Skip to Main Content

Practicum 1 Matching

Practicum 1 is an introduction to generic social work practice. The practicum is designed to provide students with beginning skills and competencies required for direct social work practice with diverse client systems.

Regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a combined program, or whether the student is considering a specific field or collaborative program in Year 2, all Year 1 students are assigned to the practicum setting by the Practicum Office. Variations to improve the matching process are made each year based on feedback from various stakeholders.

The process outlined below describes the Practicum Office’s general approach to matching students to practicums.


The Practicum Office begins recruiting Practicum 1 Field Instructors in the months before student matching begins. Field Instructors submit full descriptions of the learning opportunities and site requirements to the Practicum Administrative System (PAS), a database used to assign practicums.

By early November, students review opportunities posted on the PAS (ensuring that all the requirements can be met) and select 10 practicum options from 3 categories:

  • Category A: specialized settings;
  • Category B: community settings; and
  • Category C: healthcare settings.

Three practicums are selected from each category and then one additional practicum is selected from any category.

This process ensures that students consider opportunities across a range of settings. There is no advantage to submitting early and no ranking among the selections submitted. All practicums will provide students with social work competencies and foundations that will be transferable to many organizations.

Based on the selections submitted by all students, the PAS is programmed to match the greatest number of students with a practicum from their 10 selected options. Once matched, students contact the field instructor(s) for the interview.

The PAS algorithm matches the majority of students on the first run. The Practicum Office works with all students who have not been matched to connect them with an available practicum.

To ensure as many students as possible have an opportunity to complete a practicum at a hospital in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), social work students in the two-year MSW program are limited to one placement during the program at a hospital in the GTA. This gives as many students as possible an opportunity to complete a practicum in a GTA hospital.


Once a student has been matched, they will have an informational interview with their Field Instructor to ensure that the student meets requirements and to explore how the practicum will provide the desired learning opportunities.

If, following the interview, the Field Instructor or the student does not believe the practicum would be a positive learning experience, the Practicum Office is to be contacted immediately.  In these circumstances, the student is assigned to another practicum interview, and the Field Instructor will interview another student.


August – October Field Instructor recruitment
October Student information sessions, run by the Practicum Office
October Students select their practicum choices on the PAS. The PAS is run to determine practicum matches.
November and December Students arrange and complete interview with field instructor(s)

For Practicum 1 students who complete their practicum in the spring/summer session, from May to the end of August, interviews for summer practicums take place February through March.