Practicum/Independent Study/Research Project

The School of Kinesiology offers its fourth-year students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience and explore additional learning opportunities through its practicum and independent study courses.

Practicum

The practicum course in the School of Kinesiology allows students to put into practice their knowledge by working with a preceptor. A variety of practicum placements are available for students to enhance their learning and gain practical experience. Students interested in these placements must apply through procedure outlined below. Please note that placements are subject to availability and not all opportunities are offered each year.

Placements may be available (but not limited to) the following areas: Senior Exercise & Fitness, Youth Exercise & Fitness, Rehabilitation (Seniors), Rehabilitation (Athletes), Coaching, Sport Psychology, Fitness Assessment, Fitness Data (Labwork), Health, Fitness and Education,  Strength & Conditioning, Allied Health, Health & Safety. 

Purpose/Objective

The intent of the practicum opportunity is for students to develop hands-on experience. Usually, there are projects or specific roles that the student will accomplish for the organization.

Examples of preceptors and community partners:

  • St. Joseph’s Health Care and Parkwood Hospital
  • London Health Sciences Centre
  • Regional Health Units (please note that the London-Middlesex Health Unit does not accept undergraduate placement students)
  • School boards
  • Non profit organizations (Boys & Girls Club, Alzheimer’s Society, Epilepsy Foundation, Health & Stroke Foundation)
  • Private health providers (physical therapists, chiropractors)
  • Governmental ministries (child and youth services)

Core Expectations

The expectations are that the practicum starts with the commencement of classes (in early September or January depending on course) and continues through to the end of the respective term (December or April). This would represent 13-14 practicum weeks with an average of 6-8 hours per week commitment to the organization. Please note that the nature of those hours can vary substantially depending on the needs of the organization.

Students can expect variability within placements. Examples of scope include:

  • Practicum placements that have regular, weekly requirements at the placement location
  • Practicum placements that offer responsibilities where a physical presence at the organization is occasional, (e.g., students may be asked to analyze a database)
  • Volunteer locations that are turned into practicum placement opportunities

Students will submit for assessment:

  • Learning contract (developed in collaboration with the practicum supervisor)
  • Practicum poster and presentation
  • Practicum report

Requirement: Registered in Honors Specialization

Application Deadlines and Details

Application Deadlines

  • Term 1: Application Deadline: June 1
    Student Must Accept Placement By: August 1
  • Term 2: Application Deadline: October 1
    Student Must Accept Placement By: December 1

NOTE: Deadlines that fall on the weekend or a statutory holiday will be accepted the following business day.

Application Details

All properly completed applications will be considered as part of this competitive process. Not all who apply will be accepted. The applicant will receive communication about the acceptance or rejection via their Western email account. Placements are subject to change from term to term/between the time of application and acceptance.

Students interested in only one (or few) placement(s) may not be afforded an experience. They must remain flexible to find the best fit during the matching process which will be conducted collaboratively by the student, preceptor and the placement coordinator based on unique skills required for each job.

Students are encouraged to be open to learning in all areas as these opportunities are valuable for personal growth, theory integration, development of skills, communication and employability.

Submitting An Application

To submit an application, complete the steps below:

Other Practicum Options

Practicum in Sport Management

Field experience in managerial activities in a sport/recreation organization selected by the student and approved by the instructor, who meet weekly to discuss the experiences and to examine current issues in sport management.

Practicum in Athletic Injuries

This course provides students with the opportunity to put theory into practice within the sport system available at Western. Students will work closely with athletic teams in assigned areas and under course-instructor supervision.

Practicum in Professional Kinesiology

This course offers students the opportunity to apply concepts and professional practice skills by gaining kinesiology experience working directly with clients/patients to optimize ‘performance’ (i.e. in sport) or ‘health’ (i.e. prevention and/or management of chronic disease and impairment).

Research Project

A research project course that provides students the opportunity to work on an independent research project involving the presentation of proposal, collection and analysis of data, presentation of results and a final written report as a scholarly paper.  Students enrolled in Kinesiology 4443E will also be involved in laboratory research. Students seek out such an opportunity by contacting instructors/faculty members whose research and scholarly interests match their own. 

