Internships are an important component of the BASW and MSW curriculum. Social work education embraces the concept that students learn best when they have the opportunity to integrate theoretical concepts taught in the classroom and employ them in internships. Students learn the importance of establishing professional relationships with their clients, determining goals in collaboration with clients, developing effective intervention strategies, evaluating their services, and developing a greater sense of self awareness that informs practice. Opportunities to learn practice concepts related to organizational and community involvement also are offered to students. Students in internships are covered by professional liability insurance. Agencies may require the use of a car, proof of auto insurance, finger printing, and background check as requirements for internships.
In any given year, the School of Social Work places students in over 150 agencies in 9 Bay Area counties.
Students in the program must complete two semesters of field practicum which requires a total of 480 hours of field internship in a program-approved agency.
Students planning to enter internships should have their schedules and personal affairs arranged to enable them to devote 16 hours per week to work in a program-approved agency. Students who do not meet the minimum standard of performance may be required to complete more hours to gain the minimum competencies necessary for social work practice.
In each of the MSW program options, the first year internship enables students to develop generalist practice skills working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities within a transcultural perspective. The second year practicum provides further refinement of practice skills with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students are placed in agencies serving various populations-at-risk. Internships span four 15-week semesters, and a minimum total of 1,200 internship hours is required.
The internship process differs slightly between the on-campus MSW programs and the Hybrid/Online MSW Program.
MSW Campus Option
There are two consecutive semesters of internships for each academic year. The first two semesters require two days of internship (Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday/Friday, 16 hours per week) while the last two semesters requires three days, 24 hours per week (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). An exception to this three days/24 hour per week requirement for second year internship is available to students requesting to spread their second year placement over three semesters, and requires two days/16 hours per week for each semester. This exception must be formally requested.
Students may petition either to consider their work site as a possible internship for one year, or for a block placement (five days/week until the hours are completed).
MSW Online/Hybrid Option
All four semesters of internship require 16 hours a week of internship which must be completed at the internship site/agency.
Sampling of Internship Agencies
- Alameda County
- Bill Wilson Center
- Catholic Charities
- Community Solutions
- ESUHSD (East Side Union High School District)
- Gardner Family Care Corp
- Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Hospice and Home Care
- Kaiser Fremont Medical
- Law Foundation of Silicon Valley (LACY)
- San Andreas Regional Center
- San Mateo County Human Services Agency
- Santa Clara County Adult Protective Services
- Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Department
- Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center
- Santa Cruz County Human Services Agency Homeless Persons Health Project
- VA Palo Alto Healthcare System
- West Valley College Student Health Services