BSW Practicum Placement Information
The mission of the BSW program is to prepare students for a career in generalist social work, with a focus on serving diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities. In the senior year of the program, students will complete a two-semester educational internship for their practicum education. Students will complete 230 hours each semester, totaling 460 hours at the end of their placement.* The internship experience will provide a hands-on opportunity to practice key concepts of the BSW program and develop professional competence, by utilizing evidence-based generalist practices to address human rights and promote social, economic, and environmental justice at an organization or agency geared towards the student’s field of practice.
*Please note, both part-time and full-time students will complete a two-semester educational internship for their practicum education.
Why practicum is important
Practicum is the student's ability to learn in a real-life atmosphere. Per the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Practicum Education is the signature pedagogy of the social work education curriculum. Practicum Education is considered the primary teaching tool used for socializing students to begin performing in the role of a social work practitioner. In this way, both the classroom and internship experience equally contribute to developing the necessary competencies to prepare students for their new role within the social work professional practice. The internship allows the opportunity to put classroom knowledge into community action at an organization geared toward the student’s field of practice.
Seven helpful tips to prepare for practicum
- Students should make sure to have a resume prepared and uploaded to their IPT profile prior to meeting with their placement assistant. Keep in mind, many agencies request to see the student’s resume before determining whether to interview the student for a placement opportunity.
- Check your Wayne State email. You will receive an email from the Office of Practicum Education once the placement cycle begins that gives you access to create your profile in our Intern Placement Tracking System, better known as IPT.
- Become familiar with IPT and complete your profile page BEFORE your appointment with your Placement Assistant
- Step 4, schedule an appointment with your Placement Assistant.
- Brush up on your interview skills. Use this link to our website for Tips for a practicum placement interview to help get you prepared.
- Make sure your home & work schedule can accommodate your practicum schedule
- Communicate often with your Placement Assistant, but once you have secured an internship, going forward, stay in communication with your Practicum Instructor and Practicum Faculty Liaison.
Things to keep in mind when considering an internship
If students are unsure of where to begin it might be helpful to keep the following in mind when considering an internship:
- Keep an open mind to new experiences. Exploring outside of one's comfort zone can provide great opportunities for personal growth.
- Consider a particular population of interest, such as adults, children, families, or seniors. In some circumstances, a student may not have a preference and be open to any group.
- Determine the type of internship setting. Students should consider whether they may prefer a setting that focuses on providing services to individuals, families, groups, or communities.
- Examples of different settings could include an agency providing treatment services for substance use or mental health, homeless prevention and outreach services, both office and community-based case management services, school centers, nursing homes or medical centers that utilize coordination of care and resource referrals. Some macro-focused settings may provide students with opportunities to learn about grant writing or activism and organizing at the community level. You will have the opportunity to discuss the different options for practicum during your placement meeting and find out which agencies can support the BSW curricular level.
Beginning the placement process
With the launch of Practicum Education, students will begin the process of identifying their internship placement. Students will receive an email with login access to create their profile in the Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) system, as well as instructions for how to schedule an appointment with their Placement Assistant. Students are required to come prepared for their placement meeting by fully completing their IPT profile ahead of time. This includes uploading their resume and selecting their three (potential) agency preferences. When looking through the agency List in the IPT system, students can narrow down, organize, and categorize the agency list using a “SORT” or “SEARCH” function. BSW students may find it most helpful to select the “SEARCH” function and type “BSW” to identify the agencies that may be most likely to accommodate a BSW curricular level. As a tip, students can research agencies by “county” to identify agencies that are close to their residence. Please note that students can visit our website for an IPT Tutorial on how to navigate the IPT system.