The Master Social Work (MSW) Program will operate remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To contact faculty members via email or to schedule a virtual meeting, please view their respective profiles. For general inquiries, please email, Ms. Isabelle Hubert, MSW, Manager of Professional MSW Scholar Services at Thank you for your patience as we transform how we work to best serve our scholars.

Field Education

Field education is considered the social work "signature" pedagogy. It integrates your course work with practical field learning experiences purposefully and cohesively.

Inquiries and comments concerning information about Field Education should be directed to the Director of Field Education, Cathleen Lilavois, LCSW, at or (718) 262-5373.

Reduction in Field Hours

On March 25, 2020, CSWE and Commission on Accreditation Statement “Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, students who have completed 85% of the required placement hours (i.e., 340 hours for baccalaureate programs and 765 hours for master’s programs) to a satisfactory level may, at program discretion, be evaluated as having met the field placement requirements. This option for reduced hours is for students whose field completion dates occur by December 31, 2020. Students whose field placement completion dates occur after December 31, 2020, will be expected to complete the full 400 or 900 hours in compliance with AS 2.2.5. Remote field activity, as well as field supervision and field seminar hours, may be counted toward the accrual of field hours.”

On September 16, 2020, New York State Education Department (NYSED) approved the change in clinical experience in healthcare programs due to COVID-19; fieldwork hours have been reduced by 85% for the fall 2020 semester. For fall 2020, Scholars enrolled in their generalist year are required hours to complete 170 hours, and scholars in their advanced year, are required to complete 212.50 hours. The 85% reduction in field placement hours only applies to December 31, 2020. Future requests are required from NYSED.

Diligent efforts are made to arrange for those scholars who cannot modify their employment schedules. However, evening and weekend accommodations are not guaranteed. In these special circumstances, scholars are approved to attend internships during unconventional hours such as evenings/weekends (flexible schedule) under the supervision of an approved task or clinical supervisor). The agency hours of service may vary, as may the type of services have delivered. To date, there are some approved sites that offer night or weekend hours. However, these are few, and under no circumstance will the educational objectives of the curriculum be compromised for a non-traditional placement. Hours may not be carried over from one semester to another.

The scheduled days of internship are determined by the agency and the scholar. The scholar is under the supervision of an experienced specialized level social work supervisor who has experience on a specialized level. The weekly field seminar is on campus with faculty instructors; so, the scholars can learn to interpret their experiences and can learn to apply sound principles and methods of social work to their social work practice.

Requirement for Graduation

Field placement/internship is a part of the training and graduation requirement. Scholars are expected to familiarize themselves with the Social Work policies, procedures, professional conduct; rules and regulations, and due process. The MSW Program at CUNY York College MSW Scholar Handbook and Field Education handbooks are located at the administrative social work office (AC-3A11) and will are distributed to all incoming scholars during orientation. Scholars sign acknowledging receipt of the handbooks.

Objectives of Field Instruction

*Field Placement requirements vary for general and advance standing MSW scholars & term of field placements.

The objectives of field instruction the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). The objectives are to teach MSW scholars to:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior.
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice.
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social Economic, and Environmental Justice.
  4. Engage in Practice-informed research and Research-informed Practice.
  5. Engage in policy practice.
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  8. Create Interventions to implement with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities. 

Generalist year

Field placement is also required and sites are available in a number of practice areas, including: 

  • Child Welfare 
  • Community Practice
  • Counseling Center
  • Criminal Justice
  • Programs for the elderly
    • Senior Day Programs
    • Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC)
  • Men's Center
  • School Settings
  • Violence Prevention
  • Women Center
  • Youth Services

Advanced year

Specialized practice settings include:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental Health Agencies
    • Clinics
    • Community
    • Schools 

Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI)

Seminar in Field Education (SIFI) Certification is a mandatory course and provides support to first-time Field Instructors. SIFI is a mandatory course given, free of charge, offered by graduate schools of social work in the New York City area. Once completed at any of these schools, it need not be taken again.

The 12-session SIFI Orientation Course is aimed at helping field instructors acquire knowledge and skills to effectively meet the breadth of supervisory educational responsibilities and roles, the MSW Program at CUNY York College curriculum, as well as fieldwork policies and practices, are incorporated into the course. Each session will incorporate themes of cultural competence and diversity.

The course will be taught by members of the Department of Social Work who are SIFI Certified. The SIFI course is taken throughout the fall semester and may be offered as in-class or through on-line instruction and may be taken concurrently with first experience offering field instruction to York MSW Scholars. All field instructors are granted the use of the York College, CUNY library. Field Supervisors are also invited to various conferences during the academic year.

For MSW Program at CUNY York College Field Education Manual, contact Field Director at Cathleen Lilavois, LCSW, or (718) 262-5373.