FAQs for Students

Field Education is a core requirement of the BASW and MSW programs. It plays a pivotal role in the MSW and BASW curriculum.  It offers the opportunity to apply, refine, and integrate conceptually-based knowledge acquired in the classroom with real life experiences in social service agencies.

Field Work at the CSUSB School of Social Work consists of three components: 1) field practicum, 2) field events, and 3) field seminar. Through field work, field events, and field seminar, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and level of competence necessary to enter professional practice.  The field experience and classroom should be mutually reinforcing in all curricular areas: research, human behavior, social policy, and practice with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities.

Field Work is a collaborative effort involving:

  • The Agency: human service organizations
  • The Field Instructor: professional Social Work practitioners who are "teachers" in the field
  • Faculty Field Liaison: professional Social Work practitioners, both full-time faculty and faculty adjuncts, who are the official university representatives and provide linkage, mediation, monitoring, consultation, and advocacy to students and field instructors.
  • Field Education Program: provides the social work student with an opportunity to apply classroom learning in an agency-based supervised field experience.

How many hours will I be in placement?

  • BASW Seniors, 16 hours per week  x 10 weeks = 160 hours per quarter
  • Foundation Year, 16 hours per week x 10 weeks = 160 hours per quarter
  • Advanced Year, 20 hours per week x 10 weeks = 200 hours per quarter
  • Part-time students do not have a field internship in their 1st year of study.
  • Part-time students (2nd year), 16 hours/week (160 total per quarter)
  • Part-time students (3rd year), 20 hours/week (200 hours per quarter)

The Fall Quarter begins the third week in September. There is a mandatory Field Orientation for new students prior to the student reporting to the agency. Once the orientation is complete, the student will report to the agency where he/she will remain for 10 consecutive weeks. After winter break, students return for the Winter Quarter, another 10 weeks, and the Spring Quarter runs through the first week in June when the year ends. You will take a break from field in December and return the 1st week of January, but some agencies require students to intern for a portion of the winter break. For a list of specific dates, please go to our Master Field Calendars on this site. Students may not accumulate hours in an effort to complete the requisite hours before the specified ending date for field.

The days in field are based on the students' class schedules. Normally, 16 hours requires 2 eight-hour days. For 20 hours, students usually do 2 eight-hour days and 4 hours on another day. There may be certain days/times when the agency will require you to be there outside the usual days/times (e.g. meetings, trainings, special events). You will need to discuss any scheduling conflicts with your Field Instructor and/or your Faculty Field Liaison in advance.

The days in field are based on the students' class schedules. Normally, 16 hours requires 2 eight-hour days. For 20 hours, students usually do 2 eight-hour days and 4 hours on another day. There may be certain days/times when the agency will require you to be there outside the usual days/times (e.g. meetings, trainings, special events). You will need to discuss any scheduling conflicts with your Field Instructor and/or your Field Faculty Liaison.

Most agencies require students to be in placement from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. If an agency offers atypical hours, i.e. after 5 p.m., the Field Instructor must be onsite and/or leave a preceptor to supervise the student. In general, you should be available for placement during normal hours.

The use of an employment site as a field placement site must be approved by the Field Coordinator and/or Director of Field Education. Approval is granted ONLY if certain conditions are met AND the situation is educationally sound and appropriate for the particular student. For a list of criteria, please see our documents page for Job-Related Placement form.

There are a few agencies that offer a stipend, but it varies year to year. However, because of the limited number of stipends available, students should plan to finance their education through other sources. The School of Social Work does offer a stipend through the Title IV-E Child Welfare Program. Please refer to the School of Social Work website for more information.

Some agencies require students to have a car to perform field assignments that involve outreach, home visits and community work. Not having a car may limit your placement options. Please indicate on your field application and/or notify the Director of Field Education if you do not have a car.

The University does not conduct criminal background checks on students. However, almost every field agency requires a criminal background check. Federal and state laws mandate criminal background checks for persons placed in many settings. Any criminal record (infraction, charge, misdemeanor, or felony) may impact a student’s eligibility for placement in certain agencies. Students must disclose to the Director of Field Education or designated Field Coordinator any criminal background, including any and all expunged and/or dismissed charges, as they will still appear on background checks. Students may be ineligible for placement, or terminated from an agency, if criminal background information comes to light without prior disclosure. The Field Director and/or Field Coordinator can provide insight to students as to potential opportunities and barriers to securing a field practicum site but cannot guarantee placement or choice of placement. Information disclosed will be used only for the purpose of determining appropriate field options. Please note:  If a student cannot be placed, they will not be able to continue in the MSW program.

In the event a student is arrested or charged with a new offense, or is convicted during the program, the student is required to disclose this information to the Director of the School of Social Work, Director of Field Education, Field Coordinator, and Academic Advisor within 48 hours of arrest, charge, or conviction. Students may be terminated from the program if an arrest or charge comes to light without immediate disclosure.

Failure to provide the required disclosures or notices will be deemed as a deception and will be handled as a form of academic dishonesty in addition to any other violations. Arrests, violations, and/or convictions which violate University and/or department policies or standards could result in sanctions.

Students who are arrested, charged, or convicted during the program are not permitted to return to field placement until further notice. The student will be referred to the Student Review Committee for an initial review of the situation. The student assumes the risk involved with disclosing information and thus may choose not to disclose information. However, if the student chooses not to disclose information, the Student Review Committee will not be able to determine a course of action.

If a student is charged with a new offense, the student will most likely be required to take a leave of absence until the case has been resolved and a decision has been made by a court of law.  A student MAY be permitted to complete classroom coursework for the current quarter. Once the outcome of the specific case or circumstance has been determined, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the Director of the School of Social Work, Director of Field Education, Field Coordinator, and Academic Advisor. At that time, the student will be referred to the Student Review Committee again for consideration of specific factors and implications related to the social work profession and his/her ability to return to the program and field work.

The Director of Field Education, Field Coordinator or designee, in consultation with the Field Education Faculty, assign placements to students based on the pool of agencies that have requested an intern and take into account the student's specific learning needs, past experiences, and career plans. Students should not contact an agency directly without approval from the Field Education Faculty.

Your Faculty Field Liaison will facilitate the Integrative Seminar which is held monthly. They also schedule and visit the student and Field Instructor to review learning goals and objectives to ensure they meet CSWE accreditation standards.