Changes to Field

The BSW program will be implementing a new curriculum starting Fall 2023. In this new curriculum, four practice-focused electives will replace field-focus SWRK 4200 and SWRK 4300, giving students greater flexibility to choose courses in line with their areas of interest, academic or career goals. There will still be two Field Instruction courses but with an alteration to the credit hour value. The new Field Instruction courses I and 2 (6 credit hours each) will each have an Integrative Practice Seminar  (1.5 credit hours each) as co-requisites.  These new field courses will be available starting in the Fall of 2024 for students admitted as of Fall 2023. 

The option of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is still available for incoming students who have fulfilled field requirements in prior programs. This is considered a new course, SWRK 3250 Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), with new credit hours (7.5 credit hours) as the corresponding courses for which students are seeking a recognition of credit, Field Instruction 1 and Integrative Seminar for Field Instruction 1, have a different number of credit hours than in the past. 

Students will still complete two field placements including two new Integrative Practice Seminar courses. An approximate breakdown of the hours is outlined below for those interested in taking their field through accelerated/concentrated versus through the general stream.

Changes to BSW curriculum

Gaining field experience

Students in the BSW program are required to complete field focus courses and field practicum placement.

Check out the Academic Calendar for detailed information about field education requirements and application deadlines.

Requirements and pre-requisites

Students must successfully complete the following pre-requisite course requirements and be in the appropriate year of their degree plan to be eligible to register for Field Instruction: 

SWRK 1310 - Introduction to Social Welfare Policy 
SWRK 2090 - Human Behaviour in Social Work 
SWRK 2080 - Interpersonal Communication Skills 
SWRK 3140 - Introduction to Social Work Practice

Please note: Students wishing to divert from their degree plan should consult with their Academic Advisor and/or the Coordinator of Student Services and Admissions/Advising Office before February 1, of the Academic year they wish to pursue Field Instruction. 

All BSW students are required to complete two field placement requirements (420 hours each): 
SWRK 3150 - Field Instruction 1
Co-requisite course: SWRK 4200 - Field Focus of Social Work Practice (12 credit hours)

SWRK 4120 - Field Instruction 2 
Co-requisite course: SWRK 4300 - Field Focus of Social Work Practice (12 credit hours)

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition - SWRK 3152) may be applied for in lieu of a first field practicum (SWRK 3150) if the application criteria are met.

Concurrent with each field practicum, students are required to take a 6-credit hour Field Focus course (SWRK 4200, SWRK 4300). Course subjects offered are Mental Health and Child & Family Services. The course subject does not need to match the field practicum.

Accelerated Term 

  • September to December (SWRK 3150) and January to April (SWRK 4120) 
  • Successful completion of 75 credit hours including the prerequisites
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required (Grade Point Average for all courses completed)

Regular Term 

  • September to April (SWRK 3150 or SWRK 4120)
  • 2.5 GPA is required.

Summer Term

  • May to August (SWRK 3150 or SWRK 4120)
  • 3.0 GPA is required.

Fort Garry and Inner City

Along with completing field focus courses, students will be placed at an agency under the guidance of a field instructor.

Applying to field

Prior to applying for field placement, students are expected to participate in the “Everything you wanted to know about field” workshop and “The Resumé and Interview Preparation” workshop prior to Field Information Day.

Application forms are due on or before February 1st and are to be submitted by email, along with a copy of your resume, to the Field Program Assistant. Upon receipt, you will receive a password to the Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) program. In IPT, you will be able to identify up to 8 field agency preferences, due on or before March 1st.

Fall/Winter Field Application Form
Summer Field Application Form

A list of current agencies that have partnered with the field program are included in IPT.

Students in Field

Once in the program, all students are required to complete reflective journaling, intended to foster and strengthen their understanding and development of critical thinking skills. It is recommended that journaling be used, along with the learning outcome tasks, as outlined in the Practice Guide.

