The philosophy of the California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Field Education Program is that field practice supplements and reinforces classroom instruction through the utilization of a field practicum site. The practicum offers students an opportunity to come in contact with a variety of populations that have various types of needs and problems reflective of the population the student would encounter in future practice. In the practicum, the student is able to go where the client population is located, provide a service, and assist in meeting the individual, families, groups, organizations, communities, and societal needs. The practicum plays a vital role in the preparation of competent future social work professional practitioners. In addition to the skills and theoretical knowledge needed for direct service with various client systems, students also gain a hands-on understanding of the social work profession’s value base, its expectations in terms of practice and codes of conduct, communication, and protocols.
The MSW program is a rigorous course of study; comprised of 60 semester units of course work. Twelve of these units are devoted to fieldwork, where the student spends a 16-20 hours per week in an educationally focused fieldwork experience at selected social work/social service agencies in a surrounding community. Each student has two fieldwork placements (in two different agencies) during the course of study. Fieldwork placements are identified and assigned by the Director of Field Education. Every effort is made to provide each student with one placement in a public agency and one placement in a non-profit agency. Foundation-year placements focus on direct service. Concentration-year placements may focus on direct service or on administration/management activities.
The schedule for the academic year model of fieldwork parallels the University academic year, with field placement beginning in September and continuing through mid-May. Students take concurrent course work and a weekly fieldwork seminar. Students complete 16-20 hours each week during their foundation and concentration years of fieldwork practicum for a total of 1028 hours of fieldwork clock hours by the end of their two year MSW program. In addition, field placements must completed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If a student is enrolled in the three-year part-time program, fieldwork will occur in the second and third year of the program.