The Field Placement Process

On this page:

Overview of Placement Process

By following the steps listed below, you begin the process of securing your field placement for the upcoming academic year.

Application materials consist of the following:

  • Acknowledgement.
  • Application or Employment Based Application.
  • Cover letter/resume.
  • Site Recommendation form (Online students only)
  • Agency Search and Agency Request Form (for Advanced Year students only). This is your choice of three agencies you would like to be placed with.

Online Student Field Placements

Employment-based field process (changes due to COVID19)

In the Summer of 2020, CSWE released new standards for employment-based field placements in response to COVID-19. So far, these changes only apply to field placements in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years.

Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education, the place where students develop their professional identity and where they are able to put to use the skills and concepts learned throughout their coursework. The current best practice for field education requires students to engage in learning activities that are qualitatively different from prior volunteer or employment experiences, and that allow for attainment of Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) competencies.  Activities should be supervised by a licensed masters social worker (LMSW). 

The Council on Social Work Education has long permitted employment-based field placements where job duties are distinctly different from a student’s designated field activities, and the work supervisor is different than the field educator.  These rules are designed to protect the role of students as learners while engaged in field, with expectations different from those related to employment.  New guidelines (issued in June 2020) allow for students to petition the Field office for their work hours to count towards field hours.

Necessary Criteria In order to petition for work hours to be counted towards Field hours, students must:

  1. Demonstrate a link between employment activities and the nine social work competencies; 
  2. Have a licensed MSW to supervise them

Students will need to complete the Employment Based Field Application.  Consistent with other students in field, we expect employment-based students to count 15 hours/week of their work hours for field and generally follow the field calendar (found here).

Once field begins, students will be expected to create a learning contract that contains at least one project that spans two-semesters, that relates to the majority of the nine competencies, reflects attainment of social work values and ethics, and demonstrates substantial professional growth and development. Topic areas could include (for example) racial equity, anti-racism within social work practice, response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and/or trauma-informed practices within the agency.  Examples include fully researching a topic, providing an agency-training on that topic, and then evaluating the training results.

Employment-based field process (Traditional/Non-COVID19)

If you are currently employed at a human services agency and would like to complete an employment-based field placement, review the guidelines to make sure you are eligible.

Employment-based FAQs

Sonia Field Placement System

Sonia has been specially designed to bring together information for field placement in a way that is convenient for MSW students.

Sonia field placement applications are now open and are due December 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST.

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