MSW: Master of Social Work

West Chester University

West Chester Campus

Reynolds Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2664

PASSHE Center City

701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 267-386-3015




Field Education - Overview

 

Field Practicum (also referred to as field placement, field work, or field education) is the central form of instruction and learning in social work education. Social work field practicum is learning by doing. The field practicum is a required part of the curriculum for all Master of Social Work programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice sites (CSWE EPAS, 2008). Field provides the student with opportunities to attain professional social work knowledge, values and skills and to develop and demonstrate competency behaviors. A total of 1,008 hours of field practicum is required to complete the WCU MSW program. No academic credit can be awarded for life or work experience or for internships in other than an accredited graduate social work program.

Characteristics of field education in WCU Graduate Social Work include:

  • Individualized Field Placement Process - identifying and matching students with field opportunities in a collaborative process between the student and the Director of Field Education
  • Concurrent field practicum model - providing opportunities for the student to integrate practice in the field with academic course work simultaneously
  • Single area of concentration on direct practice with individuals and families - learning opportunities across different sized social service systems, including direct service and indirect, macro and/or administrative practice

The two 9-month placements are sequential, providing a progression in the application and integration of increasingly more sophisticated knowledge, resulting in increasing competency behaviors required for independent, advanced social work practice.

Foundation / First field

  • Complete 224 hours per semester (total 448, an average of 16 hours per week)
  • Two semesters (fall and spring, 3 credits each) in the same placement
  • Develop and demonstrate the following competencies (in bold) and practice behaviors:
    • Identify as a professional social worker and conduct themselves accordingly
      • Advocate for client access to the services of social work
      • Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development
      • Attend to professional roles and boundaries
      • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance and communication
      • Engage in career-long learning
      • Use supervision and consultation
    • Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice
      • Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice
      • Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles
      • Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts
      • Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions
    • Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments
      • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom
      • Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation
      • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues
    • Engage diversity and difference in practice
      • Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power
      • Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
      • Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences
      • View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants
    • Advance human rights and social and economic justice
      • Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination
      • Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice
      • Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice
    • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research
      • Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry
      • Use research evidence to inform practice
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment
      • Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation
      • Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment
    • Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social services
      • Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
      • Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action
    • Respond to contexts that shape practices
      • Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services
      • Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services
    • Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities by engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation
      • Substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
      • Use empathy and other interpersonal skills
      • Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes
      • Collect, organize, and interpret client data
      • Assess client strengths and limitations
      • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives
      • Select appropriate intervention strategies
      • Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals
      • Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities
      • Help clients resolve problems
      • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients
      • Facilitate transitions and endings
      • Social workers critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions

Concentration / Second field

  • Complete 280 hours per semester (total 560, an average of 20 hours per week)
  • Two semesters (fall and spring, 3 credits each) in the same placement
  • Develop and demonstrate the following competencies (in bold) and advanced practice behaviors:
    • Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly
      • Develop, manage, and maintain professional relationships with individuals and families from strengths-based, human rights, and social justice perspectives
      • Enhance professional strengths and work to overcome limitations and challenges through a commitment to lifelong professional development, including supervision and consultation
    • Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice
      • Identify and use knowledge of relationship dynamics, including power differentials in work with individuals and families to support recovery and enhance resiliency
      • Apply ethical reasoning to address dilemmas in work with individuals and families
    • Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments
      • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge to inform professional decisions in practice with individuals and families
      • Communicate professional decisions and outcomes to the individual and/or family system and to other professionals in effective written and oral format
    • Engage diversity and difference in practice
      • Utilize a range of engagement, assessment, and intervention strategies for individuals and families with unique identities.
      • Engage diversity and difference in practice to enhance inclusive, critical evaluation of assessment, intervention, and evaluation strategies for individuals and families
    • Advance human rights and social and economic justice
      • Use knowledge of the effects of oppression, discrimination, and trauma on individual and family systems to guide assessment, planning, and intervention
      • Implement change strategies to advance social and economic justice for individuals and families in their communities
    • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research
      • Evaluate, select, and utilize research-informed practices in assessment and intervention with individuals and families
      • Participate in the generation of social work practice knowledge through research and practice
      • Commit to continual monitoring of practice effectiveness
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment
      • Synthesize and differentially apply theories of human behavior to guide assessment, intervention plans, and evaluation of work with individuals and families in their social environments
    • Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social services
      • Analyze, formulate and advocate for policies that advance social well-being of individuals and families
      • Develop plans to advance social policy change in collaboration with administrators, consumers, community partners, and/or legislators to affect policies and practices that advance social and economic well-being of individuals and families
    • Respond to contexts that shape practices
      • Assess the individuals’ and families’ interactions within their social contexts
      • Work collaboratively to affect systemic change that is sustainable and enhances social and economic well-being of individuals and families
    • Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities by engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation
      • Work collaboratively with individuals and families to establish goals and outcomes
      • Use research-informed and collaborative assessment strategies to arrive at an understanding of individual and/or family strengths and limitations
      • Assess individuals’ and families’ readiness for change
      • Assess individuals’ and families’ coping strategies to enhance resiliency and support recovery
      • Critically evaluate and select best practices and research-informed interventions that enhance individuals’ and families’ resiliency, support recovery, and build capacity
      • Implement practice strategies for a range of presenting concerns including trauma-informed interventions
      • Facilitate transitions and endings of present services
      • Evaluate one’s own practice effectiveness
      • Use research knowledge, skills, and practice experiences to continuously improve service delivery to individuals and families