Field Education for Online MSW

The LSU School of Social Work folds field internships into the educational thrust of the MSW program, maintaining its centrality to the School mission and its relevance to course work. To be effective helping professionals, it is essential that students spend time observing, analyzing client and professional interactions in agency settings. 

 Field education is the signature pedagogy for social work. Signature pedagogies are elements of instruction and socialization that teach future practitioners the fundamental dimensions of professional work in their discipline: to think, to perform, and to act intentionally, ethically, and with integrity. The field setting is where students apply human rights principles from global and national social work ethical codes to advance social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. It fosters a learning environment where anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued.

 Field education is designed to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contributions of the explicit curriculum in the field setting. It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum—classroom and field—are of equal importance, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria and measures of student acquisition and demonstration of the nine social work competencies.

 Responding to the changing nature of the practice world and student demographics and characteristics, field education programs articulate how they maintain or enhance students’ access to high-quality field practicum experiences. Field education programs develop field models to prepare students for contemporary and interprofessional social work practice, including the use of various forms of technology. - CSWE EPAS 2022

Although all “classroom” content courses are available online, the field education course will need to be incorporated into the equivalent of two days a week during a normal work week (16-18 hours a week) or a block format (12 weeks, 40 hours a week). The experiential requirements of MSW programs do not provide field courses in an online format.  Students are required to complete their field internship required hours during normal business hours and days of the week.  It must be completed in an agency setting during normal business hours to provide an opportunity to develop competencies in areas prescribed by the Council on Social Work Education educational standards.  So this makes it very unique and often challenging for online students and this information is provided during admissions to assist in planning to ensure field is a successful part of your educational experience.

The program is open to all US residents living in the United States. No international students can be accepted. International placements are not permitted, except if approved on US military bases.

Single Format 

  • 2 days a week, 16-18 hours a week  
  • Will take 4 modules to complete

Block Format 

  • 40 hours per week for 12 weeks
  • Will take 2 modules to complete

Students complete twelve semester hours of field education courses, working a total of 960 clock hours of training in the field (a minimum of 900 hours must be agency clock hours). The field education program at LSU is divided into two equally important parts: Students complete internship hours during the traditional workday, as defined as the normal hours services are provided to clients and supervision available; evening, night and weekend hours are the exception.  No internship can be completed entirely during evening or weekend hours because it is essential that students participate in staff meetings and other normal agency activities that occur during the day.  The field courses in each year of the program (Generalist SW7007/7008 and then Specialized SW7502/7503) must be taken consecutively to maximize learning experiences.  Exceptions must be approved by the Director of Field.

Generalist Internship

  • SW7007  Foundation I Internship
  • SW7008  Foundation II Internship

Specialized Internship

  • SW7502  Advanced I Internship
  • SW7503  Advanced II Internship  

Contact Us

Traci Lilley
Director of Field Education

Elizabeth Routon
Assistant Director of Field Education