Physical TherapyWestern Health Sciences

MPT Clinical Education

Clinical placements, during which students receive instruction and supervision from practicing physical therapists in a variety of clinical environments, are an important part of the learning experience for students in the MPT program. These placements provide opportunities for students to put into practice the theory and clinical skills learned in the classrooms and laboratories. Through classroom and lab instruction students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to do basic assessments and treatments prior to their first clinical placement.


To gain experience in a variety of clinical settings, students in the MPT program complete 30 weeks (five placements, each six weeks long) of clinical placements.

Experience Type

Placement Schedule

Placement Objectives

Junior (PT9581)

June through mid-July (Year 1)

Students assess and treat patients with basic health-care needs, while beginning to integrate the skills, knowledge and professional attributes required of a practitioner.

Junior-Intermediate (PT9582)

November through mid-December (Year 2)

Students build on the foundations of their first placement to develop safe and effective assessment and treatment skills for patients with basic health-care needs.

Intermediate-Senior (PT9583)

Mid-March through the third week of April (Year 2)

During their last three placements, students refine their clinical skills and integrate their knowledge, professional attributes and clinical reasoning. Throughout these three placements, students approach entry-level competency as they gain experience in treating patients with more complex needs.

Senior (PT9584)

Fourth week of April through first week of June (Year 2)

Professional Consolidation (PT9585)

Mid July through fourth week of August (Year 2)


The MPT program utilizes four types of practices settings to help students gain the skills and knowledge required to be successful practitioners.

Ambulatory Care Clinics: Care provided to a person living in the community but attending an out-patient (OP) setting for treatment; requires primarily the services of a physiotherapist; may receive services in a variety of areas of practice (i.e. neurology, cardiovascular & respiratory, musculoskeletal) across the lifespan.

Locations include:

  • Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic
  • Meridian Spine & Joint Physiotherapy (Central West)
  • Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Clinic (St. Joseph's Health Care London)

Rehabilitation/Long-Term Care/Pediatric Rehab: Care provided for a person requiring intensive rehabilitation therapy to maximize/maintain function;  provided at a Rehab Hospital, Unit within a hospital, private /public out-patient clinic or school; may receive services in a variety of areas of practice (i.e. neurology, cardiovascular & respiratory, musculoskeletal)  across the lifespan.

Locations include:

  • Thames Valley Children's Centre
  • Parkwood Hospital (St. Joseph's Health Care London)

Acute Care/Hospitals: Care provided for a person during an acute illness, an acute exacerbation of a chronic illness/disability or a surgical intervention; may receive services in a variety of areas of practice (i.e. neurology, cardiovascular & respiratory, musculoskeletal) across the lifespan.

Locations include:

  • London Health Sciences Centre
    • Trauma Unit (Victoria Hospital)
    • Critical Care Trauma Centre (Victoria Hospital)
    • Medicine (University Hospital)

Community/Home Care*: Clients receive therapy services in the patient’s home, or retirement home. Supports an individual in the home environment during recovery from an acute illness/surgery or in the ongoing management of a chronic disease or disability; may receive services in a variety of areas of practice (i.e. neurology, cardiovascular & respiratory, musculoskeletal) across the lifespan.

*Limited availability. Setting not required for graduation.

Locations include:

  • VHA Home Health Care


mapClinical education sites for the MPT program are located in the Western catchment area, which includes London and communities in southwest Ontario, extending from Sarnia/Windsor in the west, to Owen Sound in the north, and to Kitchener/Waterloo in the east. Only areas shaded in purple on the map (right) are included in Western's catchment area.

Travel and Housing Funding

Any costs incurred while travelling to clinical placements, and/or when out-of-town housing is required, are the sole responsibility of the student. However, the School of Physical Therapy is able to provide travel and housing funding to off-set some of the additional costs related to completing clinical placements outside the City of London, but within Western‘s catchment area (see above). For students interested in international placements, some funding is available through the Leslie A. Bisbee Clinical Experience Bursary and the Global Opportunities Award.

Placement Regulations

  • All clinical placements are arranged by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) four to six weeks prior to the beginning of each clinical experience placement. 
  • All students must complete three of their five clinical placements within Western’s catchment area (see map above).
  • Students are not able to arrange their own placements, but may request for a placement to be in a catchment area other than Western's.
  • Depending on the availability of clinical placements, students may have the opportunity to do a clinical placement in another area of Ontario or Canada.
  • Based on regulations developed by the National Association of Clinical Educator in Physiotherapy, students are NOT allowed to do two placements in any one university catchment area other than Western
    • e.g. a student from Alberta would be allowed to do one placement in the University of Alberta catchment area
  • All students will be required to complete at least two clinical placements outside the London city limits but within Western’s catchment area (see above).
    • Students are able to complete more than two placements outside London, but within Western’s catchment area.
  • Students in their final year may be eligible to complete one international clinical experience placement during their last clinical placement if a placement can be successfully arranged.
  • As part of the clinical placement portion of the curriculum, students in the MPT program may be required to work with patients with infectious diseases (tuberculosis, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.)


All clinical placements have an assigned course number and are graded on a pass/fail basis. Each clinical placement block must be successfully completed in order to progress in the program.

Medical and Non-Medical Requirements

During clinical placements, students in the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) program may be required to care for persons with infectious diseases (including but not limited to hepatitis B, TB HIV) and therefore must meet the ON, Ministry of Labour policies and guidelines for the protection of workers.

In November 2014, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014. Students admitted to the MPT program must meet all Bill 18 requirements as specified by each affiliated health care facility and the MPT program prior to completing clinical placements.

Upon admission to the MPT Program, it is mandatory that students provide documentation of the following medical requirements: 2-step tuberculosis, varicella, MMR, pertussis, tetanus/diphtheria, polio, flu vaccination and others as specified by the program, as well as non-medical documentation including: vulnerable sector screening (VSS), CPR-HCP, first aid, MTCU-WSIB student coverage, infection control, others as specified by the program.

All medical and non-medical requirements need to be updated during the 2nd year of the program.

Cost: Students are responsible for any costs incurred to fulfill medical, non-medical, Bill 18 MPT program and additional clinical site requirements (approximately $600 – $1000).

Mandatory: Without the required immunizations and non-medical documentation, students will be unable to obtain the necessary clinical placements for successful graduation from the MPT program.

Questions? Questions or concerns regarding mandatory immunizations, infection control, VSS or other non-medical Bill 18 requirements, should be directed to the MPT program, prior to admission, for further discussion and clarification.

  • Ann MacPhail, PT, MSc
    Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education