MSW Program

MSW Program

Practicum Education

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

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

Practicum Hours

The MSW Program at CUNY York College master’s programs ensures a minimum of 900 hours for practicum are accrued at the end of the scholars MSW curriculum. 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 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 the 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 practicum 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

Practicum 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 Practicum Education handbooks are located at the administrative social work office (AC-3A11) and are distributed to all incoming scholars during orientation. Scholars sign acknowledging receipt of the handbooks.

Objectives of Practicum Instruction

*Practicum placement requirements, as well as terms of practicum placements, vary for general and advanced standing MSW scholars.

The objectives of practicum instruction are the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS)/Draft EPAS 2022. The objectives are to teach MSW scholars to:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior.
  2. Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice.
  3. Engage Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Practice.
  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

Practicum 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


Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI)

Seminar in Field Education (SIFI) Certification is a mandatory course and provides support to first-time practicum 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, the course will not need to be taken again.

The 14-week seminar provides new practicum supervisors/instructors with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively meet their educational responsibilities as mentors of social work scholars. SIFI is a 14-session course over the span of the fall and spring semesters; one (1) academic year, where supervisors share encounters related to scholar interactions and examine common issues pertaining to enhancing the professional development of the scholar, by encouraging them to practice cultural humility, self-awareness and critically reflecting on their client engagement using the lens of anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.  By exchanging information in the seminar, the practicum supervisors are given the opportunity to explore their own biases and broaden their knowledge of the critical role that they play in shaping the scholar’s educational experience, strengthening clinical acumen and gaining an understanding of social work supervision through an Anti-racist, Diversity, Equitity, Inclusion (ADEI) lens.

The course is taught by Prof. Cathleen Lilavois, LCSW, Director, MSW Practicum Education. The SIFI course may be offered as in-class or through online instruction and concurrently with the first experience offering practicum instruction to York MSW Scholars. All practicum instructors are granted the use of the York College, CUNY library. Practicum Supervisors are also invited to various conferences during the academic year.

For MSW Program at CUNY York College Practicum Education Manual, contact Practicum Director at  Cathleen Lilavois, LCSW, at