Field Education at SP2

Student jump roping with child

Field education is an integral part of the overall MSW curriculum. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) defines field education as its signature pedagogy. Signature pedagogy represents the central form of instruction or learning in which a profession socializes its students to perform the role of practitioner. Field experience and Practice classes are viewed as complementary parts of an integrated social work education.The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical work of an agency setting. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, and evaluated based on criteria developed in accordance with CSWE education standards.  Field placements are determined based on academic expectation, the students’ educational needs and objectives, and agency opportunities.  Field practice provides students with:

  1. Learning experiences directly related to the academic/classroom curriculum;
  2. Opportunities to test what they have learned; and
  3. Means of evaluating their own social work practice.

Student experiences in field practice are also integrated into classroom work and learning.

SP2 students are required to complete field education as part of the MSW curriculum. Students complete this component of their social work education through participation in supervised field placement experiences at agencies or institutions that have entered into a contractual arrangement with the School of Social Policy & Practice’s Social Work program. Each student is placed with a field instructor who provides on-site supervision at an agency.

Agencies function as learning laboratories, giving students valuable exposure to the full range of functions, responsibilities, challenges and opportunities today’s social workers experience.

MSW students must complete two internships in social service. We are able to offer placements in states outside of the Tristate area and have an ever evolving database of over 600 agencies. We strive to have diverse learning opportunities for our students that include, among many areas of practice, child welfare, justice, health, and education. Each year, the Field Office is responsible for ongoing evaluation of agency placements, maintaining existing agency relationships and developing new sites. In a typical year, up to 35 new agencies are developed.

All field placements and arrangements are made by the School. Students are neither required nor encouraged to arrange their own field placements.

In compliance with the University’s broader affirmative action commitment, agencies used for field practice must have an affirmative action program and racial and sexual harassment policies.

State law and/or particular field placement sites may require a criminal background check before a student will be permitted to do fieldwork in a number of contexts. Certain kinds of criminal convictions may affect a student’s ability to obtain a field placement, which, in turn, could affect the student’s ability to complete degree requirements.