Student resources

Acknowledgment of background checks

VCU School of Social Work does not require or perform criminal or other background checks on prospective or current students beyond its review of application materials. However, completion of field placements is required for the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, and, many field agencies require students to obtain and pass a background check, drug test, and/or fingerprinting in order to participate in field placements. A field agency may require students to release the results of the background check to the field agency and may deny a placement to a student who fails to provide results. If the information in the background check report violates agency standards, the student may not be able to secure a field placement.  In addition, some backgrounds may limit employment opportunities in the field.

The following are the minimum areas of inquiry typically covered in the background check requested by agencies:

  • Criminal court history
  • Address verification
  • Sex offender database search
  • Social Security number verification

The fees required to obtain a background check and any additional tests are the responsibility of the student.

The School does not seek the results of student criminal or other background reports. To the extent that a student or prospective student chooses to share relevant information with the School, the School will share student information only in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which permits disclosure of student information to any school official, including an official of a field agency, who has a legitimate educational interest in knowing the information.

The School’s Field Education office offers guidance to students seeking field placements and may be able to recommend agencies that accept field students with criminal background records. Students or prospective students with concerns for their acceptance by field agencies should consult the Field Education office and contact potential agencies directly with enough advance notice to ensure they will be able to complete the field education requirements of their academic program.

I have read, understand, and agree to the Acknowledgement of Background Checks Required by Field Agencies.

Signature: ____________________________________  

Date: ________________________________________ 

Last name: ___________________________________ 

First name: ___________________________________