Field Learning


Field learning lies at the heart of social work education and your development as a social worker. Within the context of the field placement experience, and aligned practice courses, you will have the opportunity to integrate theory and practice. Because the Silver School of Social Work has developed unique partnerships with over 600 public and nonprofit agencies throughout the tri-state area, our placement sites are varied, of high quality, and offer students a rich learning environment. No school devotes as much effort to matching students with appropriate field learning opportunities.

Field learning will immerse you in the extraordinary range of human and social problems that lead clients to reach out for help. It will provide you the opportunity to develop skills and appreciate the realities of coping with complex problems in the context of specific service-delivery systems.

You will be trained to work with a wide range of populations in diverse practice settings. With an emphasis on training for social work practice that promotes social and economic justice, your field education will advance your learning as a relationship-centered, reflective practitioner, preparing you for work with individuals, groups, families, and communities.

For MSW students, in your first, or generalist practice, year, the primary goal of field learning is to provide a foundation of social work practice skills within a generalist perspective.

In the second, or specialized practice, year, MSW students focus their graduate education on specific aspects of social work within specific practice systems (fields of practice) along with their professional development and growth. The faculty advisor, in the capacity of educational consultant, assists students with the development of educational goals and objectives for the specialized practice year.

Focused Learning Opportunities

The School continues to expand its range of specialized initiatives for students in their specialized practice year. Students who select to participate in focused learning opportunities are recommended to take specific courses and required colloquia designed to provide curricular support for specialized placements. The following focused learning opportunities are available to students:

  • Social Work Practice: Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Social Work Practice: Zelda Foster Studies in Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  • Social Work Practice: Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice for Adults with Severe Mental Illness
  • Social Work Practice: Macro Practice in Organizations
  • Social Work Practice : Youth and Families

See the Fields of Practice and Focused Learning Opportunities Manual for full descriptions and requirements.