MSW Field Experience
Field Instruction provides students with an opportunity to practice and integrate social work theory in the field under the guidance and instruction of an experienced social work field instructor.
Full-time first-year students are assigned to a beginning field placement for two days each week for the entire academic year. Students are required to complete a minimum of 15 clock hours of field instruction per week during the Fall (minimum of 225 clock hours) and Spring (minimum of 225 clock hours) semesters for a minimum of 450 clock hours over the academic year.
Full-time second year students are given the opportunity to select their advanced field placement with the approval of the Field Director. Field Instruction in the second year is for three days each week for the entire academic year. Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 clock hours of field instruction per week during Fall (minimum of 300 clock hours) and Spring (minimum of 300 clock hours) semesters for a minimum of 600 clock hours for the academic year.
Part-time students complete field instruction requirements using one of the following patterns:
- Part-time students start their beginning field placement in the second year of matriculation but must be concurrently enrolled in the practice course sequence.
- Some students may use their place of employment as the base of their professional field instruction. Clear written plans for new learning experiences must be approved in advance by the agency director or representative and the Director of Field Instruction.
Student Commitment to Field Placement
Once they begin, students are obligated to continue field placement until completion. Changes must be discussed and arranged through the Director of Field Instruction. Students who terminate field placement may not be eligible for another placement.
MSW Placement Process
All MSW students should begin the field placement process by discussing their field interests with the Director of Field Instruction. Students select a field placement site approved by the School of Social Work. Both field sites and field instructors (supervisor at the placement) must be affiliates with the School of Social Work. Field instructors must have an MSW degree with two years of post MSW experience.
Full-time MSW students must begin the placement process upon acceptance into the MSW program. Part-time MSW students must begin the placement process during the Spring semester of their first year.
With the exception of incoming full-time students, all placements must be secured and Specific Agency Choice (SAC) forms submitted to the Director of Field Education prior to the end of the Spring Semester before the commencement of their field education experience.
Interviewing at Field Sites
After meeting with the Director of Field Instruction to discuss possible field placement sites, the student targets two or more agencies for more extensive investigation. Affiliation forms and detailed information can be found in the office of the Director of Field Instruction.
The Field Manual is the “textbook” for all students enrolled in Field Instruction classes. It is the student’s responsibility to read and follow the instructions found in the Field Manual. All necessary forms are found in the Appendix of the manual.
Field Placement Instruction and Liaison
Students are supervised at their field placement by a field instructor. All field instructors are MSW level supervisors with at least 2 years post MSW experience and are approved by the School of Social Work and the Director of Field Instruction.
In addition to being assigned a field instructor, students are also assigned a field liaison. The field liaison is responsible for consulting with the field instructor and the student to help maximize the student’s learning experience. Responsibilities include:
- Interpreting and explaining the school’s curriculum, objectives and policies to the field instructor;
- Maintaining close communication with the field instructor regarding the student’s progress;
- Conferring with the student regarding their progress in their placement;
- Evaluating the student’s progress and performances as reflected in the student’s recordings;
- Evaluating the student’s ability to work within the framework of the agency.
It is important for students to build a relationship with their field liaison to benefit from the support and assistance they can provide to the student throughout the field placement.