Field Education

SocialWork@Simmons blends online learning with hands-on experience in the field, which allows students to apply classroom learning directly into their own practice.

Field education is an agency-based course where students apply their classroom knowledge of theoretical concepts, principles, values, and ethics in a supervised practice. In addition to supervised learning of clinical skills (with individuals, families, and groups), students will also become familiar with the many roles social workers play in agencies and in the community.

View the SocialWork@Simmons Field Education Manual.


SocialWork@Simmons has a dedicated placement team that works directly with students to find internships at sites that complement their overall career goals and interests. Simmons maintains a national network of clinical-site partnerships to ensure that students are able to complete clinical placements in or near their own communities — allowing students to complete the field requirement without relocating.*


Clinical Hours and Schedule

Students in the extended, full-time, and accelerated Master of Social Work (MSW) programs complete field education at two placement sites throughout their program. For extended program students, field education takes place in terms 4, 5, 7, and 8. Full-time students complete their field education in terms 2, 3, 5, and 6. For accelerated students, field education takes place in terms 1 – 4. Students’ first placement provides a foundation in general social work practices, while the second placement focuses on advanced clinical skills.

Students should expect to maintain the following schedule during each clinical placement:

  • Placement 1: Two 8-hour days each week for 28 weeks
  • Placement 2: Three 8-hour days each week for 28 weeks

Field Instructors

In each field placement, students work with a qualified field instructor who provides one-on-one mentoring and instruction. Instructors share their knowledge and expertise — building on the student’s academic foundation — and guide them in the development of their clinical skills.

Under social-work supervision, students demonstrate their skills in a range of roles:

  • Direct clinical practice
  • Accessing, coordinating, and developing services
  • Formulating bio-psycho-social assessments and treatment plans
  • Assisting clients in making plans for intervention
  • Collaborating with staff and community providers
  • Case management and advocacy

During their field placements students receive additional support from a Field Liaison, who monitors their educational process, mentors students on practice and professional development, and works with agencies to ensure a quality practice experience.

Field Education FAQ

  1. Can I complete my placement where I work?

    If you are currently employed in a social service agency or clinical setting, you may apply to have an agency-based field placement for one of your two field placements. Worksite field placements must meet the Simmons SSW criteria. The criteria include a different work assignment and new supervisor. Your supervisor must have an MSW and participate in a field instructor training provided through Simmons SSW.

  2. How far will my clinical placement be from where I live? How far will I have to drive?

    We make every attempt to locate a placement site that meets your educational needs. At times, the best placement match is farther from your home than you may prefer. You are required to be able to commute up to 60 miles to your placement site. If you are requesting accommodations at your field placement site, please inform the placement team and contact the Simmons disability office at Phone Number: 1-617-521-2474 for assistance.

To learn more about SocialWork@Simmons, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.

* Please note: Students cannot complete field placement outside of the continental United States and Hawaii. Students will not be placed internationally, including U.S. military bases, or in U.S. territories. Students living abroad with an upcoming placement term will need to relocate to the continental United States or Hawaii in order to be assigned a placement. Students are required to provide written notice of a new address at least 14 weeks prior to the first placement term so the placement team can work to secure a placement site. Placement is not guaranteed for students who do not adhere to the foregoing requirements and not following the requirements may necessitate a leave of absence from the program.