Field education (i.e. the practicum) is considered a central component of social work education because the integration of knowledge, values, and skills in the context of field education is a critical and distinctive aspect of social work education.

The field education program consists of one Practicum and an Integration Seminar; each is worth one milestone degree requirement. Milestones are required components of the program that must be passed to satisfy degree requirements. The Practicum and Integration Seminar are offered to students in the full-time program between September and June of each year. The practicum and Integration Seminar are offered to students in the part-time program between January of the first year of the program and June of the second year of the program.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) field education program provides students with opportunities for:

  • 462 hours (at a minimum of two 7-hour days per week)* in an approved practicum in their own community or region (normally other than the student's place of employment), subject to the availability of suitable placement agencies/organizations and field instructors.

*462 hours of practicum, carried out at the minimum two 7-hour days per week, equates to 33 weeks, or around 8 months.  Full time students may undertake their practicum 2-3 days a week, while part time students may undertake their practicum 2-5 days a week, for approval by the Field Education Coordinator.

  • supervision from an agency-based field instructor qualified at the MSW level
  • regular online Integration Seminars, attended by students concurrently with practicum
  • flexibility in the organization of practicum hours, depending upon the agreement of the agency/organization

Field Education is comprised of two milestone requirements, the Practicum and the Integration Seminar.

The Field Education milestone requirements are offered to students in the full-time program starting in September of each year.

Part-time students may enrol in Field Education at any time from January onwards in their first year of the program. The milestone requirements run year-round.

As this is mainly an online program, students are required to make contact with potential field agencies, explore interests, opportunities and availability for supervision with agency personnel, and then communicate with the Field Education Coordinator the relevant contact information and planning that has occurred well in advance of the anticipated beginning of the practicum. Securing placements could be highly competitive so close communication with the Field Education Coordinator is important to support the student’s planning process, learn about guidelines and timelines of particular agencies, or health authorities and work on a few options to complete the practicum milestone.

The location of the placement is determined through consultation and agreement among the student, the MSW Team Lead of the School of Social Work, and the practicum agency/organization.   All placements must be approved by the MSW Team Lead well in advance of the beginning of the practicum. All placements must be located in Canada only.


For information on MSW PLACEMENTS, please contact:

Shella Zagada, MSW Program Manager
School of Social Work, Renison University College
519-884-4404, ext. 28729
shella.zagada@uwaterloo.ca