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Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

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MSW Field Education

Military FiledFair2Field education is integral to the foundation of social work education as well as to the advanced curriculum for social work students. Field practicum provides students the opportunity to integrate the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom setting with the practical experiences that are provided at the organization.

For MSW students, field practicum is a required course that they can complete concurrently with other courses during the academic year or during a summer block field practicum. The concurrent field option requires students to complete the field instruction requirements (3 credits per semester) along with the four required academic courses per semester (12 credits).

For a student’s foundation year in the program, this option requires placement of the student in the same practicum organization for both semesters. Field Instruction I (SOWK 781), taken the fall of MSW students’ first year, is a 16-week course accompanied by a forty hour block week in field and two full days each week of field practicum. The next semester (spring), students enroll in SOWK 782, following the same format. 

Students with two years of paid work experience in a human service organization can apply for summer block practicum. Students are placed in an organization for approximately 40 hours per week for 14 weeks from early May until mid-August. Students must register for field instruction and pay summer tuition and fees. Foundation summer block can be taken only after completion of all foundation courses, and advanced summer block practicum can be taken only after completion of all advanced courses.

Field practice time consists of time spent providing service to clients or engaging in organization activities that support direct service. Related classroom assignments and/or research pertaining to field practice can be considered field practice time, with the approval of the field instructor.

More than 500 MSW students at USC have field practicums at a diverse array of organizations throughout the Southeast every year. The USC College of Social Work welcomes and appreciates our collaborative relationships with the over 300 organizations across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. International practicums can also be made on an individual basis.

The MSW field education program is structured according to the mandates of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It is guided by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards and the National Association of Social Worker's Code of Ethics, which provides guidelines for the ethical behavior of professional social workers.


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