One of the most rewarding aspects of Widener's online MSW program is the field placement. Field placements provide you opportunities to apply what you've learned in the MSW curriculum in an agency setting, and is central to advanced social work education. It may also introduce you to new areas of social work practice. In fact, many of our alumni flourish in careers they hadn't considered or even known about prior to their field placement.
The field-experience requirement is also the most challenging aspect of the MSW curriculum. You'll need to be disciplined and self-motivated in your approach, and have the perseverance to see it through. However, by graduation, you're ready to be an active clinician and take advantage of the high demand for advanced social workers who have hands-on supervised experience.
Discover the Many Ways Widener Guides and Supports You
As a social work student, the time and financial investment you've made to further your education demonstrates your continued commitment toward helping people and communities thrive. Widener is dedicated to your success and the field placement component of the program is no exception.
The Widener MSW field team understands that the demands of work, a personal life, and the requirements to fulfill an advanced degree are challenging. For this reason, we employ a collaborative approach in planning for your field education experience. This is evident in the one-on-one support and guidance offered by our field directors. These professionals are dedicated to your success and will help you navigate the field experience.
Professional Field Instructors Guide You
All of our agency field instructors are required to have an MSW from an accredited social work program and at least two years of post-graduate social work experience. Under their supervision, you will continue to grow professionally in the program and emerge with a firm foundation to embark on the next steps of your social work career.
You can download our field placement guide for more details.
Field Education Hours
Over the course of the program, you will complete two separate internships - one in generalist social work and the second in specialized clinical social work practice. For most students, field education hours will start after students complete core MSW courses that ready them for field education, usually in their 5th semester. This ensures they are properly prepared and positioned for success in the field.
- Generalist Year: 14-16 hours a week over two consecutive semesters for a total of 420 hours
- Specialization Year: 20-24 hours a week over two consecutive semesters, or with the extended field option, 14-16 hours over the course of three consecutive semesters, for a total of 680 hours
Options to complete field hours
Some agencies allow students to complete hours during the evening
Students can expect to continue field hours over breaks
Specialization year option: Intern shorter hours over a longer period of time
Field Education Assignments
There are many areas of social work practice that provide excellent learning opportunities. With the guidance of your assigned field director - who has experience placing students in the particular region where you reside - you will be an active participant in the process.
In some cases, field hours may be completed at your current place of employment. If this is an option, it is important to adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Council on Social Work Education that the field experience be different from your day-to-day work responsibilities. Your field director will help you with this planning.
Your field director can help identify various opportunities in an area of social work practice in which you may have interest and that is local to you. Widener's MSW program is made up of students from all over the country, which is why we're dedicated to helping you find an exceptional field placement in your local area.
Potential Options for field placements
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Primary Care Physician Offices
- Home Health and Hospice Agencies
- School Districts *
- Centers for Child Advocacy
- Homeless Shelters
- Child Welfare Agencies
- Domestic Violence Centers
- Probation & Community Service
- Mobile Crisis Response
- Child Welfare Agencies
- Homeless Shelters
- Community Mental Health Agencies
- Senior Centers/Adult Day Programs
- Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Facilities
- In Patient Behavioral Health Facilities
- Residential Drug & Alcohol Facilities
- Partial Hospitalization Programs
*You may need to schedule your field placements during fall and spring semesters when schools are in session.