Field Practicum

Connecting the classroom to real world practice.

Seattle University's Social Work program offers extensive practical experience through rigorous practicum placements at a variety of community sites. Under the supervision of trained Social Work Practicum Instructors, students engage in hands-on learning complemented by integrative seminars with classmates.

These placements cover diverse areas such as mental health counseling, child welfare and community-based programs addressing various social issues. Students consult with the Field Director to ensure alignment with their career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

BSW Field Practicum

MSW Field Practicum

Practicum Sites: Information and How to Apply

Current Students: related information can be found on Redhawk Hub.

About: BSW Field Practicum

Field placements in a variety of practice settings such as family support, housing and home security, gerontology, child welfare, mental health, school based, justice system.  These placements offer experiences with children, adolescents, adults, families.

  • 450 hours, two days per week, across three quarters at the assigned agency.
    Students are matched with an agency and placed during the spring quarter of their junior year.
    Students are supervised by qualified social workers on site and guided by program-appointed field faculty liaisons.

Field Practicum Fee for Tevera Data System
A one-time $223 expense for field practicum placement (required to initiate the placement process in winter quarter of your junior year).

BSW Field Practicum Manual

Potential agency practicum sites complete a Seattle University Practicum Instructor Application. They must have an identified staff person who will be the Practicum Instructor. This person must have either a BSW or MSW, have been employed by the agency and have been employed in as a professional social worker for a minimum of 2-years post attainment of degree.

The Field Director will review the completed application and make a site visit usually in the fall and early winter. All applications received after February will be held and contact will be made for site visits later in the year, for possible student placement the following year.

The placement process begins in Winter quarter of the student’s junior year and is collaborative between the Field Director and the student. There will be opportunities provided to the students to learn about the various populations and agencies. The students complete the Field Application and have a placement interview with the Field Director. The Field Director will make the final agency assignment. The matching process considers the students’ interests and experience as well as the needs of the agencies. The students will also interview with the prospective agency prior to the match being finalized.

We prefer a student not do their practicum with an agency at which they are employed. Our goal is for the student to benefit from learning to work with a diversity of populations and needs. However, occasionally, an agency can provide a much different learning situation and supervision for a student that completely differs from the student’s regular employment tasks, responsibilities and supervisor. If so proposed, the Field Director will determine the suitability of employment-based practicum.

Paid field placements are rare. Work-study may be available if a student is made eligible by Seattle University and the agency will provide a work-study opportunity.

A student is in their field placement for 15 hours each academic week for a total of 150 hours per quarter and 450 hours per academic school year.

Students are generally at their field placements on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Most of the placements are during regular agency hours, weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Occasionally, especially in agencies that provide residential treatment, a student may be asked to flex their time to accommodate late afternoon or evening practicum hours. If this is the case, the agency assures that there is a PI or Task Supervisor available to work with the student during those hours.

All students complete an interview with the Practicum Instructor from their assigned agency and present a resume. The purpose of this interview is to give both the student and the Practicum Instructor an opportunity to ask questions about the workload, client population, mission of the agency, expectations and to explore if the agency and PI seems to be a good fit for the student. Both the student and the PI will notify the Field Director as they accept or deny the placement.

Should this arise, the Field Director will work with the student to find another agency placement.

This is not currently an option.

Each placement is individual and Seattle has a good bus public transportation system. Many of our agencies are in close proximity to our campus. However there are placements where students see their clients at off-agency sites and the use of a car may be required. Students are not allowed to drive clients in their personal cars.

There are sites that require students to have and present verification of inoculations or attend additional trainings/ orientations. The student is responsible for acquiring and providing all required information and attend trainings as requested. It is the agency’s responsibility to inform the student of additional requirements and the student is responsible to complete these necessary requirements.

Social work is a career where there is an inherent risk for assault and violence. We have asked all agencies to adopt policies and procedures to enhance safety and minimize the risk to practicum students. We also require agencies to provide interns with safety training consistent with their agency and client population. We request that clients not be assigned to a student who will jeopardize a student’s health or safety and the student will be told of any potential risk they might encounter in any specific situation. The student will not be sole agency person that makes critical decisions about a client or patient, especially where there are physical or legal implications.

No. Seattle University does not provide these insurance benefits.  In addition, students must sign the "Field Placement - Risk Agreement" form at the beginning of their placement. This form can be found in the BSW Field Practicum Manual.

