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Master of Social Work: Advanced Standing

The MSW advanced standing program is available to students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited institution. The program prepares graduates for advanced ethical and professional social work practice and licensure, emphasizing commitment to service, social justice, integrity, competence, and scientific inquiry.


Fully Online

You'll complete 100% of your coursework online.

Location: Online

Start Dates: Summer 2024, Summer 2025, and Summer 2026

Total Credits


Finish in as Few as

12 months


  • Introduction to Advanced Justice-Informed Social Work Practice (SOWK703)

    An exploration of key critical and philosophical theories of justice and application to advanced social work practice. Special attention is given to concepts of human rights and autonomy, anti-oppressive and distributive justice frameworks, and social justice as an ethic of social work practice.

    2 credits

  • Justice-Informed Clinical Intervention and Mental Health Diagnosis (SOWK707)

    Development of justice-informed assessment and diagnostic skills and clinical applications based on the DSM IV-TR. Formulate working engagement, assessment and intervention skills necessary for diagnosing clusters of mental health symptoms using recovery-oriented, evidence-based practices. Examination of clinical work through case consultation, review, and presentation.

    4 credits

  • Justice-Informed Clinical Practice in Response to Crisis, Trauma, and Marginalization (SOWK709)

    Investigate the nature of trauma/crisis, differential diagnosis, current practice trends and related theories and interventions associated with conceptualizing trauma-informed practice.

    4 credits

  • Researching Evidence-Based Models for Practice Intervention (SOWK713)

    Examination of diverse scholarship and literature related to evidenced-based models for practice interventions with a justice-informed perspective. Development of systematic review of literature to advance justice-informed social work practice and prepare for professional presentation.

    4 credits

  • Theodicy, Theologies of Liberation, and Social Work Praxis (SOWK717)

    Investigate the problem of suffering in the world, the impacts of neoliberalism, liberation theologies as a response to systemic oppression, and a reflective exploration of how theology shapes approaches to justice across socio-cultural contexts. Through the synthesis of contemporary writings, social theory, and diverse voices, the decolonization of social work practice is considered.

    4 credits

  • Advanced Field Seminar III (SOWK725)

    Continuation of the field experience in a community-based practice setting. Application and integration of advanced justice-informed knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes for ethical generalist social work practice with an emphasis diversity, human rights, and justice under supervision of a qualified field instructor.

    2 credits

  • Advanced Social Policy, Community Health, and Environmental Justice (SOWK733)

    Evaluation of a critical, decolonizing, anti-oppressive and ecological framework in social work practice. Analysis of complex ethical issues facing local and global communities from an environmental and community health perspective. Identification of key issues about health, social determinants for health, and disparities in health across marginalized communities. Analysis of connections among social disparities, faith perspectives, power, health and ethics related to assumptions and actions in social work practice.

    4 credits

  • Advanced Field Seminar IV (SOWK735)

    Continuation of the field experience in a community-based practice setting. Application and integration of advanced, justice-informed knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes for ethical generalist social work practice with an emphasis on diversity, human rights, and justice, under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. Students practice a minimum of 250 hours in field.

    2 credits

  • Advanced Clinical Practice and Evidence-Based Interventions (SOWK737)

    Assessment of diverse factors when making ethical, justice-informed practice decisions to attend to complex personal and systemic injustice factors which impact well-being. Application of evidenced-based, justice-informed social work theories and modalities including CBT, MI, SFT. Consideration of pyschopharmacological implications in clinical practice. Development of advanced engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations with application of justice promoting practices.

    4 credits

  • Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Social Work Supervision (SOWK743)

    Comprehensive overview of best practice standards in social work supervision to support and strengthen advanced justice-informed practice across micro, mezzo and macro settings with special attention on the client-practitioner relationship, reflective supervision, and consideration of justice-informed supervision strategies.

    2 credits

  • Directed Study (SOWK760)

    Directed study experience under the guidance of a faculty member.

    1-6 credits

  • Capstone Integrative Seminar (SOWK791)

    Integration of research and professional presentation skills to demonstrate readiness to practice professional, justice-informed social work practice at an advanced level. Preparation for professional licensure exam. Reflective integration of faith, social work practice and justice.

    4 credits


Professional Licensure

The MSW at Bethel prepares students to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) professional licensure exam.

Field Work

Two field seminars throughout the program provide practical experience and the opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills, values, critical thinking, and applied ethics for social work practice. Students in the advanced standing program will complete 500 field work hours. Field work offers a progression of learning, including:

  • Experience in a multi-service community-based agency serving diverse populations
  • Emphasis on diversity, human rights, and justice
  • Development of a professional identity
  • Social work experience in a professional setting under the supervision of a qualified field instructor

Program Objectives

Graduates of the Master of Social Work at Bethel University will:

  • Address complex social issues such as poverty, systemic violence, human neglect, trafficking, child welfare, trauma, mental health, health disparities, environmental racism, and social systems reform
  • Explore concepts of theology, race, and equity to address social, economic, racial, and environmental injustice
  • Apply critical concepts related to trauma and mental health to social work practice
  • Apply learning in all contexts, micro to macro
  • Seek justice in innovative ways—in wide-based, diverse, professional field settings
  • Apply research and evidence-based practice to social work contexts and diverse community settings to impact sustainable change
  • Integrate inclusive and bias-free language into scholarly work and professional practice