Online MSW Fieldwork Information
Students are required to complete two internships during their program. For the first year of the program, students focus on coursework only and do not complete an internship. However, at the start program, students are required to work with the Regional Coordinators to actively participate in locating field sites in their home state for their first-level internship. The internship process can mimic a job interview process. Students apply to sites and interview to secure an internship. Internships are from Fall to Spring only.
First-Level Internship: When students start the second year of the program, they begin their first-level internship. The first-level internship is a generalist practice internship where students learn to work with individuals, families, and groups. Activities can include case management, intakes, resource referral, basic assessments, etc. Students work with sites that meet the first-level internship requirements. The first level internship does not have to be a site related to the students' track: i.e: Migration, LCAP, or Schools. Students do not provide individual or group therapy during the first-level internship. At the start of the 1st year of the program, students begin to work actively with the Regional Coordinators to identify and locate their first-level internship. This internship should be secured during the students' 1st year in the program and students will start their first-level internship in the Fall Semester of the 2nd year.
Second-Level Internship: In the third year of the program, the internship is aligned with the students' track: Migration Track, LCAP Track, or Schools Track (only in Illinois). The second-level internship is an advanced-level internship where students learn to practice their skills with individuals, families, and groups. In the migration track, students are required to work with the migration population as part of their chosen track. In the LCAP track, students are required to work with mezzo and macro practices, and in the Schools Track, students are required to work in designated LUC-approved PEL schools K-12. (Illinois Only). At the start of the 2nd year in the program, students work actively with the Regional Coordinators to identify and locate their second-level internship in their chosen track (while concurrently completing their first-level internship).
As the hours for the second-level internship increase from 400 to 600 hours, it can be more difficult to manage an internship along with work, home, life, and school responsibilities. It is important for students to be proactive in planning and time management.
Second Level Track Descriptions
Students in the Migration Track can intern in a field site working with immigrants and refugees, and community members of all ages and cultures. Second-year internship learning opportunities include biopsychosocial assessments, individual therapy, co-facilitating clinical group, and other advanced clinical tasks. Examples of sites that offer these opportunities are mental health centers for adults or children, hospitals, community schools, or community social service agencies. Students are required to work with the Regional Coordinators to actively participate in locating field sites in their home state for their second-level internships. When students interview at their second-level sites, they should discuss working with immigrants and refugees and the learning opportunities available as this needs to be a focus of the internship.
Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP) Track
Students in the LCAP Track intern in a field site that provides opportunities in mezzo and macro practice within a variety of organizations and community settings. Second-year internship opportunities include grant writing, advocacy, program coordination, and/or leadership and development. Social Work sites that provide administrative and programmatic learning opportunities at a mezzo and macro level may fulfill this requirement. Students are required to work with the Regional Coordinators to actively participate in locating field sites in their home state for their second-level internships.
Students in the Schools Track intern in a variety of school settings. Activities include creating IEPs, working with students individually and in groups, crisis intervention, etc. Note: The Schools Track option is only available to students residing in Illinois. Students complete an internship for licensure as a school social worker in Illinois (Professional Educator License/PEL). Loyola has multiple sites that partner with PEL Schools in various cities. Communities that have limited school partnerships with LUC are required to work with the Regional Coordinators to actively participate in locating field sites in their Illinois community for their second-level internship.
Required Internship Hours
*The expectation is that students will complete their internship over two semesters.
A total of 400 hours is required during the fall and spring semesters only. Students work 10-15 hours per week.
A total of 600 hours is required during the fall and spring semesters only. Students work 15-20 hours per week.
Students and sites identify a mutually agreeable weekly schedule that supports the learning opportunities available at the site. Students and Field Supervisors agree on the start date and end date at the start of the student’s internship. Students may refer to the Field Manual for the early termination policy.
How to Secure an Internship
The internship process begins with the start of the Online MSW Program when the student completes the 1st level field application located in the Sonia Database System. We will share the current Loyola field partner sites that we have in your home state (if any) at the beginning of the process but cannot guarantee these sites will be available as the interview process is competitive. The internship process requires students to take the initiative to identify field sites within their home state and work with the Regional Coordinators to secure a field site. Students may need to identify field partner sites for both first and second-level internships as part of the OMSW program. We recognize that securing an internship site may come with some challenges and we are here to support you and work together to help you secure a site.
- Upon enrollment, students receive a letter informing them to complete the first-level field internship application in the Sonia Database System. The first-level internship application should be submitted within 30 days of the start of the Fall Semester.
- Once the students' field application is submitted, they will be added to the Online MSW Placement Group in Sonia and Sakai, the learning management system used at LUC. The Sakai course site is titled "Online 1st MSW level site" and students will be able to view the tutorial with additional information about the first-level internship.
- The SSW Regional Coordinators will begin to work with students at the start of the program and will share existing national sites in the Sonia Database System. Loyola’s School of Social Work may have a current partner in or near your home state location (outside of the Chicagoland area). The Regional Coordinator will be able to “short list” these field partner sites and share them. Students will then use Sonia to reach out to sites to schedule interviews and secure an internship. Please note that we are continuing to grow our national partnerships and may not have one in your location at this time. An interview does not guarantee an offer.
- If there are no existing sites in the student’s home state, the regional coordinators ask the student to submit two sites that the school can program develop as an existing field partner site. The program development process for field sites can take up to 2-4 months depending on the site. (Hospitals and government field sites can take much longer to program develop up to six months or more).
- If a student receives one or more internship offers, they may only accept ONE. If the student does not receive an internship offer, they have to start the process over.
- Students in the 1st and 2nd years must be supervised by an LCSW or an MSW with 2 years of post-master's experience. (This pertains to all second-level tracks).
- Students complete a 1st or 2nd level field confirmation form in Sonia once they have secured a field site.
- Students work with their secured field site regarding any internship paperwork.
- Students cannot begin their internship until a Loyola Affiliation Agreement has been completed between Loyola University and the internship partner. Once the Affiliation Agreement process is completed, the student may begin the internship at the start of the Fall Semester. Students should agree on a start date and end date with their Field Supervisor and should be included in the Learning Agreement. We do not encourage students to terminate their internships early.
Timeline for first and second-level internships:
|Dates||Steps to Secure Internship|
|September 2022||Complete and submit first-level field application in Sonia|
|September – November 2022||Meet with Regional Coordinator|
|By January 2023||Identify site options for program development and inform the Regional Coordinator by email|
|Spring Registration 2023||Register for Field Classes during spring registration|
|By May 2023||Confirmation Form submitted once site secured|
|Fall Semester 2023 Start Date||Begin internship at the start of the Fall semester|
|Column 1||Column 2|
Student completes and submits second-level field application in Sonia
Student includes their chosen second-level track.
|September-November 2023||Meet with Regional Coordinator|
By January 2024
Identify site options for program development and informs and inform the Regional Coordinator by email
|Spring Registration 2024||Register for Field Classes during spring registration|
|By May 2024||Site program development completed for student’s Fall internship|
|Fall Semester 2024 Start Date||Begin internship with the start of the fall semester|