Skip to Content

School of Social Work

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I find my own field placement?
Students are assigned field placements with an agency with which we have an established relationship, and there is a current affiliation agreement on file. On rare occasions, students may suggest an agency to the Field Education Staff because of the unique experiences it might offer. Students' suggestions of agencies are always welcomed at any time. Each agency must be properly screened and vetted, which does not guarantee the student will be able to work at that site immediately.

The type of work that I do is in the field, and there are social workers there. Can't I just use my job role for my field placement?
No. Field placements are structured experiences with the goal of ensuring you are competent in certain areas (as outlined by CSWE). Although you may have social workers at your job, your role may not have the duties needed to ensure you learn the required competencies.

Since I can't use my job role, can I do a different job role at my workplace, and use that for my field placement?
Employment-based field placements are minimally available under extreme circumstances, and requires a separate site and role, which many jobs cannot accommodate. Employment-based field placements are also only available by approval of the Director of Field Education, and must be requested during your field interview. You also must be employed with your employer for a minimum of one (1) year.

What are the hours required for a field placement?
Generalist students, (BSW and MSW/OMSW First Year students), are required to complete a minimum of 16 hours per week, for a total minimum of 440 hours, earned over the course of the academic year. Those MSW/OMSW Second Year students to include Advanced Standing, are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours per week, for a total minimum of 670 hours, earned over the course of the academic year. It is recommended that the total hours needed are spread out over the course of each semester, as evenly as possible. Hours can be broken up, if agreed upon by the placement site, but students may not complete hours in less than 4 hour increments.

I work full-time. Can I get a field placement in the evening or on the weekend?
Most agencies operate on a M-F, 9am-5pm, basis. The availability of evening or weekend hours is extremely rare. We expect students to make choices and decisions regarding their schedules, that will accommodate 2-3 days per week at the field placement site.

I don't live in Baltimore. Can I have a placement closer to where I live?
While the vast majority of our current partner agency sites are in Baltimore City, we also have sites in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, PG County, and Washington, D.C. We will make our best effort to place students close to where they reside. We cannot guarantee, at this time, that your placement will be where you reside.

I have been a volunteer at an agency for some time. Can those hours count as my field hours?
No. While the school will always encourage students to give back to the community, field hours are completed in an agency that can provide the necessary tools and guidance to master social work competencies.

Can I do my field placement over the summer?
In order to have summer field placements, we must offer courses in a sequence that accommodates students taking their prerequisites and corequisites. Therefore, at this time, students may not take field during the summer.

Can I keep the same field placement for both of my years in field?
CSWE requires that the field practicum provide students with both a generalist and specialized skill levels. We also want to provide students with experience working in different social work settings. Therefore, students are not allowed to complete field placements in the same agency.

Can I have a different Field Liaison for the spring semester, than I had in the fall?
No. Field Liaisons monitor your learning and build relationships with you and your field instructor. Maintaining the same field liaison for the entire year ensures continuity and a tailored eye to your progress.

What happens if I don't like my field placement? Can I switch to a different one in the spring?
Students must maintain the same placement for the entire academic year. Field placements are learning spaces--every experience that occurs there can be connected to a social work practice skill. Students often grow the most skills in places that take them beyond their comfort zones.