Online (DL) Practicum Experience

Students who are participating in our Distributed Learning (on-line) programs for BASW and MSW degrees complete the same requirements for practicum education as on-campus students. This includes the same coursework, total number of practicum hours, structure of internship within the academic year and expectations for supervision. Our program emphasis is generalist practice with rural and Indigenous communities. This emphasis is reflected in both our curriculum content and in competencies that guide internship activity development, student learning agreements and all practicum evaluations.

For DL MSW students, placement planning occurs during the two semesters prior to beginning placement, including individual placement planning meetings with the Director of Community Placement and Practicum Education, which may occur via web or phone, as well as in person during campus orientations and intensives.  DL MSW Students should plan for an average of 16 hours per week of practicum activities during the semesters they are enrolled in practicum seminar.  DL MSW students complete practicum seminar coursework during the third and fourth semesters of their Foundation year (SW 555) and the third and fourth semester of their Advanced year (SW 655).

For DL BASW students placement planning occurs via SW 356, a spring course during the junior year facilitated by the Director of Community Placement and Practicum Education.  The practicum preparation course is designed to prepare students to participate in the selection process for senior year internship, to understand the purpose of the senior year practicum placement, and to increase the likelihood of a meaningful practicum experience. This course includes individualized and team meetings to identify prospective sites, as well as social work specific resume building, development of professional networks and weekly course assignments. DL BASW students should plan for an average of 14 hours per week of practicum activities during each semester of their senior year, while they are enrolled in SW 456 and SW 455.

The Social Work Department at Cal Poly Humboldt initially developed our Distributed Learning program specifically to meet the educational needs of individuals residing in far Northern California, primarily those who were already working in social work or related fields.  Out of area students may need to move to the Superior Region of Northern California to complete their social work degree. In addition to the coursework, a Practicum Placement is required to graduate. The Cal Poly Humboldt Department of Social Work has the most relationships for practicum placements in the Humboldt service area. The Humboldt service area in the Superior Region of Northern California includes these counties: Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yuba. See: 

Students seeking to make use of employment-settings to meet the practicum placement requirement should consult with their employment leadership regarding existing policies. Proposals for employment-based placements must be be approved by employment leadership and the Director of Community Placement and Practicum Education. Students residing in the service area of an existing CSU or UC with a social work program will have a higher likelihood of barriers to placement, as those universities will have priority for placement.

Employment-Based Practicum Placement

Cal Poly Humboldt Social Work department has a rich foundation of community partnerships with public, tribal and non-profit community organizations to support the direct learning of our students in the practice of social work. Some of our community partners within close proximity to our university have been hosting students since our BASW program began in the 1970s. 

Our online (distributed learning) program was developed in 2013 in partnership with county and tribal employers in far northern California to increase the capacity of our regional workforce. This has also allowed our program to support the unique challenges and strengths of predominantly rural communities and partner with employers in the region to support their employees in meeting professional and academic goals and deepening their social work practice. 

Employers may have different protocols and requirements to qualify for employment-based placements, and this may also be shaped by your current work unit, position description, permanent status and professional development plans. We encourage you to inquire with your HR and organizational leadership regarding whether this opportunity may be available to you. 

Some examples of on-going regional employer partnerships include: 

Humboldt DHHS, Del Norte DHHS, Siskiyou County DHHS, Shasta Child and Family Services, Mendocino Child and Family Services, Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services, Trinity County Child Welfare Services, Lake County Child Welfare Services, Lake County Behavioral Health, Del Norte Unified School District.

Yurok Tribe, Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria Social Services, Trinidad Rancheria Social Services, K’im:aw Medical Center Hoopa Valley, Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation, California Tribal TANF, Consolidated Tribal Health, Lake County Tribal Health Consortium, Northern Valley Indian Health

Hill Country Health and Wellness Center, Redwood Community Services, Shasta Community Health Center, Victor Community Support Services, Inc, Crestwood Behavioral Health

For more information about becoming a regional partner or regarding policies on employment-based placement, please contact, Director of Community Placement and Practicum. 

To learn more about becoming a Practicum Supervisor and establishing the placement agreement that allows organizations to host our Social Work students, please contact Yvonne Doble, Director of Community Placement and Practicum Education at 707-826-4452 or