The Catholic University of America

Field Education

Put your values into action with social work field internships

Field internships are a key part of our students' social work education, providing invaluable support for what our students are learning in the classroom. Direct engagement in service activities in a wide range of agencies and organizations gives students the opportunity to personally experience how social workers can make a real difference in people's lives.

Goals of field education

At the National Catholic School of Social Service, we are committed to helping our students: 

  • learn to provide social services across fields of practice;
  • acquire the knowledge, values and skills for intervention with individuals, groups, families, communities and other systems;
  • develop a professional identity consistent with social work values;
  • develop the skills necessary to evaluate their social work practice;
  • gain experience with various client populations including diverse racial and ethnic groups, and at-risk populations;
  • develop a professional commitment to social work practice;
  • evolve a practice style consistent with the student's personal strengths;
  • develop the ability to work within a social welfare agency or organization.

Field experiences to fit each student

Undergraduate Senior-level and Foundation-level M.S.W. internships are designed to develop the knowledge and skills that comprise the professional base of social work practice. In this generalist practice internship, students are exposed to the full range of social work practice.  

  • Micro-level activities may include: assisting clients in crisis, providing case management services to homeless individuals, visiting elderly residents in their homes, working with students in a school setting, providing services to juvenile offenders
  • Mezzo-level activities may include: co-leading support groups, psycho-educational groups, or social skills groups, participating in community development, setting up a community task force.
  • Macro-level activities may include: conducting a needs assessment, writing a grant proposal, testifying at a hearing, organizing the local community around a particular issue.

Advanced level M.S.W. field education and other courses build on, expand, and deepen generalist knowledge and skills. Whatever concentration is selected, the focus throughout is to help the student integrate and apply the knowledge and principles of social work practice at an advanced level within the context of the values and ethics of the profession. 

  • Clinical students come to CUA with a wide range of professional goals, including practicing psychotherapy, leading support groups, serving homeless individuals or individuals with chronic mental illness, providing crisis intervention and supportive counseling, etc. They  intern in agencies where they can gain practice skills in these areas at an advanced level. Clinical students with special interest in health may choose our Health Care Specialization, which prepares students to practice clinical social work with an understanding of the roles health and illness play in the lives of individuals, families, agencies, and communities. Clinical students may also choose our specialization in Social Work with Military, Veterans, and their Families.
  • Social Change students' goals range from advocating for policy change, to becoming agency administrators, to working in community organizations and international development. In their internships, they gain expertise in social management/administration, social planning, and policy analysis.
  • Combined  students have learning opportunities for both direct practice and indirect practice in their field settings, gaining experience in both clinical and macro social work practice.


The field education program is excellent because of the wide range of placements that are available ... NCSSS works hard to make that experience valuable for the student."- MSW student

"Being a field supervisor is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job. I love the opportunities I've been able to take advantage of at Catholic. This relationship really helps me maintain my Social Work identity in a host environment. Thank YOU."
- NCSSS field instructor


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NCSSS leads  CUA in community service hours


Some of the 175 agencies
where our students interned in 2011-2012

  • Adventist Behavioral Health 
  • Alexandria Community Services Board
  • Amtrak Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Armed Forces Retirement Home
  • Baltimore City Public School System
  • Bread for the City
  • Capitol Hill Village
  • Catholic Charities - Homeless Services
  • Catholic Charities of Arlington, Family Services Department
  • Catholic Charities: Tenants' Empowerment Network/St. Martin's Program
  • Catholic University (CUA) Counseling Center
  • Child & Family Services Agency (CFSA)
  • Children's National Medical Center
  • Christ Child Society School Counseling Program
  • College Park Youth and Family Services
  • Family Advocacy Services of Virginia
  • Identity, Inc.
  • IONA Senior Services
  • Montgomery County Adult Behavioral Health Program (HHS)
  • N Street Village, Inc.
  • National Council for Adoption (NCFA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • National Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Open Arms Housing, Inc.
  • Our Place, DC
  • Pathways to Housing, DC
  • Post Permanency Family Center (Adoptions Together)
  • Prince George's County Department of Social Services
  • Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW)
  • Public Defender Service for D.C. - Offender Rehabilitation Division
  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork
  • Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Program, University Health Center, University of Maryland
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital Inpatient Psychiatry
  • So Others Might Eat (SOME)
  • Suburban Hospital Crisis Intervention Service/ Inpatient Psychiatry
  • U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) Office of Elder Rights
  • U.S. Attorney's Office: Victim Witness Assistance Unit
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families
  • U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues
  • University of Maryland Mental Health Service
  • Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda
  • Whitman-Walker Clinic