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Field Education

Message from the Director

Welcome to field education at APU! Field education is challenging and exciting, and is often a student’s first glimpse of social work in action.

The field education curriculum will provide both Foundation and Concentration year social work experience at the graduate level. The goal of the curriculum is to teach students how to integrate social work theory and practice while in a supervised field setting. As such, students will have the opportunity to examine their learning needs and develop their social work skills accordingly while in their field internships.

To maximize their educational experiences, students are encouraged to be proactive and seek out learning opportunities at their assigned field agencies. The overall goal of field education is to provide a strong social work foundation which students shall build upon throughout their postgraduate careers.

This field education website is intended for use by all those interested in social work. Important information, forms, and resources are available for your use. Please feel free to visit this site often as it is periodically updated to provide the most current information.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Setterlund, MSW, LCSW
MSW Field Education Director
ksetterlund@apu.edu
(626) 857-2402

About Field Education

Field education, also known as field internship, field practicum, field placement, or fieldwork, is a vital component of the MSW Program at Azusa Pacific University, whereby students are taught how to integrate social work theory and the practice of social work in a supervised field setting. Field placements are offered in many types of settings to provide students diverse and interesting learning environments. Students are required to complete field education concurrent with social work practice coursework as part of the program requirements toward graduation.

The initial field experience includes a variety of challenges including, but not limited to, becoming familiar with a social service agency, assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses, and determining one’s professional learning needs. Students will be working with diverse client populations who are often underserved and have experienced multiple hardships. Successful completion of field education requires the openness to learning, to introspection, and to examining one’s own biases.

Students

Students complete a total of 16 units of field education coursework in the MSW program. An overview of the field education requirements, by program option, is as follows:

Program Option Foundation Year Field Coursework Concentration Year Field Coursework Required Hours
Full-time
two years
SOCW 515, 516, 525, 526 SOCW 534; 535 or 539; 544; 545 or 548 480 hours per year, 960 hours at graduation
Full-time
one year
(Advanced Standing)
N/A SOCW 534; 535 or 539; 544; 545 or 548 600 hours
Part-time
four years
SOCW 515, 516, 525, 526
(enrollment
in year two)
SOCW 534; 535 or 539; 544; 545 or 548 (enrollment in year four) 480 hours per year, 960 hours at graduation
Part-time
two years
(Advanced Standing)
N/A SOCW 534; 535 or 539; 544; 545 or 548 (enrollment in year two) 600 hours

The field education curriculum is completed over four semesters for all students. During foundation year field education coursework, students will be exposed to generalist social work practice, and will be expected to demonstrate beginning-level practice behaviors in 1) professionalism, 2) ethical practice, 3) critical thinking, 4) diversity, 5) human rights and social justice, 6) research-informed practice and practice-informed research, 7) knowledge of human behavior in the social environment, 8) policy practice, 9) contextual considerations, and 10) engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation. During the advanced concentration year, students complete their field education in an agency setting that offers experiences in the chosen concentration. Students in the two- and four-year program options are required to complete a minimum of 480 hours during each field education year for a total of 960 hours at graduation. Students in the one- and two-year advanced standing program options complete 600 hours at graduation. Students must pass each field sequence to progress to the next sequence in order to remain in good standing in the MSW program. Credit for life experience or previous field education coursework units cannot be granted, per CSWE accreditation standards.

Field Application Packets

Course Requirements

Foundation Year
SOCW 515
Field Seminar I
1
SOCW 516
Field I
3
SOCW 525
Field Seminar II
1
SOCW 526
Field II
3
Concentration Year
SOCW 534
Field Seminar III
1
SOCW 535
Field III: Community Practice
3
- or -
SOCW 539
Field III: Clinical Practice
3
SOCW 544
Field Seminar IV
1
SOCW 545
Field IV: Community Practice
3
- or -
SOCW 548
Field IV: Clinical Practice
3
Total16 units

Field Agencies and Field Instructors

The field agency and field instructor are instrumental participants in the field education program. Approved field education settings provide a challenging learning environment for the MSW student under the supervision of an experienced MSW or LCSW. Field agency selection is based on specific criteria including, but not limited to, appropriateness of setting for learning needs, expertise of field instructors, and the provision of sound field instruction consistent with the mission, objectives, and goals of the MSW program. To keep up with the latest field updates from the APU MSW program, follow the MSW Field Instructors’ blog.

Field Agency

Agencies are invited to become approved as APU MSW field internship sites. Benefits include free continuing education, complimentary library access, and the opportunity to give back to the social work profession through mentorship and sharing of one’s expertise. Begin the field agency approval process by completing a Field Agency Application Packet. Applications are reviewed by the MSW field faculty on a year-round basis.

General Requirements for Field Agencies:

Field Instructor Requirements:

Forms

Field Agencies

Students

Foundation Year Students
Concentration Year Students

General

Other Resources

To keep up with the latest student field updates from the APU Master of Social Work program, follow the MSW Field Instructor website, the MSW Field Education blog, and the MSW Field Instructors’ blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is field education?

Field education, also known as field internship, field practicum, or fieldwork, is a required component of the MSW Program, whereby students have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge from the classroom into a supervised social work setting in the community. In the Foundation Year, students complete an internship in a qualified community-based agency to integrate Generalist Social Work Practice skills in a supervised hands-on environment. In the Advanced Concentration Year, students have the opportunity to complete an internship in a setting that is consistent with their declared concentration. For students in the traditional two- and four-year program options, a total of 16 units of field coursework is required toward graduation. Students in the one- and two-year advanced standing program options complete 8 units of field coursework.

