Field FAQ - Department of Social Work

When do I start my field placement?

All field students attend field seminar classes the first week of the semester. MSW Field I students and BSW students begin their field placements the second  week of fall semester.  MSW Field II students begin the first week of fall semester. For MSW students completing Field II as a summer block placement, internships begin the first week of May session.  

Can I use my job for my field placement?

An employment setting may be used as a field placement if all the regular department requirements of agencies and Agency Supervisors are met in the setting and if, for the hours regarded as the field placement time, the student is assigned tasks and supervision different from his/her regular job. Also, the field placement is an educational experience, which requires controlled, limited, and closely monitored assignments. The employment situation creates different expectations and thus makes it difficult to safeguard the student's learning needs. The student is in an agency to learn; and employee is in the agency to work. Not all employment situations will be approved for field placement and approval depends on how clearly the student and agency can describe the learning opportunity and how it is to be monitored and evaluated by the Department. A written application is required. For MSW students, see the MSW Field Manual for more specifics on how to make a request.  BSW students should refer to the BSW Field Manual

I already work full-time. Can I get a field placement that is nights and weekends?

The reality is that much of what you will learn in your placement will need to happen during "regular working hours". While you may be able to arrange some of your field hours for evenings and weekends, do not count on the majority of your field placement happening during these times.

What is the requirement for field hours?

BSW field is 420 hours over the course of the academic year.  This is 15-20 hours a week.  

For the standard MSW program, the first internship, Field I, is 420 hours and the second internship, Field II, is 480 hours. Over the academic year, the is also about 15-20 hours.

Advanced standing students are required to complete a Field II placement, which has a requirement of 480.

MSW Field II is the only UMD field placement that can be completed as a summer block placement. This placement requires 480 hours completed at a full-time schedule over 12 weeks, from about mid-May to late July.

Please note: for the 2021-2022 academic year, the required field hours have been reduced to accommodate any Covid disruptions. The required hours for SW 4121 BSW Senior Field and SW 8801 Field I are 357. The required hours for SW 8802 Field II are 408.


Can I get credit for my prior work experience?

No, The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) prohibits this.

What is the difference between MSW Field I and Field II?

Field I is the generalist field placement. The focus is on generalist social work practice at the direct, organizational, and community practice levels. This year is also referred to as the foundation year. The learning experiences and content are operationalized in the student’s learning contract. They must prepare the student for the concentration year by including the core interviewing skills and the development and application of the problem-solving model, within the context of systems theory. Case management and individual/family advocacy are appropriate assignments, as well as work on agency committees and community organizing projects.

Field II is the advanced generalist concentration year learning experience. The focus is an advanced generalist social work practice at the direct, organizational, and community practice level. Both 34 credit and second year 51 credit students are required to take Field II. The learning experiences must be of a stair-step nature. It is not satisfactory to just repeat the learning experiences of the foundation year. To reflect the advanced generalist model, the Field II placement focus is on advanced practice with individuals, families, organizations and communities. This is consistent with the Department’s goal of producing students with a well-rounded repertoire of practice skills for use at all three system levels.

How do I find a field placement?

You should contact the Field Directors to begin the process of finding a field placement. We have over 200 agencies that have been approved to have BSW and MSW field students. While not all of them accept students every year, many provide excellent opportunities for students.

How does an agency get "approved" to have a field student?

Policies pertaining to the approval of field agencies can be found in the MSW Field Manual or for BSW students policies are in the BSW Field Manual All agencies must submit an application, including the resume of an BSW or MSW-level practitioner with 2 years of post-degree practice experience who would provide supervision to a field student.  For BSW students, the same is required including the resume of an BSW-level practitioner with 2 years of post-BSW practice experience who would provide supervision to a field student. All applications are evaluated by the field directors to determine if an agency would provide appropriate activities for an social work student. Applications are now submitted electronically into the IPT System. 


Other Questions?

Sara Lien  MSW Field Director  [email protected]

Laura Brandt  BSW Field Director  [email protected]