Online Field Experience

Students who are participating in our Distributed Learning (on-line) programs for BASW and MSW degrees complete the same requirements for field education as on-campus students. This includes the same coursework, total number of field 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 field evaluations.

Our DL BASW and MSW programs were developed with the goal to better serve the communities of far northern California and we have developed strong field placement partnerships in Del Norte, Lake, Mendocino, Shasta and Trinity counties, in addition to Humboldt county where we are located. We do have some established field placements outside of these regions, typically drawing on our existing relationships within tribal services programs, alumni networks, or exploring opportunities for employer supported internships developed for students within our programs.

Out of area students are provided individualized support for the field placement process, including information regarding existing placements in their region and in-depth guidance regarding the parameters for employment-based internships as relevant. 

For DL MSW students placement planning occurs during the two semesters prior to beginning placement, including individual placement planning meetings with the Director of Field 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 field activities during the semesters they are enrolled in field seminar.  DL MSW students complete field 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 Field Education.  The field 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 field placement, and to increase the likelihood of a meaningful field 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 field practicum activities during each semester of their senior year, while they are enrolled in SW 456 and SW 455.

Please note if you are located in the service area of another California State University that has a Social Work degree program we cannot guarantee that we will be able to secure a field placement for you. Local universities have priority for placements in their region and we work in partnership with them around placement opportunities. Students who are currently employed in the social work field may have some flexibility in this regard. For more information on out of area placement guidelines, and the protocol for sites to establish placement agreements with HSU, please review our Field Requirements and the California Association of Social Work Deans and Directors Principles for Ethical Field Placement of Social Work Students.

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