MSW Practicum Education

Practicum education (also known as field education) gives students insight into the wide range of social work settings where graduates find employment.

By gaining hands-on experience with our qualified UConn practicum instructors, students apply theory to real-world situations, acquire and practice new skills, and learn to navigate the complexities of delivering service to individuals, families and communities.

MSW Field Manual

Connecting Theory to Practice

Practicum education – also referred to as field education, social work internship, social work practicum, and social work field experience – is an integral part of the curriculum and represents a significant portion of each student's educational experience. UConn SSW supports practicum placements based on the areas of concentration within the School: Community Organizing; Individuals, Groups, and Families; and Policy Practice.

Students in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program complete two internships. Advanced Standing students complete one internship.

The Foundation (first year) internship provides a generalist perspective of social work practice through a wide range of practicum assignments. The Advanced (second year) internship focuses primarily on the student’s concentration: Individuals, Groups, and Family Practice; Community Organizing; or Policy Practice.

MSW Practicum Education:

    • Offers a wide range of placement opportunities throughout Connecticut
    • Provides weekly supervision from an MSW practicum instructor based at the agency
    • Requires students to spend 15 or 20 hours a week at their practicum placement; at least 8 hours must be during the day
    • Requires that students are enrolled in concurrent coursework
    • Includes two practicum placements beginning in the fall semester and spanning the academic year
    • Advanced Standing students complete one practicum placement that spans the academic year focused on their advanced concentration
    • Students may request approval to use their place of employment as a practicum site

For Students: Placement Hours and Process

Placement Hours:

    • 15 hours for 37 weeks, Sept. to mid-June, for a total of 560 hours. First-year students will not be eligible for Summer Block Placement. Second-year students: Please be advised that your degree will be conferred in August and will affect when you can take the LMSW exam and when you can start a job (most jobs in CT require that you have the LMSW and that your MSW degree is already conferred).
    • 20 hours for 28 weeks, Sept. to end of April, for a total of 560 hours
    • Summer Block Placement is 35 hours per week for IGFP students only and is not guaranteed

The UConn School of Social Work has new updates to practicum hours. Starting in Fall 2024, practicum hours will be reduced from a total of 1,120 hours (560 hours per year) to a total of 960 hours (480 hours per year).

Placement Hours for Academic Year 2024-2025

Student Year Total Required Hours Hours Per Week
Regular MSW - First Year 960 17* **
Regular MSW - Second Year 1,040 17* **
Advanced Standing MSW 960 20

*Some agencies may require students to complete 20 hours per week for practicum hours.
**Some agency settings may require students to be placed through June.

If you have questions regarding the reduction of practicum hours, please contact the Practicum Education Department at

For Students: FAQs About the Placement Process

Below are some common questions and scenarios that come up during the practicum placement process.

Student has an interest in working with a new agency/program that UConn has not worked with in the past.

If a student has an interest in working with a specific agency or program that should be indicated on the practicum education placement form.  All agencies must meet specific qualifications to become a registered practicum site for the University.  These will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The agency does not have an MSW to serve as the practicum supervisor.

Due to accrediting standards, there must be an MSW to serve as the MSW practicum supervisor.  Should a student be interested in a specific site, it should be indicated on the practicum education form and the practicum coordinator will follow up appropriately.

How far will my placement be?

The Practicum Education Coordinators use the home address as an indicator of distance.  Based on the experience of the student, student interest and geographic location most sites are between 20-45 minutes distance.  Please note, that if a student is looking for a specific placement type, there may be limited available options and the practicum coordinator will discuss with you further.

Additional Information to support your academics and campus life can be found at: MSW Student Page

For Students: Practicum Requirements

Practicum education is a required component of the curriculum of the UConn School of Social Work (SSW) Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Students should become familiar with practicum expectations and processes so that we can meet the educational needs of each student while also supporting agencies in fully meeting the needs of their clients and the community.

All required practicum experiences must be completed at a UConn SSW-approved facility. The School will assist you with securing a practicum placement.

As a student in the SSW master's program you must complete all required practicum experiences. If you are unable to complete all required experiences, you will not graduate from the MSW program. A full list of student responsibilities in practicum education is currently being revised; please check back.

MSW 23-24 Academic Calendar

    The University and the Program have a set of requirements and each facility may have additional requirements for student placements. The financial cost to meet all requirements is your responsibility; these costs are not included in your tuition and fees and are generally not covered by financial aid.

    Requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Successfully completing a background screening. Background screenings verify social security numbers and include checking state and federal criminal records and sex offender registries. Background screenings may occur at one or more times during the program. If your background screening shows that you have a criminal record or are listed as a sex offender, you may not be able to secure a placement. If you have any questions regarding background checks, you can contact the UConn’s Clinical Case Manager at
    • Minimally, you will need to demonstrate immunity through titers for childhood disease such as measles, mumps and varicella. A record of previous immunizations is not sufficient to fulfill these requirements. Titers are required. Without them, you may not be able to secure a placement. It has been UConn’s experience that facilities will not accept a religious exemption form in lieu of proof of immunity and will deny placements to any student who fails to provide such proof. Evidence of immunity and costs associated with testing are your responsibility. Titers may be done through either your personal provider or the University’s student health and wellness service.
    • An annual tuberculosis screening is required. More details on the specific type will be provided in your onboarding session.
    • Annual documentation of receipt of the seasonal influenza vaccine is not required by the SSW but is strongly encouraged. It has been UConn’s experience that many facilities will not accept a religious exemption form in lieu of proof of vaccination and will deny placements to any student who fails to provide such proof. Evidence of vaccinations and costs associated with testing are your responsibility.

