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).

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

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.

Prior to being enrolled in Junior Field Experience (SOWK 370), students 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 the student hopes to complete their Junior Field Experience.

Prior to being enrolled in Senior Field Experience (SOWK 470), students 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 the student hopes to complete their Senior Field Experience.

How to Find a Field Placement

With the help of the Field Team, the process of securing a field placement for Junior Field occurs as part of SOWK 365, after students have been approved through Gate 2 in the course.

With the help of the Field Team, the process of securing a field placement for Senior Field occurs as part of SOWK 465, after students have been approved through Gate 3 in the course.

Students must take the initiative to identify a potential agency that could serve as their field placement. 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.

Since most agencies found by online students are not currently in the Residential Student Field Directory, students must submit an Agency Information for Field Placement and a Field Instructor Information Form for an agency that meets the Social Work Department requirements (see the Field Manual, section IX.D).

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 course (SOWK 364 or 465).

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.

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

Finalizing a Field Placement

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:

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

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