Field Education

The philosophy of the California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Practicum Education Program is that intership practice supplements and reinforces classroom instruction through the utilization of agency placement sites. The practicum offers students an opportunity to come in contact with a variety of populations that have various types of needs and problems reflective of the population the student would encounter in future practice. In the practicum, the student is able to go where the client population is located, provide a service, and assist in meeting the individual, families, groups, organizations, communities, and societal needs. The practicum plays a vital role in the preparation of competent future social work professional practitioners. In addition to the skills and theoretical knowledge needed for direct service with various client systems, students also gain a hands-on understanding of the social work profession’s value base, its expectations in terms of practice and codes of conduct, communication, and protocols.

The MSW program is a rigorous course of study comprised of 60 semester units of course work. Twelve of these units are devoted to fieldwork, where the student spends a 16-20 hours per week in an educationally focused fieldwork experience at selected social work/social service agencies in a surrounding community. Each student has two fieldwork placements (in two different agencies) during the course of study. Generalist practice year fieldwork placements are identified and assigned by the Field Faculty. The majority of generalist practice year placements focus on direct service with individuals, groups and communities. Specialized practice year placements align with students’ areas of specialization: Community Capacity Building, Community Mental Health, or Children, Youth, and Families.

The schedule for the academic year model of fieldwork parallels the University academic year, with field placement beginning in late August and continuing through early May (start and end dates may vary slightly depending on University academic calendar). Students take concurrent course work and weekly fieldwork seminar. Students complete 16-20 hours each week during their generalist and specialized practice years of fieldwork practicum for a total of 1028 hours of fieldwork clock hours by the end of their two-year MSW program. In addition, field placements must be completed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If a student is enrolled in the three-year part-time program, fieldwork will occur in the second and third year of the program.

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