Frequently Asked Questions – Field Education

Field Program

Full-Time MSW Field

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Can I be exempted from part of the field placement if I have a BSW degree?

If you received a BSW from a CSWE accredited school of social work within five (5) years of the academic year you graduated to the academic year you enrolled into the MSW Program and attained a grade of B or better in the field course, you can apply to be exempted from the first year of field placement. Please contact your School advisor for more information.

How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

Generalist Practice students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and SW 401 in the spring semester. Advanced Practice students register for five credits for SW 800 in the fall semester and six credits for SW 801 in the spring semester.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

Generalist Practice Students must acquire a minimum of 256 hours per semester (512 hours total for both semesters), which includes their field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to about 16 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement, and 2.5 hours per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

Advanced Practice students must acquire a minimum of 320 hours per semester that includes their field placement and integrative seminar (640 hours total for both semesters), which averages out to 20-21 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement and 2.5 hours per week in their field unit integrative seminar.

All students remain in the same field placement for 2 semesters.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of your program’s Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program) and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state or country when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Director of Field Education.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

Part-Time MSW Field

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Can I be exempted from part of the field placement if I have a BSW degree?

If you received a BSW from a CSWE accredited school of social work within five (5) years of the academic year you graduated to the academic year you enrolled into the MSW Program and attained a grade of B or better in the field course, you can apply to be exempted from the first year of field placement. Please contact your School advisor for more information.

How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Associate Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

Generalist Practice students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and four credits for SW 401 in the spring semester. Advanced Practice students register for 2 credits for SW 800 in the summer prior to their final year, four credits for SW 800 in the fall semester and four credits for SW 801 in the spring semester. Students entering the Program with Advanced Standing may be required to take five credits for SW 801 in the spring semester to meet their credit requirements for graduation.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

Generalist Practice Students: You must acquire a minimum of 512 hours total for the academic year, which includes your field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to 16 hours per week in the field placement (which is based on 14 week semesters, and can vary depending on whether you continue in your field placement over winter break and during exam weeks) and 2 hours and 30 minutes per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

Advanced Practice Students: You must acquire a minimum of 640 hours total for the academic year, which includes your field placement and integrative seminar. These hours are acquired during the months of August, and the fall and spring semesters. This averages out to 18-20 hours per week in the field placement (which is based on 14 week semesters, and can vary depending on whether you continue in your field placement over winter break and during exam weeks) and 2 hours and 30 minutes per week in their field unit integrative seminar.

Students remain in the same field placement for two semesters, and may not end their field placement prior to the last week of class in May.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of the Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program) and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Associate Director of Field. Currently, the School is not developing international field placements for students in the Part-Time MSW Program.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

What days of the week am I in my field placement?

The School schedules classes and the field unit integrative seminar on Saturdays, leaving significant blocks of time for field placements during the week. Students and their agency supervisor should plan a schedule together, taking into account agency and student needs. Field agency placement hours must not conflict with course work.

BSW Field

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How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I of the Field Handbook.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

BSW students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and SW 401 in the spring semester.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

BSW Students must acquire a minimum of 256 hours per semester (512 hours total for both semesters), which includes their field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to about 16 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement, and 2 hours per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

All students remain in the same field placement for 2 semesters.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of the Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Director of Field Education and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Director of Field Education.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

What should I know about the field placement?

BSW students complete a year-long social work field placement as part of the program. Visit Field Education (BSW tab) website for information about Field Units and Field Education.

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