Course Title: Social Work Field Education 2 (Advanced)

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Social Work Field Education 2 (Advanced)

Credit Points: 36.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2016

Course Coordinator: Judy Williams

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3060

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 8.7.16

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Social Work Field Education 1 (adv).Previously completed undergraduate degree, 2 years work experience & completion of relevant MSW courses.

Course Description

Field Education 2 is a major component of the Masters of Social Work program. Through this course, and the previously completed Field Education 1, students will have the opportunity to strengthen and develop their professional skills, knowledge and values within a workplace-learning environment.

In Field Education 2 there is an emphasis upon preparing students for enhanced professional practice. It builds on the learning of Field Education 1 and provides opportunity to develop enhanced beginning practice skills. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding organizational and community contexts of practice, as well as effectively dealing with the ethical dilemmas that are likely to be encountered. Placements may focus on community organization, program development, policy development and/or research and may include a component of direct practice work. Students will be expected to analyse the practice setting by drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives, in particular those concerning power and exclusion, and to develop appropriate responses.

The Field Education course requires students to actively draw from previous knowledge and experience when determining their specific learning goals while they are on their field placements. This includes integrating previously studied material, especially in social work theory and practice and in field education as well as prior workplace learning.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The Field Education courses (1 & 2) occupy a special and central place within the RMIT MSW program. Between them, they encompass most of the capabilities of the program that inform student experiences. Field education is weighted this way (72 credit points in total) because it provides students with opportunities to develop and integrate their professional capabilities in practice. It also allows students to demonstrate their ability to be assessed across the range of capabilities while working within at least two different workplace settings.

Both Field Education courses are linked to core courses scheduled in the MSW program. These links are important because they allow students to integrate their knowledge, skills and values into practice. Students are expected to connect their practice experiences with their classroom based learning, and vice-versa. This requires students to import academic learning (undertaken in their undergraduate courses and the current MSW course) into the field, as well as bringing their field learning in to the academy.

Ordinarily, Field Education 2 has an emphasis on macro level practice, mostly in areas dedicated to developing policies, conducting research or building communities whereas Field Education1 has an emphasis on direct work with service users. This means that Field Education 2 has a broader focus and has particular linkages with Policy Making Processes, Social Work with Groups (Social Work Theory and Practice III), Research Strategies and Community Development Strategies (Social Work Theory and Practice IV).

In some cases students will have had a broader focus for Field Education 1 and would then have a direct practice focus for FE2. This would be negotiated with the Field Education Coordinator and would depend on relevant undergraduate studies, prior work place experience and relevant courses undertaken in MSW program. It is also possible to have a placement that combines macro practice with further experiences in direct practice.

At the conclusion of the course, students will have demonstrated:

Capability appropriate to the placement setting, in all 9 areas of assessment outlined below. This includes taking maximum responsibility for their own learning and professional development.

Students will together with their field educator develop a learning plan that identifies tasks and way to measure performance against each of the broad assessment areas.

  1. Values and Ethics: Awareness of contextually relevant ethics in accordance with the AASW Code of Ethics. Demonstrates that the values of social work are integral to their practice, upholds ethical responsibilities and acts appropriately when faced with ethical problems, issues and dilemmas.
  2. Organisational and Community Context: An understanding of the organisational, legal and political contexts of human services.
  3. Policy: An understanding of social policies which influence the different fields of practice including knowledge of relevant legislative and policy frameworks
  4. Use of Knowledge in Practice: An understanding of theories and methods relevant to practice and an ability to reflect critically upon their use and practice.
  5. Self-Learning and Critical Reflection: The ability to take responsibility for one’s own learning and development including the skills to manage one’s future career and the transition from university to professional practice.
  6. Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and relate interpersonally with a diverse range of people in a diverse range of settings.
  7. Assessment and Intervention skills: Demonstrated ability to engage service users in the assessment and intervention process, and respond to varying capabilities, voluntary/involuntary status, and the choices available.
  8. Research: Recognition of research as an integral part of social work practice; demonstrating knowledge and understanding of all types and stages of social research.
  9. Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Practice: Develop understanding and knowledge of cultural diversity in order to work in a culturally responsive and inclusive way.

