650 Reynolds Alley
West Chester, PA 19383
701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Field education, also referred to as field experience or field practicum, is an essential part of your study in the MSW program. You will have the opportunity to apply what you are learning in the classroom to a social work setting. The field experience allows you to develop key social work skills in a supportive environment where you are encouraged to lean outside your comfort zone and learn from your mistakes.
The field education experience requires 900 hours of fieldwork over two placements, a generalist or foundation placement and an advanced placement. Foundation field placement requires 224 hours of fieldwork and focuses on the development of core competencies such as utilizing ethical principles to conduct practice. Advanced field placement requires 252 hours of fieldwork and emphasizes development of skills in advanced generalist or clinical settings.
To assess learning outcomes in your field placement, the Graduate Social Work Department uses a comprehensive online data management system called TK20. Students, Field Instructors and Faculty Field Liaisons will use TK20 to view and complete mid-term and final evaluations that measure core competencies outlined in West Chester University's MSW program. Visit the college's TK20 webpage for instructions on accessing and using TK20.
Foundation Year. Also known as the generalist year
The initial portion of your MSW program that includes foundation coursework and fieldwork. In the traditional full-time two-year program, this is the “first year” of the program. For part-time students, “Foundation Year” will extend beyond a one-year period.
Concentration Year. Also known as the advanced year
The second portion of the MSW program that includes advanced coursework and fieldwork. This is when you will learn advanced skills such as crisis intervention, treatment planning and evaluating psychosocial functioning.
The MSW department staff member who works to identify field placement opportunities and match students to sites to complete their field education experience. We have two Field Directors, one for our West Chester campus and one for our Philadelphia campus.
Field Agency. Also known as field site or field placement
The place where you will complete your field education experience. This may be a hospital, school, government agency, etc.
Field Liaison. Also known as faculty field liaison
The faculty member who is the bridge between the student and the field instructor during the field experience. The faculty field liaison leads the corresponding classroom practice course associated with your field experience, conducts site visits, and is a key component of the learning process.
The individual at your field site who provides supervision, mentoring and evaluation of your field experience.
Students in the MSW Program must earn a B or better in all field practicum courses (see below). Any grade of B- or lower in a field practicum course must be repeated with remediation. Only one field practicum course may be remediated and a grade of B or better is required before continuing on to the next field practicum course.
If an MSW student is referred to three field placements and not accepted due to unprofessionalism, the program reserves the right to suspend the placement process. The student may reapply for field placement in the next academic year.
Students who are dismissed from field by their placement agency for violations of Academic Integrity may immediately receive an F for the course, be removed from field and dismissed from the Graduate Social Work Program.
Please refer to Graduate Catalog for the official policy.
Employment-based field placements may be approved if the workplace is able to offer the student:
To maintain the integrity of the student/Field Instructor relationship, dual relationships should be avoided. For example, the student and field instructor should not be friends or socialize outside of the work environment.
The student, in consultation with the employer, must submit a written plan to the Director of Field Education for review.
To ensure that all parties are in agreement about the employment-based field practicum and that there will be no conflicts of interest between a student's field practicum assignments and work assignments, or between a student's Field Instructor and work supervisor, the plan must be signed by the:
The proposed plan must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Field Education prior to the start of the semester. The plan is also submitted to the student's Faculty Field Liaison as an attachment to the student's Learning Agreement.
The Director of Field Education serves as a liaison between the MSW Program and field placement site before and after each semester, as necessary. Students with a plan for extended hours will typically receive a grade of NG until required hours are completed and the Faculty Field Liaison assigns a final grade.
The plan must be signed by the:
The written plan must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Field Education before the start of the semester. The plan is also submitted to the student's Faculty Field Liaison as an attachment to the student's Learning Agreement.
A field practicum site is selected based on the site's ability to provide students with opportunities to: