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Applying for Practicum

This guide provides a step-by-step explanation of how to complete your Practicum Application online through our Social Work Information System, or SWIS. Please read through each section carefully as you complete your application, making special note of requirements, policies, and expectations. The Office of Experiential Programs is always available to address questions and concerns by email at Your success in Practicum begins here, and support is always available!

1. Access SWIS to Apply for Practicum

  • Begin by clicking this URL.
  • Log in using your myBama password and ID.
  • Carefully select the Term in which you will be entering practicum.
  • Please notify the Office of Experiential Programs promptly if you accidentally select the wrong term as incorrect application entries are permanent and can cause display errors!
a screen shot of the first screen in the SWIS system

2. Explore the Home Page

  • The home page gives you a list of all items that need completing for your application to be considered. The only item that you cannot complete at this stage is the Field Placement Tracking Form.
  • Please note the tabs across the top as well. You will visit each tab in the process of completing your application, starting with “Field Application.” You can get to the application by using the tab on the top or clicking on the Field Application in the list below.
  • Please note that Faculty Recommendations are not currently required for MSW students, and the tab will not appear in your profile. If you do, however, have a faculty recommendation that you would like to see included, please let the Office of Experiential Programs know.
Click field application from top menu bar

3. Continue to the Application by Clicking on the Field Application Tab (Highlighted in Yellow above)

4. Enter Your Contact Information

  • The information that is preloaded into the following fields is pulled from your myBama account (Banner).
  • Please make sure that all of the information is correct, as we will use this information to contact you. If it is not, please notify the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to update your Banner account.
  • You will also need to select an emergency contact (see blue link in the image below). Your application cannot be completed unless you select an emergency contact.
  • If you need to correct any information, you will need to login to myBama and make the necessary changes (see instruction in the yellow box below).
screen shot of the contact info screen in SWIS

5. Complete the Geographic Preference Section

  • On-campus/face-to-face students: We do not place on-campus students in other states or in counties far from The University of Alabama. You will need to select your top three counties for placement in order of preference among those closest to Tuscaloosa. Most on campus students select Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties as their top two choices (be sure to rank them). You will then need to select a third neighboring county.
  • Out-of-State students: Please select state and county preferences based on their proximity to the location of your permanent residence.
  • Students applying for DC Program: Please select DC as your first preference and then follow the on-campus or DL cohort instructions for your final two selections.
  • Special Note: We strive to place you in your top geographic location, but that is not always possible. Should you need to adjust your geographic preferences due to an unforeseen change to your permanent address, please notify the Office of Experiential Programs as soon as possible to ensure that you are able to receive a placement there. In addition, please keep in mind that the counties you submit as preferences will be where you will be placed, and you are responsible.
a screenshot of the geographic preference screen

6. MSW Students only: Choose a Concentration

  • This section is for MSW 2nd year students/Advanced Standing only!
  • Please indicate the concentration in which you are enrolled by selecting either child and adolescent concentration (CAF) or adult concentration (AF). In addition, please indicate whether or not you have a program administration (PAA) emphasis. This section must be completed correctly in order for the Office of Experiential Programs to place students in suitable agencies, and you must select the concentration that you are enrolled in; this form may not be used to change your concentration. Misuse of this section may prevent you from entering practicum!
a screenshot of the concentration picker

7. Choose Areas of Interest

  • Next, select your top five areas of interest. Please remember that your areas of interest should correspond with your concentration if you are a 2nd year MSW/Advanced standing. For example, if you are an AF student (adults and their families concentration) and you select child welfare as an area of interest we cannot place you in child welfare due to your concentration. We will consider these areas in making your placement. However, depending on location and other factors, placements in areas of top interest are not always possible.
Select interests from drop-menus

8. MSW Students Only: Select Stipend/Internship Programs

  • If you are interested in applying for one of the stipend/internship programs, the corresponding stipend/internship programs will be available for you to check once you select your concentration. If you check that you are interested in stipend program your information will be forwarded to the correct contact person and the agency will contact you for further application processes.

9. Describe your educational goals

  • In this section (highlighted in red below), you will need to describe your educational goals as they relate to your practicum placement. Please note that your educational goals are sent to the agency exactly as they appear here. You will want to proofread carefully and ensure that you clearly communicate them here.
  • The narrower in focus you are, the more difficult it is to find agencies who will host you. Consider the following examples of narrow and broad goals.
  • Remember: What will you need to maximize your learning? Hands on experience, shadowing, strong supervision, observation? Be specific!

