MSW Field Education

Classroom learning is, of course, essential. But your learning experience comes to life through your field education. That’s why we place so much emphasis on it. Whether you serve in a one-semester or two-semester internship – you will come out changed. And well prepared to take the next step in your career.

Field education will provide you with the opportunity to apply and integrate classroom theoretical concepts into a real-life practice setting.  The School of Social Work uses a modified block placement model, called the Illinois Placement Plan, a unique feature of our program. In a block placement, you become totally immersed in the field placement experience.  With the exception of the Field Seminar, you will complete all coursework prior to starting your internship.

In your internship you will:  

  • be immersed full-time in an organization that aligns with your concentration of study
  • experience a range of  learning activities
  • focus solely on your internship
  • receive support and guidance from field faculty
  • understand why we call this field experience the cornerstone of your education

Structure of the Field Education Program

Traditional students (those holding an undergraduate degree other than a BSW) are at the placement site four days a week, typically Monday through Thursday, for 30-32 hours per week for two consecutive semesters.

Advanced Standing students (those  holding a BSW) are at the placement site five days a week, 40 hours a week during a 14-week summer internship.

Students in  Leadership and Social Change; Children, Youth, and Family Services; Health Care; and Mental Health concentrations begin the internship either during the summer semester or fall semester. School Social Work concentration students begin the internship in the fall semester, and follow the school district calendar.

For students to be eligible to enter the field, they must complete all required coursework and have a cumulative grade point average of at least a B (3.0).