For students interested in an international Field placement, please fill out the following forms and submit them to the Field Program Assistant:

Contact us

Fort Garry & Inner City Field team:

  • David Sullivan
    Field Education Coordinator

    Fort Garry Campus
    413 Tier Building
    P: 204-474-8300

    Inner City Campus
    William Norrie Centre
    P: 204-474-6421

  • Patti Kafka
    Field Program Assistant

    Fort Garry Campus
    413 Tier Building
    P: 204-474-6171

    Inner City Campus
    William Norrie Centre
    P: 204-474-6421

  • Vicki Verge
    Faculty-Field Liaison

    Fort Garry Campus
    413 Tier Building
    P: 204-474-8845

    Inner City Campus
    William Norrie Centre
    P: 204-474-6421

Distance Delivery

Distance delivery students are expected to locate their own field practicums. Students may choose a practicum in any community agency/institution which offers social work services. Students, when eligible, can be granted permission to complete a practicum at their place of employment.

A field instructor possessing a BSW, MSW, or RSW designation must be available to directly supervise the practicum.

All students registered in Distance Delivery Field Instruction courses (SWRK 3150 and SWRK 4120) are required to complete several Field Instruction Modules and participate in a one-hour web conference prior to entering field placement. Completion of the Field Instruction Modules and attendance at Field Instruction Web Conference is mandatory. 

Application deadlines: 

Summer 2023 - Field - December 1
Fall/Winter 2023/24 - Field - February 1

Students requiring information may contact:

Joan Churley Distance Delivery Field Coordinator


Students in the BSW program at the Northern site work closely with the Field Coordinator in preparing for and securing an appropriate field placement.

Please note a student placement in a field setting is not guaranteed based on the completion of pre-requisite courses. 

3rd Year students complete SWRK 3150 - Field Instruction 1: 

Students are required to complete 460 hours including 420 hours in field placement (3 days per week September – April) and 40 hours of integrated seminar. Students approved as eligible for field require a minimum Degree Grade Point Average (D.G.P.A.) of 2.5. 

4th Year students complete SWRK 4120 - Field Instruction 2: 

Students are required to complete 460 hours including 420 hours in field placement (4 days per week January – April) and 40 hours of integrated seminar. Students approved as eligible for field require a minimum Degree Grade Point Average (D.G.P.A.) of 2.5. 

Students requiring additional information may contact:

Katie Thompson
Northern Field Education Coordinator


Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition 

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process of recognizing the prior learning of skills and knowledge in social work practice. This can be through formal and informal study in a variety of settings as well as through a diversity of experiences. PLAR provides a mechanism for identifying, documenting and evaluating learning, thereby acknowledging and giving credit to students for demonstrated learning.

PLAR is an option available to any BSW student, regardless of the program delivery method. A BSW student who has two or more years of Social Work employment experience in the past 5 years may choose to apply for eligibility to register for SWRK 3152 - PLAR, in lieu of their first field placement requirement. 

Application deadlines:
Summer 2023 - PLAR - December 1
Fall/Winter 2023/24 - PLAR - February 1

Applying for PLAR

Step 1: Distance Delivery Students* access the Distance Delivery Student Portal in UM Learn.

  • Here you can access the informational web conferences. The schedule is posted in the announcements and can be accessed by going to Communication > Cisco WebEx > During the Fall Term you can attend a PLAR Info Session of your choice that fits your schedule.
  • To enroll in Planning for Field/PLAR click on Groups > View Categories > Planning for Field/PLAR > Click JOIN beside Self-enrolment for Field/PLAR. Once enrolled in Planning for Field/PLAR you will have access to Field/PLAR Application Form in Content.

Step 2: Fill out the Field/PLAR Application Form and Submit. Please only submit this form once.

  • An Academic Advisor will review your eligibility and you will be notified via your email whether you are eligible to apply for PLAR.

Step 3: Under Content, you will have access to the PLAR Application Booklet and Forms.

