Master of Social Work — Advanced Standing Program

Master of Social Work (MSW) — Advanced Standing Program


The Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program offers a 32-semester-hour course of study, and 500+ hours of field internship work. The School of Social Work seeks to integrate Christian scholarship within the discipline of social work. Upon completion of the prescribed curriculum the student should be able to demonstrate mastery of the theories, methods, techniques, and values of the social work profession as prescribed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The student should be able to integrate their personal faith within the program’s curriculum and understand how this impacts them both personally and professionally. It is the program’s goal that students graduate with the ability to differentiate personal belief systems from their client’s beliefs and conduct themselves ethically as advanced practice social workers, working with diverse and vulnerable populations in a variety of settings.

Within the context of a Christian university, this program is dedicated to providing a community environment where each individual is viewed as unique and valuable with varied gifts and abilities to use in service to others.

Mission Statement

The mission of George Fox University’s School of Social Work Masters Program is to prepare graduates for worldwide leadership and service as social work professionals who integrate the values, knowledge, and skills of social work with the highest competence and ethical integrity within public and private human service organizations, faith communities, and religiously affiliated agencies.

Degree Outcomes

Students completing the MSW program will be able at an advanced level to:

  • Exhibit competence in generalist and advanced social work practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills in applying knowledge and ethical principles to social work practice and in evaluating scientific inquiry including practice-based research.
  • Consider and apply the values and ethics of the profession in every aspect of practice and understand the ethical integration of Christian faith in practice, including nondiscrimination in the areas of age, class, culture, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
  • Enhance the well-being of people and communities locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world.
  • Apply an ecological systems perspective, empirically supported theoretical frameworks, and evidence-based social work practice methods to all levels of practice.

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program (MSW)

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program is conducted by formal application. Qualified students will be admitted regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, age, or disability. The applicant's packet will be considered complete when the following parts have been received:

  1. A completed online application and application fee; An official transcript from each junior college, college, or university in which baccalaureate coursework was taken.
  2. A written response to questions related to the applicant’s reason for applying, professional goals and interest, work and/or volunteer experiences, and reflection on case-related materials.
  3. Recommendations: Three strong professional references who can attest to the applicant’s ability in these areas: intellectual competence; potential for academic success; the ability to work with people around sensitive issues, including people from diverse backgrounds; possession of critical thinking and communication skills; a sense of values and ethics; and potential as a professional social worker. At least one of the recommenders must be an academic reference having been the instructor of the applicant in a classroom setting. Recommenders must submit these directly to the School of Social Work graduate program using the online link provided. If a letter is included, the letters must be written on institutional or business letterhead.
  4. Current resume.

Admission Requirements

Students who have a baccalaureate degree in social work from George Fox University, as well as students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in social work from another program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, may apply for admission into the Advanced Standing at George Fox University. If admitted, full time students can complete their MSW at GFU in 32 semester credit hours of graduate work.

Applicants to the GFU Advanced Standing Program with a degree from an international social work program must provide evidence through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service that the program from which they have graduated or anticipate graduating is certified by CSWE.

Preference will be given to admitting to Advanced Standing those students who completed their baccalaureate degrees no more than five years prior to application. If students completed their baccalaureate degree in social work more than five years before applying to the MSW program, they must demonstrate that they have engaged in continuing education and professional social work practice during a majority of the years since their baccalaureate education. Decisions about their admission to Advanced Standing will be based on the following, in addition to the standard graduate social work application:

  • An overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all social work coursework, to include a minimum grade of B in all practice and field courses.
  • A copy of the student’s Field Evaluation from baccalaureate social work field experience(s) documenting satisfactory generalist practice experience and skills in the internship is required. (While prospective students may be admitted conditionally based on their performance in the field, full admission is contingent upon receipt of final field evaluation. When the final field evaluation is not available, a positive reference from a social work supervisor familiar with the applicant’s skills in social work practice is necessary.)

Transfer Credit

For matriculating students who wish to transfer from another CSWE accredited graduate social work program, the MSW program has a written policy stipulating the transfer of credits as follows.

