Frequently Asked Questions by Students
There are a number of options:
- Participating in the PAS as scheduled by the Practicum Office.
- In conjunction with the Practicum Office – locating a practicum in your home community.
- In conjunction with the Practicum Office – discussing options that you have identified.
- Completing an application form for a practicum at your place of employment.
- Reviewing the FIFSW website regularly to view practicum opportunities that are: outside the GTA; are open to FIFSW and other academic institutions; or are off-schedule.
- Contacting the Practicum Office to discuss your ideas before contacting organizations.
The PAS is an online database that uses an algorithm to match students with interviews and practicums, based on student selections from the available opportunities. Each student has a profile on the PAS. Students use the PAS to view descriptions of available practicums, make their interview selections, view finalized practicum assignments, and submit their self-evaluation. Field instructors use the PAS to provide information about their practicum, view assigned student names, and submit evaluations.
Information about time expectations, special requirements, a description of the interview/practicum matching process, practicum schedules, evaluation details and other information related to the practicum courses can be found in the Practicum Manual on the Practicum website. You can also access templates of the Learning Contract and PDF versions of the online practicum evaluation tool.
Yes. The FIFSW is committed to securing practicums for all students.
Students who identify an opportunity that is not on our Partner Organization list may contact the Practicum Office to discuss.
Students are asked NOT to contact the Partner Organizations listed on the FIFSW website, because the Practicum Office has developed partnerships with these agencies. Contravening an organization’s protocol may ultimately jeopardize the FIFSW’s relationship, and this may impact future opportunities for students to complete practicums at this site.
It is the responsibility of the Practicum Office to secure practicum opportunities that meet accreditation standards as set out by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.
As stated in the Program Description booklet, and on the FIFSW website Program Description, Practicum II “must comply with the student’s declared field of study.” Course instructors may design assignments to integrate with the field experience. Field instructors expect that the theory obtained in your courses will be applied in the practicum. One of the six competency domains on which students are evaluated is “Conceptualizing Practice.”
Agencies that offer a practicum(s) will likely require a current Vulnerable Persons Criminal Record check prior to commencing the Practicum. Failure to pass this check may jeopardize your entry to practicum.
There is a cost and time factor associated with the Vulnerable Persons Criminal Record check. A delay in obtaining the results can impact the start time of your practicum. The agency determines how current the results need to be.
In anticipation of this requirement for your practicum, it is strongly recommended that you begin this process early. (For information about a vulnerable sector reference, including recent changes, see the Toronto Police website.
Some practicum opportunities are available to students of different disciplines and / or schools of social work. Interviews may take place on a different schedule than that of FIFSW. The Practicum Office posts these “competitions” on the FIFSW website on the Off-PAS Practicum Opportunities pages, with details on how FIFSW students may apply.
Yes. Although most practicums are Toronto-based, there are some options outside the GTA. The Practicum Office has approved these practicums and the list of out-of-town practicums is on the website. The locations of out-of-town practicums are indicated in the title. The interview matching process is the same as for Toronto practicums.
International opportunities may be available from time to time. They are not listed online, but rather will be communicated directly to students when they are available.
To study in Canada, you need a study permit, which is issued by the Canadian Government. In addition, in order to complete (a) practicum(s) in Canada, please ensure you have the required documents. Information for the Study Permit and the Co-Op Work Permit as well as the Medical examination can be found at https://studentlife.utoronto.ca/task/getting-a-study-permit/
For practicum-specific information: https://socialwork.utoronto.ca/current-students/important-information-for-international-students-at-fifsw/
The FIFSW cannot guarantee a specific practicum. The Practicum Office is dedicated to securing practicums that will provide students with social work competencies and foundations, which will be transferable to many organizations. Year 1 students are permitted to trade practicum assignments before any contact with the field instructor is made.
An organization may be unable to offer a practicum in a given academic year due to organizational restructuring, space limitations, a lack of field instructors, funding cuts, commitment to other academic programs, etc. The FIFSW cannot guarantee the availability of any practicum site or opportunity from year to year.
The FIFSW cannot guarantee a specific practicum. The Practicum Office is dedicated to securing practicums that will provide students with opportunities to develop social work competencies, which will be transferable to many organizations. Hospital settings are popular with students and therefore not all requests for a hospital practicum can be met.
As students are informed prior to entering the program, the demand for practicums in hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is much higher than the supply.
To ensure as many students as possible have an opportunity to complete a field practicum in a hospital in the GTA, students in the two-year MSW program are limited to one GTA hospital practicum.
Some practicums are extremely popular. As a result, some students may not be assigned for an interview at one of their selections. You will have the opportunity to select other potential practicum settings for an interview. The Practicum Office works with every student until a final practicum assignment is confirmed.
The FIFSW acknowledges that many students bring a wealth of personal/volunteer/work experience. The social work practicum will provide students with transferable social work skills and universal competencies for social work practice with diverse client systems, integrating social work theory with practice.
Students may trade practicums before any contact with field instructors is made. Contact the Practicum Office to make a trade.
Occasionally organizations withdraw their availability because of restructuring in the organization, the resignation/illness/position change of a field instructor, etc. Should a practicum be withdrawn, the Practicum Office will work with students to find an alternate practicum.
Your assigned FFL, or Faculty Field Liaison, is your “go-to person” during your practicum. As well as being available to support your success and for questions and consultation, your FFL is available to discuss concerns and challenges in your practicum. The FFL also provides support for the Field Instructor and Education Coordinator.
Your feedback is important to us. Students and field instructors have several avenues to provide feedback about the practicum course. These include:
- Practicum Advisory Committee (PAC); (contact the GSA to become a rep, or the Practicum Office for the meeting schedule)
- Ad hoc committees to address issues / projects arising
- Practicum Information Sessions
- Year 1 Monday noon-hour drop-in (after Practicum Information Sessions to end of December)
- Year 1 Forum (4 weeks after Year 1 practicum commences)
- Year 2/Advanced standing Forum (4 weeks after Year 2 practicum commences)
- Open door policy in Practicum Office – 4th Floor
- Dean, Assistant Dean Field Education, Associate Dean Academic
- Field Instructor(s)
- Education Coordinator
- Faculty-Field Liaison (FFL)
- Online FFL / student meeting feedback form (after each meeting)
- Online practicum exit feedback form (end of practicum)
The practicum course is not completed in a single term. The course carries over two terms.
At the end of the first term, IPR (in progress) appears for that session on the student’s transcript. At the end of the second term, when the practicum is completed and the credit form received, CR (Credit) is recorded and appears on the transcript for that session.
The credit will only appear at the end of the Practicum in the semester in which it is completed.
The IPR remains on the transcript.
For students who have extensions, IPR appears in the first session. SDF (standing deferred) appears in the session the grade is expected. Once the credit form is submitted, the SDF will change to CR.
All students are encouraged to become a field instructor after graduation. Students interested in becoming a field instructor are asked to:
- provide their personal e-mail address to the Practicum Office with the intention that they will be e-mailed an invitation to be a field instructor in the future;
- attend the annual February noon-hour Panel of Field Instructors to have their questions answered; and
- view two videos about becoming a field instructor: Rob McFadden video, Blair Audet video.
For more information, see the Becoming a Field Instructor page.