University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Social Work (Combined Degree)

About the practical experience

Students must undertake two field-education placements during their degree. These provide a practice context for the campus learning.

The placements provide students with experience in different types of:

  • intervention (for example: work with individuals, communities, groups, policy development and research)
  • organisations (government and non-government)
  • population groups (indigenous Australians, refugees, families)
  • different contexts of practice (health, income security, disability and housing).

Field-education placements are designed to allow students to become familiar with the practice of critical reflection and, because they are undertaken in conjunction with ongoing classwork, they encourage students to appreciate the mutual dependence of theory and practice.

Classes prior to the commencement of Field Education prepare the students to apply theory to practice, to employ a range of Social Work interventions and to demonstrate professional values and ethics. In preparation for each Field Education placement, each agency field educator determines the scope and parameters of learning opportunities within their setting. In negotiation with the field educator, using the specific Field Education course learning expectations as a framework, students produce a set of learning goals. These goals set out what they hope to learn and how this learning will occur. Student learning is monitored and assessed by the field educator and the class teacher during the course of the field placement.

Requirements for completion

In their fourth and fifth year students will undertake a minimum total of 1000 hours in at least two field placements. Students will complete 60 days in year three and 80 days in year four.

Contact and further information

Sydney School of Education and Social Work
Students may visit the Office of Professional Engagement and Program Support:
Level 3, Education Building A35. The office is open Monday to Thursday 10am–4pm and Friday 10am–1pm

Email: Submit a question online

Learning Outcomes

Each facet of the Social Work Field Education program is expected to contribute to the learning experience of students to:

  • complement classwork in developing students’ professional identity and competence
  • facilitate students’ understanding of the social, economic and political context of social work and critical analysis of the place of social work in society
  • familiarise students with competing theories about the individual and society, and with tensions arising from these that are inherent in all social-work intervention
  • promote students’ competence to act in managing these tensions through the acquisition of social-work skills and methods, including research
  • facilitate students’ developing coherent practice that assists individuals and promotes social change
  • implement an educational philosophy that promotes learning partnerships between students, field educators and staff of the school.