The Director of the School of Social Work may approve up to 15 hours of course work for inclusion into the MSW standard two-year degree requirements or up to 9 hours of course work in the advanced standing program. Students may only transfer a maximum of 15 semester credits for the 2-year program or 9 semester credits for the advanced standing program in order to preserve the integrity of his/her education at the degree granting institution; field practicum credits will not be transferred.

The Director, in consultation with MSW faculty, will make decisions about acceptance of transfer of credit.

No credit will be given toward required MSW courses unless the following conditions apply:

  • The courses were taken in a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social work Education.
  • A course description and syllabus is available and the Director judges the courses to be an appropriate substitution for a specific course in the graduate program.
  • Once the Director has advised the student concerning which courses are approved for transfer credit, the student prepares a letter of petition specifying how the courses will be applied to the degree plan.

A petition for transfer credit must fulfill the conditions listed below:

  • Students who wish to transfer credits must make the request and present relevant syllabi and transcripts six (6) weeks prior to the beginning of the first semester of matriculation.
  • The work must have been done while the student was enrolled in good standing as a graduate student.
  • The work must have been done within five years prior to the award of the master‘s degree from George Fox University.
  • The school from which the credits are transferred must be accredited by a regional accreditation agency.
  • No earned grade for transfer credit is less than a B.
  • None of the transfer coursework consists of extension or workshop courses.
  • Petition for transfer of credit occurs after enrollment in the School of Social Work graduate program.

Residence Requirements

Of the 32 credit hours required for the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program, a minimum of 23 credit hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. All work leading to the degree must meet the requirements stated in the program transfer policy.

Leave of Absence

If a student must take a leave of absence from the program due to an illness, accident, or other substantial reason that impair their ability to continue course work or field internship they must submit a written request explaining reasons for requesting a leave. All incomplete coursework or fieldwork must be completed within two years from the date of his or her original start. If they are unable to complete the program in that time frame, they will be dismissed from the program.

The director of the School of Social Work must approve leaves of absence for the Master of Social Work program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the Master of Social Work degree in the Advanced Standing Program students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 32 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Maintenance of a minimum average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all academic courses taken and a minimum grade of C for all academic courses taken.
  • Earn a grade of B or higher in all Field Internship courses.
  • Complete a 600-hour supervised internship in an agency setting approved by the School of Social Work.
  • Completion of all degree requirements within four (4) years of matriculation.
MSW Advanced Standing Program Curriculum Plan

The George Fox University’s Master of Social Work Program builds its curriculum from an assumption of a solid liberal arts foundation that is designed to facilitate the acquisition and integration of knowledge, abilities, and ethics in order to form a foundation for lifelong learning. Students admitted to the MSW Program must have earned a bachelors degree and document in their application to the Program courses taken that demonstrate “baccalaureate coursework that demonstrates a strong liberal arts background” (MSW Student Handbook, p.7) Students’ transcripts must document completion of courses in the natural sciences, communication, social and behavior sciences, communication (composition or writing course), the humanities and /or history (philosophy, religion, arts, government, political science, economics, history, literature) and statistics.

The advanced standing curriculum is design for students who have a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program and meet all of the requirements of admission for advanced standing. The advanced standing curriculum consists of 32 semester credit hours. The advanced standing (concentration year) is designed to build on the curriculum of the bachelors of social work.

Courses (32 hours)
SWKG 600 Introduction to the DSM-V 1
SWKG 642 Advanced Research I 2
SWKG 643 Advanced Research II 2
SWKG 676 Advanced Internship I 4
SWKG 677 Advanced Internship II 4
SWKG 685 Special Topics in Advanced Social Work Practice 6
SWKG 698: Program Development, Administration & Funding 3
SWKG 690: Social Work Capstone 1
Students must select one concentration:
Direct Practice Concentration:
SWKG 691 Theories for Advanced Practice: Direct Practice 
SWKG 693 Skills for Advanced Practice: Direct Practice 
SWKG 696 Special Issues in Advanced Practice: Direct Practice 
Community Practice Concentration:
SWKG 692 Theories for Advanced Practice: Community Practice 3
SWKG 694 Skills for Advanced Practice: Community Practice 3
SWKG 697 Special Issues in Advanced Practice: Community Practice 3
College of Behavioral and Health Sciences Course Descriptions