  • To submit your completed student portion of the PLAR Application go to Assessments > Assignments > Select your preferred Term and upload the Application Forms.
  • Please note your three confidential referees will send their forms directly to

*BSW Students from Fort Garry, Inner City, and Northern sites interested in applying for PLAR please email to request access to the portal. Once enrolled follow the instructions outlined above.


When is the deadline to apply for PLAR?

The deadline to submit your PLAR application is annually on February 1st. Your application needs to be submitted in full, to be considered by the PLAR Applications Committee.

What if I want more information before I submit my application?

The PLAR Application Committee Chair offers information sessions annually throughout Fall Term leading up to the application deadline. If you require more info, please consider attending a session.

Can I complete PLAR over the summer?

Yes, on your PLAR Application you can choose:

  • Summer Term – May-August
  • Fall/Winter Term – September-April

Can I complete PLAR and SWRK 4120 (Second Field) at the same time?

No. PLAR is in lieu of first field placement. Both PLAR (SWRK 3152) and the 4200 Field Focus Course must be completed and passed before you are eligible to register for your second field SWRK 4120 and your 4300 Field Focus course.

Is PLAR cheaper than Field?

No. Field and PLAR are both the equivalent of 12 credit hours plus the Field Focus Course worth 6 credit hours, totalling 18 credit hours of tuition.

Can I challenge the PLAR application process?

No. PLAR is a challenge of first field.  You are applying to participate in the PLAR course where by you are completing assignments throughout the academic term (Summer or Fall/Winter), to demonstrate your knowledge and prior learning.

You are required to submit the application in full, along with all required letters, resume, self-evaluation, and three references (2 of whom must be social workers and 1 must have supervised you in the last 5 years).

Is there a limit to the number of students accepted into PLAR?

No. If you are eligible and your application is approved you are able to register for PLAR for the upcoming term.

What are the pre-requisite and co-requisite courses for PLAR?

You are required to complete and pass the following courses prior to registering for PLAR:

SWRK 1310                        
SWRK 2080
SWRK 2090                        
SWRK 3140

You are required to register and complete:
SWRK 3152 PLAR - 18 credit hours
SWRK 4200 Field Focus - 6 credit hours

What is considered a PASS in PLAR?

Students are required to have a 65% or greater to PASS PLAR. PLAR is a PASS/FAIL course and is not calculate in your GPA.

Who teaches PLAR?

There is no formal instructor teaching the PLAR course. PLAR is a process of independent learning, and all students will be assigned a PLAR Assessor. The role of the PLAR Assessor is to assess the written work/assignments submitted by the student, and submit a final grade of PASS or FAIL. The PLAR Assessor will not teach or mentor students during the completion of course work.

What will show up on my transcript?

PLAR and FIELD are graded the same in that they are a PASS or FAIL. The course outcome is not calculated in your GPA.

Can I Voluntarily Withdraw from PLAR?

Yes. You may Voluntary Withdrawl (VW) from PLAR however; you will also be required to VW from your 4200 Field Focus Course. This decision should be considered carefully.  We recommended that you consult with your Academic Advisor and your site Field Coordinator.

If I complete PLAR in lieu of first field, will the regulatory body in the province or territory where I plan to become a Registered Social Worker recognize PLAR?

PLAR is a part of the University of Manitoba Accredited BSW Program.  However, not all regulatory bodies will recognize the completion of PLAR in lieu of first field as credited field hours for the application requirement or expectation of new graduates. 

Students MUST check with their provincial/territorial regulatory body (College or Association) to ensure they will be eligible for registration if they choose to complete PLAR in lieu of first field.  Many employers in locations across Canada require Social Workers to hold RSW status and this is your student responsibility to be sure you have achieved the required academic standing for registration.

If I apply for PLAR, and my application is approved, can I defer the course work?

Yes, you may seek the option to defer PLAR however, you will only be able to defer for 1 year. If you do proceed with PLAR after your one year deferral you will need to re-apply.