Experiential Learning

Field Instruction: The Convergence of Theory and Practice

The School of Social Work offers field education opportunities within in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. The field placement experience is the signature pedagogy of social work education. Field experience is an integral part of a social work student’s socialization to the profession. “The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting” (CSWE, 2008). The challenge and excitement of applying knowledge, values and skills brings to life the multi-dimensional aspects of social work practice. Field education is critical for a student to attain the requisite competencies of the social work profession.

The office of field instruction values the relationships, collaboration and resources that are essential for creating a unique and educationally sound experience. This site is designed to assist both students and field instructors to navigate successfully through the field experience.

BSSW/Undergraduate Program

Field learning occurs in the fourth year with the 500 hour social work practicum and related field seminar courses. The practicum occurs across 2 semester of one academic year. Students are placed in social work settings for a minimum of sixteen hours a week, which meets the requirements for earning five credits per semester. Concurrently, students attend a campus-based field seminar, for which they earn one additional credit per semester.

The BSSW placement emphasizes generalist social work practice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. This internship is intended to broadly provide exposure to different social work responsibilities and functions. The students, in their practice, work towards mastery of the program core competencies.

MSW/Graduate Program

Field learning occurs throughout the graduate social work curriculum, requiring two (2) separate internships (foundation level and concentration level). Each field placement is a minimum of 500 hours and occurs across 2 semesters of one academic year. Students are placed in social work settings for a minimum of sixteen hours a week, which meets the requirements for earning three credits per semester.

The foundation year internship is a generalist field experience while the concentration level (IF&G or COPPA) is an advanced practice experience.

The Individuals, Families and Groups (IF&G) concentration level field experience emphasizes advanced social work practice with individuals, families and groups. The IF&G concentration field experience prepares the student for autonomy and leadership in direct social work practice.

The Community Organization, Policy, Planning and Administration (COPPA) concentration level field experience emphasizes advanced social work practice at the mezzo and macro levels. The COPPA concentration field experience prepares students for autonomy and leadership in the areas of community organizing/development, social policy practice, and/or administrative level practice.

Students may choose from two concentrations: Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) and Advanced Integrative Practice (AIP).

ACP is designed for students interested in becoming clinicians who are capable of providing in-depth, relationally-focused, evidence-informed interventions to a wide range of populations. Graduates will be prepared for clinical practice in traditional behavioral and mental health settings and will be adept at clinical assessment, intervention and evaluation through diagnostic skills and the use of the DSM-5.

AIP has been developed for students interested in direct and indirect practice, working on multi-disciplinary teams and in community-based social work as direct practitioners, supervisors, program planners and managers. Graduates will be able to practice in multidisciplinary settings such as hospitals, schools, child welfare agencies, community centers, or agencies that support individuals in independent living. They will be adept at weaving micro, mezzo, or macro practice to assist individual clients, or community groupings within complex systems. Both concentrations ensure that graduates will have a curriculum that meets the NYS LMSW and LCSW course requirements.