Connecting Theory to Practice
Field education is an integral part of the curriculum and represents a significant portion of each student's educational experience. The Field Education Office oversees the placement process for students, maintains the external relationships with agencies and coordinates training and support for field instructors. Field education gives students insight into the wide range of social work settings where graduates find employment.
By working in the field with our qualified UConn Field Instructors, students have the opportunity to integrate theory with practice, acquire and practice new skills and learn to navigate the changing world of service delivery. Students in the Master of Social Work program complete two internships. Advanced Standing students complete one internship.
The Foundation (first year) internship provides a generalist perspective of social work practice through a wide range of field assignments. The Advanced (second year) internship focuses primarily on the student’s concentration - Individuals, Groups, and Family Practice; Community Organizing; and Policy Practice.
MSW Field Education:
- Offers a wide range of placement opportunities throughout CT
- Weekly supervision from an MSW field instructor based at the agency
- Students spend 15 to 20 hours a week at their field placement; at least 8 hours must be during the day.
- While in field, students are also enrolled in classes
- Students may request approval to use their place of employment as a field site
- Two field placements – begins in the fall semester and spans the academic year
- Advanced Standing students complete one field placement that spans the academic year focused on their advanced concentration
|UConn supports placements based on the areas of concentration within the school; Community Organizing, Individuals, Groups and Families and Policy Practice. For more information on the concentration-based curriculum, please visit the MSW Program page.|
FAQ MSW Background Checks
For Students- Field Practicum Requirements
Field is an integral part of the Social Work program. It is an expectation that students understand field expectations and process so that we can ensure that we meet the educational needs of each student while also supporting agencies in fully meeting the needs of their clients and the community. A full list of student responsibilities in field practicum education can be found in the MSW Field Education Manual 2019-20 (12-12-19).pdf
Field Practicum Requirements for all Students:
In order to successfully complete the MSW degree and graduate, you must complete all required field practicum experiences. In order to participate in any field practicum you will be required to:
- Complete a background check screening. Background check screenings may include checking state and federal criminal records and sex offender registries. If your background screening shows that you a have criminal record or that you are listed as a sex offender, you may not be able to secure a field practicum.
- Demonstrate that you are current with immunizations (i.e., tuberculosis, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), varicella, and influenza). A record of previous immunizations is not sufficient to fulfill these requirements. If you are unable to demonstrate through written documentation that you are current with your immunizations, you may not be able to secure a field practicum. It has been UConn’s experience that students will be denied a field practicum placement if they fail to provide such proof (religious exemptions are very rarely accepted in lieu of proof of immunization).
All MSW students, regardless of their concentration, are required to complete a background check and immunization monitoring. Each student is financially responsible for the cost of completing such screenings. This is a UConn requirement to ensure that students are ready and able to meet a Facility’s basic requirements and to begin a field practicum on time. All MSW students are required to complete a background check and immunization monitoring by the following deadlines:
- March 15 for IGFP students seeking to do a field practicum in the summer of that year;
- June 5 for all other MSW students who are going into field practicum during the next fall semester.
UConn has an approved contracted vendor, American Data Bank, which will be used for this purpose. You are required to create a Complio account (https://uconn2.complio.com/default.aspx) with American Data Bank and purchase the basic background check and the UConn Tracking (immunizations monitoring). The cost of the background checks will vary depending on the number of states and countries in which you have resided.
Field Practicum Experience Requirements
All required field practicum experiences must be completed at a UConn School of Social Work-approved facility (“Facility”). The School will assist you with securing a field practicum placement. Each Facility has its own requirements that must be met before accepting a student for a field practicum. You are responsible for meeting a Facility’s requirements.
In addition to the above requirements, some Facilities require the successful completion of other types of screenings. The most common of those is drug screening. If you test positive for drug use, you may not be able to secure a field practicum at a Facility or may be removed from a field practicum. This includes, but is not limited to, testing positive for prescribed medical marijuana or opiates.
Other types of screenings include fingerprinting, debarment list screenings, and Motor Vehicle Records checks. It is also possible that a Facility may require a student to redo a screening that they may have already successfully completed in the past before being placed.
Occasionally, the costs associated with these additional screenings are covered by the Facility, but most of the time you will be responsible for the cost of such screenings.
Each Facility has its own requirements that must be met before accepting a student for a field practicum placement. You are responsible for meeting all of the Facility’s requirements. The School is not responsible for securing field practicum placements for students who are unable to meet a Facility’s field practicum placement requirements. No Facility field practicum placement will be confirmed until all field practicum placement requirements have been met. You will not be able to start any field practicum until you have demonstrated that you have successfully completed all requirements required for a field practicum placement at a Facility.
