BSW Practicum

The BSW Field Education Program

As determined by accreditation standards, the field practicum is a requirement of a Social Work degree. Social work students are placed in community social service agencies or organization on an unpaid basis for a period of social work practice. In the practicum, students focus on integrating the theory, knowledge, and skills taught in on-campus courses with learning from doing practice at the agency and in the community. The practicum earns course credit and is evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis.

Bachelor of Social Work students complete two practicums during their degree. The third-year practicum is done concurrently with courses and students are in the field on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the end of October to April. Fourth-year students will be doing their field practicum as a block placement, and they will be in the field Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays  from the beginning of January to the beginning of April.

Part-time students (in either the BSW or MSW programs) may follow a different pattern as their programs are individually organized.

More information and student forms available here.

Third-year BSW Students

Third-year BSW students begin their program in September and participate in a field orientation and preparation course. This normally starts the second week of September. Sessions focus on preparing students for interviews, identifying learning goals and understanding the roles and expectations of students, field instructors and faculty liaisons.

Placement planning is done in the spring/summer prior the beginning of the program. Students need to check email and be available to interview with practicum sites in the summer prior to the start of the summer program.

Students complete a field planning form and turn this in to the field education coordinator who then matches each student with a potential placement site.  The agency will invite the student for an interview. Once the interview has been completed, the field instructor and student will confirm the outcome of the interview with the field coordinator, who will make the final determination about the placement.  It is expected that all students will have confirmed their field practicum by mid-October.

School expectations for a Third-year BSW Student

The preference is for a student to be placed in a community-based setting where the student is exposed any of the following activities: outreach, advocacy, program planning and implementation, working with groups of individuals, participating in meetings, analyzing policies and their implications for practice, providing information and referral services and case management.

It is expected that third-year BSW students focus on developing a professional identity, engagement skills with clients and various systems and gain an understanding of the context of social problems and appropriate responses.

Field Practicum I – SOWK 315

Program Level: 3rd Year BSW

Course No.: SOWK 315

Frequency: Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Duration: Mid October – early April (350 hrs @ 7.5 hrs/day = 47 days)


Fourth-year BSW Students

The field process for fourth year practicum begins as early as spring of third-year with an agency fair in which agencies are invited to present field practice settings to students. In the summer prior to fourth year, students will complete a field planning form which they will submit to the field education coordinators. Students will meet with one of the field coordinators in summer/early fall to discuss their learning objectives and placement options, will select fields of practice that are of most interest to them, and ultimately identify three top choices, considering the choices of all other students in the cohort and the placements available. Students need to monitor and respond to emails and be available to interview with prospective field instructors. It is expected that all students will have finalized their field placement by the end of November.

School expectations for fourth year BSW students

Preference is for a student to be placed in a complex system that allows for more in-depth clinical skill development. Students should be involved in any of the following activities: formal assessments, supportive counselling with individuals and/or families, collaborating with diverse professionals, exposed to working in teams, presenting at case conferences, group work, understanding accountability structures, implementing intervention plans with clients or groups.

Field Practicum II – SOWK 415

Program Level: 4th year BSW

Course No.: SOWK 415

Frequency: Monday to Thursday

Duration: SOWK 415 is carried out in the field for a total of 378 hours, or 51 days (7.5 hours/day) 4 days per week.


Information and Forms

General Information

Required for Third-year, SOWK 315 Field Education

Required for Fourth-year, SOWK 415 Field Education

Required for Students on Placement in a Healthcare Setting

*Please note: All students requesting a practicum in a healthcare setting will be asked to complete a vaccination review with UBC Student Health Services. Completing the immunization verification does not guarantee a placement within a hospital or health authority.