW program which starts during the spring term and continues through the summer months. Adelphi is located in Garden City, just outside of New York City, and also has an extension campus in Manhattan. Courses may include social work research and social work practice with groups. An advanced standing program is also available.

Columbia University

At Columbia, students have options for acceleration which include the 16-month MSW and advanced standing for those with a BSW. Some classes could cover topics such as advocacy in social work, direct practice with individuals, and social work foundations. Minors available for those in these programs include business, international social welfare, and public policy/administration. Research centers include the China Center for Social Policy and the Safe Lab.

New York University

The Silver School of Social Work at NYU offers both 16-month and advanced standing options for acceleration. Courses might include human behavior and diversity. Students might use their electives to develop a specialization in areas such as aging, criminal justice, or school social work. Research centers include the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health as well as the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.

City University of New York

The York College of the City University of New York offers an advanced standing option for students who wish to earn an MSW. The program focuses on urban health scholarship and practice. Classes are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays. Some courses that may be taken by students in this program include social work research, understanding mental disorders, and evaluation research.

Touro College

Students at Touro College can pursue the accelerated 16-month MSW or an advanced standing program. The MSW at Touro is focused upon clinical practice. Those who enroll may take courses such as human behavior, social work ethics and values, or social welfare policy. Students might elect specializations that include military social work and mental illness.


Applicants to 16-month MSW programs might need to provide undergraduate transcripts, letters of reference, essays, and a resume. Some field practice or volunteer experience is typically recommended. Applicants to advanced standing programs should have graduated with a BSW accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. In addition to the listed materials, prospective advanced standing students might be expected to provide a fieldwork evaluation form completed by the field advisor from their undergraduate program and a list of undergraduate social work courses. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above might be preferred for either acceleration option.

Many schools of social work in New York City offer accelerated programs. Through coursework and field placement opportunities, graduates will be prepared for a variety of roles in the community.

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