    If you are not able to meet the above requirements, you will most likely not be able to complete the program’s practicum placement experience requirements.

    Contact the Office of Clinical Placement Coordination (OCPC) with any questions related to University background check and immunization requirements.

    Students may not begin the practicum placement process or begin/continue an assigned practicum placement without fully meeting all compliance requirements through ADB/Complio. Please refer to materials from the Office of Clinical Placement Coordination (OCPC) for details about your requirements and deadlines and email with any questions about your compliance status.

    Additional Practicum Placement Experience Requirements:

    In addition to the above requirements, some facilities require the successful completion of other types of requirements such as those listed below. Students will be informed of any additional facility requirements at the time they are assigned a practicum placement and will have time to complete these requirements before beginning the practicum placement. The costs associated with meeting these additional requirements are your responsibility.

    • Successfully passing drug screenings. Drug screenings may occur at one or more times during the practicum placement. If you test positive for drug use, you may not be able to secure a placement at a facility or may be removed from a placement. This includes, but is not limited to, testing positive for prescribed medical marijuana or opiates. If you have any questions regarding drug screenings, you can contact the UConn’s Clinical Case Manager at Disclosure of drug use does not indicate a passed drug screen.
    • CPR: Basic Life Support, including Adult, Child and AED, through the American Heart Association OR a current EMT license.
    • Other: Other types of screenings include fingerprinting, debarment list screenings, and Motor Vehicle Records checks.

    If you are not able to meet a facility’s additional requirements in a timely manner, you will not be able to complete the scheduled practicum placement experience, which in turn will delay your ability to complete the program.

    If you have any questions regarding background checks and drug screens, you can contact the UConn’s Clinical Case Manager at For all other inquires please contact


    For Students: Stipend Internships

    CT Health Horizons Scholarships

    Master of Social Work students can participate in one of two programs, Connecticut ¡Adelante! or our School Social Work Program. Starting in Fall 2025, students are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in tuition assistance from CT Health Horizons.

    Connecticut ¡Adelante! is designed to increase the number of bilingual Spanish-speaking social workers trained to meet the mental health needs of Latino/a/e families in Connecticut. Read more.

    The School Social Work Program aims to prepare more MSW students to enter school social work and address the youth mental health crisis in Connecticut. Read more

    The Scholars in Aging Program

    Given that Connecticut has the sixth highest population of older adults in the United States, there is a critical need to develop the workforce serving this growing population. Through a generous gift from a donor, the School of Social Work established the Scholars in Aging Program in 2022. This $1,500 stipend-based initiative prepares students with specialized classroom and practicum training to serve the growing number of adults aged 65 and older within diverse communities and institutional settings.

    A cohort of up to ten students are accepted into the program annually. Priority consideration will be given to MSW advanced-year Individuals, Groups, and Families students. Read more about this program at the Scholars in Aging and UConn Today.

    DCF Child Welfare Stipend Program

    The UConn School of Social Work has a longstanding partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Children and Families (DCF) to increase a more diverse, professionally trained, master’s-level public child welfare workforce. This $4,000 stipend-based initiative prepares students with specialized classroom and practicum training to work with diverse families served by DCF. The development of this program is influenced by the NCWWI CT Partnership for Child Welfare Excellence from 2014. The selection process is competitive with up to five positions for students who are non-DCF employees and will work at CT DCF upon graduation.

    Read more about this program at DCF Child Welfare Stipend Program.

    For Agencies & Practicum Instructors

    The Practicum Education Department welcomes the opportunity to meet and discuss practicum education and supporting the work of area agencies and practicum instructors.

    All agencies looking to have practicum education students at their agency must have a signed Affiliation agreement and an agency application in place with the school.

    Agency/Field Instructor link

    Password UCONNFIELD

    Placement Process:

    The placement process begins in January and continues throughout the summer. Should your agency have any changes or additions during this time please let us know so that we have the correct information. All updates can be emailed to Practicum Education at

    Seminar In Practicum Instruction:
    New Practicum Instructors are required to take the seminar in practicum instruction during the fall semester of the first year in which they have a student. A schedule and registration is sent with the student confirmation.

    COVID-19 and Practicum Education

    View FAQs regarding COVID-19.

    Contact and Office Hours

    General Inquires:
    Main Phone: (959) 200-3636

    Liane Lussier Smith, LCSW
    Interim Director of Practicum Education

    Nancy Urcinas
    Administrative Services Specialist

    Isalena Gilzene, MSW
    Practicum Coordinator

    Maria Koistinen, MSW
    Practicum Coordinator


    Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Any student wishing to request an appointment can email We will send you a meeting link via Nexus. For students that need assistance after 4:00 p.m., we will make special arrangements to accommodate you.