Employed Practitioners/Reduced Residency

The Employed Practitioners/Reduced Residency Program (EPP) is a three-year MSW program for experienced professionals who work full-time in a social service agency and have successfully completed the probationary period of employment. Applicants must be under the supervision of an MSW with substantial experience and must want to pursue an MSW on a part-time basis while continuing to work and be supervised at their place of employment. The Employed Practitioners Program is similar to the Part-time Program, but offers students the advantage of completing their foundation and advanced year field placements at their place of employment.

The EPP places a primary emphasis to the role of the student as a learner. Drawing on theoretical classroom learning and using the agency environment in their work with clients and communities, students are challenged to conceptualize and critically analyze their practice differently. While the EPP allows students to continue in their current work site, new learning in the field is required.

All of the following elements must be met in order for a student to be eligible for the Employed Practitioners Program. If a student is missing any of these elements, they should apply to the Part-time Program or defer application until the requirements have been met.

The Employed Practitioners Program is open to students who:

  1. Have substantial social work experience;
  2. Currently work full-time at a social service agency;
  3. Are being supervised by an MSW at the time of application;
  4. Will continue to work at the agency under the supervision of an MSW whose experience meets the criteria for the Office of Field Education (MSW from an accredited school and 2 years post-masters experience);
  5. Will continue to work at the agency for their 2nd and 3rd years in the MSW program; and
  6. Have received pre-approval by completing the Agency Recommendation Form. The form must be completed in conjunction with the applicant’s MSW supervisor.

Admissions Information

Students are required to submit the Agency Recommendation Form with their online application. If anything changes with the student’s employment status or the agency’s ability to meet the program requirements before the student has obtained their MSW degree, the student’s standing in the Employed Practitioners Program will be re-evaluated. In these situations, it is possible that the student will be switched from the Employed Practitioners Program to the Part-time Program.

Learn more about applying to the Employed Practitioners program.

Classes

Students in the Employed Practitioners Program take two courses during both the Fall and Spring semesters for three academic years and during two summers. The school understands that students in the Employed Practitioners Program are employed full-time and therefore have limited availability for scheduling classes. For this reason, Employed Practitioner students are given priority registration so that they can enroll in classes that best accommodate their schedules. Evening classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:00 – 6:30 PM and from 6:45 – 9:15 PM and students will be able to meet all of the program requirements during these class times. (Note: required Monday night joint lectures that are part of sequence courses are held on some Mondays between 6:30 – 8:30 PM.) However, students are strongly advised that evening elective course choices can be limited; students with flexibility in their schedules will have a larger selection of courses from which to choose.

Field Placement and Supervision Requirements

There are no field requirements for the first year, but students continue to work in their places of employment.

For the second year of the Employed Practitioners Program, students remain in their place of employment to fulfill the foundation year requirement. Students take SWRK 604/SWRK 614 Foundations of Social Work Practice as well as SWRK 710 Employed Practitioners Seminar. SWRK 710 is led by an MSW and is a non-credit, required seminar that provides supervision designed to link the job site learning to the material covered in the practice class.

In the third year of the Employed Practitioners Program, which is the residency year, students complete the total field placement requirement at their job site. This placement:

  • requires a minimum of 20 hours per week of work that is substantially different from the student’s job duties and their Foundation Year assignment;
  • begins in July prior to the third year of coursework and concludes in April, for a total of 900 hours of field placement;
  • is guided by a learning contract* which students develop at the end of the Employed Practitioners Supervision Seminar in the Foundation Year (year 2) of the program;
  • must be in the student’s area of concentration (clinical or macro) and comply with the advanced practice curriculum requirements; and
  • must be supervised by an MSW who does not supervise them for their current full-time employment.

*The learning contract gets filed with the Office of Field Education.

Learn more about Field Placement.

Changes in Status

If there are changes to a student’s employment status or to the agency’s ability to meet the program requirements before the student has obtained their MSW degree, the student’s standing in the Employed Practitioners Program will be re-evaluated. In these situations, it is possible that the student will be switched from the Employed Practitioners Program to the Part-time program.

EPP students who are not able to fulfill the EPP placement requirements in Year Three must move to Part-time student status. Their field placement hour requirements, however, continue to reflect the EPP standards. EPP students who transfer to Part-time status in Year Three must complete 20 hours of field work per week during the extended field calendar (August through April).

Students who move from EPP to Part-time status in Year One or Two will complete the regular Part-time placement schedule of 16 hours of field work per week during the extended field calendar and, like other Part-time students, are required to be placed in a field placement outside of their employment.

Standard Course of Study

The description below outlines the standard course of study for students in the Employed Practitioners Program. Deviation from this course of study requires approval in advance from the student’s academic advisor. Students in the Employed Practitioners Program are not eligible for dual-degree programs. Due to scheduling issues and course structuring, not all certificate programs and specializations are available to Employed Practitioners Program students.

