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School to launch new 20-month Advanced Standing Program

Starting next year, working professionals will have a new opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in social work at UNC.

The School of Social Work is preparing to launch a new 20-month Advanced Standing Program. This program is designed for candidates who have graduated from an accredited BSW program, including students who are eager to continue working as they complete their graduate degree. Students would begin classes in January 2021 and complete the program in May 2022.

The 20-month program will join the School’s current lineup of academic programs, including a 12-month Advanced Standing program for those with a BSW, three-year program options in Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem, and a two-year full-time program.

The 20-month Advanced Standing Program reflects the School’s commitment to make an MSW education accessible to more potential students, said Laurie Selz-Campbell, program coordinator and a clinical associate professor.

“We know that the 12-month program – requiring one year of intensive, full-time attendance – may not be an option for those with ongoing employment, family, or other obligations and life circumstances,” she said. “The 20-month program will allow students to engage in MSW study for an extended period of time so that they can continue to attend to these obligations while completing their degree.”

The 20-month program is open to any applicant who meets the criteria and who has an interest in direct practice or community management and policy practice. The program may be particularly attractive to working professionals who are employed with agencies and in positions that could be considered as a field experience, said Sharon Holmes Thomas, assistant dean of recruitment, admissions and financial aid.

The School will begin to accept applications for the program in October, with a goal of enrolling a total of 15 students in the first year, Thomas said.

“We are a program that’s been wanting to grow, but we haven’t wanted to do so exponentially,” Thomas said. “Our goal has been to be thoughtful about the process and still provide students with a quality learning environment in terms of class size and a quality field experience.”

To learn more about admission to the 20-month program, contact