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Online Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Program

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Location: Online

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Advanced Standing Program (ASP) is a full-time accelerated online program for students holding a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). See the requirements section below for complete details.

Admission to the ASP allows you to complete your MSW degree in less time than the traditional MSW program by waiving the first-year foundation course requirements. Time to completion is one year and eight weeks.

35 credits required for completion
Three semesters, full-time, 8-week terms
Fall 1 and Spring 1 term starts only

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MSW ASP Overview

The MSW ASP educates and trains students to become social work professionals who can positively impact the diverse communities in which they serve. This program builds upon the foundational skills you’ve garnered from your BSW degree, while providing access to local fieldwork opportunities in your community that can prepare you for your career. Our program encourages graduates to become purposeful agents of change who incorporate our commitment to social justice and enhancing quality of life in underserved communities. Careers in social work cover a range of disciplines including education, mental health, substance abuse, and many more.

“Not only does the Pacific Oaks College MSW Advanced Standing Program provide an opportunity for you to apply your BSW generalist skills in an advanced generalist setting at a faster pace, but it also gives you the forum to demonstrate advanced skills and mastery at the graduate level in a smaller cohort. This allows for the translation of clinical, organizational, and policy knowledge to your field practice more quickly, allowing you to pursue clinical licensure sooner rather than later.”

—Cassandra Peel, Ph.D.
Program Director and Administrative Faculty, MSW Program
School of Cultural and Family Psychology

The Pacific Oaks MSW Advanced Standing Program includes 35 credits of coursework, 720 hours of field education or internship (over the course of two semesters), and a master’s capstone project. Please note that some field education and internship courses will have synchronous components. Admission to the MSW Advanced Standing Program is for Fall 1 and Spring 1 term starts only.

In addition, you must demonstrate readiness to perform at the level of a second year MSW student via post-BSW social work experience. Readiness is determined by the MSW department program director based upon review of your letters of recommendation, resume, writing samples, and interview.

Distinctive academic program feature: Accelerated format

Career outcomes: Shorter time to degree which in turn allows for entering the workforce sooner.

Program length: Three semesters, full-time, 8-week terms; students will take two courses per term, four courses per semester

Licensure and certification: Many graduates plan to pursue clinical licensure post-graduation.

Practicum requirements: Students must complete a minimum of 720 hours of a local field internship for the academic year (January through August for fall starts and May through December for spring starts).


Master of Social Work Accreditation Statement

Pacific Oaks College Master of Social Work program has a status of Pre-Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation, which indicates that it has submitted an application to be reviewed for Candidacy. A program that has attained Pre-Candidacy has not yet been reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation or been verified to be in compliance with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The Council on Social Work Education does not publicly disclose whether programs have currently attained Pre-Candidacy Status until they are granted Candidacy. Students who enter the program while it is still in Pre-Candidacy will not be recognized as attending a program in Candidacy unless the program attains Candidacy in the academic year in which those students enter. The Candidacy Process is typically a three-year process and there is no guarantee that a program in Pre-Candidacy will eventually attain Candidacy or Initial Accreditation. Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program. Visit the CSWE website for more information about social work accreditation.

MSW ASP Sample Courses

SW 560 Clinical Social Work Practice (3 credits)

Advanced clinical skills needed to work with individuals, families, and groups in the context of advanced general practice are considered. Evidence-based interventions are examined from an ecological, multicultural perspective.

SW 610 Social Work Practice III: Organizations & Community (3 credits)

This is the third generalist practice course within the foundation year of the MSW program. Practice III introduces students to theories and skills required for social work practice in organizational and community settings. Using organizations and communities as settings for social work practice and targets of change, and based on social work values and ethics, students learn strategies and skills for assessment and intervention. Conceptual models of macro change are examined, including social planning, community organizing, social action, as well as community and organizational development and change.

SW 635 Integrated Clinical Practice (3 credits)

Theories, skills, and policies in mental health and problematic substance use are considered. Emphasis on partnering for change in intervention and prevention from a multi-level, multi-system perspective related to diverse communities.

SW 630 Research II: Qualitative & Decolonizing Research Methods (3 credits)

This course helps students understand and appreciate research as an interpretive approach to developing a knowledge base for social work practice. Students explore qualitative and Indigenous research theories and methods with diverse communities.

MSW ASP Admission Requirements

Advanced standing for the MSW program is awarded only to graduates holding degrees obtained within the last five years from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), those recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or those covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors. Additional requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must have had a 3.0 overall grade point average in their BSW degree.
  • Applicants are required to submit the following:
  • Official (or unofficial) transcripts from their BSW degree granting institution. If admitted into the program, official transcripts are required to be on file within 30 days of admission. Graduation from a CSWE-accredited program must be within five years of application to Pacific Oaks College MSW Advanced Standing Program.
  • Two letters of recommendation. One must be from a field supervisor or manager from prior field education placement site. This can also be the Final Field Evaluation from a BSW Field placement. The second can be from a current employer, professional contact, or previous supervisor at an internship or field education placement. If a field evaluation is submitted, then the second recommendation must be a narrative letter format.
  • Resume
  • Two writing samples: An academic paper from a BSW capstone or upper division course is required as well as an applied work sample, which can include redacted progress notes, program evaluations, etc. (Please consult with MSW faculty for specific appropriate samples).
  • Interview (may be group or individual)
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