Field Education is an independent and integral sequence of the MSW curriculum. Students are exposed to selected and organized internship opportunities guided by the Educational Policy and Educational Standards (EPAS) and the 9 Core Competencies of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Field Education seeks to apply, and integrate the knowledge, theories and concepts of social work practice learned throughout the curriculum.
Field agencies are expected to provide "in vivo" experiences relevant to the academic content. The student, on the other hand, is expected to apply academic knowledge, social work skills, critical thinking, professional behavior, ethics and values learned in the classroom to direct practice.
All MSW students must complete four semesters of field placement, or a minimum of 1,000 hours of hands-on training, through a field placement. More hours may be added if students select to pursue special programs such as the Pupil Personnel Credential Program in the State of California, which requires 600 hours.
MSW students are matched with various social service agencies, government entities, private organizations or even non-traditional social work settings. To achieve completion of hours, students are required to complete a minimum of 16 hours per week in their first and second semesters, and a minimum of 550 hours, or 20 hours per week, in the third and fourth semesters.
The school matches students with field agency sites based on their geographic location, previous work and volunteer experience, future goals and career track, professional interests and agency needs.
Our field agencies are located throughout the country and represent a wide range of social work services and practice.
Forms and reflective learning tools required for student field studies in the departments of AMHW, CYF and SCI.
Field instructors play a crucial role in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work field education experience.
Objectives of Field Education
Field Education prepares students to enter the social work profession by meeting the following objectives:
- To integrate academic learning with all levels of field work (micro, mezzo, macro).
- To increase proficiency in the required core competencies for social work education as it relates to field work, specified in the 2015 CSWE Social Work Competencies.
Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
Engage in Policy Practice
Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- To develop the ability to understand and utilize a broad range of modalities and interventions in micro, mezzo and macro practice with diverse populations.
- To focus on building the knowledge for generalist practice in the first semester, and establish a broad foundation for direct practice work.
- To develop a deeper knowledge and depth of skills needed for beginning professional practice in a designated department of study in the second, third and fourth semesters.