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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 SOWK 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 SOWK 294 (Gate 1) and SOWK 365 (Gate 2). Prior to engaging in Senior Field Experience, you must also be approved through SOWK 465 (Gate 3).

For more information on the Gate Process, please review the Gate Courses Process.


Field Course Requirements

Intensive Social Work Observation (SOWK 150 or SOWK 135)

  • Residential students will take SOWK 150, while hybrid students will take SOWK 135
  • SOWK 150 is 1 credit hour; SOWK 135 is 3 credit hours
  • Requires completion of 40 hour shadowing of a degreed social worker

Junior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 370)

  • 3 or 4 credit hours depending on your DCP
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 100 field hours at the agency over a 14-week period
  • Experience includes a blend of observation and facilitation opportunities

Senior Field Experience and Seminar (SOWK 470)

  • 9 or 11 credit hours depending on your DCP
  • Requires completion of a minimum of 400 field hours at the agency over a 14-week period
  • Experience includes co-facilitation and independent practice with clients
Synchronous Seminar Class

While enrolled in each Field Experience course, students will also participate in weekly, field seminar sessions. Every week, students will meet together with your Faculty Field Liaison for the seminar portion of the Field Experience courses on 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 required that you review this document before engaging in the Field Enrollment process.

SOWK 365 (Gate 2)

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

SOWK 465 (Gate 3)

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


Field Placement Options

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).

Placement within the Central Virginia Area

The Social Work Program has established relationships with agencies that offer field experience opportunities within 1.5 hours Lynchburg, Virginia. Students will be matched with a field agency based on their interests with the help of their Field Advisor. Students will interview with this agency, and submit all necessary paperwork while enrolled in SOWK 365 (Gate 2).

Placement Outside of the Central Virginia Area

With this option, students will directly contact agencies in the area where they plan to complete placement. Please be aware that completing placement at an agency that does not have an established partnership with the Social Work Program will require the execution of a legally binding contract between the two parties- an Affiliation Agreement. Students will interview with this agency, and submit all necessary paperwork while enrolled in SOWK 365 (Gate 2).

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. Email socialworkfield@liberty.edu to contact our Field Team and set up a meeting to discuss further details.


Interested Agencies

We always welcome the opportunity to enter new partnerships with social workers and agencies, as we seek to provide quality field placements for our students. Please contact us at socialworkfield@liberty.edu for more information.