Master of Social Work: Practicum Experience

The field practicum is a major commitment and integral part of the social work curriculum. You will be practicing social work while simultaneously studying social work theory and developing skills. In fact, field practicum is the cornerstone of social work education. It probably generates the most excitement as well as trepidation.

As an MSW student you will need to do 900 hours in your field practicum over four semesters. That works out to 225 hours each semester.  The Director of Field Education will assist you in securing a field practicum which will match not only your interests but your learning needs. Students complete a Field Practicum Information form which provides necessary information for developing the practicum assignment.

Social Work Student Agreements and Responsibilities

  1. Enroll in practicum only after completing the required pre and co-requisite courses, as described in the University catalog. 
  2. Recognize that information about the student, including grades, must be shared between the University and the practicum site. 
  3. Comply with any agency requirements for health screenings, background checks, immunizations, drug tests, etc., at the student’s own expense. 
  4. Be an active participant in the learning process, including developing the learning agreement at the beginning of the semester. 
  5. Adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics and University operating guidelines, including the Student Code of Conduct as presented in the Social Work Student Handbook. 
  6. Arrange and adhere to a weekly schedule, agreeable to both the student and the Agency field instructor and in compliance with school and specific Social Work Program requirements. 
  7. Notify the practicum site promptly of any absences. 
  8. Fulfill the responsibilities of the student intern role, including compliance with all University policies and procedures as outlined in the Social Work Program Student Handbook and this Handbook. 
  9. Adhere to Agency policies and procedures, programs, and operating standards.  Examples may include, but are not limited to following rules for hours of Agency operation and necessary absences, providing monthly and narrative reports, providing continuity of services and treatment during University holidays, and arranging and preparing for regular weekly supervisory sessions at the Agency. 
  10. Keep the MSW Practicum Coordinator informed through class discussions, log submissions, and individual conferences, about field practicum experiences, situations of concern, and situations affecting the student’s ability to remain at the practicum site. 
  11. Comply with all Agency standards and requirements and show respect for Agency property, rules, regulations, staff, and clients. 
  12. Terminate the internship in an appropriate, professional manner as designated by HPU and the Agency.  Provide written and verbal notice as required by HPU and the Agency.  Termination occurs only with the written approval of the HPU Social Work Program and the Agency, as ordained in this Handbook. (A student who terminates their practicum prematurely may or may not be placed in the same field practicum setting if he/she returns to the Social Work Program.) 

 These student responsibilities come from the MSW Practicum Handobook (PDF). 


Practicum Experience