Field education is an essential pedagogical component of MSW education. In the Intensive Weekend program, the field internship begins in September of the first year for both three-year and advanced standing students, and continues through to the completion of the program.
Approval and confirmation of the placement must occur by August 1.
Field in the Intensive Weekend Program
- 3-year students: 8-10 hours per week, 1125 total hours
- Advanced standing: 10-12 hours per week, 885 total hours
- Field is co-requisite with generalist and clinical practice classes
- One field placement, provided it meets pedagogical objectives and is progressively challenging
- Workplace-based field placements must differ from customary employment duties in task, time and supervisor; alternative internships are possible if placement at the workplace is not available
- Field Instructors must have 2 years post MSW experience
Strong clinical supervision and opportunities to practice what is learned in the classroom are an essential part of the student's field experience, as are process recordings that encourage reflection and development of the professional self. Year-round field in a single setting facilitates in-depth field learning and the ability to follow client progress, or to see a project through from start to finish. Students are encouraged to examine appropriate field opportunities and explore possible arrangements for field with their employer, even as they apply for admission.
The support of the applicant's employer is indispensable to ensure that students are able to meet the requirements for field in addition to meeting their responsibilities as employees.
Field Plan and Conference
Once admitted, incoming students are invited to initiate a Field Plan, in consultation with their employer. They submit the plan online, including information about 1) a proposed workplace-based placement or, if not feasible, 2) a request for an alternative placement, as well as their 3) availability, interests and experiential background.
An in-person Field Conference is scheduled to discuss the student's Field Plan once the plan is received. The Conference includes a group information and orientation session, an individual conference with the program's field personal and a writing exercise, part of program's Writing for Social Workers initiative.
Students submit a Confirmation form, co-signed by the Field Instructor, once the Field Plan is finalized and approved.
How to plan for field
- Speak with your supervisor about your intention to apply to or begin the Intensive Weekend Program
- Explore the possibility of an internship within your agency with your employer
- If a workplace-based internship is not feasible, explore the possibility of flexibility in your work schedule and/or the use of personal time or educational leave, or any recommendations your employer might have
- Discuss possibilities to flex your hours, educational leave or partial reassignment of duties. Plan how you will structure your time to manage school and your job
NOTE: Fully after-hours placements are usually not available unless offered by the employer, so it is important to have at least some daytime hours available for field on at least one or two days during the week.
For additional guidance, see Tips for a Successful Field Internship
Support in Field
Maintaining a field internship while working is often the most challenging part of MSW education. Manageable field hours and the possibility of a workplace-based placement helps. Coordinated field support in the Intensive Weekend Program assists students in meeting field objectives and maintaining their field trajectory:
- A Field Advisor assigned to each cohort meets with students during monthly lunch-time sessions on class weekends, bringing the campus to the student, sharing critical information and providing guidance and support
- Field Liaisons provide consultation to students and Field Instructors in trimester visits and follow individual student progress in field