COVID-19 Information, Resources for Field Education Program

The past two weeks have been uniquely challenging for faculty and students, and for the communities that we all serve. The Field Program has drawn on the collective talents of faculty, staff, and agency partners to create an effective emergency response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. To protect students, agencies, and clients, all on-site field placements have been suspended indefinitely in favor of remote service.

In a spirit of collaboration, we wanted to take this opportunity to describe in detail the steps that have been taken so far and to develop and implement a new protocol for the continuity of field education through remote service.

As we move forward together, we will include all faculty on field bulletins and welcome each of you to reach out to share questions or thoughts with our Program regarding our evolving response to the national crisis.

During this transition, we will post all relevant field information in this section of the Field Education’s home page. Please check this section periodically for updates.

Additionally, remote learning activities and resources have been compiled in a UA Box folder. Access to this folder will require DUO authentication through MyBama. The field staff will continue to update this folder.

Emergency Response Timeline:

These decisions were made following guidance from public health authorities and in consultation with University administration, and key elements are bolded:

3/11 + 3/12:

  • The DC Fly-In is canceled, and a virtual alternative is created.
  • The Field Program advises students to begin exploring how their service on-site with agencies can be completed virtually.
  • The Remote Competency Development Tool, its guide, and a basic list of supplemental activities are shared to support students in completing this planning. This tool guides students in determining how they can transition their learning competencies into virtual service. Students are also encouraged to share any resources that they create, find, or adapt (with their agency’s permission).
  • Students who feel unsafe continuing on-site for any reason are advised that they will be supported should they determine that they must terminate their on-site service.
  • Agency partners are advised of these developments and invited to share thoughts, questions, and concerns with the Field Office and invited to contribute to the development and expansion of virtual programming.   
  • Virtual “office-hours” for students, liaisons, and field instructors via Zoom with field coordinators are hosted.


  • In anticipation of disruption to field placements, five field policy changes are made on an emergency basis:
    • Service commitments are reduced to the minimum allowed by CSWE, 450 hours.
    • Students completing variable Spring placements are allowed to complete up to 440 of those hours prior to the end of the Spring term, with the remaining 10 to be completed during the Summer.
    • The cap of 20 hours placed on professional development and training is removed.
    • Students are allowed to complete hours outside of regular business hours (i.e. on nights and during weekends) without completing an alternative hours waiver.
  • Faculty liaisons are consulted during a regularly scheduled virtual meeting and apprised fully of all recent developments.

3/16 – 3/20:

  • Following new guidance from public health authorities and in sustained consultation with University administration, all physical placements are suspended indefinitely, effective 3/17, to slow the spread of the virus.  The Field Program invites all parties involved to share questions and concerns actively by phone and email.
  • Virtual town halls are planned and carried out on 3/18 and 3/20 to discuss this determination. Over 300 students, liaisons, and field instructors attend across three sessions, and recordings are shared with all parties and upcoming sessions are advertised.
  • A second faculty liaison meeting is held to discuss the implementation of virtual strategies.
  • Supplemental virtual resources are consolidated and expanded to include more recommended articles, films, podcasts, books, and social media activities.


Discover Our World in Field Education

Field education is one of the most rewarding components of pursuing a degree in social work. This is a time for students to practice and develop social work skills under competent supervision while impacting communities, families, individuals and policy.

Programs of Study

Field practicum is a social work course included in a student’s Plan of Study. Our field practicum experiences provide students with the opportunity to integrate the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom setting and field instructor’s teaching to the delivery of social services in a practice situation.

BSW and MSW students are required to apply for field placement and complete a background check before they are placed with an agency. Students are placed using a holistic perspective. We consider input from students and consult with faculty, advisors, and the Field Committee to match each student’s educational needs with a specific agency.

We’re committed to considering students’ personal circumstances when making placement decisions but we cannot guarantee a particular field placement in a geographic area. For this reason, we encourage students to start early considering your obligations, your “musts” in life, the things you can put to the side during this course, and those things you can negotiate. Practicum is often about negotiating, which is an excellent social work skill. Begin this practice as you consider applying to one of our many field opportunities.

Field FAQs

Learn more about our Field Education Program in our Frequently Asked Questions! (pdf)


Undergraduate students use the educational resources in the classroom and the field to develop a responsible, analytical approach to his or her own practice and to the practice of others.


Graduate students apply classroom teaching and learning in real-world settings to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the development of practice competence.

Washington, D.C.

A unique field opportunity in the nation’s capital that exposes BSW and MSW students to outstanding direct service programs and public policy and advocacy implementation.


A transformative learning experience that teaches students firsthand about different cultures and how social welfare services are interpreted and provided abroad.

Financial Assistance for Field

The School of Social Work offers generous stipends and scholarships for students who participate in the Washington, D.C. Internship, international and our many other field experiences. Field funding opportunities include:

  • Veteran Affairs Training Stipend
  • HRSA Transitional Youth Fellowship
  • Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend
  • Gilead Foundation Scholarship HIV/AIDS

  • Pediatric Pulmonary Center Social Work Traineeship
  • Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Traineeship
  • Department of Youth Services Scholarship

Learn About Financial Aid for Field

Find a Field Placement Right for You

Our Field Education Office has developed a strong relationship with more than 300 agencies located in Alabama, Washington, D.C., out-of-state and internationally. We also offer specialized opportunities in Ghana, South Korea and China. We connect our students with agencies and organizations that provide services for:

  • AIDS/HIV patients
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Health care
  • Adoption
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Inpatient psychiatry

  • Aging/Alzheimer’s
  • Corrections/criminal justice
  • Child welfare
  • Geropsychiatry
  • Forensics
  • Grief/bereavement

  • Mental health
  • Substance abuse/recovery
  • Community-based practice
  • Military/veterans
  • Homeless
  • School Social Work

Whatever your interest, our Field Office is ready to help you gain the experience you need to reach your educational goals.

Talk to a Field Coordinator

Field Instructor and Agency Resources

The Field Education Program provides training and other resources to field instructors and agency partners because of the vital role each plays in educating our field students. The Field Team welcomes inquiries from social service agencies about SSW’s Field Education Program and social work professionals who wish to serve as a field instructor.

Partner with Field


The University of Alabama School of Social Work is committed to making its web resources accessible to all users, and welcomes comments or suggestions on access improvements. If you are unable to access the contents of these documents, please contact (205) 348-7027 or