Master of Social Work Field Education

Hours: 240 each semester

Field Education

The Field Education Program at the Department of Social Work provides an opportunity for students to integrate their curriculum knowledge with real-life experiences in a variety of field practice settings. Students are supervised by experienced social work field instructors at human services agencies where they refine their social work skills and begin their lives as social work professionals.

The field placement is a vital part of the professional development of the student. Through our collaborative efforts the Social Work Department and human service organizations will continue to offer field education of the highest quality to enhance human well-being and meet the basic human needs of all people. Master of Social (MSW) work students complete concurrent field placements two semesters per year.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has set 2015 standards for Field Education. This area of the curriculum is considered the "signature pedagogy" of the program. Field education is considered the central form of instruction and learning in which a profession socializes its students to perform the role of practitioner, connects the theoretical and conceptual contributions of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting, and is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the achievement of program competencies.

For more information about field education at Appalachian State, contact:

Heather Thorp, LCSW
Field Director
Department of Social Work
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608


Required Criminal Background Checks 

Criminal background checks (CBCs) are required by the Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS).  The BCHS policy can be found here.  Students must complete a CBC annually, prior to each field placement.  Students are responsible for paying the minimal fee (usually $10-20).  BCHS typically uses Certiphi as a CBC provider.  Our departmental Program Specialist will submit your name to BCHS and send an email to you to let you know that Certiphi will be contacting you. Students entering the field will receive an email from Certiphi at and will be required to follow the instructions listed in the email to complete their Criminal Background Check prior to starting field placement.  If you have not received an email from Certiphi within two weeks of the email notification from the departmental Program Specialist, please check your spam first, then notify the Field Director.  If you have received the email from Certiphi, complete your CBC within two weeks of receiving the email.  If you are unable to do so, please let the Field Director know.  Based on the CBC results, students may be required to meet with the Field Director and/or the MSW Program Director.  Some agencies also require CBCs and they may or may not agree to accept the CBC that was required by BCHS.  Most agencies that require these tests also absorb the cost of the tests.  However, some agencies will conduct the tests but require you to cover the cost.  It is the student’s responsibility to follow up and pay for the required CBCs.  Registration for the field placement will not occur until the CBC is completed and concerns are addressed or resolved.  Please see the MSW Student Handbook for additional information.



Field supervisors: Please note that all evaluation forms are designed to be completed electronically rather than by hand. Please complete them electronically and then print and sign them. If you have any problems with the forms, please contact the Field Director. In order for the Learning Contracts and Evaluations to print properly, the word.doc must be converted to PDF  at this time.