Skip to Main Content

MSW practicum information

On this page:

Field education is mandatory and integral part of the MSW program. As with other courses at FIFSW, most practicums are Toronto-based and accessible with one Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) fare; however, the Practicum Office does explore opportunities outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). 

Please visit the Practicum section of FIFSW’s website to read the Practicum Manual, which provides information on time requirements, immunization/influenza/mask fitting, police reference/vulnerable sector check, and more.

SWK 4701 Practicum I

For students in the two-year MSW Program

SWK 4701 Practicum I provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate core knowledge and beginning practice competence. Field education settings and field instructors work with the Practicum Office in accordance with the accreditation standards of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE). All Year 1 students are assigned to their practicum from a broad range of organizations, sectors and populations by the Practicum Office, using the Practicum Administration System (PAS).

Time requirements

SWK 4701 Practicum I is 67 seven-hour days in length and normally occurs in the Winter session (January to April) . With application approval, it may be taken in the Summer session after first year.

Winter: SWK 4701 Practicum I starts in January 2025, Wednesday to Friday until classes finish in April 2024. After classes finish, the practicum is 4 days per week, Tuesday to Friday, until the end of May 2025.

Summer: Should students opt to take the course in the summer instead of Winter, SWK 4701 Practicum I occurs in the Summer session after first year. A Request for Deferral Application is required by end of October 2024. Attendance at practicum may be either 4 or 5 days per week.

SWK 4701 Practicum I Information Session

This will be  held in October 2024, to provide students with more details and the matching process.

SWK 4702 Practicum II

For students in the MSW with Advanced Standing Program

Time requirements

Seventy-five days (497 hours) required in SWK 4702 Practicum II:  Wednesday – Friday each week.

For students who start their practicum in a session other than September 2024, contact the Practicum Coordinator at least four months prior to the intended start date. (Typically, part-time Advanced Standing students begin practicum in the second year of the program.)

The Practicum Assignment Process:

The practicum assignment process begins in late April 2024. Students read and make practicum selections from an objective computer database, the Practicum Administration System (PAS).  Practicums within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) boundaries (including the Regional Municipalities of Halton, Peel, York and Durham) are posted on the PAS.

Students considering a practicum outside of the PAS process, in their home community, or outside of the GTA must contact the Practicum Office before April 10, 2024.   While the Practicum Office will explore these options with you, these practicums cannot be guaranteed.

*The Practicum Office from time-to-time learns of opportunities that fall outside of the established process and schedule, and may not be on the PAS (therefore, knows as Off-PAS practicums), which may be of interest.  For example:

  • FIFSW students are competing with students from other academic institutions for a limited number of spaces (these practicums cannot be guaranteed).
  • Practicums located outside of the GTA.
  • Practicums that have specific requirements and timelines.

We encourage you to consider these opportunities, posted on the Practicum.

SWK 4702 Practicum II Information Session

Full process will be presented during the virtual Advanced Standing Welcome Session scheduled for April 10, 2024. Invitations that session will be sent by email.

MSW Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency

The MSW ITR field have separate Practicum courses:

  • Students entering the ITR program without a BSW degree must take the SWK 4516H course (MSW ITR Practicum I) in Year 1. It involves 450 hours at the placement.
  • All students in the ITR field of study take SWK 4703Y (MSW ITR Practicum II), which is a 450-hour course taken across two semesters. Students can opt to enroll from September–April or January–August of their second year.

International students who wish to complete a practicum in their home community in summer must contact the Practicum Office by April 10, 2024.

More information about competencies and for general background information about the MSW ITR practicums can be found on the ITR section of our site.

Practicum Requirements

  • Fees and time may apply for police reference/vulnerable sector checks, completion of Immunization/Health Record Form, immunizations, and/or mask fitting. Please budget and plan accordingly.
  • As with other courses, students are responsible for the costs associated with attending courses (transportation, parking, etc.), including the Practicum courses.
  • There is a time factor involved in obtaining some required documents. Please start the processes early.
  • Practicums may require that you provide documentary evidence of your COVID immunization status satisfactory for and consistent with requirements of the practicum site.
  • Failure to meet requirements may delay the practicum commencement.

