The Council for Social Work Education calls the field practicum “the signature pedagogy of social work education.” Through field placements with a variety of social work, human services, healthcare, education, and community development agencies, BSW and MSW students participate in active skill-building and support a wide range of client populations. Students can develop and master skills in the areas of case management; clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups; integrated health care; community advocacy and outreach; mediation; and research.
The Department of Social Work partners with over 200 private, government, and non-profit organizations across Western North Carolina to support the next generation of social work leadership in our region. These agencies include hospitals, inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers, community mental health agencies, advocacy centers, homeless shelters, schools, and many others, and serve a diverse population of clients, including members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Our Director of Field Education and dedicated faculty support students throughout their field experience, while Field Instructors within each partner agency are committed to providing engaging and rigorous learning opportunities.
BSW students are required to complete a 400-hour block field placement during their final semester in the social work program. (Please note this number has been reduced from 448, following the Council on Social Work Education’s guidance that COVID-19 related program changes can be extended through May of 2022.) Field placements are offered every fall and spring semester, but are not offered during summer semesters. In order to enter the field portion of the BSW program, students must have completed all required coursework, including liberal arts courses, core social work courses, and electives. Students will be enrolled in a 3-credit field seminar course concurrent with the field placement.
MSW students are required to complete two field placements; the first, called the Foundation placement, requires 300 hours and is completed during the spring semester of the first year in the program. The second field placement, referred to as the Specialization placement, requires 600 hours and is completed during the fall and spring semesters of the second year in the program. Both placements require an average of 20 hours/week during the weeks that University is in session. (Please note that these numbers have been reduced from 336 and 672, following the Council on Social Work Education’s guidance that COVID-19 related program changes can be extended through May of 2022.)
Please see the BSW and MSW Field Manuals for further details: