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Internships in Social Work

Internships for Master’s Level Students

By completing an internship at St. Jude, you will be able to develop your professional skills, as well as grow as a social worker. The Social Work team offers guidance and support as you work with families coping with life-threatening diseases such as cancer, HIV and blood disorders.

We hope you will consider St. Jude for your internship. This intensive placement program will provide you with the growth, support and skills needed to begin your career as a clinical social worker.

During your internship, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Understand the role of a medical social worker and learn how to provide counseling to help patients and families cope with diagnosis and treatment.
  • Participate in interdisciplinary care teams, including psychosocial and medical rounds
  • Learn to apply evidence-based practice skills
  • Acquire a knowledge of medical terminology and procedures
  • Foster professional relationships with patients and staff
  • Develop comprehensive psychosocial assessment skills
  • Receive training in providing palliative care and bereavement services
  • Understand late effects of treatment by working with cancer survivors
  • Provide clinical services to diverse patient populations, including international families and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients and families
  • Provide transitional counseling to patients moving from active treatment to completion of treatment and from pediatric care to adult care

As a St. Jude social work intern, you will gain experience in several major medical service areas at St. Jude, including Leukemia/Lymphoma, Bone Marrow Transplant, Solid Tumor, Neuro-Oncology, Hematology, HIVCancer Survivorship and Transition.

Internships are limited to second-year or advanced standing students in a master's program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. If you are a student inquiring about clinical social work as a profession, you can learn more under Frequently Asked Questions: Social Work at St. Jude.

Active Oncology Service

The active oncology services consist of Leukemia/Lymphoma, Solid Tumor, Brain Tumor and Bone Marrow Transplant. Interns are assigned to newly diagnosed patients, establishing therapeutic relationships with the patients in a primary social work model. You will develop skills in providing:

  • in-depth psychosocial assessments
  • treatment planning and counseling to promote patient and family adjustment to diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes
  • counseling about acute and long-term side effects of treatment
  • coping skills for families who have extended stays in Memphis 

Infectious Diseases Service

Assignment to the Infectious Diseases Service provides the opportunity for you to work with infants, children, teens and young adults (birth to 24 years old) who have been exposed to or infected with HIV. Along with promoting adjustment to diagnosis and treatment, you will learn about the impact of social stigma and social injustice on HIV-infected individuals. This placement provides an emphasis on training students to intervene with impoverished patients and families, racial minorities and lesbian, gay, transgender and questioning youth.

Hematology Service

Interns in the Hematology Department will work with patients from birth to 18 years of age. You will work with patients who have sickle cell disease, bleeding and clotting disorders, bone marrow failure issues, and other hematological disorders. Students support patients and families as they adjust to their diagnosis, integrate the management of chronic illness into their lives, and progress along the developmental age span toward adulthood.

Survivorship Clinic Service

Students assigned to the Survivorship Clinic will complete psychosocial histories and provide clinical social work services to patients who are off therapy. As these patients adjust to survivorship, they must learn to cope with the late effects from cancer treatment. You will help patients deal with the emotional impact of making the transition to survivorship. You will also complete comprehensive assessments and provide counseling to help patients with the transition from active treatment to follow-up care in their communities.

Infectious Disease, Hematology and Survivorship Clinic interns may have an opportunity to be assigned active oncology cases, but with a smaller caseload.

Social Work Internship Requirements

  • Applicants should be enrolled in a Master of Social Work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, second year or advanced standing. Internships are only available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Your school must have a contractual relation with St. Jude. Contact your university to confirm if your school has a contractual agreement with St. Jude. If your school does not have an agreement with St. Jude, have your field coordinator email to begin the process of setting up this agreement.
  • Students with high academic achievement will have priority.
  • International students are welcome to apply. Please be aware of the additional time needed to complete appropriate documentation. Fluency in English is required.

Internship Application Process

  • Applications are accepted from January 15 to April 1. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible within the application period. Send cover letters and resumes to
  • Due to the high volume of applications, only a limited number of students will be selected for placement interviews.
  • The field coordinator of each school will be notified with the names of students who have been selected to proceed to the interview process.
  • Interviews will be held on-site in early April, although special arrangements can be considered if necessary.
  • Students selected for internships will then be notified directly or via their field coordinators.

Internship Program Acceptance

  • Accepted students will be contacted by their assigned field instructors to prepare for their internships. The pre-internship contact involves determining the start date and negotiating an internship that coordinates with the student’s class schedule. At this time, the field instructor may assign or recommend reading materials to prepare for the placement.
  • St. Jude Academic Programs staff will send electronic notifications regarding steps required before placement can begin. Steps will include providing proof of vaccinations, health care and liability insurance, and an official transcript. A background check, drug screening and TB skin test will also be part of the acceptance process.  

Internship Placement

  • Placement in acute care requires 24 hours a week during each semester.
  • Each student will be assigned to a field instructor, who is connected with a primary service.
  • Students will receive between 10 and 18 new patients during their social work internship. Students will have the opportunity to rotate in other diagnostic service areas depending on the student’s interest and field instructor availability.

University Directors of Field Placement

Director of Social Work Training