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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
April 19, 2014
Canadian Excellence

MSW Practicum Program

The purpose of the MSW Practicum is to provide students with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced level social work values, knowledge and skills including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker. Emphasis is placed on the experience of direct social work practice with disadvantaged and disenfranchised populations. The practicum is conceptualized as an educational experience rather than a work term. That is, it is a graded course with an agency based MSW instructor assigned to teach each student. The practicum workload is controlled to facilitate this emphasis on learning.

The objective of the practicum program is to ensure the practicum experience reflects the framework of the Faculty of Social Work, the curriculum goals of the MSW program, and provide an opportunity for the student to apply the values, knowledge and skills learned in the classroom. The objectives for the practicum program are set to meet the standards set by the CASWE as outlined in the document “Standards for the Field Education Component of Programs of Social Work Education”.

Practice Concentrations

Three direct practice concentrations or streams are offered: practice with individuals, families and groups (IFG), community, planning, policy and organizations (CPPO), and integrated (primary focus CPPO or IFG). Incoming interns in the two year program choose their concentration during the foundational Year I fall term. The advanced standing and part-time interns commit to a concentration prior to admission. For information on the concentrations and the type of practicum opportunities available within each concentration please click here: MSW Concentrations

Practicum Staff

Practicum Coordinator, Yumna Al-Adeimi, (519) 884-0710 ext. 5230,
Associate Practicum Coordinator, Melissa Strachan, (519) 884-0710 ext. 5274,
Practicum Assistant, Caroline Hissa, (519) 884-0710 ext. 5269,

Practicum Agencies: Standards for Approval

Practicum teaching settings will be selected by the Faculty of Social Work's MSW Practicum Coordinator based on the following standards:

>  Clarity and appropriateness of agency purpose and function for an MSW placement;
>  Sound social work practice as reflected in structure, philosophy, administration and service;
>  Providing the student with an opportunity to participate in staff meetings and committees;
>  Flexibility & willingness to provide the student with appropriate learning opportunities;
>  Adequate office space to accommodate interns and sufficient equipment and support services to assure maximum efficiency in
     the preparation of records and reports by interns and practicum instructors;
>  The participation of a practicum instructor with an MSW degree;

>  Providing adequate individual supervision for the student at a minimum of 1.5hrs per week.

Program Structure

The Wilfrid Laurier practicum program is as follows (please note that placements during July and August are not possible):

Intern Status



First Year

September to December

January to June: 82 days, 574 hours
4 days/week (Tues-Fri) Jan-Apr and 3 days/week (Wed-Fri) Apr-June

Two concurrent courses (Jan – Apr)
One concurrent course (Apr – Jun)
Thesis students – 18 fewer days in placement & three fewer courses.
Alternative placement timeline and days may not be negotiated.

Second Year

January to April

September to December: 60 days, 420 hours, 4 days/week (Tues-Fri)
Two concurrent courses.
Alternative placement timeline and days may not be negotiated. Monday
placements are not negotiable.

Second Year - International Practicum 

January to April 

September to December: 420 hours, four or five days per week.
One course in the prior Spring/Summer term.

Alternative placement timeline and days may not be negotiated. 

Part-Time 4 Year Program 

Year One and Year Three 

Year 2: 82 days, three terms Sept - July
Thesis students – 18 fewer days in first placement & three fewer courses.
Student's choose to attend placement two days/week or four days/week. 
One day placements are not negotiable.
Year 3: 60 days, two terms Sept- April

One & five day placements are not negotiable.

Advanced Standing Full-Time

September to June: Two days per week (Mon & Tue)

September to April: 87 days, 609 hours, three days/week (Wed-Fri)
Thesis students – exempt from Winter term practicum & two fewer courses.
Alternative placement timeline and days may not be negotiated. Condensed practicum schedule and/or five day placements are not negotiable.

Advanced Standing Part-Time

Year One

Year 2: 87 days Sept. – July
Thesis students – 45 fewer days in placement & two fewer courses.
Student's choose to attend placement two days/week or four days/week.  One day placements are not negotiable.

Intern Practice Assignments

In the first year practicum period the majority of assignments should be in the student’s area of concentration, (IFG or CPPO). However, they should also have assignments in the other core areas of the curriculum. The assignments in the minor areas could include activities such as speaking to a community group, participation in staff meetings, and participation in agency or community projects. Where possible, interns should have a range of experiences. Integrated interns will have a blend of assignments with the weight being on their primary area of concentration.

In the second year practicum, the interns’ assignments should be exclusively in their area of concentration. Integrated interns will have a blend as described above filling in gaps from their first practicum. In the advanced standing practicum, assignments should focus on the concentration area and may include aspects of the other modalities determined by intern learning needs, interests and experience.

An important aspect of the practicum is that the interns have opportunities to develop their potential. Ideally, they should be encouraged to explore issues of concern to them, initiate programs where appropriate and be creative in their problem solving approaches. They should be fully engaged in the practice assignments and assume considerable responsibility for their own learning.