MSW Field Education


Social work, as an applied discipline and profession, requires emphasis upon planned field experience as a vital component of the educational process.  MSW field placements, arranged by the School of Social Work, provide practical learning in a wide range of social work settings. We are committed to close, collaborative partnerships with field supervisors and we monitor students closely during placement to facilitate high quality experiences for both students and agency partners.

MSW placements are available in a part-time, academic year format, beginning in late August/early September and continuing until April, May, or early June.  Under certain circumstances, students may be able to complete field in an alternative, full-time (block) format held during the summer.  Summer block placements begin in late May and continue through August.  In all cases, academic year and block placements, students are in concurrent field seminars, which meet every other week on campus.

MSW Foundation (Core) Practicum (First Practicum for Regular Standing Students)

  • 400 hours minimum are required (12-16 hours/week for academic year placements, and 35-40 hours a week for summer block).
  • Focus is on generalist social work practice.

MSW Clinical (Advanced) Practicum  (Second Practicum for Regular Standing Students and only Practicum for Advanced Standing Students)

  • 600 hours minimum are required (16-22 hours/week for academic year placements, and 40 hours/week for summer block).
  • Student should have the opportunity to:
    1. apply clinical social work theory and practice methods
    2. intervene at appropriate levels of the process
    3. be involved in assessment through termination

General Guidelines across both Practica

  • Students are encouraged to seek placements that offer broad learning opportunities, including work with family systems and groups. 
  • Students should not seek a placement with the same supervisor as a prior placement, or in an agency where they have already interned.
  • The field placement should offer opportunities for new learning. 
  • While some field placements offer flexible scheduling, students are expected to be available for essential learning opportunities in the practicum, such as case consultation, team meetings, supervision, and collaboration with other providers.  These activities typically take place during regular business hours

Examples of MSW Field Opportunities

The MSW field program offers a broad range of field opportunities at a variety of agencies and practice settings in metropolitan and rural areas.   Foundation and clinical level placements mirror the full-spectrum of masters-level social work practice.   MSW students serve on interprofessional teams, and gain knowledge and experience with new and emerging models of best practice, across industries and practice sectors.   Information on specific practicum opportunities is provided at each field orientation.  Typical practicum settings/MSW student roles include:

  • Case Management
  • School Social Work
  • Corrections
  • Housing and community-based support
  • Medical Social Work
  • Child Protection
  • Community Mental Health
  • Psychotherapy and outpatient treatment
  • Day, Partial Hospital, and Residential Treatment
  • Addiction and chemical dependency treatment

Under certain conditions, students who are interested in a practicum setting that is not already on the school's placement list can explore these opportunities within our well-established guidelines for self-initiated placements.  Students seeking placements outside of the Twin Cities metro area will work with our MSW field weekend cohort/Hybrid MSW coordinator for field placement(s) in or near their home community.