Independent Study

An independent study course provides a student the opportunity to work with a faculty member on a project of mutual interest. Students seek out such an opportunity by contacting instructors/faculty members whose research and scholarly interests match their own. Faculty members do not need to be within the School of Kinesiology however the project must be applicable/connected to Kinesiology. Students have worked with faculty members in the Sister Schools of the Faculty of Health Sciences as well as researchers in other Faculties at Western and at other institutions. Elements of the independent study course are arranged with the specific faculty member; that is what makes it an independent experience.

Core Expectations

All students are required to complete certain components during the course, including:

  • A written independent study proposal
  • A report of the research project (in a format and style agreed upon with the supervisor)
  • An abstract submission and presentation at the term-end Independent Study Research Forum

Requirement: Registered in Honors Specialization, 75% cumulative average

Application Deadlines

Term 1 - Application Deadline: September 10

  • Student must be enrolled in the course on or by the last day to add a first term course
  • See Academic Calendar for semester dates

Term 2 - Application Deadline: January 10

  • Student must be enrolled in the course on or by the last day to add a first term course
  • See Academic Calendar for semester dates

NOTE: Deadlines that fall on the weekend or a statutory holiday will be accepted the following business day.

Practicum and Independent Study FAQs

Why can’t I add these courses to my timetable?

The independent study (Kin 4491/4492F/G) and practicum (Kin 4495F/G or 4496F/G) courses require an application by students. The applications have deadlines; ensure that you have completed and submitted your application in advance of the deadline and have met the requirements (agreement by the supervisor or organization) at the time of submission.

How much time is involved with the independent study course?

Each independent study course is a unique arrangement between the student and faculty supervisor. The expectations and required time commitment will be different for each student. There are required course components in addition to the project arranged with your supervisor, which includes a project proposal, abstract submission and presentation at the year-end research forum. There is also a weekly one-hour tutorial/seminar.

How much time is involved with the practicum course?

The practicum requires students to spend on average 6-8 hours working for the organization or community partner each week of the term (generally 13-14 weeks for a one term course and 26 weeks for a full course). The time commitment may fluctuate each week depending on the needs of the organization and type of project you are involved with. In addition, there are course requirements, including a learning contract and practicum poster along with a weekly one-hour tutorial/seminar.

Can I take both a practicum and independent study course?

Yes. Students can take both courses in their senior year.

Can I take two independent study courses?

Yes. However, the projects must be substantially different so that you are not risking plagiarizing yourself. To take both courses you would enroll in Kin 4491F in the fall term and Kin 4492G in the winter term. You would be required to complete all course components for each course.

Can I take two practicum courses?

No. You can only take one of Kin 4495/4496F/G or4498A/B or 4585. 

Are there scheduled and required class times for these courses?

There are no scheduled or required class time for students complete an Independent Study (Kin 4491/4492F/G).  Students enrolled in any of the practicum courses (Kin 4495/4496F/G or 4498A/B or 4585) will have class commitments.

These are essay-designated courses, how much writing is required?

As an essay-designated course, the independent study and practicum courses require a minimum amount of writing as stipulated by university guidelines. Final reports consisting of a minimum of 2000 words for a one-term course and 4000 words for a full-year course should be expected. This would be in addition to other obligations such as learning contracts or project proposals. See course outlines for greater detail.

How do I find a supervisor for an independent study?

It is recommended that you contact potential supervisors early (usually in the spring for a fall independent study project and early fall for a winter term course). Consider your specific interests and approach faculty members who share a similar area of interest and with whom you feel there would be a positive working relationship. Faculty members do not need to be within the School of Kinesiology however the project must be applicable/connected to Kinesiology. Students have worked with faculty members in the Sister Schools of the Faculty of Health Sciences as well as researchers in other Faculties at Western and at other institutions. Not all faculty members supervise independent study students. There is no list of potential supervisors.

Do I have the option to do an independent study courses/practicum course in my 5th year?

Yes, however, preference is given to senior (fourth-year) students. Should we determine that we have reached capacity for one of the courses, offer of enrollment will be extended to four-year students first.