Residential Field Experience

The Social Work Department offers you several opportunities to take part in field experiences during your undergraduate coursework. You will take SOWK 120 (Social Work Field Exploration), which introduces you to various field settings, as well as SOWK 150 (Intensive Social Work Observation), during which you shadow a social worker for a workweek. The Council on Social Work Education requires that a senior experience of 400 hours be included in the curricula (SOWK 470). However, due to the importance of practical experience in social work, our department has chosen to also include a junior experience of 100 hours (SOWK 370).

General Eligibility Requirements

The Gate Process

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) requires that all social work programs have a gatekeeping process to ensure that students have a thorough understanding of the profession of social work and will be a good fit for the program and profession.

The Residential BSW program option includes four Gates.

  • Gate 1 includes receiving formal approval into the BSW Program.
  • Gate 2 includes the pre-field enrollment process and receiving formal approval for Junior Field Experience (SOWK 370)
  • Gate 3 includes the pre-field enrollment process and receiving formal approval for Senior Field Experience (SOWK 470 or SOWK 475 & 477)
  • Gate 4 includes a comprehensive exam and receiving clearance for graduation from the program

Moving Through the Social Work Program shows an overview of the program requirements, including how the Gate Process connects to the required Field Experiences. 

Prior to Engaging in Junior Field Experience

1. Students must successfully be approved through Gates 1 and 2. For more information on the Gate Process, please review these documents and see the sections below:

2. Students must be in good standing with the department, which includes the following:

  • Have a “C” or higher in all Major Requirements and Gate Prerequisite courses.
  • Maintain satisfactory citizenship and ethical behavior.
  • Consistently demonstrate the values of the profession: integrity, service, the value of human relationships, dignity and worth of a person, competence, and social justice.

3. All required prerequisite courses for Gates 1 and 2 are either completed or in-progress (meaning you are registered to complete them) at the time students apply for each Gate.

  • Introduction to Social Work (SOWK 101)
  • Social Work Field Exploration (SOWK 120)
  • Intensive Social Work Observation (SOWK 150)
  • Chemical Dependency (SOWK 260)
  • Ethics in Professional Helping (SOWK 270)
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SOWK 300)
  • Social Work Practice with Groups (SOWK 355)
  • PSYC 101, PSYC 255, BIOL 102, SOCI 200, HLTH 216 (or SOWK 250)

All submitted documents must be signed electronically using the Instructions for Electronic Signature. All documentation you need for the Gate 1 Application Process can be found in the Application Portal.

The Gate 1 Application portal will open for Fall applications Aug. 4, 2017.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 1 Application documents is Sept. 8, 2017.

The Gate 1 Application portal will open for Spring applications on Dec. 18, 2017.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 1 Application documents is Jan. 29, 2018.

Field Course Requirements

  • Intensive Social Work Observation (SOWK 150)
    • 1 credit hour
    • Requires completion of 40 hours of shadowing a degreed social worker
  • Junior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 370)
    • 3 credit hours
    • Requires completion of a minimum of 100 field hours at agency
    • Attend weekly Seminar class
  • Senior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 470)
    • 9 credit hours
    • Requires completion of a minimum of 400 field hours at agency
    • Attend weekly Seminar class

While enrolled in each Field Experience course, students concurrently participate in weekly, field seminar sessions. Every week, students will meet together in the classroom with their Faculty Field Liaison (Field Seminar Instructor) for the seminar portion of the course at a designated day and time. The seminar portion of the course offers the opportunity for students to process their field experiences and engage in further learning as a group.

Field Enrollment Process

A general overview of the field program and application process can be found in the Field Manual. It is imperative that students review this document before engaging in the Field Enrollment process.

Starting the Pre-Field Process (Gate 2)

After reviewing Field Manual and the Online Gate Process document, the next step towards getting enrolled in Field Experience courses is applying for Gate 2. Please select the semester in which you intend to complete your Field Experience. Use our Resume Sample when submitting one for Gate 2. All submitted documents must be signed electronically using the Instructions for Electronic Signature.

 The Gate 2 Application portal will open for Fall applications on Sept. 23, 2017.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 2 Application documents is Oct. 23, 2017.

 The Gate 2 Application portal will open for Spring applications on Feb. 19, 2018.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 2 Application documents is March 19, 2018.

How to Find a Field Placement

Once approved through Gates 1 & 2, students must do the following:

All documentation must be submitted to the department via residentialsocialwork@liberty.edu

The Department registers students for Field Experience courses (SOWK 370 & SOWK 470) once agency placements are finalized and all enrollment documentation is submitted.

Field Placement Options

The Social Work Department offers field opportunities in a variety of practice settings for our students. These settings include opportunities to engage in different levels of practice from direct practice with individuals and families (micro-level), practice with neighborhoods and small groups (mezzo-level), and practice that impacts larger systems such as policy analysis, administration, and research (macro-level). Students can find a list of current placements in the Social Work Field Directory.

An additional opportunity for senior field placement is participation in the Liberty University’s Washington Fellowship Program. This program offers assistance in securing a semester-long internship in the Washington, D.C. area, arranges local housing, and hosts various professional development and networking activities. This is an ideal program for students interested in a macro practice setting. For more information about this program and its requirements, please go to the Washington Fellowship website. There is also an opportunity for students to complete their senior field placement in Chicago through the Chicago Semester Program.

Seniors also have the option of an “at home” placement, where they secure an agency placement in their hometown. For more information about this process, please review the Field Manual and the At-Home Senior Placements Field Pre-Placement Checklist.

Students can also participate in international field opportunities. Current international field placement opportunities include Australia, India, and Uganda, for junior field placements. Get additional information here: International Field Opportunities.

Interested in an international field experience?

Email residentialsocialwork@liberty.edu to contact our Field Coordinator, Jessica Schneider, and set up a meeting to discuss further details.

Interested Agencies

Agencies interested in serving as field sites or social workers interested in serving as field instructors will need to take the following steps:

  1. Review the Department of Social Work Field Frequently Asked Questions document to learn more about the field program.
  2. Assess eligibility by reviewing the agency and field instructor guidelines in the Criteria for Agencies Supervising Students in Field Experience.
  3. Complete and submit the Requested Agency Information for Field Placement document to residentialsocialwork@liberty.edu.
  4. Complete and submit the Field Instructor Information Form to residentialsocialwork@liberty.edu.

Once this information is complete and submitted, a field staff member will follow-up to confirm eligibility and discuss next steps.