Field Experience

Field Education is a Social Work student’s internship experience.

Field Education is offered concurrently with academic study. Students complete an internship placement in a social service agency under the guidance and supervision of an experienced professional social worker called a Field Instructor.

This vital interaction is designed to reinforce our students’ academic study with real life experience. 

It permits testing theory in practice settings and provides students with field experience that is vital for academic and professional development.

While each student brings with them a variety of experiences and strengths, the information below can serve as a general guideline of the activities and placement settings that would be appropriate for each level.

BSW Senior Year

The BSW undergraduate student in field placement is in their final year of undergraduate studies. A student intern at this level is prepared to engage in micro, mezzo, and macro service opportunities. BSW student’s coursework engages the ecological systems theory and equips them with skills in conducting biopsychosocial-spiritual assessments, community needs assessments, and the strengths based, solution-focused, trauma informed approach to case management, resource navigation, community engagement and civic engagement. Bachelors of Social Work professionals occupy positions in:

  • nonprofit organizations,
  • residential treatment centers,
  • community behavioral health agencies,
  • government agencies,
  • and some school settings.

MSW Generalist (Foundation) Year

The field education experience for generalist social work students is similar to the BSW field education experience (see positions listed in BSW Senior Year).

The MSW generalist (foundation) year student is in their first year of field placement as a graduate social work student. The focus at this level is a generalist social work understanding of service engaging the ecological systems theory to conduct biopsychosocial-spiritual assessments, community needs assessments, resource navigation, community engagement, and civic engagement. A student intern at this level is prepared to engage in generalist social work, focusing on:

  • advocacy,
  • referrals,
  • case management,
  • and problem-solving functions with individuals, groups, families, organizations and the community. 

MSW Specialization Year

The MSW specialization year student is in their second year of field placement and has selected a specific specialization.

ASU’s School of Social Work has three specializations: Advanced Generalist; Advanced Direct Practice; and Policy, Administration, and Community Practice. Each specialization adheres to a learning contract tailored to the concentration’s targeted learning goals and objectives. The specializations, although similar, are different and offer unique field learning experiences.

Advanced Generalist (AG)A student intern at this level is prepared to engage in advanced generalist social work with a specialized focus and concurrent field education experience. Please note the advanced generalist specialization is not a clinical concentration and all online students are in this specialization. MSW advanced generalist students are prepared to engage in advanced generalist practice in various social service settings to include:

  • schools,
  • nonprofits,
  • residential treatment facilities,
  • government agencies,
  • community behavioral health agencies,
  • hospitals,
  • and other medical settings.

Advanced Direct Practice (ADP)A student intern at this level specializes in either; children, youth and families; health/behavioral health, or public child welfare. MSW advanced direct practice student interns are prepared to engage in numerous professional settings to include:

  • hospitals,
  • specialized medical offices,
  • community behavioral agencies,
  • residential treatment centers,
  • private practice settings,
  • schools,
  • nonprofits,
  • and government agencies.

Policy, Administration and Community Practice (PAC)Policy, Administration, and Community Practice students focus on program planning and evaluation, administration, policy analysis, advocacy, and community practice.

Student interns at this level are prepared to engage in data collection and analysis, program planning and implementation, and organizational development and management. PAC field education sites include:

  • community advocacy organizations,
  • government and nonprofit social service agencies,
  • the NASW,
  • community prevention agencies,
  • community collaboratives,
  • tribal organizations,
  • tribal social services,
  • and various philanthropic organizations and foundations.

For more information about the social work program, click Field Manual