Field Experience

Field Experience Documents


The Multidisciplinary Behavioral Healthcare Program views supervised Field Experience as the most effective method for students to experience the application of knowledge obtained in the academic setting and the development of practical skills fundamental to human services and care giving.

Please read this page carefully as it contains important information you need to plan and prepare for your participation in the Field Experience course. Planning your field placement in the community begins far in advance of the semester you take the course.

Prerequisites and Application Process

Students who will be taking the Field Experience course as a part of their required course work in Behavioral Healthcare will take this course sometime during their junior or senior year after completing the following pre-requisite & co-requisite Behavioral Healthcare core courses. Please ensure you have met the prerequesites and corequisites as per the catalog.

Students are required to complete the field placement application 6-8 months prior to the semester in which they will be taking their Field Placement Course. It is important to note that students will likely be submitting applications before they have completed their pre-requisites, which is acceptable. We do, however, advise that students meet with the Academic Advisor and have a plan in place to ensure that they will have completed those courses before the semester of their Field Experience course. If courses are not successfully completed by the registration time, students may be delayed in taking the Field Experience course. Submitting a Field Experience Application any later than the dates below may also jeopardize a student's opportunity to register for the course for the anticipated semester.

Application Deadlines

Field Experience Semester Application Deadline Field Experience Semester Application Deadline
Summer 2022 Friday, October 22, 2021 Summer 2023 Friday, October 21, 2022
Fall 2022 Friday, February 25, 2022 Fall 2023 Friday, February 24, 2023
Spring 2023 Friday, June 24, 2022 Spring 2024 Friday, June 28, 2023

Liability Insurance Requirement

All students taking the Behavioral Healthcare Field Experience course are covered by professional liability insurance under the policy held by the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences. Any agency may obtain a copy of the liability insurance certificate upon request to the Field Placement Coordinator.

Field Planning & Site Selection

Once an application has been submitted, the Field Placement Coordinator will contact the students to schedule the appointments to plan the field placements 5-7 months prior to beginning the field experience course.

During the field planning meeting, the Field Placement Coordinator and Student will work together to identify potential site options based on each student's stated interest. The objectives of the placement are primarily that of exposure and observation. Therefore, the selected agency will provide a general opportunity to see how programs operate and services are rendered. The Field Placement Coordinator will provide the initial linkage between the site and the student, and students are required to follow-up with the selected site to schedule interviews and complete any tasks required by the agency (i.e. background checks, finger printing, completion of agency application, etc.). The placement of the student will be through mutual agreement after the student visits the agency and is interviewed by the site supervisor.


In order to register for the Field Experience course students are required to obtain a permit. The field placement coordinator will issue permits after field planning meetings for the semester are complete. 

*Students who have MHS 4425 as a required part of their course work are given priority for registering into the course. Students who do not have MHS 4425 as a required part of their coursework may be placed on a waiting list and provided a seat on a "space available" basis – this applies to the Behavioral Healthcare ABA & Research Concentrations as well.

Field Placement Requirements

  • Attending weekly on-campus seminar
  • 120 clock hours spent at the agency over the semester
    • SPRING or FALL - approx. 8 hours per week for 15 weeks
    • SUMMER C - approx. 12 hours per week for 10 weeks

Notification about Screenings for Agency Placement

Positions in the Behavioral Healthcare Field routinely require criminal background screenings, drug screenings, and other types of screenings prior to internship placements and/or employment. Students with legal infractions often find that they are unable to secure positions in the field. It is your responsibility to be aware of the ways in which your personal background may prevent your placement with agencies for the Field Experience Course as well as for your future employment. Please be advised that USF has no influence to circumvent screenings at any agency.

It is important that you disclose any background information that may prevent your placement early on in your degree pursuit. If you have areas of concern, you should arrange to meet with the USF Program Coordinator, Academic Advisor, or Field Placement Coordinator to determine potential alternatives that will assist with your successful completion of the degree.

Field Placement Coordinator Contact Information

Amy Gierhahn, MA
Field Placement Coordinator
Mental Health Law & Policy MHC 2528
College of Behavioral & Community Sciences
University of South Florida
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612-3817
Office: 813-974-9007
Fax: 813-974-9327
Submit applications here
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