Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

An internship is an integral and essential component of the BSW degree curriculum. BSW students must complete a minimum of 400 internship hours. The internship program is explained in detail in the SSW Internship Manual.

The purpose of the generalist (first-level) internship is for students to gain experience and learn foundational elements of practice. BSW students complete their internship in their senior year in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program. Students are expected to gain a general sense of an agency’s programs, services, and policies. Potential tasks to gain this knowledge include: administering paperwork, conducting intakes, assessments, and documentation; practicing case management; and engaging in research projects. Students are expected to spend 50% of their time in direct service to clients. Students at their generalist (first-level) internship will not conduct individual or group counseling on their own as this is considered a specialized (second-level) skill set.

Getting Started with the Internship

  • Students must have satisfactorily completed or anticipate completion of SOWK 200, 201 or 307, 305, 370, and 350 prior to the start term of the internship.
  • The one-year internship is designed as a two-semester (SOWK 330 and SOWK 340), two full days each week, 400 hours.
  • The application for the internship must be completed in SONIA, which is the School of Social Work's internship platform. The SONIA internship platform will provide students with a list of potential internship sites.
  • The internship courses (SOWK 330 & SOWK 340) must each be passed with a grade of "C" or above. If a student receives a grade below "C" in either course, both internship courses must be repeated at another internship site.

LUC Process for Securing an Internship 

Students identify when they will apply for their internship. There are three options available: 

  • Fall to Spring (August to May)
  • Spring to Summer (January to August)
  • Summer Block (May to August)

To start the process in SONIA:

  1. Complete an internship application in SONIA. This PDF has the How To Complete The Field Application in Sonia.
  2. Once the application is approved, students are added based on the start term selected in SONIA.
  3. Access and research available internship sites within the internship term selected.
  4. Students select which sites to apply to (similar to a job search). The majority of sites require a resume and cover letter. Specific application instructions can be found for each site in SONIA. It is recommended that students apply to at least 3-5 sites initially.
  5. Upon receiving application materials, agencies may invite students for an interview. Please note that this is a competitive process, and specific internships are not guaranteed. 
  6. If interested, agencies will extend an internship offer. Please refer to the Internship Manual for additional information about the next steps under “Internship Process and Information.”
  7. Once a student accepts an internship, they complete a confirmation form in SONIA.

Students who would like assistance with creating a resume, cover letter, and/or interview preparation can schedule an appointment with the career advisor, Catherine Archer, through Handshake at New Appointment | Handshake (joinhandshake.com) or by calling the Career Services front desk at 773-508-7716.

Students should make a note of: 

  • The School of Social Work maintains an affiliation with many agencies, organizations, and human services programs within Chicago and the larger metropolitan area. Students have the opportunity to work with clients representing a wide range of socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. 
  • We encourage students to utilize the SONIA database to identify an internship. Students who are interested in an agency that is not currently a LUC partner should reach out to the internship coordinator for approval before proceeding with the site. The process to approve a site not currently in SONIA takes 2-4 months. Students should contact the internship coordinator one full semester in advance.
  • Students are expected to arrange their schedules in order to accommodate the internship hours. Internship schedules are finalized between the Internship Supervisor and the student prior to accepting the internship.
  • BSW students are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours, as stated in the school's Internship Manual.
  • In many cases, students complete more than the minimum required hours. We do not encourage students to end their internship early because they have reached their hours. Instead, please refer to the Internship Confirmation form to review the previously agreed-upon end date. It is important for students to maintain their commitment to their internship site and their clients.
  • Students may be asked to commute an hour or more to their internship sites. The School of Social Work does not reimburse students for transportation costs to/from internship agencies. Transportation time does not count toward internship hours. 
  • Students can apply for internships throughout the year. Please note that internship opportunities become more limited as we move closer to the start of the semester, so it is recommended that students begin the process of securing an internship as soon as SONIA access is available. Internships may be competitive as agencies interview Loyola students in addition to students from other schools.
  • Students in internship courses and all other courses must adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics.

Internship Courses

SOWK 330 (200 hours experience—3.5 credit hours) is the BSW student's first formal internship experience completed in the senior year. An application form found on SONIA, the School of Social Work's internship platform, is the first step in this important process. The students will share their backgrounds, experiences, and areas of interest; however, the internship itself may not necessarily be located in the student's area of interest. Internships are highly competitive as students may be competing against other Loyola students as well as students from other programs and/or universities.

Information about the internship application process, requirements, and deadlines are noted in the BSW internship application.

SOWK 340 (200 hours experience—3.5 credit hours) is the second half of the BSW internship experience. This experience is a continuation of the SOWK 330 internship.

SOWK 362 (1 credit hour) is always taken in conjunction with SOWK 330. The focus of this course is on experiences and progress of the student in the first semester of the internship and the relationship of the internship experience to specific foundation/generalist practice class content.

Internship Coordinator

Rachael Persin