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Field Education

Department of Social Work

Internship Descriptions

Foundation MSW Internship Description

The Foundation Year (1st year) MSW students are in field for concurrent placements and go to their internship for 16 hours per week during both the fall and spring semesters. The students usually spend two full (8 hour) days in field, but can split their internship into 4 hour blocks if that meets the needs of both the student and agency. Schedules should reflect times that are optimal for both. A calendar is provided for each semester which outlines the university's deadlines and holidays. Students are in a two hour seminar on campus each week. This is usually held on Tuesday afternoon.

The field experience for foundation year MSW interns should include:

  • Psychosocial assessments, interviewing, problem solving, and supportive counseling with individuals, families and/or groups as well as completing the associated paperwork.
  • Indirect client work
  • Professional or educational meetings/workshops
  • Evaluation (i.e. data collection, outcomes, development
  • Case management (resource allocation and referral)
  • Advocacy and planned social change work


Though advanced standing students (holding a BSW degree) skip the first year of the MSW program, they enter the program in the summer before their second year and take "bridge" courses to get them ready for the advanced year. It should be noted that students who are accepted as advanced standing are those who demonstrate high academic and field achievement in their BSW work. Once the student has completed the summer courses they may begin their concentration year internships. See next section for description.

Concentration Year Internships

The Concentration Year (2nd year) MSW students have two choices in the completion of their field requirements. Most choose to be in field for two days per week (16 hours) in the fall and for three days per week (24 hours) in the spring semester. Since the students are generally in class on Mondays and Tuesdays (including field seminar) they will most often complete their field hours (two eight hour days) between Wednesday and Friday. In the spring they are usually in field Wednesday through Friday (three eight hour days). Schedules should reflect times that are optimal for both the intern and your agency.

Some students prefer to complete their internships over a longer period of time and therefore begin their field hours in the summer, continuing through the fall and spring semesters. They are in the field for two days per week (16 hours) through-out that time. It is more lengthy schedule (three semesters rather than two), but it does accommodate the working student. Classes are still on Mondays and Tuesdays so most students complete their field requirements on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays, although since most of our classes are in the late afternoons, there is some flexibility. There is a calendar provided for this entire period which outlines the university holidays and breaks.

The advanced standing is eligible for the extended internship program ONLY if they are attending part-time (over a two year period) as they must have completed the required summer coursework (bridge and psychopathology before beginning their internships.The Field Experience for the concentration year MSW students build on their foundation skills developed and practiced in their first internship (or BSW internship for the advanced standing student) and should include an emphasis on advanced clinical social work practice.

  • Advanced clinical assessments of individuals, families, and groups
  • On-going contact
  • Specific use of intervention or psychotherapeutic models based on advanced theories
  • Indirect client work
  • Professional or educational meetings/workshops including presentations at such meetings
  • Attendance and participation at community meetings, staff and board meetings
  • Evaluation (i.e. data collection, outcomes development)
  • Case Management (resource allocation and referral)
  • Advocacy and planned social change work

Supervision at the internship must be provided by an MSW with at least two years post-MSW work experience. This person is the Field Instructor and is an extension of our social work faculty, responsible for instructing and role modeling. The Field Instructor must meet with the student for a minimum of one hour per week. The Office of Field Education staff provides orientation for the Field Instructors, providing them with information necessary to facilitate a successful internship.

The student may be under the direct daily supervision of a person without a social work degree. This person is called the Task Supervisor. We would expect that the Task Supervisor hold a degree and several years experience in a human service position. Although the Field Instructor will take the lead role in coordinating the instruction of the student, the Task Supervisor will provide day to day supervision and work closely with the student to achieve learning objectives. The internship process is detailed and requires an application, an interview with the Director of Field Education, and an interview with the proposed Field Instructor as well as other agency personnel as required by the agency. Internship agencies may have additional requirements for interns, such as an application process, background check, etc.

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