If you are not able to meet these requirements, you will most likely not be able to complete the School’s field practicum requirements. If you have any questions regarding background checks or drug screenings, you can contact UConn’s Clinical Case Manager at email@example.com. For all other inquiries, including regarding immunizations, please contact the School of Social Work Field Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 959-200-3636.
Additional information and the process can be found here:
UConn Requirements for Background Checks:
Before entering the first year of field all students are required to complete a background check. Additional information and the process can be found here:
For Students- Placement Process and Forms
Once a student is fully matriculated into the School of Social Work, they will be given information and options for field. There are several different ways that students can complete field hours.
- 15 Hour Placement: Students work for 37 weeks for a total of 560 hours.
First year students: If you are an IGFP student, please be advised if you select 15 hours you will not be eligible to apply for summer block. Second year Students: Please be advised that your degree will be conferred in August and will affect when you can take the LMSW exam and when you can start a job (most jobs in CT require that you have the LMSW and that your MSW degree is already conferred).
- 20 Hour Placement: Students work for 28 weeks for a total of 560 hours.
- Summer Block Placement:
- International Field Placement Option for Second Year Students
Field Education Forms 2020-2021:
Common Questions on the Placement Process:
Below are some common questions and scenarios that come up during the field placement process.
Student has an interest in working with a new agency/program that UConn has not worked with in the past.
If a student has an interest in working with a specific agency or program that should be indicated on the field education placement form. All agencies must meet specific qualifications to become a registered field site for the University. These will be handled on a case by case basis.
The Agency does not have an MSW to serve as the field supervisor.
Due to accrediting standards, there must be an MSW to serve as the MSW field supervisor. Should a student be interested in a specific site, it should be indicated on the field education form and the field coordinator will follow up appropriately.
How far will my placement be?
The field education coordinators use the home address as an indicator of distance. Based on the experience of the student, student interest and geographic location most sites are between 20-45 minutes distance. Please note, that if a student is looking for a specific placement type, there may be limited available options and the field coordinator will discuss with you further.
Additional Information to support your academics and campus life can be found at: MSW Student Page
For Students- Stipend Internships
Integrating Care Across the Lifespan (ICAL) & Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The School has a grant from the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide training in integrated healthcare to advanced year MSW students. These students will receive training to enhance their knowledge and capacity to provide services in an integrated care setting. Integrated care is an emerging model of healthcare that emphasizes the seamless combination of primary health care, mental health and substance abuse services. This model underscores the importance of working inter-professionally and coordinating treatment for all aspects of a patient’s health, as there are substantial links between physical and mental well-being. This interprofessional collaboration looks at quality patient-centered care throughout the life span.
The ICAL program will award students a $10,000 stipend. Information about the application process will be sent by e-mail to all first year students during the fall semester. The internship is available to students with a concentration of Individual, Group and Family Practice (IGFP) that have completed their first year placement.
State of CT, Department of Children and Families (DCF) Stipend Program 2020-2021
The selection process for the program is competitive, selecting up to 5 students. Students must be on target to graduate in the academic year they apply for the program, and will be required to participate in an interview as part of the selection process. All selected students will receive a $4,000 stipend, and must maintain acceptable performance in the field placement and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Both UConn SSW and DCF will contribute $2,000 each to the stipend. DCF requires students to sign a contract outlining the expectations for the program and the agency’s requirements, which includes a commitment to work for CT DCF (for at least two year) upon graduation, if a position is offered. Failure to comply with the expectations of the program will result in forfeiture of the stipend and requirement to repay $2,000 back to DCF.
Additional Placements with Stipends:
There are several partners that provide small stipends to students. If you are interested in exploring these opportunities please indicate on your field placement form.
For Agencies & Field Instructors
The Field Education Department welcomes the opportunity to meet and discuss field education and supporting the work of area agencies and field instructors.
All Agencies looking to have field education students at their agency must have a signed Affiliation agreement and an agency application in place with the school.
The placement process begins in January and continues throughout the summer. Should your agency have any changes or additions during this time please let us know so that we have the correct information. All updates can be emailed to Field Education at email@example.com
Seminar In Field Instruction:
New Field Instructors are required to take the seminar in field instruction during the fall semester of the first year in which they have a student. A schedule and registration is sent with the student confirmation.
For Adjunct Faculty Advisors
Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on Adjuncts.
Main Phone: (959) 200-3636
Megan Berthold, PhD, LCSW
Associate Professor and
Director of Field Education
Administrative Services Specialist
Cheryl Jackson-Morris, MSW
Associate Director of Field Education
& BSW Field Coordinator
Marilyn Cardone, LCSW
Assistant Director of Field Education
Gina DeVivo Brassaw, MSW
Field Education Coordinator for Macro Placements