College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Social Work > Graduate Programs > Social Work (MSW) > Field Education

Field Education

"Without community, there is no liberation." - Audre Lourde

The MSW program is shaped by the university's historic commitments to quality education, especially within the Chicago urban center, and to first-generation and other non-traditional college attendees. The university's mission and dedication to the urban center provide the framework for the MSW programs emphasis on community practice. The DePaul University MSW degree program has been designed as a high-quality, student-centered focus where service, justice, and innovation are the foundations upon which the program is built. The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied knowledge and is infused with professional values and ethics as well as content on social justice and human diversity. The uniqueness of this concentration also lies in the university's Vincentian heritage and its attention to advocacy and social justice. All accredited social work programs must offer classroom and field-based learning opportunities and there are strict criteria regarding which students can enroll in social work. Field-based learning, called internships or practica, takes place in cooperation with human service organizations/social agencies that agree to provide supervision, observation, case monitoring, conferencing, and other structured learning activities for students for a full academic year.

Internships are structured as concurrent placements (simultaneous with academic class enrollment). MSW students at DePaul are required to complete two internships, one generalist placement supporting the foundation level of professional knowledge and a second internship in support of either forensic social work or community practice. All students are required to successfully complete the foundation-year courses, including field, before enrolling in the advanced year courses.

The following are points for consideration for all students entering into their foundation years:

  • Mandatory attendance at orientation sessions for field is required; these orientations are generally scheduled close to the start of the Autumn term.

  • In the first year of the full-time program or the second year of the part-time program, students are required to complete a minimum of 540 contact hours in a pre-approved social agency; this averages out to approximately two full days each week in agencies during each academic quarter (fall, winter, spring) of the first year of placement.

  • Concurrent enrollment in Foundation Practice and Foundation Field Education in each academic quarter of field is required.

  • Students must complete requisite learning objectives over the course of the academic year.

  • Placements are primarily offered during the daytime Monday through Friday and may have options to complete some internship hours evenings and weekends.  Students enrolled in field education must have daytime Monday through Friday hours available for the entire school year while they are in internships. Students in the part-time program need this availability their second and fourth years in the program.

  • Students can only begin their fieldwork in the fall quarter.

For students entering into the concentration year (or the students final year of enrollment in either the full-time or part-time programs), the following points should be considered:

  • Students are required to complete a minimum of 580 contact hours in a pre-approved social agency; this averages out to two and a half days each week for three academic quarters (fall, winter, and spring) of enrollment.

  • Concurrent enrollment in a practice course and the corresponding field education seminar (depending on the student's chosen concentration) in each academic quarter of field is required.

  • Students must complete requisite learning objectives over the course of the academic year.

  • Mandatory attendance at orientation sessions for field is required; these orientations are generally scheduled close to the start of the Autumn term.

The coordinator of field education will personally work with each student to find the appropriate placement based on the student's academic progress and interest, as well as organizational and field instructor fit. MSW program faculty serve as liaisons, monitoring student's progress in the field as well as grading student work (with the input of agency-based supervisors). All work together as educational and community partners to insure that MSW students have the opportunity to become quality social work professionals and leaders.

The DePaul University MSW degree field placement process operates efficiently and planfully. Students will start early in their academic careers planning field placements, and students will be expected to move progressively through the placement process. Full-time MSW students will begin the application process for placement upon admission to and confirmation of enrollment in the program, and part-time MSW students will begin the placement process in the fall quarter of their first year.

For other questions concerning field placement, please contact:

Sharon Kohli, MSW Coordinator of Field Education
14E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 900
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Phone: 312.362.7385
Fax: 312.362.7327