SOCW Field Education

Social Work - Field Education

Field education is the integrative component of our BSW and MSW programs. Field placements provide students the opportunity to integrate content from the classroom with the delivery of social work services while under the supervision of a qualified Field Instructor. The School of Social Work offers field opportunities in a wide variety of agencies throughout the eastern region of North Carolina and in neighboring areas. We partner with agencies to provide our students educational experiences that align with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) nine core competencies of the social work profession.

CSWE’s core competencies require “the ability to integrate and apply social work knowledge, values, and skills in practice situations in a purposeful, intentional, and professional manner to promote human and community well-being.” Professional “competence is informed by knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that include the social worker’s critical thinking, affective reactions, and exercise of judgment in regard to unique practice situations” (CSWE, 2015).

Field Education is the signature pedagogy in social work education. It provides students with real-life experiences in a safe environment to grow and learn by making connections from the knowledge they gained in the classroom and applying it to their social work practice. The University provides general professional liability insurance at no cost for all students who are officially registered for field education courses.

Roles in Field Education

  • Faculty Field Liaison (Seminar Instructor)
    • SOSW faculty conducts weekly seminar
    • Serves as primary liaison to agencies
    • Responsible for assessing student progress and determining field grade
  • Field Instructor
    • A professional practitioner with a social work degree
    • Provides social work supervision a minimum of 1 hour each week
  • Task Supervisor
    • Provides day-to-day supervision for students who do not work directly under their Field Instructor

BSW Field – SOCW 4990

BSW students complete Field Education during their final semester. Typically, BSW students are in the field Tuesdays through Friday. They are required to complete 32 hours a week in the field, for a minimum of 448 hours.

MSW Generalist Placement Information- SOCW 6940

Regular Pathway MSW students complete two field education placements totaling 1,032 hours. MSW students are required to spend 24 hours a week in the field, for a minimum of 336 hours a semester. If approved, students may be permitted to complete field education at their employment. Full-time MSW students are typically in the field Wednesday through Friday. Field days vary for part-time students.

For full-time students, the generalist practice placement occurs during the second semester of the first year. The 2-semester specialized practice placement is completed throughout the second year.

MSW students in the part-time program complete the generalist practice placement during the fall semester of their second academic year.

MSW Specialized Curriculum Information – SOCW 6950 and 6960

MSW students are required to spend 24 hours a week in the field, for a minimum of 336 hours per semester for two semesters. MSW students are typically in the field Wednesday through Friday.

Program Sequences:

Additional Resources

Documents for BSW and MSW students to access before starting field placement internships/ semester:


Interested in becoming a Field Instructor?

If you are interested in becoming a Field Instructor or Field Agency, please contact the Social Work Field Office via e-mail or call 252-328-4211.


Field Instructor and Task Supervisor Information:


Q & A:

  1. Who has a BSW or MSW degree and provides a minimum of 1 hour per week of dedicated social work supervision?
    1. Field instructor
  2. Can an MSW student have supervision from a social worker with a BSW degree?
    1. No, MSW students can only be supervised by an MSW degreed supervisor with two-years post-MSW practice experience.
  3. Who provides on-site, day-to-day supervision for students who do not work directly under their Field Instructor?
    1. Task Supervisor
  4. Who is responsible for assigning the final field grade?
    1. Field Liaison
  5. How are placement sites determined?
    1. Philosophy of the agency & commitment to interns
    2. Types of learning activities available as related to generalist practice
    3. Quality of previous field placements
    4. Availability of appropriate supervisory staff
    5. Ability to take students and adequate resources for students
  6. Are you allowed to finish early if you are over the required field hours?
    1. No, you are not able to finish your internship early even if you are over your required hours. Students are to remain in field until the last calendar day on the field calendar. Field education is a learning process. Students need to process and reflect on their field learning and the social work skills they are developing throughout the entire length of the semester to have optimal learning outcomes.
  7. What are some typical MSW internship activities?
    1. Intake
    2. Assessment
    3. Developing treatment plans
    4. Individual and group interventions
    5. Participating in a variety of social work services or practice interventions
    6. Community development
    7. Program development
    8. Program assessment
    9. Clinical interventions
  8. What are some BSW field placement settings?
    1. Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Hospice
    2. Mental health Services
    3. Family Service Agencies
    4. Children and Youth Services
    5. Child Welfare Services
    6. Domestic Violence Programs
    7. Homeless Shelters
    8. Schools
    9. Substance Abuse Programs
    10. Aging Services


**All students must apply for field education through the Office of Field Education by completing the field application. Once the field application is submitted, you will hear from your field placement coordinator.