Frequently asked questions

  • What is the process for obtaining a field placement? What does the OFE do with my questionnaire and other requested placement materials?

    BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. students receive an email containing login information for the Intern Placement Tracking System, IPT, via the Wayne State University email system beginning no later than one semester prior to the start of field placement. Students complete the Student Detail Page and upload a current resume following the instructions and guidelines given. The Student Detail page helps students to identify interest areas and preferred agency settings. Please note, no field site is guaranteed to any student.  The OFE placement staff considers each student's interests, goals, and background to determine which agencies match a particular student's preferences. However, placement matches are ultimately based upon student curricular year and availability of an agency. MSW Advanced year students are also matched to agencies based on their concentration, so students planning to change concentrations or interest areas must do so before being assigned to field placement. Students are urged to refer to the Concentration/Curriculum booklet for information on concentrations and are also encouraged to meet with the assigned academic advisor to review individualized plans of work.

    Please note students are NOT to contact potential field placement sites regarding field placement opportunities. If a specific field placement site is of interest a student must notify the Office of Field Education and appropriate contact will be made as the School must ensure specific criteria are met.

  • Can I ensure that I get my first placement choice?

    The OFE tries to place students in their preferred or similar agencies, but cannot make guarantees. The OFE considers many factors in placing students, and often compromises must be made.

  • What if I don't have a car?

    Lack of access to a car may severely limit field placement options because many agencies are community-based and may require students to perform field assignments that involve outreach, home visits, and community work.  Students without cars may have to compromise their interests to be accommodated where public transportation is available. During inclement weather, all students should allow extra time for travel to and from field agencies.

  • Can I have a placement in the town where I live?

    Depending upon the availability of appropriate placement opportunities, the OFE tries to place students near their homes. Students will always attend classes on Wayne State University campuses. The school requires that all students have at least one field placement in the City of Detroit, in the Detroit metropolitan area, or in another urban setting that provides an opportunity for field placement which serves those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and/or disenfranchised.

  • Can I do my field work at my current place of employment?

    Possibly. This is called a Place of Employment or work-site placement, and some students are eligible for this arrangement. Students interested in doing their field work with their current employer must submit an application to the Director of Field Education describing the agency, its programs, the position held and duties, the work schedule, and the name and title of the appropriate supervisor(s). The application and policy for worksite placement are available from the OFE. All applications are considered on an individual basis and the final decision rests with the OFE. 

  • Can I arrange my own field placement?

    No. While the OFE is always interested in new field placement sites and encourages suggestions for field placements from students, all field placements must be arranged by the OFE. Students are asked NOT to contact agencies to arrange field placements. Agencies must have a new agency field placement application on file and have an individual available to provide supervision in accordance with School standards.  All application material for field placement sites is available from the OFE.

  • Can I be placed at an agency that is not currently approved by the school?

    Yes. If the agency meets the school's criteria for an approved field placement site, as determined by the OFE, and has an approved application on file, then the site can be used for field work. 

  • How much time should I reserve for field work each term?

    The chart below explains the clock hour requirements for students in field placement. 

    Year Hours per week Weeks per semester Semesters Total clock hours Total credits
    BSW Seniors 16 14.5 2 460 10
    BSW WOW Seniors 16 14.5 2 460 10
    MSW Foundation Year 16 14.5 2 450 8
    MSW Advanced Year 16 or 24* 14.5 2 450 or 676* 8 or 12*

    *Only Advanced Year MSW students (traditional or advanced standing) may opt to do field work for 24 hours each week instead of the traditional 16. This is often called a "three-day placement" and is an option for students in place of some elective credits.

    • Students are expected to have regularly scheduled field days when their supervisor is on-site, and field days should be 8-hour days.  MSW Advanced Year students should consult their academic advisor prior to the selection of additional credits in the field.  Because it is difficult for students to work full-time, take classes, and do field work, students are encouraged to reduce their employment to no more than 20 hours per week. If they are not able to do this, they should consider the school's part-time option. Students should discuss all scheduling arrangements at the field placement interview prior to beginning field work.  For BSW students, the ratio of credit hours to clock hours is 1:46.  For MSW students, the ratio is 1:56.25

    • Please note: part-time students have the same field work requirements as full-time students. The course work is simply extended over a longer period of time.

  • Can my placement be arranged for evening and/or weekend hours?

    Most likely not, as students need to be in the field during normal agency business hours for a minimum of 2 days, 16 clock hours, per week at times when their field instructor/task supervisor is also on duty and available for supervision.

    Students in both the full-time and part-time BSW and MSW programs are expected to meet the same field work requirements within the specified time allotted.

  • What are the main differences between the Foundation MSW program and the MSW program with Advanced Standing status?

    Students in the Foundation Year MSW program are able to complete the MSW degree in 2 years for full-time students or 4 years for part-time students.  These students do not hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited school and must complete two field placements.

    Students in the MSW program with Advanced Standing hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited school and are able to complete the MSW degree in 10 months for full-time students or 2 years for part-time students. These students complete one field placement as part of their advanced curriculum.

