Social Work Field Education

Learning opportunities in the field setting create teachable moments that have a great impact on student development.

Field education, or field practicum, is a tradition in social work that separates our field from other professions because of its thorough time commitment and strong legacy of mentorship, which is nurtured through constructive relationships. This experience prepares students for the professional position they will assume in the marketplace after graduation. Students learn under the supervision of a qualified field instructor and with the support of a field advisor and liaison from the School of Social Work.
According to research in social work education, students report that their field experience is the most effective learning opportunity they experience in their graduate school education. It is in the field that students have the opportunity to integrate theoretical and research knowledge into a cohesive understanding of their profession practice. 

"The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum — classroom and field — are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the achievement of program competencies." — Council on Social Work Education

Your Field Practicum

The field practicum consists of supervised generalist social work practice (foundational and advanced) in an agency approved by the Social Work Program. The field practicum provides structured learning opportunities that enable students to apply foundation knowledge, skills, values and ethics to practice. Students are directly engaged in the delivery of services to individuals, families, groups, organizations and/or communities, particularly those client systems who are vulnerable, exploited and discriminated against.

The Field department has contractual partnerships with nearly 200 agencies and organizations in the greater Kansas City area. Practicum placements include but are not limited to hospitals, schools, VA settings, child welfare, community development/advocacy, immigration/refugee, incarceration/ re-entry. Upon admission into the social work program the field office will work with you to secure a practicum placement that addresses your areas of interest and provide the learning opportunities you will need in order to develop the skills you will need to succeed as a professional social worker.

  • Each three-credit practicum course requires 16.25 hours/week of supervised experience in an agency setting
  • Students are free to use evening and weekend hours in the field to fulfill the weekly time requirement with the field director’s permission