Social Work Field Education

Field Education is a vital part of the social work education curriculum.  As indicated in the Council of Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, it serves as the signature component of the social work profession.  Students learn to develop, apply and integrate learned theoretical skills in practice settings.

More than 400 Partner Agencies

The University at Albany School of Social Welfare partners with more 400 agencies, providing graduate and undergraduate students with a variety of internship opportunities and experiences in many specialist fields.  The School’s proximity to State government, as well as its locale in one of Upstate New York’s metropolitan areas, presents unique opportunities for social work learning.

The educational experience is further enhanced through the collaborative partnership between the Field Education office and teaching faculty.  Field education is designed to expose students to new and emerging areas of social work practice. Students are supervised by social work professionals with a variety of skills and experiences.

University at Albany MSW student, Katie Merrill ('15) assists individuals in the community needing to enroll in health insurance as a Navigator through the Affordable Care Act.MSW Field Placements

MSW students, whether attending full or part-time, are required to complete two years or 1000 hours of field education (practica).  For the first field placement, MSW students complete a generalist field practicum.  The generalist placement exposes students to a broad range of social work practice skills, offering differential experiences from their previous work experience.  The first field placement occurs in the first year of study for all full-time students.

For the second year, full-time students take the advanced-concentration sequence of field, where they engage in more enhanced social work practice experiences in their desired clinical or "macro" specializations.  Part-time MSW students are in field during their 2nd and 4th years of study. 

Learn more about the MSW field program.

Undergraduate Field Placements

An integral part of the School's curriculum, the undergraduate field practicum gives students the opportunity to develop, apply, and integrate necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes while in practice in social welfare settings. Students complete their field practicum in their senior year over two semesters, concurrent with their classroom courses.

For their practicum, students work 432 hours in an agency, two days per week (generally Tuesdays and Thursdays) for two semesters. Students apply for their practicum in spring of their junior year. They are interviewed and evaluated for preparedness and assigned to an agency by the Coordinator of Undergraduate Field Education.

Learn more about the undergraduate field program.