Online Field Experience

The Social Work Department offers you several opportunities to be in the field with different agencies during your undergraduate coursework. You will take SOWK 135 (Social Work Field Exploration and Observation), which introduces you to various field settings and offers you an opportunity to shadow a social worker for a full workweek. The Council on Social Work Education requires that a senior experience of 400 hours be included in the curricula (SOWK 470, or SOWK 475 and 477). 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 BSW program hybrid (online) option includes four Gates.

  • Gate 1 includes receiving formal approval into the BSW Program.
  • Gate 2 includes the field enrollment process and receiving formal approval for Junior Field Experience (SOWK 370)
  • Gate 3 includes the 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 Program Gates 1 and 2. For more information on the Gate Process, please review these documents:

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. Students must complete a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer work at a social service agency; this excludes church ministry volunteering in areas such as nursery, youth group, etc.

4. 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 Gate 1 & Gate 2.

  • Introduction to Social Work (SOWK 101)
  • Social Work Field Exploration and Observation (SOWK 135)
  • Chemical Dependency (SOWK 260)
  • Ethics in Professional Helping (SOWK 270)
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SOWK 300)
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families (SOWK 350)
  • Social Work Practice with Groups (SOWK 355)*
  • PSYC 101, BIOL 101, SOCI 200, GLST 220, PSYC 255

*This course is only available as an on-campus, residential intensive.

The Gate 1 Application portal will open for Fall applications on Aug. 18, 2017.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 1 Application documents is Oct. 2, 2017.

The Gate 1 Application portal will open for Spring applications on Jan. 2, 2018.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 1 Application documents is Feb. 12, 2018.

 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. Please select the semester in which you intend to complete your Field Experience.

Gate 1 Application Portal

 

Field Course Requirements

Social Work Field Exploration and Observation (SOWK 135)

  • 3 credit hours
  • A-term course (full semester) offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer
  • Requires completion of 40 hours of shadowing a degreed social worker

All Field Experience courses are A-term courses (full semester) and are offered in the Fall and Spring. Junior & Senior Field Experience courses will also be offered in the Summer starting in 2018.

Junior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 370)

  • 3 Credit hours
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 100 field hours at an agency

For Senior Field, students can either complete the minimum 400 field hours in one semester (SOWK 470) or over the course of two semesters (SOWK 475 and 477).

Senior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 470)

  • 9 credit hours
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 400 field hours at an agency

Senior Field Experience and Seminar A (SOWK 475)

  • 6 credit hours
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 300 field hours at an agency
    • All hours for SOWK 475 and 477 must be completed at the same agency

Senior Field Experience and Seminar B (SOWK 477)

  • 3 credit hours
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 100 field hours at an agency
    • All hours for SOWK 475 and 477 must be completed at the same agency

While enrolled in each Field Experience course, students concurrently participate in weekly, online field seminar sessions. Every other week, students will meet all together online 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.

In addition, students are advised to review the Junior Field and Senior Field Education Pre-Placement Checklist  for task due dates.

Starting the Pre-Field Process (Gate 2)

After reviewing Field Manual and the Online Gate Process document, the first step in getting enrolled in Field Experience courses is applying for Gate 2. Please select the semester in which you intend to complete your Field Experience.         

Gate 2 Application Portal

The Gate 2 Application portal will open for Fall applications on Sept. 30, 2017.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 2 Application documents is Oct. 30, 2017.

The Gate 2 Application portal will open for Spring applications on Feb. 26, 2018.
The deadline for submitting ALL Gate 2 Application documents is March 26, 2018.

 All submitted documents must be signed electronically using the Instructions for Electronic Signature.

Once approved through Gate 2, students must do the following:

  • Submit copy of their driver’s license
  • Submit copy of car insurance policy
  • Purchase Professional Liability Insurance and submit copy of policy (see Field Manual C.5)

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

How to Find a Field Placement

Once students have received approval through Gate 2, they will receive Department approval to contact agencies to set up interviews for potential field placements.

Students must take the initiative to identify a potential agency that could serve as their field placement. Students should carefully review the Criteria for Agencies Supervising Students in Field Experience to ensure that they identify agencies and potential field instructors who meet the standards of the department. This document as well as the Department of Social Work Field Frequently Asked Questions can be provided to agencies of interest. 

It is highly recommended that students interview with at least two agencies in case the student’s first choice agency does not ultimately work out.

Online students are welcome to consult the list of approved agencies available in the Residential Student Field Directory on the residential field website. Local online students must contact the department Field Coordinator, Jessica Schneider at jlschneider@liberty.edu before contacting local agencies.

Students will complete and submit their list of selected agencies in the Student’s Agency Interview Choice Form found within the Gate 2 Application Portal. Since most agencies found by online students are not currently in the Residential Student Field Directory, students must include on the form the requested information about the agency and the social worker employed at the agency and also have the social worker complete and submit the Field Instructor Information Form to luosocialwork@liberty.edu.

If there is no social worker employed at the agency of interest, students must identify a degreed social worker external to the agency that meets the Social Work Department requirements (see the Agency Information for Field Placement, Field Instructor Information Form, and the Field Manual, section IX.D) to serve as their field instructor.

If you are interested in using your current place of employment as the agency for your Junior or Senior Field Experience placement, please review the Field Manual, section II.D.2, Employment-Based Placements and submit the Employment Based Placement Proposal form within the “Other documents” section of your Gate 2 Application.

An 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.

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

Finalizing a Field Placement

After completing their interviews, students must complete and submit the Student's Final Choice Form to luosocialwork@liberty.edu.

For all agencies interested in serving as a field site and for social workers interested in serving as field instructors, the following steps must be taken:

  1. The agency must complete and submit the Agency Information for Field Placement document to luosocialwork@liberty.edu.
  • Students must provide agency with this form.
  1. The degreed social worker serving as the student’s Field Instructor must complete and submit Field Instructor Information Form to luosocialwork@liberty.edu.
  • Students must provide the social worker with this form.

Once these forms are complete and submitted, a field staff member will follow-up to confirm eligibility of the agency and Field Instructor. 

After the Department has notified the student and agency of official placement, students must send Acceptance and Decline letters to the agencies at which they interviewed. These must be submitted to the department after being sent to the agencies.