Department of Social Work
We welcome you to learn about our dynamic Office of Field Education at MSU Denver! Field placements are an integral part of the social work experience at the BSSW and MSW levels. What makes our Field Education Program special?
We have over 700 agencies that we collaborate with for field internships and we are dedicated to continuously developing and investing in community partners throughout the state of Colorado and beyond!
Our students' intern in a great variety of settings such as hospitals, child welfare settings, schools, advocacy programs, public libraries, problem-solving courts, and more!
We provide a well-organized field search process that helps students to be successful in finding the best internship opportunities.
Students meet with dedicated and experienced Field Team members to provide individualized support connecting students with field agencies that meet their educational and career goals.
We offer exemplary concurrent field seminars with field internships which help students to integrate classroom learning with real-life experience with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Field Education Overview
Field education is an exciting and integral part of a student’s journey through our social work programs. It provides opportunities for students to put social work skills, knowledge, and values into practice in an approved community agency and under the supervision of an experienced social work Field Instructor. In the field, students gain lived experiences with: critically reflecting on their use of professional self, examining the influences of diversity, identifying opportunities to promote social justice, advocating for policy and systems-level change, and applying social work ethics.
Our Office of Field Education is set up to assist students through every step of the process from searching for and securing a placement to supporting their success throughout the duration of the field placement. In the semester prior to entering the field education courses, students will attend an information session about field education and be paired with a member of the Field Team who will help guide the search process for a field placement. Learn more about the field placement search process.
Upon entry into the Bachelor of Science in Social Work program, junior-level students enroll in SWK 3350 – Social Work Experience: Practice and Communication, a course designed to support students in developing professional communication skills in part by completing 60 hours of volunteer work in a community agency. Learn more about SWK 3350 on the BSSW Program Coursework page.
During their senior year in the program, BSSW students enroll in SWK 4500 and 4510 – Professional Field Experience I & II, where they complete a field placement and a concurrent biweekly field seminar during both fall and spring semesters. The field placement is geared towards a generalist experience allowing students to develop practice skills working across micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice in a community-based agency. The field placement is completed at the same agency over both semesters allowing students to deepen their learning and increase their impact over the course of the academic year.
Students are required to complete 240 hours in their agency setting per semester, the equivalent of 16 hours per week during each of the 15 week semesters, both fall and spring. The accompanying field seminar course (offered face-to-face, online and in hybrid formats) meets every other week throughout the course of the two semesters of Field Experience. The seminar course is taught by a Faculty Field Liaison and provides a forum for students to critically reflect on their experiences out in the field in an environment geared towards promoting professional development.
- BSSW year total hours: 480
- BSSW year hours per semester: 240
- BSSW year hours per week: 16
After having graduated with a BSSW degree, students may be eligible to apply to a Master of Social Work Advanced Standing program allowing them to earn an MSW degree with one year of full-time study.
Field education is a cornerstone of the Masters of Social Work program providing rich experiential learning for students to apply their coursework into real-life practice situations in one of many settings in which social workers interact.
The Foundation year field placement is geared towards a generalist experience allowing students to develop practice skills working across micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice in an approved community-based agency. The Concentration or Advanced Standing year field placement is an advanced, specialized experience designed to support students in deepening their skills in their chosen area of practice.
Each field placement is completed at the same agency over both fall and spring semester allowing students to deepen their learning and increase their impact over the course of the academic year. Students’ field placements will be accompanied by a seminar course (offered face-to-face, online and in hybrid formats) which meets every other week throughout the two semesters of Field Experience. The seminar course is taught by a Faculty Field Liaison and provides a forum for students to critically reflect on their experiences out in the field in an environment geared towards promoting professional development.
- MSW Foundation Year Total Hours: 480
- MSW Foundation Year Hours Per Semester: 240
- MSW Foundation Year Hours Per Week: 16
- MSW Concentration Year Total Hours: 600
- MSW Concentration Year Hours Per Semester: 300
- MSW Concentration Year Hours Per Week: 20
Can I complete my field placement in my place of employment?
Possibly. Employment-based field placements are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be evaluated on their ability to meet Council on Social Work Education requirements for ensuring an appropriate learning environment and level of supervision. Students interested in this option should discuss this with their assigned Field Team Placement Officer upon enrollment in the program.
Can I complete my field placement during evenings and weekends?
Students must have the guidance and support of their agency supervisor during the course of their field placement. Because of this and the nature of many social work positions, opportunities to complete internships during evenings and weekends are very limited. We encourage students to identify early in the process their plan for accommodating the required number of hours in internship and we discourage students from working full-time while also completing their field education requirements.