Field Component

What is field education?

Field education is one of the seven foundational pieces of social work education (Council on Social Work Education). It is essential to the training of professional social workers. At Murray State University, field education serves as the capstone course that seeks to help students integrate and externalize the entire academic curriculum as they practice as student interns. Using a block placement style, senior social work students take a 12 credit hour course (SWK 499) in which they serve as interns in a social service agency under the supervision of a licensed social worker. The student is able to practice their social work skills through an agency by providing direct service to clients. A co-requite is a Field Seminar that periodically meets on campus throughout the semester.

When do I take field education?

A student signs up for field education during his or her last semester with the approval of the Field Education Director. A prerequisite for field education is SWK 498 – Senior Seminar. The field placement is set up during the SWK 498 experience. Placements are only available during spring and fall semesters.

Who sets up my field placement?

Field placements are arranged by the Field Education Director in conjunction with the social work student. Since field placements are 500 hours (32 hours per week on average) and are worth 12 credit hours, the field director works with students to find a placement that is of interest to the student. The Field Education Director works with the student to identify two possible field agencies and sets up interviews to assist the student in finding a “good fit."

Is there a cost to field education?

While there is no course fee attached to field education, each student must secure professional liability insurance before beginning placement. The program works with students to secure this insurance through the NASW Insurance Trust for the lowest fee available.

Can I work and complete my field education at the same time?

The faculty is aware that many students must work to support themselves and/or family members. Since it requires an average of 32 hours per week for students to finish their practicum in one semester, it is important to work closely with the Field Education Director regarding your needs.

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