MSW Field Education

Field education is the heart of the Master of Social Work program at Pacific University.

After students are accepted into the MSW program, placements at approved social service organizations are established. This intensive field experience (also known as "practicum" or "field work") is designed to promote the application of social work values and ethics, theory, and skills to practice. During both the foundation and concentration years of the program, students serve their practicums under the supervision of an MSW field instructor and the administration of the MSW field director. Each practicum involves a year-long experience at one agency.

From September to May of their first year, students participate in a two-semester practicum consisting of 14-16 hours per week, totaling 420 hours. During their second year, students participate in another two-semester practicum consisting of 18-20 hour per week, totaling 500 hours. Over the entire course of the MSW program, students participate in a total of 920 practicum hours.


Year 1 (420 hrs total, 14 hrs per week in the field); Year 2 (500 hrs total, 18 hrs per week in the field) for a total of 920 hours total in two placements

Foundation year placements orient students to the social work profession. Students begin to acquire the skills and knowledge to practice social work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Field faculty determine placements for foundation year students with consideration of student strengths, interests, and agency availability and needs.

Concentration year placements continue to enhance the student’s social work skills and expertise, essentially building on foundation year learning. Students have greater input into placement requests during their concentration year. However, placement is contingent on many factors including placement availability, suitability, and fit between students and the site. Therefore, no specific placement is guaranteed.

In addition to the time dedicated to practicum placements, students attend a weekly seminar class. Seminar is an interactive setting where students integrate classroom knowledge with practice and critically analyze and reflect on their practicum experiences and professional development.


Become a Field Instructor

We welcome and invite new field instructors to participate in one of the most important roles in the education of our MSW students. Field instructors facilitate student acquisition of social work competencies, values, knowledge, and skills.  By working with the next generation of social workers, field instructors inform and shape the practice and future of the profession. Their supervision, guidance, and mentoring are key to enhancing the success and development of highly effective and competent social work practitioners.  People who choose to serve as field instructors not only give back to the profession they love, but also develop supervisory skills and remain current in their practice.

Qualifications for Field Instructors
• Hold an MSW degree
• Have two or more years of post-MSW experience
• Provide students with at least one hour of supervision per week
• Attend field instructor orientations and trainings
• Review the Field Instructor Role and Responsibilities (pdf)

If you meet the qualifications above and are interested in being a field instructor for Pacific University’s MSW program, please complete the field instructor application (pdf).

Become an Affiliated Agency

The MSW program at Pacific University highly values community organizations and social service agencies that are working to enhance social and economic justice. If you are a community organization or social service agency and are interested in hosting an MSW practicum student, please complete the agency application (pdf).

Contact Us

Erica Goldsmith, MSW, LCSW | Director of Field Education
541-632-8813 |