FlexMSW Advanced Standing

PLEASE NOTE: Berkeley Social Welfare will not be accepting applications for Fall 2023 admission to either FlexMSW Program track.

The FlexMSW Advanced Standing Program is a one-year MSW degree track option for eligible working professionals who already hold a baccalaureate professional degree in social work obtained from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Pursuing the MSW degree with Advanced Standing status allows eligible students with accredited professional baccalaureate degrees to bypass the foundational components of the MSW curriculum, given their prior exposure to social work foundational content in their undergraduate degree programs, and enter the specialized portion of the program directly.

Admission to the FlexMSW Advanced Standing Program

Prospective students must apply and be admitted directly into the FlexMSW Advanced Standing degree track.

To be eligible for admission to the FlexMSW degree program, prospective applicants:

  • must hold an accredited professional bachelor's degree in social work (BASW or BSW), which must have been conferred within the past five years.
  • must meet all other admissions eligibility requirements for admission to a Berkeley Social Welfare master's degree program.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The FlexMSW Advanced Standing degree requires a minimum of 27 units for degree conferral, including 14 units earned in Field Education. The program is designed to be completed in one calendar year (August to August) over three consecutive semesters (fall, spring and summer). Upon successful completion of all requirements, students are awarded the Master of Social Welfare (MSW) degree, conferred in August.

Advanced Standing MSW Plan of Study

All FlexMSW Advanced Standing students follow a prescribed plan of study in the MSW specialization area of Strengthening Children, Youth and Families (SCYF). Other specialization areas (A-WELL, SOC) are not available in the FlexMSW Advanced Standing degree track at this time.

Classes for FlexMSW Advanced Standing students are scheduled primarily in the evenings and on Saturdays in the fall and spring semesters. In the summer semester, the final term of the program, classes may be scheduled on any day of the week.

Expand the tab below to see a semester-by-semester curriculum plan for the FlexMSW Advanced Standing degree track.

Plan of Study: FlexMSW Advanced Standing, SCYF Specialization

First Semester - Fall

Coursework: 4 units
SOC WEL 243 Direct Practice in Child and Family Settings 2 3 hours 1 evening per week for 10 weeks
SOC WEL 282A Seminar in Social Welfare Research 2 5 hours on Saturday for 6 weeks
Field Education: 7 units
SOC WEL 292A Advanced Field Integration Seminar  1 TBD
SOC WEL 412A Advanced Field Practicum 6 24 hours per week, by arrangement

Second Semester - Spring

Coursework: 4 units
SOC WEL 254 Advocacy Skills for Social Change: Social Welfare Policy Practice 2 3 hours 1 evening per week for 10 weeks
SOC WEL 282B Seminar in Social Welfare Research 4 5 hours on Saturday for 6 weeks
Field Education: 7 units
SOC WEL 292B Advanced Field Integration Seminar 1 TBD
SOC WEL 412B Advanced Field Practicum 6 24 hours per week, by arrangement

Third Semester - Summer

Coursework: 6 units
SOC WEL 212 Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence 2 TBD Six-week Summer Session A or D
SOC WEL 250C Solution-focused Brief Therapy 2 TBD Six-week Summer Session A or D
SOC WEL 265M Motivational Interviewing 2 TBD Six-week Summer Session A or D

For current class schedules and course descriptions, please see the Berkeley Academic Guide Online Class Schedule.

FlexMSW Advanced Standing Field Education

FlexMSW Advanced Standing students must complete 14 units of Field Education, consisting of:

  • 12 units earned in one advanced field practicum (minimum of 720 clock hours), completed over the fall and spring semesters (6 units of SOC WEL 412A in fall and 6 units of SOC WEL 412B in spring).
  • 2 units earned in concurrent field integration seminars (1 unit of SOC WEL 292A in fall and 1 unit of SOC WEL 292B in spring).

FlexMSW Advanced Standing Field Education Scheduling

The typical field practicum placement configuration is three days per week from September until May. A block placement (i.e., 4-5 days per week over a 4-5 month period) may be approved for certain kinds of students and placements (particularly placements that provide brief, intensive vs. longer-term intervention).

  • The vast majority of social work internships occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday when experienced supervisory staff are available. We are not able to accommodate requests for weekend or evening-only field placements.
  • FlexMSW students are highly encouraged to explore employment-based internships (see below for more information). If an employment-based internship cannot be arranged students are expected to be available during the regular business week to complete their field education requirement(s).

The required field integration seminar is likely to assume a hybrid format with the early portions occurring live to facilitate cohort cohesion and later portions online. Whenever possible, live sections will be scheduled in close proximity to other required courses such as the practice methods course. Students may also be asked to attend online discussion sections and to complete reflective writing in the evening during the week.

How FlexMSW Advanced Standing Students are Placed in Field

The field placement process for FlexMSW Advanced Standing students begins as soon as a student is admitted and completes their Statement of Intention to Register (SIR). Incoming students complete a pre-placement questionnaire, and then schedule a one-on-one pre-placement meeting with a dedicated FlexMSW field faculty member. Following the interactive, pre-placement advising appointment, students are guided to interview at an available advanced field placement that is a suitable match for their educational goals, interests, and needs

Employer-based Field Placements

The FlexMSW degree tracks are designed specifically for students who are already working in the field of social work, and need to maintain full-time employment while seeking their graduate degree. For this reason, all FlexMSW students are highly encouraged to consider approaching their employers about an employment-based field internship. Such arrangements can also provide important financial support by allowing students to continue receiving income while completing field education and MSW degree requirements.

FlexMSW students can request approval for an employment-based field internship when completing the required pre-placement questionnaire. The student’s assigned field faculty member will provide guidance in determining the ultimate feasibility of completing a required MSW field internship in the student’s place of employment. To be considered for approval, the proposed employer-based social work field placement must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The proposed field placement site agency must be willing to apply for approval from Berkeley Social Welfare Field Education if no relationship currently exists (see below for more information).
  2. The proposed field placement must provide learning opportunities appropriate for MSW-level field education and must meet all of the school’s minimum standards.
  3. Field education learning opportunities and accompanying assigned duties must be provided in a program or area of the agency that is different from where the student is currently employed.
  4. The field placement learning opportunities must be overseen by a qualified field instructor other than the student’s current employment supervisor.

What if my current employer doesn’t have an existing affiliate relationship with Berkeley Social Welfare?

FlexMSW students seeking approval for an employment-based field internship should first confirm with their employer if the agency or program is already approved as a field education placement site. If the agency is not currently an approved field placement site, agency staff should initiate the field agency recruitment and selection process as quickly as feasible in order to establish a new agency field education relationship with us in a timely manner. For eligibility criteria, approval timeline and instructions, please see Become a Field Agency Instructor.

Disclaimer: The School of Social Welfare reserves the right to (1) add or delete courses; (2) change instructor, time, day or location of courses; (3) cancel any course for insufficient registration or academic/administrative decision without notice; (4) unregister students from courses for which they have mis-enrolled or have not received permission to enroll; or (5) move students into a different section of a multi-section course. Students will be notified of any changes.