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Undergraduate Field Instruction

A Head Start in Helping Others

Classroom and field learning have a synergistic and critical relationship within social work education. The Simmons College BSW program progressively socializes students to the profession through theoretical learning in the classroom and hands-on learning in the field. First, students fulfill service-learning hours and then are placed in formal field placements.

Service-Learning: Students in the Field from the Start

Simmons College BSW students begin their field work from the start of their academic careers through the Program's service-learning component. Service-learning is defined as community service or volunteer service that both meets the needs of a community agency or program and the student and also contains a formal student reflection component. This reflection may take place through written assignments and/ or classroom discussion. It is intended that, through community activities, BSW students will gain exposure to and practical experience with social service organizations and various different populations served by social workers within the community. In this way, students will develop some basic social work skills and a beginning sense of professional identity before they enter the more structured field education program in their Junior and Senior years.

First year students majoring in social work are required to complete 40 hours of service-learning. Second year students are required to complete 80 hours of service-learning. Some social work courses have service-learning built into the curriculum, allowing students to fulfill some of the service-learning requirement while enrolled in the course. Service-learning hours may be completed at one agency or at different sites, depending on agency and student need. Students are encouraged to seek out service opportunities that appeal to them and to consult their social work faculty advisor for assistance and guidance in making decisions about their service. Service-learning hours may be waived for transfer students after consultation with BSW Program faculty.

Students are assisted with locating service-learning sites by BSW Program faculty and the Scott/ Ross Center for Community Service (Main Campus Building Room W102, 617-521-2700, ). The Scott/ Ross Center for Community Service is a major resource for information about the many service opportunities already available to Simmons students. Students are given assignments and meet periodically with the BSW Program faculty to support their learning in their service-learning placements.

Students work with individuals, families, groups, and communities across the entire life cycle in the following areas: case management, resident services, vocational assistance, health, health education, disability support, education, bereavement, community development, trauma, and many more.

Field Placement

During the junior year, BSW interns are required to complete 100 hours of field education between the months of January and May, with the College breaks and holidays off. This works out to approximately 8 hours each week in field placement and these hours can be scheduled flexibly throughout the week to meet the needs of the agency and the student. During the senior year, BSW interns are required to complete 425 hours between the months of September and May, with the College breaks and holidays off. This works out to 16 hours each week in field placement. These hours, too, can be scheduled flexibly depending on agency and study needs, but the hours are generally done in two full days (8 hours) each week.

During Field Placement, students are enrolled in advanced BSW courses, such as Social Work Practice II, and Field Seminar I and II. These courses will provide students with support and continued theoretical understanding related to field education.

BSW Field Placement Opportunities

Below, please find examples of possible field placements and tasks. Be aware that this list is just an example and does not provide a complete list of placements or tasks. Placements and tasks will depend on students' learning needs and experience level, as well as the needs of the placement.

  • Schools (pre-school through college)
    • Individual, group, and parent/child support (observation and/or direct work)
    • Health and wellness education
    • Observing student support meetings
    • Case management/resource linking/advocacy
    • Observing classrooms
    • Mentoring
    • Developing behavioral plans
  • Hospitals
    • Chart review
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
    • Developing community resource manual
    • Intake assessment (observation and/or direct work)
    • Discharge planning (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Family meetings (observation and/ or direct work)
  • After School Programs
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Health and wellness education
    • Academic support/ planning
    • Mentoring
    • Organizing individual and group activities
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
  • AIDS policy/ support centers
    • Grant writing assistance
    • Policy analysis
    • Advocacy
    • Health and wellness education
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ or direct work)
  • Community Centers
    • Organizing outings and activities for children, adolescents, and adults
    • Health and wellness education
    • Mentoring
    • Case management/ resource linking/advocacy
  • Child social service agencies
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
    • Individual, group, family support (observing and/ or direct work)
    • Home visiting
    • Intake assessment (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Abuse and/ or neglect assessment (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Policy analysis
  • Organizations that support court involved youth/ Court clinics
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
    • Mentoring
    • Policy analysis
    • Family meetings (observation and/ or direct work)
  • Public Health Departments
    • Policy analysis
    • Advocacy
    • Health and wellness education
    • Home visits
  • Adoption agencies
    • Home visits
    • Family assessments (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Birthparent support
    • Assistance in court related matters (parental rights and finalization work)
    • Participating in home studies
  • Outpatient mental health centers
    • Chart review
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ direct work)
    • Intake assessments (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
  • Hospice
    • Home visiting
    • Individual and family support (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Case management/ resource linkage/advocacy
  • Geriatric care settings
    • Individual and group support (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Case management/ resourced linkage/advocacy
    • Family meetings (observation and/ or direct work)
    • Bereavement work
    • Health and wellness education