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BSW Practicum

Current BSW students, please check the BSW Information tile in Canvas for important announcements and information.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) refers to field education as the “signature pedagogy” in social work education (Educational Policy 2.2). The practicum provides students the opportunity to draw upon the theories and practice skills they learn in the classroom and apply them to the practice setting. By demonstrating specific behaviors, students are challenged to master the 9 core competencies outlined by the CSWE.

Before starting practicum, students must:

  • be accepted into the BSW program;
  • have completed 90 hours of coursework;
  • have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in social work;
  • have successfully completed Math 1020 or 1030;
  • attend two practicum planning meetings the semester prior to beginning practicum;
  • have completed or be concurrently enrolled in SW 4110 during the first semester of practicum.

BSW students perform 570 hours of practicum (285 hours per semester) in agency sites that provide the opportunity for them to engage in generalist social work practice activities with populations of interest to them. Specific assignments are based on a learning agreement developed between a student and a field instructor and include core competencies, behaviors students will engage in to meet the competencies, and methods used for evaluation. Students receive four credit hours per semester for the agency practicum experience and two credit hours for the companion seminar courses - SW 4801 and SW 4851.

Topics for the first semester of the practicum seminar focus on direct practice issues. Administrative issues such as agency structure, agency management, advocacy, policy practice, and program evaluation are topics for the second semester. This allows students to integrate both micro and macro level practice approaches to their field placement. 

For more information, or for questions regarding the BSW Practicum process, please contact Courtney McDermott, Associate Director of Field Education, at 314.516.6387 or mcdermottc@umsl.edu