BSW Field Education Program

Welcome current and future BSW students. Starting your field practicum is a rewarding experience. As a student in our Field Education Program, you’ll work with seasoned social work professionals to develop a responsible, analytical approach to social work practice and discover areas your passionate about serving in to help others.

What’s Ahead

BSW Professional and BSW Honors Professional program students are required to have one field practicum placement. Students must take the SW 444: Field Preparation Seminar the spring semester prior to their field practicum and senior year. BSW seniors complete SW 490, a nine-credit hour course in field education and SW 443 or SW 445, a field education seminar during the fall semester. Seniors in the Professional and Honors Professional programs who take course SW 443 have the unique opportunity to complete their field placement in Washington, D.C. Students must have overall GPA of 2.25 and a GPA of 2.5 in social work courses to start their BSW field placement.



BSW Field Placements

BSW field placements are recommended by the field coordinator based a student’s area of interest and learning needs. UA’s School of Social Work’s partners with a variety of social service agencies serving diverse populations to provide field education experiences for students. BSW students in the Washington, D.C. program typically intern at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Department of Defense (DOD) in Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. field placements are competitive and not all students may receive placement.

Regardless of students’ field placement location, all students must interview with their recommended agency. Once matched with an agency, seniors begin their 15-week field practicum and spend a minimum of 450 clock hours during the semester at an agency four days each week. Students are responsible for their own transportation to their assigned agency.

Talk to our BSW Field Coordinator

Working with Field Instructors and Faculty Liaisons

Every student in practicum has both a field instructor and a faculty liaison. Students are supervised by a field instructor — an individual with a master’s degree in social work, usually someone employed at the agency. The field instructor, in conjunction with faculty affiliated with the appropriate program (BSW or MSW), selects assignments that are related to the student’s individual learning needs and consistent with the content of the field instruction course.

A faculty liaison is responsible for monitoring a student’s educational progress and making assessments regarding the quality of the experience. The faculty liaison meets with the student and the field instructor at least twice during the practicum and is available to both the instructor and the student for discussions of the field experience and assistance with resolving any problems that may arise.

Applying for Field

All BSW students preparing to enter field placement are expected to submit an ABI/FBI background check prior to beginning their field placement. BSW seniors should get their forms from the Field Education Office during the spring semester. Your background check can take time. In-state students  should use our background checklist to start the background check application. Out-of-state students should start a background check application here.

Students must apply for field via the School’s Social Work Information System (SWIS). SWIS is designed to provide you with a user-friendly mechanism to apply for field education. Please review our field application instructions carefully before logging into SWIS.

Apply Now!

MSW Field Education Program

Welcome current and prospective MSW students to the UA School of Social Work’s Field Education Program! Field practicum is an important component of your graduate social work education.


What’s Ahead

Students are matched to agencies for their foundation placement. Placement assignments for this field education experience are made by the field coordinator during prior semesters.

During the concentration year of study, students are assigned a field placement that matches their educational and professional goals. All students are required to complete the SW 595: Concentration Field course, which includes the option to request a Washington, D.C. or international field placement.






MSW students, both traditional and primarily online, are required to complete the following field requirements based on their Plan of Study:



60-Credit Hour MSW/MSW DL 

  • Two supervised field placements
  • Field practicum is taken in the fall and spring
  • A minimum of 500 clock hours, respectively
  • In field placements Monday-Friday for 20 hours per week for 25 weeks


Advanced-Standing MSW

  • One supervised field placement
  • Field practicum is taken in the spring
  • A minimum of 500 clock hours
  • In a field placement Monday-Friday for 32-40 hours per week for 15 weeks


 

Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience will not be given in whole or in part in lieu of a field education course or any other course in the MSW program. Variable field placements are available for Advanced-Standing MSW and require students to complete a minimum of 16 hours per week.

MSW Field Placements

While we do our best to match students to agencies based on student feedback and interest areas, we cannot guarantee field placements in a specific geographic area. MSW field placements are offered internationally and nationally with a primary focus in the state of Alabama.

Students who hope to complete the Washington, DC field placement must take the course SW 525 prior to the spring semester of their concentration year. If chosen for the Washington, D.C. internship for their concentration year, selected students from either MSW concentrations may complete their field education practicum experience and the co-requisite SW 501 Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis course in Washington, D.C. The course SW 501 Advanced Policy Analysis is offered in Washington, D.C. each spring semester and is a co-requisite to the Washington, D.C. section of the course SW 595.

MSW students who are interested in an international field placement for their concentration year, should contact Debra Nelson-Gardell, associate professor and coordinator of international programs, at dnelsong@sw.ua.edu or internationalsocialwork@ua.edu right away.

Talk to a MSW Field Coordinator

Working with Field Instructors and Faculty Liaisons

At the advanced-field practicum level, students work closely with field instructors and faculty liaisons to develop, integrate and apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-life practice.

Students are supervised by a field instructor — an individual with a master’s degree in social work, usually someone employed at the agency. Field instructors, in conjunction with MSW faculty, play an important role in helping students select agency assignments that are related to the student’s individual learning needs. Our goal is to ensure every MSW graduate is well-prepared to transition from student to social work professional.

A faculty liaison, is responsible for monitoring a student’s educational progress and making assessments regarding the quality of the experience. The faculty liaison meets with the student and the field instructor at least twice during the practicum and is available to both the instructor and the student for discussions of the field experience and assistance with resolving any problems that may arise.

Applying for Field

All in-state MSW students preparing to enter field placement are expected to submit an in-state ABI/FBI background check prior to beginning their field placement. Your background check can take time. In-state students should use the background checklist to start the background check application. Out-of-state students should start a background check application here.

Students must apply for field via the School’s Social Work Information System (SWIS). SWIS is designed to provide you with a user-friendly mechanism to apply for field education. Please review our field application instructions carefully before logging into SWIS.

Apply Now!

 

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 ssw@ua.edu.