Field Education

The Department of Social Work is responsible for designing, implementing, overseeing and evaluating a field education program in keeping with the departmental mission and goals. This program operates within the larger context of the mission and policies of Southeast Missouri State University and standards established by the Council on Social Work Education.

Field education is the "signature pedagogy" of the social work profession. It is here that the student demonstrates mastery of the core social work competencies in a real-life, rural, pracitce setting. This necessarily involves increased intellectual and emotional demands as the student engages actual practice situations, and transitions into professional identity. Students must be prepared to assume a high degree of responsibility, exhibit professional behavior, and adhere to rigorous standards as they engage in field education.

Field education is also the culminating point of the social work curriculum at Southeast. Field education provides a real-life context for applying theoretical and conceptual knowledge acquired in classes. Students are expected to integrate and apply previously acquired values, knowledge and skills as they begin working with actual clients. The department supports the integration through numerous connecting points including the careful selection of field sites and field instructors, the weekly integrative seminar, the instrument used to measure studen'ts competencies, and frequent, ongoing contact between students and faculty members.

As part of the professional social work curriculum, social work majors are required to successfully complete field education, SW 450, which consists of 448 clock hours of practice experience in an approved field agency under the supervision of an approved, professional social worker serving as the field instructor; and SW 449, the Integrative Seminar. These courses are taken concurrently during the second semester of the senior year and students may not take additional course work during the field experience. 

The Department of Social Work uses a variety of agencies for Field Education approved by the Department. When possible, placements are based on the student's areas of interest as deemed educationally sound by the Department. For more detailed information concerning the Field Education Program please consult the Field Education Manual, available online under the Forms tab.


 Student Comments

 Photo of Jason Josupait

“Field was a great experience. On a daily basis I had to apply ALL of the skills and knowledge that  I learned in the Social Work curriculum. The field instructors pushed me to my limit everyday.  I learned to work out of my comfort zone and was able to accomplish tremendous things! The field experience was very challanging and helped me prepare for the social work practice yet to come. I did not know what Social Work really was until I completed my field experience!"
              Jason Josupait, B.S.W.

 Photo of Damon Crucani "Field education was easily the best, most meaningful learning experience I had while at  Southeast. Not to say it wasn’t challenging - it was. But most rewarding experiences are. It was a great opportunity to practice and examine the skills I had acquired in the social work  program in a real-world setting. I feel like the field education was invaluable in terms of preparing me for a career in generalist social work practice. Because of field education, I was much more comfortable when I started work after graduation.”
          Damon Crucani, B.S.W.



Faculty Education Agency List
Frequently Asked Questions About Field Education


Phone: 573.651.2004
Fax: 573.986.7315

Crisp Hall 201
Department of Social Work
One University Plaza, MS 8400
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701