FAQs – Field Practicum

Will I have input in selecting my placements?


{LINK To Field Placement process Year one – page 1}. First year placement decisions are mostly based on review of the information provided on the placement forms and resume, and finding the most appropriate foundational learning based on your experience and geographic location. Travel time to setting is always taken into consideration. However, some students should be prepared up to 1.5 hours each way*.

*If you don’t live in the 5 Boroughs of New York City, travel time may be longer.

In Year 2,  based on participation in the  Academic and Field Advisement processes, students will have a great input in practicum placement decisions

All placements are pre-vetted by the Field Education Department to ensure appropriate supervision, policies, commitment to student learning and rich learning experiences.

Students who have rejected, or have been rejected from more than 2 placements will be required to meet with the Director of Field Education to discuss potential barriers creating this situation, including appropriateness for their continuation in the  SSSW program.

Can I find my own placement?


Silberman is always eager to establish new partnerships.  You may research possible placement sties and give information on these to the Field Education Department in order to determine the viability of the placement, and whether the school already has a relationship with the agency.  For reasons of equity and access and to ensure clear communication in the process, please do not reach out to the agencies directly about establishing a potential field placement. 

Do I get paid in field placement?

Not if you are in the Two Year traditional or 18-month Accelerated or dual-degree pathways.  Please review “Pathways to MSW” in the Student Handbook (page 9) for more information about different types of MSW programs offered at Silberman School of Social Work.

Social Work field placements are a credit-bearing learning opportunity, comparable to class-based learning.  You are earning a total of 12 credits in field education, social work’s signature pedagogy. 

Can I continue in the same placement throughout my time in the program?


In order to maximize  learning, students participate in separate placements for year one and year two- which correspond to the differing educational goals laid out by the CSWE (and discussed in the field manual).

CUNY has initiated a limited pilot program (tied to Federal Work Study eligibility) that provides up to $1000 per semester for a certain number of field placement hours. Students who meet criteria will be contacted directly by Hunter College Office of Financial Aid.

What are the differences between the Field Instructor and Field Advisor?

  • The Field Instructor is the SIFI (Seminar in Field Instruction)-trained social worker based at the agency who will provide training and support to the student on all aspects of agency practice.
  • The Field Advisor, based at Silberman, guides the educational development of the student, provides consultation to the agency-based Field Instructor, and assigns a grade for the student’s performance in the practicum.
    • Field Advisor serves as a resource and consultant for the Field Instructor and the agency educational coordinator, if there is one, who are both based at the practicum agency.
    • Field Seminars taught by Field Advisor are mandatory to attend.

All social work interns must be supervised by a social worker (MSW).

Can I complete field requirements at my place of employment?

This option is only available for students on the One Year Residency (OYR) track. Please see the Field manual for details.

How do I get graded for field?

The Field Advisor is responsible for monitoring the student’s performance in field placement throughout each semester. The Field Instructor may recommend a grade to the Field Advisor, who decides the final grade based on careful review of the student’s recordings, participation in Field Advisement, and the midterm and final evaluations

Student must demonstrate competencies in field education- completion of hours is not sufficient for a passing grade.

As is true for other classes at Silberman, grades are offered as Credit (CR), No Credit (NC) or INC (Incomplete).  If a student prefers a letter grade they must discuss this with their Field Advisor in the first two weeks of the semester.

Can I do evening or weekend placements?

No. Students are expected and should plan to be in field practicum during regular business hours, Monday – Friday, 9-5. This aligns with service hours of most agencies.  Some variation of hours in service of client needs may be possible but would need to be approved by the Field Department.

Who can I talk to about questions regarding information on background checks and drug screening?

These are agency request and  students should deal directly with agencies around these questions.  Background checks, fingerprints and drug screens are usually, but not always, covered by agencies and within their locations Some may expect students to complete the screenings independently. . Health screenings are usually expected to be completed  by students with their health provider, and submitted to the Field Department for sign off and submission to the agency.  Questions about background checks should be directed to the internship agency and to Assistant Directors

What can I do if paying for fingerprinting or travel costs to my placement causes a financial hardship?

We have a limited amount of funds available to reimburse students for costs incurred due to fingerprinting  or travel, and reserved for those who experience financial hardship. Please contact Alicia Greene (ag4602@hunter.cuny.edu) for more information on the application process.

Who can I call if I have:

  • Questions concerning your Field Supervisor: Field Advisor
  • Questions concerning your Field Advisor: Field Assistant Director
  • You are being harassed at your placement: 1. Field Supervisor; 2.  Field Advisor, 3. Field Assistant Director
  • You are not getting proper supervision at your placement: Field Advisor
  • You have health, safety, commute time concerns about your placement: Field Advisor

Generally speaking, the communication chain hierarchy for resolving any issue with field is:

  1. person in field/ supervisor
  2. Field Advisor (who is the agency liaison and takes issues up to Field Assistant Director) 
  3. Field Assistant Director
  4. Director of Field Education

Please review the Field Education page on the Silberman School of Social Work website where you may find the Field Calendar, and Field Education Manual. Please also review the Field Manual and  Student Handbook for additional information.