The Difference Between the Advanced Standing and Traditional MSW Program

FSU MSW Infographic - Traditional vs. Advanced MSW programs
FSU MSW Infographic - Traditional vs. Advanced MSW programs

Florida State University offers two online Master's of Social Work degrees. One is the Advanced Standing program and the other is the Traditional program. Both offer a high level of education and career placement, but the two programs are not the same. In this "which social work program is best for me" blog, we explore the differences between the FSU Advanced Standing program and Traditional program. Let's get started.


Application Differences

For the Traditional program, entrance is granted to qualified students who have a bachelor's degree that is in a subject other than social work. Students may transfer up to 27 credits into the Traditional online Master's of Social Work program.

For those students who want to apply for the Advanced Standing program, you will need to meet three entrance requirements. First, your bachelor's degree must be in social work. Second, your degree must come from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program. Third, you will need to meet the entrance requirements of the Traditional program. Options for admission to the Advanced Standing program include transfer students from a Council on Social Work-accredited program that is two years in length and is outside of FSU. Unit Differences

The Traditional program requires 61 credits. That is in addition to a BA or BS degree.

The Advanced Standing program requires 39 credits in addition to a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.


Time Differences

The Traditional program typically takes three years to complete, though students may transfer up to 27 credits into this program, which would make the program around two years in length.

The Advanced Standing program typically takes two years to finish.


Field Placement Differences

The Traditional program offers two 10-credit hour (each) field placement classes,. In addition, a mandatory pair of weekend skill building classes occurs on two separate weekends. One skill building class is held during the second semester and the other one during the third semester.

The Advanced Standing program requires one 10-credit hour field placement class.


Academic Differences

Both programs are clinically focused. The core classes for the Traditional program include six three-credit classes for a total of 18 credits. The core classes for the Advanced Standing program consist of three three-credit classes for a total of nine credits.


Curriculum Differences

The Traditional program — The six core classes focus on an introduction to social work as a profession, forming an understanding of the social work practice, and how to apply research to the social work field. In addition, the Traditional program offers experience and education for social work that involves groups and communities. The final aspect of this program is a class that teaches students about the policies of social work and how those apply to careers.

The Advanced Standing program — This program focuses on more advanced clinical education and skill building. Students of the advanced program delve into the psychopathology of clinical practices and learn how the evaluation of practice works. There is a clinical aspect where students learn how to work in a clinical setting.

The difference in the two curricula is due to the specific knowledge that the Advanced Standing program students received when gaining their BSW degree. The Traditional program students take more credits and more time so that they receive a solid foundation in social work as they continue to work toward their degree.


Similarities in the Two Programs

Most classes are 16 weeks in length with summer classes usually around 12 or 13 weeks in duration. Both programs require nine credits of electives and 15 credits of advanced classes including graduate field education and an advanced seminar in social work practice.

FSU MSW Infographic - Traditional vs Advanced Programs


Social work is a rewarding field, and the education that students receive at Florida State University opens the doors for both groups of students to graduate with the skills needed to find a job and make a satisfying career. The reasons for the differences in each are the program's focus. Both utilize a clinical focus, but the Advanced Standing Program continues the lessons and experiences of those students who earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited institution. It advances faster and deeper. The Traditional program allows students to enter the social work field for the first time and then advance after learning the basics. Both programs offer solid education and experience and open doors to working as a social worker.


FSU Student Frederico Bravo


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