Field Education

Field education (i.e. the practicum) is the signature pedagogy for social work. It is the key method of instruction and learning through which our profession socializes its students to become practitioners, and is often considered the 'heart' of social work education. The practicum is intended to provide students with opportunities to integrate knowledge into their practice, and develop competence in practice skills through a supervised social work experience related to their learning goals.

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

  • 462 hours (at a minimum of two consecutive 7-hour days per week) in an approved practicum in their own community or region in Canada only (normally other than the student's place of employment), subject to the availability of suitable placement agencies/organizations and field instructors
  • supervision from an agency-based field instructor qualified at the MSW level
  • regular online Integration Seminars facilitated by the MSW Team Lead, or designate
  • 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.

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.

Please note: for part-time students starting each fall term, Practicum and Integration Seminar do NOT begin until the winter term (ie, one term later). 


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