An Overview of the Practicum Placement Process

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Practicum Education is the School of Social Work's signature pedagogy and is intricately woven into the student's scholarship throughout the program.  The Practicum Education Office works with closely with students to ensure that their internships provide a classroom in the practicum experience; translating learning into direct application.

The practicum experience is divided into a generalist experience for BASW and 1st year MSW students and a specialization experience for 2nd year/advanced standing students.   The generalist experience focuses on the development of foundational social work practice and practicum placements focus on work with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities.   The specialization experience is divided into options for Direct Practice (DP) and Community, Organization and Social Action (COSA).  The Direct Practice specialization provides the skills a student needs to work with individuals, groups and families.  The Community Organization and Social Action specialization builds the skills needed to work with communities and organizations.

The Practicum Education Office utilizes an online software platform which houses all relevant documents related to the field experience including, but not limited to Safety Plans, HIPAA and Mandated Reporter forms and trainings, Practicum Learning Plans and Practicum Evaluation forms.  Students are provided the opportunity through the online software platform to explore practicum placement sites with their Practicum Advisor during the early stages of the placement process.  The practicum placement process is a collaborative effort between the Practicum Advisor, the student and the agency. The practicum placement process is complex and takes into account the unique requirements of the student, e.g., transportation, fellowship processes, areas of interest, as well as agency protocols and requirements.   The Practicum Advisor coordinates all aspects of the initial contact with the placement up to the point that the student is accepted for a placement.  Students and their assigned Practicum Advisor work collaboratively to identify agency sites that will meet the required CSWE competency standards.  The Practicum Advisor must take the lead in initiating the placement process due to contractual agreements with placement agencies.  

There are currently over 500 field sites that provide options for Practicum Placements. 

For MSW's, once accepted into the program, these students will complete a Practicum Request Form which will enable them to begin their first placement in late September of their first semester.  This placement will continue through the spring of their first year.  Total number of hours to complete is 360 hours over the fall and spring semester.

Practicum Request Forms for the second year MSW students are completed in the spring of the student's first year in the MSW program.  Second year/continuing students begin their specialization placement in late Aug/early September and will complete 720 hours of placement over two semesters,

Advanced standing students complete the Practicum Request Forms soon after acceptance into the program and also begin their 720 hours of practicum placement in late Aug/early September.  The student is in placement until the end of April.

*****  It should be noted that the identified dates and times are contingent upon the standard enrollment process and start dates which can vary for late admissions. *****