Can I receive credit toward field education units
from previous internships I have completed?

No. The field education curriculum is specifically designed to fulfill graduation requirements of the MSW Program. Transfer units are not accepted toward the field education requirements.

How many field education units do I have to complete during the MSW program?

See above under “What is field education?” Students receive 3 units per semester for field education courses and 1 unit per semester for field seminar courses. Students in the traditional two- and four-year program options are required to complete a total of 960 field hours, or 480 field hours per academic year. Students in the advanced standing program options complete a total of 600 field hours over two semesters.

How many hours and days
will I be in my field internship?

Students are required to complete a minimum of 16 field hours per week (two- and four-year program options), or 20 hours per week (one- and two-year advanced standing program options). Students are also required to track their hours on a Field Internship Time Log ( Field Internship Time Log (Excel)), which will be submitted at the end of each semester as verification of their completion of field hours. Field days are usually scheduled on days when students do not attend classes on campus. Field days and hours are traditionally Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; however, days and hours are ultimately arranged between the field instructor and student. Students are required to complete at least one eight-hour field day per week.

Can I choose my own hours?

As previously mentioned, field days and hours are arranged between the field instructor and student. Of particular importance, days and hours are usually arranged to meet the needs of the clients served in the agency.

Can I do my field hours on the weekend?

Weekend field internships are not available. Students are required to set aside weekdays, during traditional work hours (generally 8 a.m.–5 p.m.), to complete field internships.

Can I apply for a paid field internship?

In rare instances, select field agencies may offer a field internship with a stipend, and students going into their field year will be notified of these opportunities. Students who meet minimum requirements for the stipend will be given instructions on the application process. It is important to note that the stipend awards are limited in number, are highly competitive, and often require additional hours, skills, or qualifications.

Do I have to attend a field seminar?

Yes, field seminar is a required one-unit course and is considered the on-campus part of fieldwork. Students are concurrently enrolled in field seminar while completing their field internships. Field seminar attendance is mandatory and is an integral part of the field experience.

How will my field internship assignment be determined?

Students are assigned to their field internship in their Foundation Year through a field placement application and interview process. In the concentration year, students interview at two field agencies and are placed in the site that is a mutually good fit for student and agency.

Are there any special requirements
to begin field internship?

Yes. All students starting field internships will need to attend a field orientation which is to be held on the APU campus prior to beginning the academic year. In addition, students are to complete all field agency requirements such as background checks, paperwork, and/or health screenings. In some instances, the student is responsible for covering the costs of these preplacement requirements. It is also the student’s responsibility to ensure that all the requirements are completed prior to beginning field internship. In addition, some agencies will require specific workshops or trainings to prepare to work with a specific client population.

Can I use my current or previous employment
as a field internship?

Students are discouraged from using their current or previous employment as a field internship because of the strict learning requirements of the field curriculum. For example, students are to learn about the setting in which they are completing their fieldwork, with the goal of eventual immersion into the agency culture as an MSW intern. As such, students benefit most from focusing on their role as “student” and “learner,” rather than having to juggle these roles with that of an “employee.”

In some instances, however, an agency offers comprehensive services in several locations and may be able to offer a student an entirely different internship experience that would be consistent with the student’s learning objectives. If interested in this option, a student may complete a Proposal to Use Employment Agency as Field Internship Site. All requirements outlined in the proposal must be met by the student and agency in order for the agency to be considered for use as a field internship.

Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis with the student’s educational needs in mind. Students are to complete the proposal and meet with the field education director as soon as possible to discuss the field internship options. Students should NOT assume that the place of employment will be used as a field internship site.

Can I switch my field internship
if I do not like the one I am in?

Students may not switch internships if they merely do not like where they have been assigned. Field internships and students are matched through an intentional selection process. On rare occasions, field internships do not work out for various reasons. In this event, student and field instructor should first meet about the issue, with a follow-up meeting with the field faculty. If the issue cannot be resolved, the field faculty shall make the ultimate decision on the student’s field internship status.

Do I need a car?

Yes, you will need your own transportation to and from your field internship. Agencies may expect students to travel from multiple sites or complete field visits as part of their field internship assignments.

Will I be transporting clients?

On some occasions, agencies will require that students transport clients as part of the field internship experience. With appropriate documentation, students may transport clients in agency vehicles, but never in their own vehicles. Students are required to meet with field faculty prior to transporting any clients.

What is a field instructor?

A field instructor possesses an MSW degree and has at least two years post-graduate experience. He or she has expressed a desire to supervise, teach, and mentor students and possesses an expertise in a specified area of social work practice. A field instructor possesses strong social work skills and abides by the Social Work Code of Ethics.

What is a preceptor?

A preceptor is an agency employee who possesses at least an equivalent degree to the MSW, such as an MFT or Psy.D., and has relevant supervisory experience. He or she may coordinate with the field instructor to provide additional field learning opportunities, as well as mentoring and direction.

How do I receive a grade for field internship?

Students must successfully complete the required minimum field internship hours per semester during field years, as well as attend and participate in field seminar, to receive a passing grade in field courses.

What is the key to a successful field internship?

There are several factors that promote a successful field internship. In particular, students and field instructors who begin the field internship with a positive attitude toward developing a solid supervisor-supervisee relationship often have a successful year experience. In addition, developing clear expectations and goals is integral to a successful field internship. The successful student also possesses a high level of professionalism; understands and applies ethical social work practice; uses good judgment; is open to feedback; and actively seeks new learning experiences. Student field evaluations are completed collaboratively by student, field instructor, and field faculty.

Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.