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Ph.D. Program Admission

Internship Plan

Please see below for detailed guidelines

Applicant's Information

Current e-mail address:*
MSW degree granting college (for identification purposes):*


Upload Internship Plan

Please upload your internship proposal here (Microsoft Word or PDF formats only). Please do not use quotes in the document name. Maximum file size: 25 MB. If you need to submit a larger file, please email it to


Internship Proposal

Using the following criteria, please describe your plan for a clinical internship proposal of three days per week specifying the site within the training center or the proposed clinical internship and describing the training opportunities relevant to your learning there. This may be a work-study internship or a clinical placement with which the fellow affiliates for two years. If in private practice, two days of agency-based practice are required. Include a description of clientele, opportunity for long-term treatment, some indication of kinds of cases available, contexts for service and treatment modalities.

Identify the principal consultants and major social work supervisor from whom you could expect to learn. Describe the supplement educational resources relevant to your learning. Offer your analysis of the principal strengths and limitations of the proposed internship plan. This proposal should clarify for both the applicant and the school the prospects for achieving a suitable contract for advanced study.

Preliminary questions about the school's expectations for a clinical internship plan can be addressed to the clinical coordinator for the Ph.D. program. Representatives of the school can also offer consultation for developing a creditable internship program but can best do so after reviewing your written proposal.

Outlined below are the dimensions of an optimal internship program, on the one hand, and an acceptable internship program on the other. We know that some agencies lack resources for supporting advanced clinical study, particularly for a senior social work staff member, and we know that the character of agency practice is changing in ways that can compromise support for advanced study. The description of optimal and acceptable internship characteristics is intended to clarify the range within which feasible clinical internships may be developed. All internship plans must be agency-based.


A. The training center supports advanced clinical education for social workers and accords priority to the fellow's learning needs during the threeday- per-week internship program. The center's resources include:

  1. Opportunities for intensive treatment, including treatment over a two-year period, with a patient population varied as to age and diagnosis.
  2. An emphasis on individual treatment plus opportunities in a range of treatment modalities, i.e., family and group treatment, short-term treatment.
  3. During the second year of internship, opportunities for pertinent professional experiences in consultation, teaching inservice, or supervision.
  4. The availability of regular supervision by a clinical social worker meeting the School's criteria.
  5. The availability of regular consultation with senior staff in relation to specialized areas of practice, i.e., child treatment, adult treatment, family and group treatment, etc.
  6. Supplemental educational resources such as staff conferences in which clinical data are examined from theoretical and dispositional points of view.

B. Supervisory functions and qualifications:
An agency supervisor supports the internship by planning and monitoring the internship program, by facilitating the fellow's access to learning resources, by providing some direct supervision, by serving as a liaison to the school, and by evaluating the fellow's clinical performance.

The qualifications of the supervisor include a Master of Social Work degree and an advanced level of clinical practice informed by such dynamic perspectives as ego psychology, psychoanalytic developmental theory, object relations theory and/or self psychology. The supervisor is interested in the integration of theory and practice and views the therapeutic process as a method of inquiry as well as a service method. The supervisor brings professional standards and commitment to this role and is prepared to collaborate in support of advanced clinical study.



If an agency is unable to support an optimal internship, the doctoral fellow must develop an equivalent program. The fellow must arrange for protection of enough time from completing work obligations to safeguard opportunity for advanced study. If qualified supervision and consultation are unavailable in the agency, the fellow must arrange and support external supervision/consultation. Similarly, if the supplemental education resources are unavailable in the agency, these too must be secured externally.

While an agency base for the three-day-per-week internship is required, one day of that clinical work can be drawn from the fellow's private practice. This arrangement may help expand the range and duration of clinical work conducted under agency auspices.

Whether the social work supervision is agency-based or externally-based, the functions and qualifications of the supervisor listed above are unchanged.


Normally, clinical internships are work study and are conducted in established non-profit professional community service centers, such as social agencies or the social service departments of a host setting. In addition, some alternative organizations, which offer equivalent experiences, may be used as sites for the clinical internship. Eligible non-traditional settings would be expected to have the equivalent of a social work department through a clear social work presence on the staff. In addition, the organization would be expected to provide clinical services which express social responsibility through variable fee structures and through providing service to vulnerable populations. The organization would also be expected to have in place provisions to support the further professional development of staff members through supervision/consultation and in-service training.


If you are unable to use this form, e-mail us at the Smith College School for Social Work Office of Admisson, or call us at (413) 585-7960.