  • Can I enroll in more or fewer credits of field work than the number required?

    No. Students must register for only the identified number of credit hours for the program in which they are enrolled.  All students must have a plan of work that identifies the number of credit hours for all courses, including field work. Students in the advanced year of the MSW program have the option of either a two-day (4 credits per semester) or three-day (6 credits per semester) field placement.  Once this choice is made, it CANNOT be changed.

  • What is the difference between an academic advisor, a Faculty Field Liaison, and a field instructor?

    An academic advisor is a member of the school's academic staff who advises students on academic matters, typically including course planning and registration.

    Faculty Field Liaison is assigned by the OFE to the agency in which a student is placed. The Faculty Field Liaison is either a full-time or a part-time faculty member who monitors and grades the student's field work performance. The Faculty Field Liaison also provides assistance and feedback to the student at the agency and mediates placement-related issues, including any that might occur between the student and the field instructor.

    field instructor is a Social Worker (BSW or MSW) with 2 years post-degree experience and is eligible for licensure in the State of Michigan or another qualified individual identified by the WSUSSW.  The Field Instructor is an agency staff member, or affiliate, who supervises students at the field placement agency.  The field instructor also evaluates students and provides feedback to the Faculty Field Liaison for grading.

  • How do I find out who my Faculty Field Liaison is and how do I contact him/her?

    At the start of the term, Faculty Field Liaisons are assigned to work with agencies based on their scholarly interests and other preferences. Although we try to maintain continuity, Faculty Field Liaison assignments may change because of sabbaticals, other leaves, or other academic commitments. At the start of the semester, students will be able to access the assigned Faculty Field Liaison via their Student Detail Page on the Intern Placement Tracking System, IPT.  This information will include contact information- email and phone number. If you have any questions about your Faculty Field Liaison assignment, check with the OFE.

  • What if my agency is not what I expected or is not meeting my learning goals?

    Our policy is that traditional BSW and MSW students in field placement must be at the same agency for a minimum of two consecutive terms.  Once you have started field work, you should discuss any placement-related issues with your Faculty Field Liaison. Any decisions about whether a student should be re-assigned to another agency must be made by the Faculty Field Liaison, the field instructor, and the student, in consultation with the Director of Field Education.  Students sometimes request a change of placement for one term only. Generally, agencies cannot accommodate students for only one term nor are one-term placements sufficiently beneficial to a student's education experience. Agencies cannot provide substantial assignments nor invest in training a student who will leave the agency after one term. 

    Also, brief field placements for MSW advance year interpersonal practice students make it difficult to establish client rapport and develop working relationships.

  • Can students interview at multiple sites before deciding on a field placement?

    While the OFE works hard to offer students choices in agency selection, allowing multiple interviews for over 600 students enrolled in the BSW and MSW degree programs would make it less likely for students to be placed at their preferred sites. Competition for sites among our students and those of other neighboring schools is high, and agencies tend to select students with the most work experience. Our policy protects students with less work experience and allows the OFE to offer more individual attention to students. It also ensures that all students are placed as quickly as possible. If the student or field instructor believes that the match is not suitable, the student will have the opportunity to interview at another agency, a process that continues until the student is successfully placed, unless it is determined that the student is not ready for field work at that time.

  • Do agencies offer stipends to students?

    We strongly encourage agencies to provide stipends; however, policies vary and the decision is entirely up to the agency. Stipends are usually quite small. Sometimes agencies offer stipends to encourage a larger time commitment or to make the placement more attractive. Sometimes agencies fund modest stipends through grants.

  • Do agencies hire students when they graduate? If so, which agencies?

    Yes. Students are occasionally hired by their field placement sites following graduation, but there is no dependable pattern of which agencies do this. However, the Office of Admissions and Student Services is happy to offer employment assistance

  • What are the procedures for making up missed field work days?

    All absences from field work MUST be made up. Students who miss field placement days, or who start field work late, should have a plan to make up the hours missed in their field work learning plan, which must be developed with the field instructor and approved by the Faculty Field Liaison. The learning plan may also include strategies for fulfilling field work clock hours such as working evenings, weekends, or during school breaks.

  • Should I disclose my intern status at my field placement agency?

    Yes. Unless the agency has a policy dictating otherwise, students should disclose intern status in an appropriate manner at their field placements.

  • Why is there a fee for field?

    The university and the school require liability insurance coverage before a student begins field placement to cover any incidents that occur at the field site for which the student may be implicated.  Social Work students will be covered under a universal policy purchased by the School of Social Work.  Your field fee will go towards this purchase. 

  • What happens if I do not disclose information related to ANY history or current legal interactions?

    Students are being asked to provide honest responses of prior or current legal interactions. Examples of these may include, but are not limited to: a misdemeanor, felony, excessive citations, arrests, revocation/suspension of license, child or adult protective services clearance involvement, and any other information that may appear on a background check. Failure to comply may result in a referral to the Professional Review Committee for review and sanctions.