Department of Social Work

Field Education

Through fieldwork, students get to put their skills, commitment, and knowledge directly to practice, while seeing how interventions can make an impact in clients' lives. 

The Value of Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an important part of the social work curriculum because it allows students to the opportunity to apply theories, and concepts learned in the classroom to experiences in the field through a supervised placement.

The goal of field instruction is to engage students in supervised direct and indirect service activities and provide practical experience in all the foundation competency areas as guided by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This effort is accomplished through partnerships with a variety of agencies that meet the required learning outcomes as outlined in the CSU Field Education Manual.

Through fieldwork, students identify professional strengths and growth areas, while also gaining the skills, knowledge, and values needed to succeed as a social work practitioner and leader.

Fieldwork Eligibility

Each student is responsible for becoming familiar with the social work requirements for the major as outlined in the University Catalog. To qualify for a field placement, a student must:

  • Be accepted as a full social work major (no pre-social work majors)
  • Complete the following courses with a grade of C or better by the end of the spring semester before field work begins:
    • SOWK 210
    • SOWK 260
    • SOWK 360
    • SOWK 379
    • SOWK 388
    • SOWK 389
  • Have a minimum cumulative 2.5 grade point average by the end of the semester before your placement begins
  • Be able to graduate within 3 semesters of starting field work
  • Submit all application materials by the appropriate deadline:
    • March 31st for fall placement
  • Regularly demonstrate responsible and professional student conduct as outlined in the Social Work Student Field Manual.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Field Placement provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom setting in practical experiences within social service agencies.

The department notifies all social work students by email about a field interest meeting. During the field interest meeting, students learn about the field process and have an opportunity to ask questions. Field experience may provide opportunities for students to match with specific agencies or client populations, if available.

To start the field placement process, students must electronically submit an Application for Field Placement. The department does not accept any applications faxed or emailed to the Field Education Office. Students may be matched with agencies / and or particular client populations they would like to work with (provided such agency is available).

Day and evening students must spend 16 hours per week in an internship over 2 academic semesters for a total of 480 hours of field placement. There is no variation regarding time spent in the field. You must spend 16 hours and two (2) full days a week in field if you are a day placement. Most students are at the agencies during the day on a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Evening students may work partial hours any day of the week except Sunday, but must complete 16 hours a week as well.

For most students, field starts in the fall and continues through the spring semester. However, as of January 2009 students may also start field in January. These students will complete field by the first summer session which is a block placement.

The University cannot guarantee field placement on either weekend or evening hours because most agencies don't have available supervision after 5:00 p.m. The University has a limited number of student placements with non-traditional hours. You will need to plan ahead and save leave time with current employers. We encourage you to consider finding a job that has evening hours.

A field instructor must have a MSW and at least 2 years of postgraduate professional social work experience, and a license in the state of Maryland. The Field Instructor will supervisor, monitor and evaluate interns in their fieldwork, overseeing the entire range of field experience.

The field liaison is an employee of the Department of Social Work who provides a link between the student and the agency.

The task supervisor is not required to hold an MSW degree, although they are expected to have experience with the agency. Their role is to work with the student directly on a daily basis regarding specific tasks, client services, and agency operations.

Contact Us

Gary Jones Jr.
Director of Field Education