To pass Field Education 2 students need to reach capability across the 9 Learning Areas by end of placement

Overview of Learning Activities

In accordance with the requirements of the professionally accrediting body for fieldwork (AASW), the learning activities will be provided through a placement structure that consists of 70 days (or equivalent) supervised practice in a relevant organization.

  • Field Briefings and other preparatory work;
  • 70 Day Field PlacementIntegration seminars
  • Learning/Educational Plan
  • Mid and End of Placement Reviews
  • Critical Analysis -3,000 words

Overview of Learning Resources

MSW Field Education 2 Course Guide

MSW Field Education Manual

Field Education website

Student -directed reading (see list of references below as a starting point.)

Overview of Assessment

The assessment of Field Education 2 comprises:

Active participation at placement orientation session/s

  • Active participation at integration seminars
  • Satisfactory completion of 70 days on placement, or equivalent
  • Satisfactory completion of an evaluation report on placement performance
  • Satisfactory completion of a Critical Analysis- 3,000 words submitted within two weeks of the end of the placement.

Active participation at placement orientation session/s

Students will demonstrate this by attending the session/s, raising relevant questions, interacting respectfully and sensitively with others in the group; and engaging in any preparatory work deemed necessary.

Active participation at integration seminars

Attendance at all sessions and respectful, engaged participation is not the only requirement for integration seminars. Students will also need to demonstrate their learning through the presentation of case studies or other ‘pieces’ of work that they are undertaking. Being prepared to give and non-defensively receive feedback to/from others is part of the process.

Satisfactory completion of 70 days field placement, or equivalent

In line with the expectations outlined above (and below), students must complete their seventy-day field placements. The Placement Report is central to this requirement.

Placement Report

The report will be completed by the student and Field Educator, and signed by both. The Field Educator will be a qualified social worker with a minimum of two years post-qualifying professional work experience.

A learning agreement between the student and Field Educator will provide opportunity to prioritise significant areas for learning and development. Students are expected to draft these documents and tailor them to their strengths, needs, interests and areas on which they need to work. The Field Educator will act as a mentor and facilitator of learning, as well as a resource, and will ensure ongoing assessment and feedback.

The report will contain a recommendation on pass / fail grading, to be considered by the Field Education Course Coordinator. The report shall include a factual summary of the placement (what was done) and comments by both the field educator and student on the quality of the placement and field education course. Crucially, it shall provide an evaluation of the student’s performance as social worker, with special reference to macro level practice. For MSW students, this evaluation is to be informed by the Australian Association of Social Workers Practice Standards. (See Practice Standards for Social Workers: Achieving Outcomes AASW September 2003).

See MSW Field Work Manual for further details on Placement Report.

Critical Analysis (Macro practice) 3,000 words:

The Critical Analysis in Field Education 2 usually focuses on a specific piece of work undertaken by the student in macro level practice. Where a student’s placement has a direct practice focus their Critical Analysis should follow guidelines for a Critical Analysis (Direct practice) as outlined in FE1 course guide. University-based staff will use a pass/fail grading system to assess the work. The assignment requires students to present and examine a form of macro practice they have undertaken in their placement. Because is set at the Masters’ level, students are required to show an enhanced capability for critical analysis and ethical practice in their written work

Students should provide:

  • A background to the project/practice
  • The student’s assessment of the situation
  • A presentation and discussion of the plan of action
  • A critical analysis of the strategies used to carry out the plan
  • An evaluation of the outcome of the action

Assessment criteria:

For students to achieve a pass in this piece of work they must show:

  • Evidence of ability to provide a comprehensive and focused description of the practice
  • Evidence of ability to critically reflect on the actual practice approaches the student used, and the influence of the student’s values, knowledge and assumptions on the work they did
  • Evidence of ability to link theory and practice
  • Evidence of critical analysis of the situation and of their own practice, with reference to issues of power and exclusion
  • Evidence of ethical understanding and reasoning in relation to the student’s practice and their self-evaluation
  • Evidence of utilization of and reference to appropriate literature

Submission date: within two weeks of completion of placement.