Field education is a central component of graduate social work programs, teaching students to apply theory and knowledge learned in the classroom to social work practice in agency settings. As an Online MSW student, you will work directly with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities at human service agencies.

Field work assignments consist of diverse practice opportunities and include conducting face-to-face interviews with clients both individually and in group settings, allowing you to gain exposure to diverse problems and people, including oppressed populations.

As part of this training, you will also work with organizational or community representatives on behalf of clients. Your assignments may include community work, program development, social action or research.

Field courses are graded on a pass/fail basis.

Field Education Placement Opportunities

Regardless of where you live, our experienced faculty will work with New York State residents and out-of-state residents alike to find an optimal field work site. We are affiliated with more than 1,000 human service agencies throughout the New York metropolitan region, including, but not limited to:

  • Child welfare agencies
  • Community centers
  • Detention centers and correctional facilities
  • Domestic violence agencies
  • Mental health clinics
  • Medical and psychiatric hospitals
  • Nursing homes and extended care facilities
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Schools
  • Substance abuse treatment programs
  • Veteran’s programs
  • Youth service agencies

Request Brochure — Start Here

To learn more about Adelphi University’s Online Master of Social Work (MSW) and download a brochure, fill out the fields below or call us at 888.252.4110 to talk with one of our enrollment counselors.

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  The online Master of Social Work does not accept international students.

How Field Education Works

The School of Social Work provides best-in-class field education support to students, beginning the planning process with you early in the Online MSW program. An Online MSW field coordinator works closely with you via virtual one-on-one meetings to identify and secure appropriate field work in your geographic area.

If you currently are employed by a social service agency, you may apply for an employment-based field placement with your organization.

We later assign a faculty field liaison to work closely with you, the field instructor and the agency to ensure that your field training experience meets established educational objectives. The faculty field liaison also provides academic advising and if you are an Advanced Standing student, you will meet with your field liaison at least once a month.

Prior to your field placement, you will be required to complete a field orientation where you will have the opportunity to ask the Online MSW program field coordinator specific questions.

Time Commitment and Graduate Requirements

Most Online MSW students can complete their field instruction in two to four semesters, depending on whether you work 15 or 21 hours per week. You must, however, have some daytime availability on weekdays to ensure we can find a field placement for you.

School placements begin in September and end in June. These placements require daytime availability and 18 hours of work per week.

In your foundation year field placement, you’ll complete a minimum of 475 hours of field instruction with an emphasis on developing foundation practice skills. In your advanced year field placement, you’ll also complete a minimum of 475 hours of field instruction in advanced, direct social work practice.

Advanced standing students come into the program with a BSW and must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete an advanced year internship
  • Complete additional hours of field instruction or other foundation courses if the BSW program is determined to vary significantly from Adelphi’s foundation curriculum.

Human Service Professionals (HSP) is designed specifically for human service professionals who have two or more years of social work related experience supervised by a MSW, MHC, MA or PhD in Psychology, or related field. Students must also meet the following requirements:

  • Take a four-credit professional seminar, SWK 601, concurrent with the foundation practice courses
  • Complete 900 hours of field instruction in the advanced year concurrent with advanced social work practice and methods course work

For detailed information on how field education fits in with the Online MSW course schedule, visit the Curriculum page.

Field Education FAQ’s and Resources

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) establishes the minimum standard for the number of hours required to complete the BSW and MSW. Adelphi meets or exceeds these requirements as follows:

Advanced Standing 475 hours

No. The field education office at the School of Social Work is responsible for assigning you to a field placement. Our field education program has long-standing relationships with social work agencies and is responsible for developing all placement sites. We maintain regular contact with field agencies regarding student placements. If you want to be placed at a specific agency, submit your request in writing to the field education office in Garden City or at one of the off-campus centers. We’ll contact the agency to explore the feasibility of developing this placement.

No, however, there are a few competitive stipend internships available to second-year MSW students. Students who are employed in a human service setting may be eligible for employment-based field placement.

The field placement focuses on the development of advanced clinical skills and skills for the advanced direct practice with individuals, couples, families and small groups.

The best way to prepare is to attend the mandatory field education orientation. This orientation will provide you with the information you need to begin your field placement.

No. The program is based on a concurrent curriculum model, where students take field instruction along with required courses in social work practice.

No. The field education office will work with you to arrange an interview for a field placement at an agency that meets your learning needs. If the interview goes well and you and the agency agree that the placement is an appropriate fit, it will be confirmed. If either party has reservations, another interview will be arranged.

Yes. For many placements, a criminal background check is required. Fingerprinting, a physical and PPD (tuberculosis test) or other health requirements may be required. When possible, you will be notified about these requirements in advance. You’re responsible for paying any fees that agencies do not cover.

Any missed hours must be made up.

This type of placement is called an employment-based field placement and must be approved by the field education office. Approval of an employment-based field placement application depends on timely submission of the application and the integrity of the proposed field assignment. You must be employed for a minimum of six months in advance in order to be considered for employment-based field placement.

No. Hours that count toward licensure must be completed after receiving your MSW.

Yes. You’ll receive a grade of pass, incomplete or fail.

You’re expected to allow approximately 45 minutes of travel time to and from your field placement site. Every effort will be made to plan a reasonable commute.

Yes, but evening and/or weekend placements are very limited. Many agencies are either closed or do not have available supervision or suitable assignments during these hours. Typical placement days are Monday–Friday and take place during standard business hours.

For more detailed information about field education, contact an enrollment counselor at who can connect you with a Field Education officer.

Resources for current student can be accessed here.