Residential Field Experience

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

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, you must successfully be approved through Gate 1 (SOWK 299) and Gate 2 (SOWK 365). Prior to engaging in Senior Field Experience, you must also be approved through Gate 3 (SOWK 465).

The Department no longer uses a submission portal for Gate applications. For more information on the Gate Process, please review the Gate Courses webpage.


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 the agency over a 10-week period
  • Attend weekly Seminar class

Senior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 470)

  • 9 credit hours
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 400 field hours at the agency over a 14-week period
  • Attend weekly Seminar class

While enrolled in each Field Experience course, you will also participate in weekly, field seminar sessions. Every week, you will meet together in the classroom with your Faculty Field Liaison (Field Seminar Instructor) for the seminar portion of the course on a designated day and time. The seminar portion of the course offers the opportunity for you to process your 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 required that you review this document before engaging in the Field Enrollment process.

SOWK 365: Junior Field Experience Prerequisite

Prior to being enrolled in Junior Field Experience (SOWK 370), you must successfully pass SOWK 365: the Gate 2 Application Process and Field Enrollment Process for Junior Field. SOWK 365 must be completed the semester before you hope to complete your Junior Field Experience.

SOWK 465: Senior Field Experience Prerequisite

Prior to being enrolled in Senior Field Experience (SOWK 470), you must successfully pass SOWK 465: the Gate 3 Application Process and Field Enrollment Process for Senior Field. SOWK 465 must be completed the semester before you hope to complete your Senior Field Experience.


How to Find a Field Placement

Once approved through Gate 1 (SOWK 299) & Gate 2 (SOWK 365), you must do the following:

  • Attend the Field Fair, an event where partnering agencies come to campus to hold speed interviews with students.

  • Follow the assignment deadlines listed in SOWK 365 or SOWK 465.

If you are seeking a placement for Senior Field Experience, you must also be approved through Gate 3 (SOWK 465) prior to participating in the Field Fair.

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

The department will register you for Field Experience courses (SOWK 370 & SOWK 470) once agency placements are finalized and all enrollment documentation is submitted.


Field Placement

The Social Work Department offers field opportunities in a variety of practice settings. 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).

"At Home" Placement

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.

Washington Fellowship Program

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 if you are interested in a macro practice setting.

International Field Experience

You 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

Email socialworkfield@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. Complete and submit the Requested Agency Information for Field Placement document to socialworkfield@liberty.edu.
  2. Complete and submit the Field Instructor Information Form to socialworkfield@liberty.edu.

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

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