There are quarterly evaluations that must be completed by the student and the Practicum Instructor that describe and rate the student’s progress. This is used as a learning tool and to assess the student’s grade which is “Credit/ Fail”.

Our Program uses these evaluations only as a learning tool and for grading purposes. There are MSW graduate programs that request a copy of students’ final evaluation from the practicum.

Yes. All students must buy a hard copy of the comprehensive field education manual prior to the first day of their senior year and the beginning of the field experience. This manual has all field education information, policies and procedures, objectives and forms. Practicum instructors also receive a copy of this manual. Students can access the manual on Redhawk Hub.

Many of our students are interested in international social work. We encourage students to participate in study abroad programs as it fits into their schedules. However, at this time we do not have a formal program to allow students to complete their practicums internationally. We do work with many agencies who work locally but with global populations and concerns. If a student wishes to study abroad, contact should be made with the Study Abroad Office.

About: MSW Field Practicum

The MSW program offers field placements in diverse setting such as: mental health counseling agencies, hospitals, child welfare organizations, schools, senior services, state and local justice systems, and community-based programs focusing on children and adolescents, homelessness, immigration, domestic violence, and trauma.

During each year of the Seattle University MSW program, students are matched and placed at approved social service agencies under the supervision of trained MSW Practicum Instructors. In addition, they participate in an integrative seminar with members of their cohort. The MSW program offers placements in more than 65 community sites. All students confer with the Field Director prior to placement.

The MSW program offers field placements in diverse settings such as: mental health counseling, children, youth, and family programs, hospitals/medical, addictions, school- based counseling, child welfare, gerontology, state and local justice systems, and many community-based programs that focus on immigrant/refugee mental and social health, LGBTQ services, domestic and gender-based violence, housing insecurity, and trauma.

Practicum hours

448 TOTAL HOURS: YEAR 1: Students in the 2-Year MSW program complete 448 hours of practicum, 8 hours per day, 2 days per week.

720 TOTAL HOURS: YEAR 2 AND ADVANCED STANDING: Students in their second year and Advanced Standing students complete 720 hours of practicum, 8 hours per day, 3 days per week.

MSW Field Practicum Manual

All assignments are made by the Field Director after the student completes a practicum application and interviews with the Field Director or designee. This is the time to let the Field Director know of any special circumstances or interests regarding placement. The placement assignment is completed when both the agency and the student notify the Field Director that the placement is accepted.

No, agencies must be approved by the Seattle University Field Education Program and agree to the educational goals, outcomes and field policies of the Field Education Program. The Field Education Director will work with you to find a placement that best supports your educational goals.

Practicum is an essential part of your MSW education, and students are expected to learn from different agencies and populations during their social work education.  In some specific cases, however, it may be possible to have a placement at a current work site. Requests of this nature should be directed to the Field Director for further discussion.

Paid field placements are rare, but some placements provide a stipend to the student. The MSW program may also have student worker and graduate assistant positions available.

Yes, after admission you will complete a criminal history background check along with your field practicum application. Additionally, some agencies may require the student to complete the agency's own background check and/or drug screening.

About: Practicum Sites

The field education program links with agencies in the greater King County area that are willing and able to provide the student with an enriched and rigorous experience with diverse clients. The agency must also commit to providing a vetted MSW staff person to act as the student’s supervisor and mentor. Besides providing growth experiences, the supervisor must commit to spending a minimum of 1 hour/week in supervision with the student.  See the MSW Field Practicum Manual on Redhawk Hub for more information.

Practicum instructors who work with the Seattle University MSW Program must hold a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program and have at least 2 years post-master’s degree practice experience in social work. Practicum Instructors are considered adjunct field faculty and must abide by Seattle University’s confidentiality and FERPA restrictions.

There is a well-defined placement process for students described in the field manual. Students may not find their own placements and must follow established procedures. Both students and agencies will interview only the student matched by the Field Placement Committee.  

Students rely on and look forward to their supervision sessions with the practicum instructor. If the practicum instructor is not able to make the scheduled supervision time, the student should be notified and a plan to reschedule made. If the supervisor is to be away from the office, it is the instructor’s responsibility to provide substitute supervisory support for the student. If the absence will be for a long period of time, the Field Director must be informed ahead of time.  

Yes, but you must adhere to the application, orientation, training and approval policies for each social work program.

Agency Application

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