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Advanced Standing Option

Earn Your Clinical Master of Social Work Online in Less Time

If you excelled in a baccalaureate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), you may qualify as an Advanced Standing student and be eligible to waive 30 semester hours towards your clinical Master of Social Work (MSW) — allowing you to graduate in just five semesters. CUA admissions will work with you to verify your eligibility and guide you through the application process.

Advanced Standing Eligibility

Gaining admittance to the Advanced Standing option for the clinical MSW online program isn’t easy. You’ll need an excellent record of academics in social work courses, and letters of recommendation that support your readiness to skip the foundational courses and partake of this challenging curriculum.


  • Bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program received within five years of enrollment in the MSW program
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in all undergraduate social work courses
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 in all courses applied towards the BSW
  • A minimum grade of B in each social work course to be considered for waiving of credit
  • Satisfactory completion of an undergraduate generalist practicum that meets the requirements of CSWE and includes 400 hours of field education, as evidenced in the final field evaluation submitted as part of the admissions packet
  • Three reference letters, including a recommendation from the chair of the undergraduate social work program supporting advanced standing

Learn more about the full clinical Master of Social Work online program.

Advanced Standing Transition Course

If you’re accepted into the Advanced Standing MSW program option, you will be required to take an online transition course in addition to your first semester course. This seminar is designed to prepare you for the evolution of social work education from undergraduate to graduate level, strengthen your theory of social work practice, and create a sense of community among advanced-standing students.

Advanced Standing Curriculum

Our Advanced Standing MSW program prepares you to be a leader in clinical practice to serve all populations so you can understand and practice advanced theoretical methods to engage, assess, evaluate and empower individuals. This advanced micro practice instruction is also complemented by mezzo and macro courses. By the time you graduate, you will understand how your clinical practice fits into the overall framework of social work in our society.


  • Essential Foundation for Advanced Graduate-Level Social Work Education
  • Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illnesses
  • Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work
  • Psychodynamic Theory and Social Functioning
  • Clinical Social Work with Adults
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Social Functioning
  • Clinical Social Work with Children and Adolescents
  • Clinical Social Work with Families: Strengths-based Model
  • Evaluation of Social Work Practice
  • Clinical Field Instruction and Integrative Seminar I & II

Field Practice

As a testament to your readiness for clinical practice, you’ll need to complete a rigorous internship in an approved field of choice. This experience is meant to provide you with real-life application practice to the skills you’ve built through the year and rewards you as you start to make a difference in people’s lives. Make no mistake, the demands of field education mirror the rigor needed for practice and must be balanced with the rest of the program and responsibilities in your life. You can expect to dedicate up to an additional 20 hours each week to your field placement experience. Learn more about this final step.

We welcome and encourage students from all religions and cultures to discover how they can apply theory and expand their reach as a social worker. To learn more about our online MSW, click here or call 855-295-5711 today.