Field Educaction

The School of Social Work is well-known for its model of field education. Its strength lies in the fact that it is an educationally-directed, hands-on learning experience wherein students develop their social work practice skills in an agency setting. Faculty, community social work practitioners, and students partner in ways that are designed to best prepare students with the skills and expertise needed for a successful career in social work.

Program Overview

Students in the BSW, Full-Time MSW, and Part-Time MSW programs are placed in Field Units and then are placed in social work practice settings tied to that Field Unit. Field Units provide a conceptual base for practice as well as a supportive environment to learn, critique, and consult.  

  • Field Units are organized around a social problem area, field of practice, or a client population. Each unit has a range of field placement agencies and settings appropriate to its theme.
  • The field education experience for Generalist Practice MSW students is designed to provide a generalist practice perspective and direct practice experience. The focus is on learning and applying analytical and intervention skills within an ethically based, problem-focused approach. Such an approach affords opportunities for a variety of system interventions within a particular practice situation.
  • Advanced Generalist Practice MSW students' field education experience shifts its focus to advanced practice skill development and provides an integrated way to link field experiences with course work in the context of the student's specialization and focus area.
  • Field faculty have scholarly as well as professional involvement in their particular areas of expertise; many have made influential contributions to social work practice.
Wisconsin Background Check

Social work students should be advised that Wisconsin State Statutes require the State Department of Justice to conduct background checks on all potential field education students prior to the field placement. See the Field Education Handbook in the Student Resources pages for the link to order and pay for the background check online.

Field Program Events and Videos

Upcoming field program events can be found on the Social Work calendar. Many field program events are recorded and available for viewing on YouTube. Videos include workshops, presentations, and student perspectives.

For More Information

For additional resources on field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations see the Field Education Handbook, found on the Student Resources pages. Field unit availability may vary from year to year because of curriculum needs, personnel changes, or funding. Please be aware of deadlines and other Important Dates for the Field Program, also found in the Field Education Handbook on the Student Resources pages.