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College of Social Work


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Field Education Experience

Learning while doing is core to becoming a professional social worker, and our field education coordinators strive to match your strengths with a real community need. Our diverse placement sites allow you to work with practicing social workers who will help you find your place in the field.

My first day we had a really bad sex trafficking case with a 14-year-old. It made me realize that I want to go against what's comfortable and serve the kids who really need it the most and often get overlooked.

Lindamarie Olson '17, BSW, on her practice experience at the Metropolitan Children's Advocacy Center in Columbia

 

Field education gives you the chance to observe real-world scenarios and apply classroom learning to help people and communities make positive change. Our experienced and dedicated field instructors will help you transition from student to effective practitioner and begin to build your professional network.

 

Learning Around the Corner or Around the Globe

You can make a difference across the Midlands, across South Carolina or around the globe at the College of Social Work. As part of our curriculum, undergraduate practice experiences are centered in the greater Columbia area, while our master’s practice experiences include local field education placements and international sites.

At each site, you will engage with various types of clients (i.e. individuals, groups communities, organizations) and observe social work practice in settings such as hospitals, community centers, schools or agencies. International experiences have also taken our students across the globe from Aruba to Vietnam.

 

Setting a Strong Practice Foundation

Practice learning is an exciting, rich educational component at the College of Social Work. We require graded practice experiences for both the BSW and MSW programs, and our master’s students must log nearly 1,000 hours of practice experience and related coursework to graduate. These experiences are structured for you to spend a minimum of two full days per week on site, providing services and working alongside social workers.

Practice experience is paired with classroom time so you can ask questions and seek input from instructors and peers about how to advocate for your clients. You and your classmates will share what you are observing and doing and process your experiences together, learning about client needs in various settings and sharing self-care strategies to sustain you throughout your career. As your studies progress, your client and organizational activities in the field will grow more in-depth.

BSW Field Education Requirements
MSW Field Education Requirements

 

Shaping the Next Generation

The College of Social Work cultivates a spirit of collaboration among its faculty, students and partners. We welcome organizations to join us in our pursuit of social justice and invite you to share your expertise as a field agency or instructor. Contact our field education office at 803-777-5293 to learn more.

Become a Field Agency
Become a Field Instructor