MSW Field Education

At SFSU School of Social Work, all MSW students must complete an internship during the Fall and Spring semesters during their two years in the program. The foundation generalist practice model serves as the framework for the first year MSW curriculum. Consistent with the mission of the school, it is designed to address the needs and aspirations of disadvantaged and oppressed communities. Special attention, therefore, is given to student's mastery of the urban environment as a distinctive context for practice and promotes an awareness of those societal forces which influence the distribution of life chances, power and resources. During the foundation year of the graduate program, the student is encouraged to develop and refine skills associated with this core practice model.


There are four components to the core practice model:

  • Developing working relationships with clients and others under diverse conditions. (voluntary referral, involuntary contact, outreach, or transfer);
  • Formulating a plan of action which recognizes both personal and environmental elements in the change process;
  • Undertaking a variety of worker roles (advocate, coordinator, counselor, mediator, negotiator, support group leader, etc);
  • Facilitating the development of client autonomy in achieving goals. Additionally, the first-year student is expected to be able to identify, examine and respond to specific instances of disadvantaged and oppressed.

The first-year foundation placement is meant to complement this practice perspective. Students are required to undertake a variety of practice roles, to have practice experiences at a variety of practice levels (individual, group, and community) and to have extensive contact with various parts of the service delivery system.

The second-year advanced placements provide concentrated field education experiences in Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups (IFG), Child Welfare and Mental Health. Students in the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program complete their second year internship in a public child welfare agency. Students enrolled in the Mental Health Stipend Program complete their advanced internship requirement in the area of public mental health.