shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Frequently Asked Questions

Page address: http://sbs.mnsu.edu/fieldeducation/faq.html
BSSW FAQ

What are the hours I need to complete?

When do I apply for my field practicum?

Can I complete my internship in my place of work?

Do I get paid?

What is the difference between Junior Field Experience and Senior Practicum?

Can students request to change internships during the year?

What happens if problems arise during an internship?

What should I expect from the agency interview process?

 

What are the hours I need to complete?

Students in practicum are required to complete 440 hours during one semester, either Fall or Spring.  Student are typically at the practicum sites Monday through Thursday for 32 hours each week, for 15 weeks during the semester.

When do I apply for my field practicum?

Completion of all required general education courses and all required social work courses (with the grade of C- or better, or a Passing grade when applicable) is a prerequisite to SOWK 450 and SOWK 455. The Student must receive an ‘average’ or better in their SOWK 315, Junior Field Experience, evaluation and the narrative evaluation must reflect the student’s appropriateness for the social work profession. In order to enroll in SOWK 450 and SOWK 455, all incompletes, in progresses, or any other unmet social work curriculum requirements must be met.  Permission to register is granted only by Departmental consent.

Can I complete my internship in my place of work?

The BSSW Program follows the standards established by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) that clearly state that the student’s practicum experience and supervision must be different than the student’s employment. The BSSW Program will make every attempt to work with the student and the agency if the student requests to complete the practicum requirement at their place of employment. Please read policy regarding field practicum and employment for BSSW students in the field manual.

Do I get paid?

Very few agencies pay practicum students. There are limited agencies that provide a small stipend for students, but this is not typically the case.

What is the difference between Junior Field Experience and Senior Practicum?

Can students request to change internships during the year?

At first these difficulties can appear to be insurmountable but they can be resolved successfully if they are addressed early in the placement. Disruptions to field placements are infrequent and changes in placement will only be considered under unusual circumstances, such as extreme life events, agency disruption, or serious impediments to completing the practicum as planned.

What happens if problems arise during an internship?

It is important to remember that difficulties can often be a crucial part of the learning process and it is important to address the concerns, not ignore them. It is a key objective in social work to recognize difficulties that occur in relationship and to work towards conflict resolution. If you are experiencing a problem that cannot be resolved within the supervisory relationship either party can contact the field liaison to start the review process. The field liaison is responsible for determining the nature and extent of the unusual circumstances and assessing remediation possibilities within the agency. The field liaison will start with the individual that made the initial contact regarding difficulties. If issue cannot be address through initial contact, the field liaison will then schedule a meeting involving all applicable individuals to discuss the difficulties. The outcome of this meeting will determine the next steps, continued field placement with monitoring or termination of placement.

What should I expect from the agency interview process?

Students are required to interview for their practicum position with the agency. One main purpose of the field interview is to clarify expectations of the field experience that the student may have as well as the field instructor. Please refer to the interviewing tips for students document for additional information.

 

MSW FAQ

Can I work full time and still do field practicum?

Can field practicum take place during evening and weekend hours?

Can I complete my field practicum in my place of employment?

How many total hours are required?

Can I receive field credit from past work and/or volunteer experience?

Can I start my field practicum before the official start date?

What if an agency does not have an MSW?

Do I get paid?

How many hours a week will I need to commit to field practicum?

Can students request to change internships during the year?

What happens if problems arise during an internship?

What should I expect from the agency interview process?

 

Can I work full time and still do field practicum?

It is highly recommended that students do not work full time while taking classes and completing internship.

Can field practicum take place during evening and weekend hours?

Rarely are weekend and night hours offered due to the lack of supervision opportunities. It is important that you have access to your MSW supervisor/task supervisor while at your practicum site.  Additionally, most sites have supervision and meeting requirements that are schedules during business hours. Therefore this limits the ability to do your practicum during evening and weekend hours.

Can I complete my field practicum in my place of employment?

The Department is strongly committed to ensuring that students assume the role of learner in order for them to achieve their learning goals in field settings. The Department also recognizes that some students have personal economic situations that make it necessary for them to explore field opportunities that can provide final assistance including at their place of employment. Even though the Department does not encourage placement at employment, if a student desires to do one practicum at their place of employment, they will be allowed to pursue such an arrangement. However, this requires additional planning and negotiation and is not always a workable option.  Please refer to the policy and procedures outline in the field manual for further stipulations.

How many total hours are required?

The number of hour required depends on the year in the program. Foundation year students will need to complete 460 hours. Specialization year students will need to complete 500 hours. Please see student information section of website for hour details or the field manual.

Can I receive field credit from past work and/or volunteer experience?

Although previous work experience will support and enhance participation in the practicum experience, under no circumstances will previous life or work experience substitute for practicum hours. Practice and seminar courses are never waived for any reason, nor will transfer credits be substituted.

Can I start my field practicum before the official start date?

Students are expected to begin the first day of classes and conclude the last class day of each semester as determined by the University calendar unless student receives prior approval for alternative start date by the field instructor and field director.

What if an agency does not have an MSW?

In some instances, a social work MSW field instructor is not available in the practicum setting. In that situation, a task supervisor, preferred Master level for graduate students, will be assigned by the agency to provide field oversight with the field director seeking an appropriate off-site MSW field instructor to work with the student.

Do I get paid?

Very few agencies pay practicum students. There are limited agencies that provide a small stipend for students, but this is not typically the case.

How many hours a week will I need to commit to field practicum?

Foundation field practicum is scheduled for 20 hours per week for 15 weeks in the springs semester and 16 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer semester. Specialization field practicum is scheduled for 20 hours per week for 15 weeks in the spring semester and 20 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer semester. A plan for accruing hours will be determined by the student and field instructor.

Can students request to change internships during the year?

At first these difficulties can appear to be insurmountable but they can be resolved successfully if they are addressed early in the placement. Disruptions to field placements are infrequent and changes in placement will only be considered under unusual circumstances, such as extreme life events, agency disruption, or serious impediments to completing the practicum as planned.

What happens if problems arise during an internship?

It is important to remember that difficulties can often be a crucial part of the learning process and it is important to address the concerns, not ignore them. It is a key objective in social work to recognize difficulties that occur in relationship and to work towards conflict resolution. If you are experiencing a problem that cannot be resolved within the supervisory relationship either party can contact the field liaison to start the review process. The field liaison is responsible for determining the nature and extent of the unusual circumstances and assessing remediation possibilities within the agency. The field liaison will start with the individual that made the initial contact regarding difficulties. If issue cannot be address through initial contact, the field liaison will then schedule a meeting involving all applicable individuals to discuss the difficulties. The outcome of this meeting will determine the next steps, continued field placement with monitoring or termination of placement.

What should I expect from the agency interview process?

Students are required to interview for their practicum position with the agency. One main purpose of the field interview is to clarify expectations of the field experience that the student may have as well as the field instructor. Please refer to the interviewing tips for students document for additional information.