First Year

Fall Semester
SWRK 601: History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare* (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 602: Human Behavior in the Social Environment* (inc. Joint Lectures)

Spring Semester
SWRK 6xx: Policy Option
SWRK 615: Introduction to Social Work Research* (inc. Joint Lectures)

Summer Term
SWRK 7xx: Research Option
SWRK 7xx: Elective #1

Field Placement
No field placement is completed in this year, but students continue to work at their place of employment.

Second Year (Foundation Year)

Fall Semester
SWRK 603: American Racism and Social Work Practice (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 604: Foundations of Social Work Practice I** (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 710: Employed Practitioners Supervision Seminar (meets every other Monday evening)***

Spring Semester
SWRK 614: Foundations of Social Work Practice II** (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 710: Employed Practitioners Supervision Seminar (meets every other Monday evening)***
SWKR 7xx: Elective #2

Summer Term
SWRK 7xx: Elective #3
SWRK 7xx: Elective #4

Field Placement
The foundation year students may retain their work role during their foundation field placement, but their specific responsibilities and how they relate to client and client systems and conceptualize their work differ now that the employee is in the student/learner role. This difference is outlined and articulated in the student learning contract. The learning contract is subsequently evaluated and approved by the foundation practice faculty to ensure it meets the learning needs and professional opportunities for the student to master the foundation practice behaviors.  Students meet the expectations of the EPP Foundation Year of Field Placement through the following:

  1. Participation in Foundation Social Work Practice class;
  2. Practice assignments geared toward integration of theory and field experience;
  3. Prioritizing new learning through a written learning contract between student and agency for the academic year that is evaluated and approved by foundation practice faculty;
  4. Assignment of a field liaison to support learning in the field placement and insure learning contract complies with foundation year practice requirements; and
  5. Employed Practitioners seminar; assignments are designed to link with issues covered in these practice classes. Emphasis is on the integration of classroom learning into practice through the use of class participation, process recording, presentations, role-playing, group activities, and focused journal writing. The main purposes of this seminar are:
    • To orient students to their changing professional identity;
    • To support learning by encouraging students to make connections between Foundation Practice classroom knowledge and their work in the agency;
    • To encourage students to critically analyze their current practice and provide the learning environment for them to go deeper into their work with clients, agency systems and communities; and
    • To enable students to obtain the knowledge and skills to enter into the advanced field placement year.

Third Year (Advanced Year)

Fall Semester
SWRK 704 or SWRK 708: Advanced Clinical or Macro Social Work Practice I** (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 7xx: Elective #5

Spring Semester

SWRK 714 or SWRK 718: Advanced Clinical or Macro Social Work Practice II** (inc. Joint Lectures)
SWRK 713: Understanding Social Change: Issues of Race and Gender (inc. Joint Lectures)

Field Placement
Advanced year students continue to retain their work role at their agency during their advanced year field placement. The structure of the work, however, shifts considerably during this final year of fieldwork. Advanced year EPP students complete their field work at their job site by completing a minimum of 20 hours per week of work that is substantially different from their job duties and their Foundation Year assignment. In addition, this new work must be supervised by an agency MSW who does not supervise them for their current full-time employment. This work must be in their area of concentration (clinical or macro). This field work must also comply with advanced practice curriculum requirements. Students meet the expectations of the EPP Advanced Year of Field Placement through the following:

  1. Enrollment in the Advanced Clinical or Macro Social Work Practice class;
  2. Successful completion of classroom assignments geared toward integration of theory and field experience;
  3. Assignment of a field liaison to support and evaluate new learning, including site visit(s) to agency;
  4. Field placement/work assignment in the agency of employment that focuses on new areas of practice for student; and
  5. Assignment of an MSW supervisor that does not supervise the student for their work duties.

*Waiver exams are offered for SWRK 601 and SWRK 602 in August, and for SWRK 615 in October. Students who score a qualifying grade on a waiver exam may take an elective in place of the required course.
**Practice classes are a year-long sequence. Students remain in the same section of SWRK 604/614 for the entire first year, and remain in the same section of SWRK 704/714 or 708/718 for the entire second year.
***SWRK 710 is a required, non-credit/non-tuition course.

Joint Lectures

Sequences in the MSW program may schedule sequence-wide lectures for all sections at various points in the semester. These lectures feature experts in the field and are a mandatory component of the course(s). Joint lectures are scheduled on Monday evenings (6:30 – 8:30 PM); students should not register for other courses on Monday nights that conflict with the joint lecture time slot. Students who have extenuating circumstance that prevent them from attending the joint lectures must make arrangements with their course instructors to receive the lecture content in another way.