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Master of Social Work Intern Program

The mission of VA Social Workers is to assist Veterans, their families, and caregivers in resolving Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) challenges to health and well-being. Social Work is woven into the fabric of VA health care, providing clinical interventions and services across the VA continuum of care. Social work is an integral part of your overall VA care.

Internship Program

The MSW concentration internship at the VA St. Louis Health Care System is accredited by the Council on Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education. To be considered, students must demonstrate enrollment in an MSW program from an accredited school by the Council on Social Work Education and in their concentration practicum. 

Internships will begin in August '24 and must be completed by May 31, 2025. Available tours will be determined by Field Placement and Field Instructor and the schedule depends on the program to which the intern is assigned. Weekend, virtual, or evening hours are not available currently. Intern assignments are made by the VA staff and available Field Instructors for that academic year. Treatment settings and programs that are available for internships vary from year to year. Some potential offerings are inpatient and outpatient internships in both medical and mental health some in hospitals and others in community clinics. Our medical internships span acute care, primary care, nephrology, inpatient and outpatient hospice/palliative care, and our skilled rehabilitation program. Mental health internship options include acute inpatient, substance use, domiciliary treatment of substance use and homelessness, mental health therapy, and case management in our general outpatient and trauma recovery programs, suicide prevention, and homeless programs. We also have the possibility of community and prison outreach internships. 

Those selected to intern with VA Social Work Service will need to complete several additional requirements, a few of which are: additional agency documents, providing fingerprints to allow the VA to conduct background checks, a physical, and obtaining VA computer clearance and agency identification. This list is not all-inclusive, and several of these and other steps must be met in prescribed sequential order. This necessitates that the prospective intern will have some availability to come to the VA for several hours on more than one appointment day during the summer months.

Application Process

Eligibility Requirements

Read Requirements-

The application period for academic year Fall '24 – Spring '25 internships.

Students may submit the application materials to the VA Social Work office via mail to 915 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63106, or e-mail to the internship committee chair Jessie Holdinghaus, LCSW at The VA Social Work office can be reached at .

Applications will be accepted only during this application period. The required application documents include program application, college transcripts, graduate school or professional writing sample [not to exceed 1-2 pages], and a letter of evaluation from a School of Social Work graduate school professor.

Application materials will be reviewed, and applicants will be contacted by April 5, 2024, and informed if they have been selected for an interview. Those applicants selected for consideration will have an interview or a series of interviews, which are tentatively scheduled for the week of March 7th, 2024. The candidates will be informed by April 30, 2024, if they are accepted for an internship after a second interview with the Field Instructor assigned. These dates are projected at this time and subject to change, though will be within this time frame.

Applicants must submit all required materials and documents and meet the necessary timelines. If at any time during the process, the applicant is no longer able to meet the requirements, they may be withdrawn from consideration.

Prospective interns will also need to be available for four days of agency and department orientation, which is anticipated the first or third week in August and runs Monday through Thursday.


  • Application open 1/16/2024
  • Applications due: 3/31/2024
  • Interviews within 2 weeks of application close
  • Student notified of offer/denial after the second interview with field instructor 
  • Pre-employment checklist (fingerprints, physicals, paperwork): May-July 2024
  • New Employee Orientation - 8/12/2024-8/14/2024



Additional Information

Historically, there have been modest stipends available for students, yet they are limited. The approval of these funds occurs annually at the national level and that decision may not be made until after interns are accepted or have begun their internship. This potential benefit will be reviewed with those students who are accepted for internship. It is recommended that student applicants do not base their decision to apply to VA St. Louis Health Care System for Social Work Internship on this potential benefit. 

VA St. Louis Health Care System Social Work Service welcomes applicants with disabilities and does not discriminate on any grounds.

Contact Us

Jessie Holdinghaus, LCSW, BCD
Chair of Social Work Intern Program

Meghan Leach, LCSW
Co-Chair of Social Work Intern Program