The Field Placement Process

Field experience is how our MSW students put their classroom knowledge to practice -- and how they connect with the community to affect real change. 

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.

When application materials are ready, a notification email is sent to the MSW Listserv. If you are a newly admitted student, you will receive instructions with your registration packet once you have sent in your deposit.

Application materials consist of the following:

  • Application.
  • Cover letter/resume.
  • 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.
You may not solicit placements by phone or in person.

You may make a recommendation for potentional MSW field sites.

Employment-Based Field Placement

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.

Online Student Field Placements

Application Deadlines

Current students seeking placement outside of Erie and Niagara counties

  • All materials: November 1

Current students seeking placement in Erie and Niagara counties

  • Application and cover letter/resume: November 1 
  • Agency request form (advanced year only): February 1

Incoming students

  • All materials: Two weeks after receiving the registration packet

After Your Application Materials Have Been Submitted

Typical Timeline for Cohorts Sent for Interview

  • Traditional advanced year (full- and part-time) students: Begins after advanced year choices are due (late February-March).
  • Advanced standing full-time students: May.
  • Foundation part-time students: Begins April into May.
  • Foundation full-time students: June.

Student Actions Required for Placement

The field coordinators will match students with agencies. Student and agency will be notified of match via email. NOTE: Students may only interview with one agency at a time.

  • Within 48 hours of notification, student is expected to contact the agency to set up an interview.
  • Student will prepare for interview by reviewing Interview Guidelines and reviewing agency/program website to understand populations served, mission and other pertinent information. Student may utilize Career Services prior to interview to practice and seek interview pointers.
  • Student will attend the interview and cover the points listed on the Interview Guidelines.
  • Student will arrange life/work to include a consistent 15 hours per week of Field Education.
    • Full-time students – field hours will be during normal work hours
    • Part-time students – field hours can not be guaranteed for evening and weekend hours
Attention: Advanced Year Students

Every effort will be made to allow Advanced Year students to schedule an interview at one of their preferred agencies; however, this may not be possible depending on the volume of requests for a particular agency. Once you submit your field application with your preferred agency selections, information on which agency you may schedule an interview with will be emailed to you. Students will only interview at a second agency if the first interview did not provide a placement match.

Additional Information

  • Field agencies may choose to interview multiple students in consideration for an internship opening.
  • Field agencies retain the right to select or reject any student referred to them for a potential internship.
  • Interviewing and returning the Interview Outcome Form are required to finalize your field placement.
My Field Education Portal

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

Log in to My Field Education