1 year MSW programs are the programs of choice upcoming Social Work professionals. The field of Social Work itself is fast-paced and requires extensive experience regardless of the specialty you choose for your degree. These 1 year programs are often referred to as Advanced Standing MSW Programs, and have requirements that differ from traditional MSW programs.

What Is The One Year MSW?

1 year MSW programs are oftentimes the programs of choice for upcoming Social Work professionals, especially those that already have their BSW degree.

A one year MSW program has a distinct advantage with the lower timeframe for completion. The field of Social Work itself is fast-paced and requires extensive experience regardless of the specialty you choose for your degree. Those with a BSW, already working in the field have a great option that many other career fields do not have: the Advanced Standing MSW, or one-year MSW degree.

Requirements for Admission Vary But Usually Require a BSW

The stricter requirements that are included within 1 year MSW programs usually include the completion of a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program and also may include previous work experience in the field. Prerequisites for admission do vary so be sure to check with each program to understand the differences.

Online 1 Year MSW Programs

Students that choose to pursue their degrees online may also reap the same benefits as traditional learners. The online environment is a more providing place for flexibility and versatility for MSW students, so many universities have the option of offering 1 year programs to students. There are some example schools listed below.

  • The University of Southern California: 37 credit hour requirement; Students must have a BSW for admission.
  • The University of Tennessee: 36 credit hour requirement; Students must have a BSW or BSSW for admission.
  • The University of Louisville: 30 credit hour requirement; Students must have a BSW for admission.
  • Louisiana State University: 33 credit hour requirement; Students must have a BSW and submit GRE scores for admission.
  • The University of Southern Florida: 35 credit hour requirement; Students must have a BSW for admission.

What Other 1 Year MSW Programs Are There?

Our team of education experts has been researching educational programs for over a decade. They have researched some universities in order to provide you with a list of universities that offer traditional MSW programs that can be completed in as little as 1 year. Check out the schools below.

  • Texas State University - San Marcos: Students that have completed their BSWs can take advantage of several different options at this university. TSU - San Marcos has options for traditional and online learners to earn their MSW in as little as 1 year. Both traditional and online learners are required to completed 36 credit hours in order to graduate from this advanced program.
  • The University of Missouri: The University of Missouri has different options for students that have already completed their Bachelor's in Social Work. The school offers both traditional and online formats at part-time or full-time rates. Missouri's 1 year program is designed specifically for BSW earners that are enrolled at a full-time rate. There is a 39 credit hour requirement for this program.
  • The University of New England: The MSW program at the University of New England can be completed in around 16 months at full-time enrollment. Students must have completed their BSW prior to being enrolled.
  • The University of Alaska - Anchorage: The University of Alaska's AP MSW program has a slightly different layout than other MSW programs across the country. Students must still have a minimum of a BSW prior to being admitted, but must also take part in a practicum during their experience. The program requires students to take 3-6 credits hours in the summer semester and 15-16 during both the fall and spring semesters.
  • Florida State University: FSU offers an Advanced Standing MSW program to students that have already obtained their BSW. Students enrolled in this program must complete 39 credit hours in order to graduate with their MSW.

Prerequisites for 1 year MSW Program

If you are interested in taking advantage of Advanced Standing degree programs, you should prepare yourself from the beginning of your college experience. The BSW program typically takes anywhere from 3-4 years to complete. Paired with a 1 year MSW program, you could potentially completed your Master’s in Social Work in around the same time it would take you to complete a standard bachelor’s degree.

1. A Bachelors of Social Work

At the forefront of your college experience, enrolling in a Bachelor’s of Social Work program is your best option if you are confident about moving forward into higher degree programs in the future. The most common and prominent requirement for enrolling in 1 year MSW programs is already having a BSW from a CSWE-accredited degree program. Accreditation is another vital factor in determining if your degree will be accepted by graduate schools.

2. GRE Test Scores

In addition to having the right type of degree, you may also find schools that require you to take the Graduate Level Examination (GRE) prior to applying. The GRE is a tool for testing your abilities in critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and verbal reasoning. While there is a large number of traditional and online schools that still have this requirement, students may also choose without the GRE requirement for their degree program. There are Online MSW Programs with no GRE requirements available, as well.

3. Minimum GPA

Whether you excelled in undergraduate education or fell short, your progress at the lower degree level can have a direct effect on whether or not you are accepted into 1 year MSW programs. Since this is an Advanced Standing degree program, students are often expected to prove their worth in these programs by presenting a minimum 3.0 GPA from undergraduate studies. The GPA may be measured by your total performance during your bachelor’s program or by just the final 2 years – which likely contained the majority of your Social Work curriculum.

4. Field Work Experience

This next requirement is only part of the admissions requirements for a few schools offering the 1 year MSW, but it is important to consider if you are planning for this degree program. Some 1 year MSW programs encourage their applicants to have some work experience in the field of Social Work prior to applying. Experience in the field can sometimes promote a better understanding of the curriculum as well as the job itself.

5. Reference Letters

Lastly, students that are applying for the 1 year MSW programs across the country should be prepared to provide letters of reference from previous instructors, employers, or personal acquaintances. This requirement is quite common for universities to include in their admissions process, since it can give them a better idea of your personal attributes that are relevant to the degree program. After applying to select universities, you may also have to sit for a face to face interview prior to being accepted.

1 Year vs 2 Year MSW Programs

1 year MSW programs are a great way for students to quickly get involved in the field of Social Work. If you are given the opportunity to finish your degree quickly, it is hard to turn it down. There are many advantages to pursuing your degree through Advanced Standing programs, some of which cannot be obtain through traditional 2 year programs.

Shorter but more intense courses

The 1 year MSW often includes expedited courses that can be completed in as little as 7 weeks. While this is a great option for dedicated learners, there are some students that need more time to fully absorb all of the information gained within one entire course. Quick learners and experienced Social Work professionals could benefit more from these types of courses that entry-level Social Work students.

Financial benefits to less time in school

The financial sacrifice that 2 year learners take to pursue their degree program often goes underrated by enrolled students. If you were to complete your degree program in a year, you could have 1 whole year of additional income working at the master’s level. Students that are already working full-time and take part in 2 year programs may not feel the advantage as much as others, which is why traditional programs are sometimes the path of choice for upcoming master’s students.

Curriculum and classes tend to be the same

The curriculum and instruction for both programs falls within a similar realm. Both programs must be CSWE-accredited in order to solicit students for the purpose of MSW licensure, so quality is not an issue between the two programs. Often times, the same instructors team both programs at the same university, so students are getting the same experience regardless of which path they take.

Advanced Standing MSW degree programs were designed for students that have already completed the BSW. This allows for lower credit hour requirements, which are typically between 30-40 for 1 year programs. 2 year programs can have credit hour requirements that range from 45-65 hours depending on the university. 2 year programs are also the best and only option for students that are coming from unrelated bachelor’s programs.

CSWE Accredited 1 Year MSW Programs

Accredited Programs

CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) is the top accrediting board for Master of Social Work programs. Below, you will find a list of all of the CSWE accredited social work programs.