Field Education

MSW Field Coordinator

 Tiffany S. Havlin Dr. Tiffany Havlin


  Pummill Hall, Rm 105-I

Applying your education in the field

The field education experience, or practicum, offers you the opportunity to apply your classroom learning in a supervised social work practice setting. While the field semester is a very demanding one, most students find it to be one of the more important and enjoyable components of their education.

Prepare for this experience as you would if it were a job interview, as it is not uncommon for students to be considered for hiring by their field agency.

Field experience tips

The social work field experience is an important part of your education and will become an important part of your résumé as well. As you think about your field education experience, we recommend the following:

Very few practica are paid. However, the practicum requirements, your field agency and its clients cannot be slighted for outside employment responsibilities. If you have particular circumstances to be taken into consideration, you need to share this with the agency during your interview process, so the agency can make an informed decision.

This Masters Program offers an extended practicum to accommodate students already working full-time or may need an additional Summer semester to complete the 500 hour practicum requirement. 


Social work field experiences adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Generally speaking, you cannot do your placement in an agency in which you and/or close family member or friend have been a client. Talk to your field education coordinator about exceptions.
  • You cannot be supervised by a friend or family member.
  • You are encouraged to seek varied learning opportunities which are different than past service learning, volunteer and work experiences. There may be some exceptions within large agencies that have distinctly different subunits. If in doubt, check with your field coordinator.
  • You are expected to handle yourself professionally and to conduct yourself in an ethical manner during your agency experience. Any breach of the NASW Code of Ethics and/or the MSU School of Social Work Retention and Dismissal policy and/or irresponsible behavior may result in termination of your agency experience and failure of your respective practicum course and seminar. The field agency and instructor are considered adjuncts to the School of Social Work Program.​​​​​​​

Field education process

The field component of social work education is an exciting and pivotal piece of your education. Prior to seeking a field practicum agency, we will meet together to discuss your goals for learning, the various practice opportunities and some of the requirements, policies and procedures of the field program. You will get a more thorough orientation prior to beginning the practicum.  Please read the MSW Field Education Manual before attending pre-field orientation.

Among others, one of the field coordinator's roles is to assist the student and the agency in securing a "good fit." The aim is to have a successful practicum experience. The planning meeting will help us determine what a good fit might be. Social Workers typically always remember the practicum experience. Lets try to make it a good one!

As a reminder, the practicum hours are mandated by the CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) and require new learning opportunities. Therefore, you may not use past or current employment hours toward practicum requirements. Also note that there are no exceptions to these rules as per CSWE.

If you believe your place of employment would also work as a practicum site, complete the Employment-Based Practicum Proposal

Confirmation Memo for Practicum

Field Education Handbook​​​​​​​

Field Practicum FAQ's