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


mapThe MPT program has more than 125 clinical facilities in Southwestern Ontario (indicated by the shaded purple area on the map). Amont the locations included in this catchment areas are the London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joesph's Health Care London (primary teaching hospitals), and thehe Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, a world renowned injury rehabilitation centre. Award winning clinical preceptors, practicing in Windsor, London, Owen Sound, and Kitchener-Waterloo, provide exceptional clinical instruction and supervision.

Southwestern Ontario is a mix of rural communities, small towns and larger centers/cities. Students must be prepared to relocate two or more times within any of these communities in order to complete their five required clinical placements (six weeks each in length). Placement experiences are arranged and assigned by the MPT Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE).

Travel and Housing Funding

Students in the program are responsible for all costs incurred related to completion of required clinical experiences/placements (also see medical and non-medical requirements section). However, the MPT program endeavors to provide travel and housing funding to offset some of the additional costs related to completing clinical placements outside the City of London, but within Western’s catchment area (maximum of $500). This amount may vary from year to year based on available funding and MPT enrolment. Having access to a car during clinical placement time periods is a substantial benefit (but not essential). 

For students interested in international placements, some funding is available through the Leslie A. Bisbee Clinical Experience Bursary and the Global Opportunities Award.

Placement Requirements and Assignment Regulations

In addition to other regulations outlined by the Master of Physical Therapy program Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, the items listed below apply to all students in the MPT program.

Clinical Placement Requirements and Assignment

  • Each student must meet all entering or returning student, medical and non-medical pre-placement clearance requirements (see below) prior to beginning a clinical placement
    • Students may be required to work with patients with infectious diseases (e.g. TB, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis etc.)
  • All clinical placements are arranged and assigned by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE), four to six weeks prior to the beginning of each clinical experience placement.
  • In order to be fair and equitable to all MPT students, students are not able to arrange their own clinical placements.
  • All students will be required to complete at least two clinical placements outside the London city limits but within Western’s catchment area (see map above).
  • All students must complete a minimum of three clinical placements (of the required 5), within Western’s catchment area (see map above).

Clinical Placements within Ontario, Canada and Internationally

  • Depending on the availability of clinical placements, students may have the opportunity to complete a clinical placement in another area of Ontario, Canada, or internationally
  • Based on regulations developed by the National Association for Clinical Educator in Physiotherapy (NACEP), students are only allowed to complete one placement in another Canadian PT university catchment area
    • e.g. a student from Alberta would be allowed to do one placement in Alberta
    • University of Toronto PT program has very limited availability for Western MPT student clinical placement requests
  • During their final clinical placement, students may be eligible to complete one international clinical experience placement if a placement can be successfully arranged
    • e.g. Australia, South Africa, England
    • International placements are not guaranteed and depend on availability, which varies from year to year

Requirements for Graduation

Upon graduation, MPT students are required to fulfill multiple professional roles and responsibilities relevant to contemporary physical therapy practice within a complex, dynamic, Canadian/global health care environment. In order to graduate, each student in the MPT program must meet the criteria outlined below.

1. Competencies/Roles

Obtain entry level in the following PT essential competencies/roles:

  • Expert (assessment, analysis/ diagnosis/prognosis, intervention/ evaluate effectiveness of intervention)
  • Communicator
  • Collaborator
  • Manager
  • Advocate
  • Scholarly Practitioner
  • Professional

2. Clinical Experience Hours

A minimum of 1025 clinical hours

3. Lifespan

Complete (i) 225 clinical experience hours with individuals between 18 – 64 years old (adults) and (ii) a combination of 225 clinical experience hours with individuals younger than 17 years (children) and older than 65 years (older adults)

4. Clinical Settings

Complete clinical experiences (more than 125 hours per setting) in adequate  breadth and depth within the following settings: 

  • Acute Care/Hospital (1 placement)
  • Rehabilitation/LTC/Pediatrics (1 placement)
  • Ambulatory Care Clinic (2 placements)
  • Elective (1 placement)

5. Area of Practice

Complete clinical experiences (more than 100 hours per area of practice) in adequate breadth and depth within the following areas of practice: 

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurology
  • Cardiovascular & Respiratory


All clinical placements have an assigned course number and are graded on a pass/fail basis. During the placements, students are supervised by a registered Physical Therapist who provides supervision and instruction (based on the student’s knowledge/skill level), throughout the placement. The supervising therapist is called a clinical preceptor/instructor (CI). Each student’s clinical performance is evaluated by the CI at midterm and final evaluation using the Canadian Physical Therapy Assessment of Clinical Performance (ACP). The student’s clinical behaviours are compared to the required MPT Expected Clinical Learning Outcomes (for each of the 5 placements) to determine if the student will receive a pass/credit or fail for each placement. Each clinical placement block must be successfully completed in order to progress in the program. Students are encouraged to provide feedback to both their CI and clinical site, to improve the clinical experience.   

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, TB, HIV, AIDS). Therefore students must meet the ON, Ministry of Labour, Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act (2014) policies and guidelines for the protection of workers, in addition to those requirements specified by each affiliated health care facility. These must be completed prior to each clinical placement, and is for both the students’ and patients’ protection.

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, N95 mask testing and others as specified by the program, as well as non-medical documentation including: vulnerable sector screening (VSS), CPR-HCP, first aid, MAESD-WSIB student coverage, infection control, privacy and confidentiality, AODA and other topics as specified by the program and/or clinical sites.

All medical and non-medical requirements need to be updated at the beginning of 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. Students are advised to budget between $800-$1000 for completion of the Pre-Placement Clearance Requirements for 1st & 2nd year.

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, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education prior to admission, for further discussion and clarification.

  • Samantha Doralp, PT, PhD 
    Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE)