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Field Instruction is an integral part of the MSW program. It is the class that takes place at an agency site and is the practical learning component of the curriculum. This "off campus classroom" experience requires the first year student to spend 16 per hours per week and the second year student to spend 20 hours per week at an agency in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Office of Field Education chooses these sites. This course carries 3 credit hours per semester and accounts for over 1/3 of the 60 credits required for the completion of the MSW degree.
The field instruction program also requires a mandatory orientation for all entering students and ongoing field education seminars, which are structured as on campus classes. Student experiences at their field education sites are often the most memorable ones as they matriculate through the MSW program. The field education opportunities are diverse and are supervised by licensed social work practitioners. These experiences are exciting, challenging and provide opportunities for professional development in a practical sense. Goals of field education include but are not limited to the: (1) identification with the profession, (2) integration of classroom knowledge with practical experiences, (3) laboratory experience to increase and strengthen social work skills, (4) exposure to different social work settings, (5) opportunity to determine a specialty in an of area of practice, and (6) opportunity to learn about social and economic justice, and advocacy.
Field education complements the curriculum by providing opportunities to explore, expand, and explain the "Black Perspectives as articulated in our school's mission, vision and principles. Applicants choosing the MSW program should consider these opportunities for professional growth when planning their entry into the program. The Office of Field Education along with other faculty will assist students in their field experiences to insure that each student receives an appropriate learning experience.