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Field education (field placement, internship, practicum) in the School of Social Work at Dominican University is an essential and integral part of the learning experience in our social work program. The Council on Social Work Education considers field 'the signature pedagogy' of social work education. By participating in internships, students integrate academic knowledge, social work values, ethics, and the skills needed to become globally focused, relationship-centered social workers. Students develop and demonstrate their emerging competencies as social workers through placements in social service agencies where they are supervised by experienced agency field instructors. 

The School of Social Work's practicum office is committed to professionalism and integrity. We meet with all students in the program prior to students starting the field process for a "Field Readiness Interview." During this meeting, we work with students intensively on their resume and cover letters and conduct a mock interview to prepare them to seek placement, and to better understand their passions and goals as they embark on a career in social work.  

The School of Social Work is affiliated with over 300 agencies in Cook, Lake and other surrounding counties. Our online and hybrid MSW program offers internships to students residing in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. Students who are completing the full MSW program will complete two year-long internships that begin in August and end in May. The Generalist (first year) internship requires 400 to 480 hours, which is approximately 14 to 16 hours or two days per week. The Advanced Generalist (second year) internship requires 500 to 600 hours, which is approximately 17 to 20 hours or three days per week.  

We intentionally partner with agencies that serve marginalized and minoritized populations that share our commitment to social justice. We have placements for students to build foundational skills during the Generalist year, and placements that align with each of the six tracks available to students in the Advanced Generalist year.  

Here are examples of  domestic  and  international  field placements where Dominican University MSW students may choose to intern. 

General Frequently Asked Questions FAQs 

Can I do my internship on evenings and weekends? 

Depending on the agency, weekend and/or evening hours may be available. This is subject to change based on agency staffing and needs.

Can I do an employment-based internship? 

Yes, with restrictions. Please contact the practicum office for more information about employment-based internships. 

Can I do a summer placement? 

We do not currently offer the ability to complete internships over the summer terms. Students who need to extend their hours from the school year into the summer can request an extension. 

Are internships paid? 

MSW internships are completed for course credit and the majority are unpaid.  

How soon can I get started looking for an internship? 

We encourage students to set up their credentials as soon as they are admitted so they can receive field readiness information and act on it promptly. Field readiness appointments can be made as early as the beginning of January. Internships must be secured by June 15. 

Can I do an internship with an agency that does not currently have an affiliation agreement with the Dominican University School of Social work? 

We encourage students to explore the opportunities already available with our many partners. It is possible for us to onboard new agencies if they meet our vetting requirements. However, this process takes time, and might limit students’ options with other agencies. 

Can I do an international field placement?  

Yes, we offer international placement opportunities for students in their Advanced Generalist year. Students interested in an international placement must express interest to their academic advisor and the practicum office as soon as they know they would like to pursue this option. We have affiliations with organizations/intuitions in various countries and work with students to see which country, placement and population may align with their interests. International field placements are also contingent upon availability and other factors such as current public health concerns and socio-political context. All students interested in an international placement much be in the global track. Please see more information below under “International Field Placement.” 

Practicum Manual (pdf opens in a new window)

Practicum Manual: Spanish (pdf opens in a new window)

If you are an agency, organization or school district interested in partnering with Dominican University School of Social Work for Field Placements, please email