Health Sciences & Social Work

Social Work Practicum

All students seeking the BSW degree will complete SW 480: Social Work Practicum.  The practicum is traditionally completed during the student’s final semester prior to graduation from Western and consists of 450 hours of supervised, hands-on social work experience in an agency.  Students are placed in agencies representing a variety of fields of practice such as child welfare, health care, mental health, geriatrics, domestic violence, schools, and corrections.  They provide client services, including assessment, supportive counseling, case management, linkage, and skill development.  An on-campus seminar integrates students’ academic preparation with their practice experience and is usually held every other Friday afternoon.

Screening and monitoring students for readiness for field placement and subsequent completion of the Social Work Program is an ongoing process.  Students must meet with the social work advisor to confirm that they have met ALL the requirements for SW 480.

SW 480 prerequisites:

  1. Admission into the Social Work Program as a full social work major (SCLWK)
  2. Senior standing
  3. 2.50 social work GPA*
  4. Completion of all required social work courses with a minimum grade of 'C'
  5. Being within 20 semester hours of completion of the BSW degree
  6. Permission of the Director of Field Education and Chairperson of the department

In addition to the above, the following criteria will be utilized during SW 440: Pre-Practicum in approving students for practica:

  1. Demonstrated readiness for professional agency behavior
    • History of timeliness in completion of assignments in prior courses
    • History of class attendance, punctuality, and participation
    • Demonstrated respect for peers, faculty, and potential clients
  2. Successful completion of SW 440:Pre-Practicum requirements,** including the following:
    • Completion and submission of the Practicum Application and other assignments by the specified due dates
    • Timely agency interviews
    • Acceptance by agency
    • Student notification to Director of Field Education regarding agency preference
    • Approval of agency by Director of Field Education (may require site visit)
    • Approval by Director of Field Education of any Special Permission Requests submitted
  3. Students not meeting deadlines on the above criteria can expect to delay their practicum.
  4. Students accepted for graduate school the following semester will be given preference.

*Students enrolled in SW 440 with a major GPA near or below 2.5 will NOT be given permission to register for SW 480 until final grades are posted and GPA eligibility can be determined.
**If, upon completing SW 440, a student does not meet all the requirements for SW 480, the student and agency will be notified that the student will not be attending the practicum.

Coney Grant

Students experiencing barriers while planning or performing their practicum may request assistance by applying for the Nancy Coney Field Education Grant. This is a one-time award of up to $100 to help alleviate expenses involved in transportation to interviews or placements, required dress, purchasing required course materials, etc. Please see the link above for more information.

Community Service

Below are just a few of the 200+ agencies where students have performed a practicum in and around Illinois:

Alternatives for the Older Adult Moline, IL
Big Brothers/Big Sisters Macomb, Quincy, Springfield, IL
Blessing Hospital-Social Work Quincy, IL
Catholic Charities Bloomington, Galesburg, Lincoln, IL
Central Illinois Agency on Aging Peoria, IL
Community Medical Center Monmouth, IL
Cornerstone: Foundations for Families Quincy, IL
DCFS-IL Bloomington, Canton, Chicago, Galesburg, Pekin, Peoria, Macomb, IL
Family Resources, Inc. Davenport, IA
Illinois Hispanic Human Services Association Chicago, IL
Joliet Police Department Joliet, IL
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Canton, Galesburg, Sterling, W. Peoria, IL
McDonough Co. State’s Attorney’s Office Macomb, IL
McDonough District Hospital Macomb, IL
National Association of Social Workers-IL Chapter Chicago, IL
Pekin High School Pekin, IL
Starr House-Jane Addams Hull House Chicago, IL
Wesley Village Macomb, IL
WIRC-CAA Victim Services Macomb, IL
YMCA Chicago, Macomb, IL
Young House Family Services Burlington, IA

Through the practicum experience social work majors have provided over 250,000 hours of service to the surrounding communities!


Practicum Forms
for current pre-practicum and practicum students
Forms are in PDF format. Adobe Reader required.

Pre-Practicum Documents
Application for Practicum
Field Setting Preferences
Practicum Learning Plan-Description
Practicum Learning Plan-Example
Practicum Learning Plan
Special Permission Request
Statement of Insurance Coverage
Statement of Understanding
Waiver and Release of Liability

Practicum Documents for Students
Graduation Information
Process Recording Outline
Process Recording Form (Word)
Process Recording Form (PDF)
Student Eval. of Practicum Agency
Student Eval. of Social Work Program
Time Sheet (sample) (PDF)
Time Sheet (Word)
Weekly Log example of required format to use for submission

Practicum Documents for Agencies

Evaluation of Social Work Program (Document currently being update)
Agency Profile Update

Field Instructor Profile

Orientation Checklist for Social Work Practicum Students