Narrow Example: “I would like the opportunity to work with children in a medical facility. I have a particular interest in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”

Why: If you are not placed in a medical facility with children, other agencies that we send you to will read that statement and think you are not a good fit for them. Instead talk more broadly about your goals.

Broad Example: “While I have interest in working with children in a medical setting, I am open to an internship that will give me the opportunity to work with children who are facing barriers to a successful start in life.”

Why: You will also want to think about including other important educational goals. What do you want to learn? Skills, therapeutic modalities, group techniques, proper documentation?

Write in educational goals

10. Describe Any Special Circumstances (Yellow Below)

  • In this section, please describe any special circumstances that might affect your practicum placement (e.g., need for reasonable accommodations as specified through the Office of Disabilities, need for variable credit hour placement, need for placement in area other than Tuscaloosa, etc.). Reasonable accommodations will be provided for students with documented disabilities including but not limited to the attentional, physical, sensory, systemic, cognitive, learning, and psychiatric. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation in your practicum setting, please notify the Office of Experiential Programs and the University of Alabama Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. The Office of Experiential Programs will work with you to identify an appropriate educational experience and provide the Practicum Instructor upon confirmation of your disability and recommend appropriate accommodations. Please note that your accommodations cannot be activated unless they are filed with the Office of Experiential Programs!
Write special circumstances for your placement

11. Add Anything Else (Green above)

  • In this section you can tell us anything you would like for us to consider when making your placement. This can be personal (job, family, transportation etc.) or more information about your educational circumstances that you do not want to send to the agency. Some students use this area to discuss background check issues, give more detail about agency interests, or share concerns. Use this section to tell us more if needed.

12. List Your Current Place of Employment (in red in below graphic)

  • Please list your current place of employment. This helps us with making placement decisions.

13. List Any Previous Internship (in blue)

  • Please list your BSW or MSW Internship Agency Name

14. Answer Transportation Questions (in green)

  • Please answer the transportation questions as access to a vehicle and the ability to drive are often essential to agencies.
List employment and location of BSW and MSW placements

15. Indicate Whether You Will Be Applying for a Work-Site Placement (in Orange Above)

  • Please remember that you can only choose this option for one of your two years. If you choose yes, you can download the application fill it out, and upload it to the application. You will need to do this before you submit the application.

16. Out-of-State Placements Only: Use the Placement Exploration Tool

  • If you indicate that you will be placing outside the State of Alabama, please download the “toolkit” guide that will appear for download in SWIS, follow its instructions carefully, and upload it, completed, to your application.

17. Upload Resume (in Purple Above)

  • Please upload your resume here. Make sure you include your most recent internship, job experiences, or volunteer experiences. Please proofread as the resume will go directly to the agency. If it is not uploaded, the agency will not receive it, and the agency may decline your internship as a result.
check authorization box

18. Authorize Release of Information (above)

click submit
  • Please authorize us to send your information to the agency by checking the box. Please note that if you have a FERPA hold on your educational records we cannot send your information without your removing the hold. If we cannot send your information, the Office of Experiential Programs cannot arrange a placement. We will let you know if our system indicates there is a hold. The only information that the agency receives in the initial e-mail is your name, contact information, educational goals, and resume.
  • Please NoteThere are two buttons at the end of the practicum application “Save” and “Submit.” If you click save you can go back and make changes until you are complete. If you click submit you can make no further changes. Please make sure that if you click submit you have completed the process!


19. Upload Suitability Letter

  • State of Alabama Students: You will be mailed your Background Results in the form of a Suitability Letter. The letter will inform you whether or not you meet suitability requirements. Please upload this letter in this section. If you do not meet suitability requirements, please upload the letter finding you unsuitable or a report indicating a criminal record and contact the Office of Experiential Programs as soon as possible.
  • Out of state students: Out of state are done completed via a third-part vendor, CastleBranch. Once you visit their website, you will need to enter a code corresponding to our school to proceed. Please contact the Office of Experiential Programs at for your state-specific instructions/code.
Upload suitability letter


20. Forms

  • There are several forms that will need to be completed prior to the start of Practicum, including: Module Verification, Acknowledgement of Risk, Confidentiality, and Release of Information. These forms will be shared via DocuSign and must completed digitally prior to the start of practicum placement. They will not longer appear on your home page as they are now digitized within DocuSign!

If at any time you receive an error message, please take screenshots of the following:

  • The error message itself
  • the screen/menu you were viewing prior to receiving the message, including any button that you clicked to trigger the error message (usually “submit” or “save”)

When you’ve collected both screenshots, please write a brief description of your issue and attach both in an email to the Office of Experiential Programs.