Social Work Field Education

Field Education is a vital part of the social work education curriculum.

Letter from the Director

WilliamsAs indicated in the Council of Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, it serves as the signature pedagogy of the social work profession. Students learn to develop, apply and integrate learned theoretical skills in practice settings.

The University at Albany School of Social Welfare partners with over 400 agencies, providing graduate and undergraduate students with a variety of practice 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 experienced professionals competent in a variety of social work practice skills.

Each year, field is a two-semester assignment and students are placed at a single agency, working two full days per week. MSW students, whether attending full or part-time, are required to complete two years or 1000 hours of field 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. Students in the baccalaureate program attend field in their senior year over two semesters, and they have to complete 432 hours.

There are a few unique options for meeting field requirements, and information about those options can be obtained through the Field Education office. Feel free to also browse the Field Education website for additional information. You may contact the Field Education office at or at (518) 442-5321. I am confident that you will have a rewarding educational experience at the School of Social Welfare. The Field Education office looks forward to helping you achieve your educational goals.


Estella Williamson, LCSW-R
Assistant Dean and Director of Field Education