Police reference/vulnerable sector check

Expect practicums to require a police reference check/vulnerable sector screen prior to practicum commencement.

For residents of Toronto: The Toronto Police Services’ Police Reference Check Program administers this check. Applications will be distributed at the Practicum Information Session and are available in the Practicum Office. Photo identification is required for the form to be witnessed. The application and fee by certified cheque or money order, must be MAILED to Toronto Police Services.

For residents outside of Toronto: Each jurisdiction will inform applicants of its requirements. If required, the Practicum Coordinator provides written confirmation of the student’s enrolment in the FIFSW MSW program.

Immunization/mask fitting

Immunization: Public hospitals (Public Hospitals Act, R.S.O. 1990 – “PHA”) require students to prove immunizations are up-to-date. Students are required to have the Immunization Health Record Form (pdf) completed in its entirety by a healthcare provider (e.g., Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Occupational Health Nurse). Failure to comply may jeopardize your practicum.

Some hospitals require students to follow “Vaccinate-or-Mask” protocols during the annual flu season. Students are required to either be vaccinated against influenza or wear a procedure mask during influenza season in areas where patients are present and patient care is delivered.

Mask Fitting for N95 Respirator: Settings requiring a mask fitting will expect proof of mask-fitting (including Mask Make/Model # and Date Mask Fit Test Completed) on the first day of practicum.

It is the student’s responsibility to review the “Requirements” section of the online Practicum Manual.

International Students

To complete the MSW program, international students require a Co-Op Work Permit (COWP), and a Medical Examination in addition to the a study permit required to study in Canada. These documents are issued by the Canadian Government. International students should begin the process to obtain these documents immediately.

Applying for a study permit and co-op work permit

The University of Toronto provides assistance to newly admitted students who are applying for study and work permits, including webinars that walk you through the steps to apply for a study permit.

Please note that although placements are unpaid, a co-op work permit is required before enrolling in your practicum placement. If you are applying for a co-op work permit along with your study permit you are only required to note that work is an essential part of your program and provide proof of the requirement. A letter to support your COWP application can be provided to you through GradApp.

Because the length of time it takes to secure the necessary permits will vary greatly depending on where you apply from, you are highly encouraged to apply for a study permit and co-op work permit as soon as you have the necessary documents to do so. Each country may have different requirements; visit the Government of Canada’s website for detailed information. We encourage you to apply online.

If you are currently studying at another educational institution in Canada, you must ensure that your study permit is valid and apply for a co-op work permit (without restrictions) before starting your MSW at the University of Toronto. Your study permit and co-op work permit will need to remain valid for the duration of the program.

Completing a medical examination

The unpaid field placement component of the program will take place at social service, education, or health care organizations. An immigration medical examination will be required in order to complete a social work practicum in Canada. A practitioner that is an approved immigration provider must complete your medical examination.

The medical examination can be completed prior to submitting a study permit application. Doing so can help you avoid processing delays. Detailed information regarding the medical examination, including who can perform the exam can be found on the IRCC website.

Practicums in your home country

In some cases, it may be a significant advantage for you to pursue your Practicum in your home country during the Summer session. We are happy to explore that with you but you must advise the Practicum Office by April 10, 2024.

A few things to note should you engage in a practicum in your home country:

  • As classes are held on Monday and Tuesday in person during the Fall and Winter sessions, practicum outside of Canada can only occur during the Summer session (May to August).
  • Whether completing a practicum in your home country or in Canada, the same standards for Field Instruction apply.
  • You will be offered a practicum in the Toronto area if you are unable to secure placement in your home country.
  • Workplace insurance coverage will not be provided by the University of Toronto or by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges, Universities and Training.

Practicum Office


MSW Practicum Website

Practicum Manual

SWK 4701 key dates

SWK 4702 key dates


General email: Practicum Office email

Alexi Sparaggis, Practicum Coordinator

Samar Hossain, Practicum Coordinator