BSW Practicum Education

Associate Director of Field, Laurie Hart, with student at field practicum site with children who are receiving services at agency


Field practicum provides each student with real world experience.

The Practicum Education Office works with community agencies throughout Kansas and Missouri to provide field practicum opportunities for students.

Students are placed in these agencies through a collaborative process among the Practicum Education Office, the student and the agency. The Practicum Education Office works closely with students and agencies to secure enriching field practicum experiences that provide the appropriate learning opportunities for students and qualified field instructor availability for the student.

The Practicum Education Office arranges all placements. Students should not contact agencies directly to plan for practicum placement without explicit authorization from the Practicum Education Office. Every effort is made to locate a practicum placement within a one-hour drive from the student's home. Students are responsible for transportation to the assigned field practicum. Most agencies also require a student to have transportation available for agency assignments.

Students participate directly in planning for field practicum by completing the online planning survey and submitting it to the Practicum Education Office by the due dates listed in the admissions information and the planning calendars in the Field Education Handbook. If practicum planning information is not provided in a timely manner, placement will be delayed until the next planning cycle. This is likely to result in a delayed graduation date. The Practicum Education Office will consider student interests in fields of practice, client populations, and social problems in matching a student with a practicum agency.

An orientation is held in the fall, before the beginning of classes, for all students entering a field practicum and the field liaisons who represent the school. Students are responsible for the material in the Field Education Handbook. Upon request, a printed copy may be obtained through the KU Bookstore for a fee.

Every student in practicum has both a field instructor and a field liaison. The field instructor is a BSW or MSW graduate with two or more years of social work experience and is typically an employee in the practicum agency where the student is assigned. The field instructor is responsible for providing supervision, overseeing the student’s learning opportunities, and planning practicum assignments. The field liaison is employed by the School of Social Welfare to work with field instructors and students in each agency, to help integrate practicum with class instruction, to evaluate student performance, and to assist if difficulties arise.

Because of the necessity for continuity in client service and learning, the maximum time for a break between semesters in practicum is three weeks, regardless of time allowable according to the University calendar.

BSW Practicum Details

BSW students have one practicum placement during the senior year, concurrent with enrollment in the practice courses. Senior BSW students attend classes two days a week and field practicum two days a week throughout fall and spring semesters. Seniors spend a minimum of 416 clock hours in practicum. Practicum is a 12-credit hour, year-long course graded on an S/U basis. A satisfactory (S) grade is a requirement for the BSW degree. At the end of the first semester, a grade of P is given for satisfactory progress toward completion of the course. No credit is given for partial completion (fewer than 12 credit hours) of practicum.

BSW students are placed in social work agencies and settings that provide learning experiences to prepare them in the generalist foundation necessary for entry-level professional practice. Field practicum settings include public health clinics, community mental health centers, child welfare agencies, court services, senior centers and community development projects.

Practicum Planning FAQ

Have questions about practicum planning, placement, interviewing or logistics? Read our practicum planning FAQ.

Practicum Education Office

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