Frequently Asked Questions
I arrange my own placement?
Students cannot contact agencies to inquire about new or existing placement opportunities or arrange their own placements. Students interested in a particular placement that is not offered on the portal are encouraged to fill out a Placement Proposal Form prior to the posted deadline. The Practicum Office negotiates all placements. Students who propose a new placement opportunity with an agency that the Faculty has not worked with in the past will be given priority for a placement interview.
Can I request a placement opportunity with an agency I am currently working at?
Students can request a "workplace placement" in a department they have not worked in, under the supervision of a Practicum Instructor who was/is not their employer. This request can only be considered for one placement. Placements are intended to provide students with new learning opportunities that they have not been exposed to during previous placements or employment.
Can I be considered for a placement opportunity with an agency I worked with in the past, or where I previously completed a BSW placement?
Students can request a placement in a department they have not worked in, under the supervision of a Practicum Instructor who was/is not their employer. Placements are intended to provide students with new learning opportunities that they have not been exposed to during previous placements or employment.
Can I complete 2 placements in the same type of social work setting (i.e. 2 child welfare placements)?
Practicum placements are provided in diverse settings in order for students to acquire the necessary tools to practice in a variety of social work environments. As such, students cannot complete two MSW placements within the same type of social work learning environment (i.e. 2 hospital placements or 2 government placements or 2 workplace placements). For more details please review the Intern Practice Assignments section of the MSW Practicum Manual.
My career goal is to work with Agency ABC, do I have priority to complete a placement with that agency?
The Practicum Office does not prioritize placements based on studentsí career interests. Students are provided with opportunities to complete their practicum in diverse settings in order to acquire the necessary tools to work in a variety of social work settings.
How does the Practicum Office match students to placements?
The priority of the Practicum Office is to provide students with placements that meet the requirements of their MSW program and to ensure an equitable and fair process for all students. Decisions on placing students with an agency for an interview take into consideration many factors including: Accessible Learning plans, placement proposals for new placements, requirements that agencies communicate to the Practicum Office (this may include an initial meeting of practicum coordinators with students prior to a referral for an interview), students' interests and experiences, requirements of the student's MSW program, etc. Placement decisions are not done randomly through a lottery system or on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Can I complete two MSW placements with the same agency?
Students cannot complete two placements with the same agency. This includes workplace placements.
My placement is supposed to start in September, but I would like to start my placement in January instead. How can I make that happen?
The schedule of the practicum course for all cohorts is provided to students prior to their admission into the program and is also made available after entry to the program. Students are required to start placement within the timeline of their cohort.
Can I attend a placement where I received service?
Students will not be placed in settings where they or immediate members of their families have received service. In addition, students who utilize WLU Counselling Services for personal use will not be able to complete their placement there or be eligible for future employment at WLU Counselling Services.
Do students compete with other students for a
Placements are competitive, and there are limited opportunities for students from various universities. Students may compete with students from their cohort and/or students from other universities. However, whenever possible, the Practicum Office does not send multiple students to interview for one position at an agency unless an agency requires to interview two students for one placement. In such cases, students are informed of this requirement via the Placement Information section on the portal.
Will I be able to complete my practicum in my geographical area?
Prior to their admission to the program, all students are informed that the Practicum Office does not guarantee placements within a studentís geographical area. The Practicum Office will consider studentsí interest and geographical preference, but cannot make any guarantees.
Can I decline a placement opportunity?
All practicum matches are final as outlined in the Practicum Agreement letter signed by incoming MSW students. The placement matching process is a thoughtful process that takes into account various factors and ensures an equitable process for all students. In the event there are extenuating circumstances that arise and prevent a student from accepting the placement opportunity, the student must immediately contact the Practicum Office, and arrange to meet with Accessible Learning, if appropriate. The Practicum Office will consider critical events and the Accommodation Plan provided by Accessible Learning.
Does the Practicum Office cover any fees associated with a placement?
No, it is the responsibility of the student to cover any fees associated with a placement (e.g. parking, police checks, immunizations, etc.) as outlined in the Practicum Agreement signed by all incoming students.
Can the placement start dates and end dates be changed?
The practicum program is a structured program with pre-defined start and end dates in line with the studentsí course requirements and academic terms. Students cannot change their start or end dates. Liability requirements prevent students from starting a placement early, and practicum requirements prevent students from shortening the length of the placement. In the event of an extenuating circumstance, students must contact the Practicum Office immediately.
Can a placement be shortened?
No. Overtime hours/days and attending placement during reading week will not be considered to shorten the span of a placement. Please refer to the MSW Practicum Manual for guidelines.
Are students entitled to any days off from practicum?
Students are not required to attend practicum during the Winter Reading Week, religious holidays, or any other holidays that are observed by the agency during the practicum period. There is no break in practicum between the Winter and Spring terms. Please refer to the MSW Practicum Manual for guidelines on absence from placement.
Do thesis students have shorter placements?
Yes. Students who are approved to complete a thesis receive an exemption from a set number of placement days. Please review the Policy and Procedures section of the MSW Practicum Manual for details about Thesis Exemptions.
If I participate in FSW Committees, can I use this time towards my practicum hours?
Yes, participation in school committees counts as practicum hours. This must be negotiated with the Practicum Instructors and they must be provided adequate notice Ė prior to the beginning of your placement if possible.
What is the process for changing a
Field of Study?
Students must submit a formal proposal to request a change to their Field of Study by completing the Field of Study Change Request Form prior to the deadline. Requests are reviewed by the Program Coordinator and the Practicum Coordinator.
Can students request to change their Field of Study prior to starting their placement?
The Field of Study Change Request Form must be submitted prior to the posted deadline, in order for the student's placement to reflect an alternative field of study.
Can students request to change their
Field of Study while attending placement?
Changes to a student's field of study will only be considered for the upcoming placement.
Do I have to register for practicum?
Yes. Practicum is a course with a Satisfactory (pass) or Unsatisfactory (fail) grade. Students cannot attend placement without registering for the appropriate practicum course. When registering for a multiple term practicum, be sure to register for all terms.
What happens if I do not register for practicum?
Students that do not register in the required practicum course will not be informed of their upcoming placement and will thus be unable to start the interview process. In the event that a student is in placement but did not register, their placement will be suspended until they register for the course.
What happens if I did not submit a completed WSIB form?
Placements will be temporarily suspended for students who do not submit their WSIB form within the first 8 days after the start of their placement (e.g. if a student starts their placement on Tuesday, September 4th, their WSIB will be due Tuesday, September 11th). Students are informed of this requirement prior to the start of their placement and must take the necessary steps to complete the WSIB form prior to the deadline.
What is the Field Placement Portal?
The Field Placement Portal is the online system used by the Practicum Office to place students. Students will log in, complete their profile and upload their resume. Students will have the ability to view all placement opportunities available for their concentration. Each student has the opportunity to identify and rank their top ten placement opportunities.
How do I log in to the Portal?
Students are able to log in to the Portal using their Novel Username and Password (same information that is used to log in to their Laurier email).
What is considered an extenuating circumstance or critical event?
Serious family difficulties, bereavement, or illness are circumstances that may impact a studentís ability to attend practicum.
What is a workplace placement?
A workplace placement is when students complete a placement opportunity with an agency they are, or have been, employed with. Students can apply for a workplace placement if they will be completing their practicum in a different department at their current or past agency of employment (students cannot complete a practicum in the same department they are/were employed). Workplace placements are unpaid placements, and cannot be supervised by a previous employer. Students can apply for a workplace placement for only one of their practica.