Field Education

How is my field placement determined?

Over the summer, the Advising Office, the Field Education Department, and the Office of Student Services work in coordination to create a class schedule that fits your program requirements, as well as any special needs or circumstances you have noted on your Registration Approval Form. Our Field Education Department, in arranging more than 400 Fall placements, strives to ensure the best possible match for each incoming student. Field Department staff study very carefully the information you have supplied on the Field Placement Form alongside the prior experience noted on your résumé. Your placement site is linked to your advisor assignment.

When will I be notified of my field placement?

You will receive your field placement assignment during orientation week. (You will be notified before orientation only if your placement requires special tests—e.g., fingerprinting or medical clearance.)

What will I be doing at my field placement?

You will be doing direct practice work with individuals, families, groups or a combination thereof. While gaining this hands-on experience, you will be learning and practicing skills including engagement, contracting, assessment, and termination. In some cases, there will be opportunities to learn intervention techniques. Please review the Field Education Manual to familiarize yourself with possible assignments, education plans, process recordings, and the learning objectives for your first-year placement.

Once I’ve received my field placement assignment, if I have questions about it, who can I talk to?

Please reach out to your advisor or the Office of Advising (send an e-mail to swadvising@columbia.edu). Your e-mail should detail your questions and concerns. Your advisor and the Office of Advising want to help you and address any field-related concerns you may have, so please reach out to them. All CUSSW staff are here to assist and support your learning. We are committed to providing you the best education possible.

What is my field instructor’s role?

Your field instructor (also sometimes referred to as your “task supervisor”) is the agency employee responsible for overseeing your training at your field placement. He or she is there to support your learning in the field, to answer questions you may have about interactions with clients and agency employees, and to help you develop direct practice skills. At the end of the term, your field instructor evaluates your work at the agency for your advisor and recommends whether you should receive a pass or fail grade. NOTE: Your advisor is the final arbiter of the grade you receive for field education. Under some circumstances, he or she may choose to override the recommendation of the agency field instructor.

What if I have additional questions about my field placement or related matters?

For help with additional questions about field-related matters, please contact the Field Education Department at:
E-mail: swfield_education@columbia.edu
Telephone: 212-851-2307
See also: Field Education staff list