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Field Education


The Field Education Program at UNC-Chapel Hill


Field placements help students to develop and practice the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom in real world situations, and create a whole picture of the profession.”

            Rebecca Brigham, Director of Field Education

 UNC-Chapel Hill MSW students are placed in more than 250 government, nonprofit, and other human service agencies throughout North Carolina.  Students contribute more than 130,000 hours each year—an estimated value of $1.2 million to these agencies. 

 Students are exposed to numerous career possibilities and challenges and receive hands-on experience working directly or indirectly with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The first field placement, the Generalist practicum, provides the student with opportunities to develop foundational social work knowledge and skills through placement in a selected community agency. In this placement, it is intended that students experience a range of direct practice opportunities with a variety of individuals, families and groups, and also have macro practice opportunities to work within organizations and communities.

 The second field placement is in the student’s area of concentration, either Management, Community and Policy Practice or Direct Practice. In this practicum the students develop depth of social work practice knowledge and skills sufficient for competent, self-evaluative, accountable and ultimately autonomous practice.

 Typical Generalist Placements (16 hours per week)

·               Public schools

·               Hospital inpatient units

·               Homeless shelters

·               Domestic violence agencies

·               County Departments of Social Services


Typical Specialization Placements (24 hours per week)

Community, Management & Policy Practice             Direct Practice

    Nonprofit agencies                                                    Hospitals and medical facilities

    Faith-based organizations                                          Mental health provider agencies

    Advocacy organizations                                             Substance abuse programs

    State and local government                                      Child welfare services

    University settings and research facilities                Transitional housing programs

                                                                                               Services to older adults


* Advanced Standing students complete a 200 hour summer block field placement in addition to the concentration year field placement. Both placements are typically completed in the same agency.


Field FAQ's

Employer Based Field Placements

Matching Process for Generalist and Specialization Students

Requests for Field Assignments

"Outstanding in the Field"- a series of articles spotlighting the experiences of students and their field instructors

Out in the Field brochure - Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and social work field education