Sports Management LabWestern Health Sciences

One-on-One Learning

One on One

The School of Health Studies 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 Courses (4900E, 4910F, 4910G)

The practicum course in the School of Health Studies allows students to put into practice their knowledge of health and health care by working with a community partner. The School of Health Studies does not presently have a list of partners from which students may choose to conduct a practicum. The practicum opportunity is usually sought out and arranged by individual students. However, as community organizations experience the value of partnership with Health Sciences students, they often request other such students. When that is the case, we develop a list of organizations that may be prepared to work with students for a practicum placement. Should such a list develop, it is usually distributed to incoming, fourth-year students in the Spring (May/June).

Purpose/Objective

The intent of the practicum opportunity is for students to develop hands-on experience working on health related issues. The practicum is not an opportunity to gain course credit to shadow a health care professional to see if you “like the job”. Usually, there are projects or specific roles that the student will accomplish for the organization.

Examples of past placements include:

  • 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)

When expressing interest in a practicum position, it is valuable to mention the types of skills/knowledge you have developed that can potentially be applied to the practicum partner organization. Also, please note that generic applications to SJHC and LHSC rarely result in placements due to their overwhelming requirement to fill places with various health professional training programs (nursing, PT, OT, Audiology, SLP, NP, PSW, RPN, EMS, MD). If interested in working at a hospital-based location, it is best to make direct contact with a potential supervisor.

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

Term 1
(HS 4900E; HS4910F)

Term 2
(4910G)

Application Deadline*: August 1 November 1
Acceptance Decision by: Review and approval by Undergraduate Chair August 14 November 14
Student to Drop a Course by: Allot space in timetable for SHS to add the practicum course August 21 November 21
SHS will add Course by: These courses cannot be added by the student August 27 December 14

*Deadlines that fall on the weekend or a statutory holiday will be considered the following business day

Independent Study Courses (4990F, 4991G)

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 Health Studies. 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

Term 1
(HS 4990F)

Term 2
(4991G)

Application Deadline*: June 30 November 1
Acceptance Decision by: Review and approval by Undergraduate Chair July 7 November 14
Student to Drop a Course by: Allot space in timetable for SHS to add the independent study course July 14 November 21
SHS will add Course by: These courses cannot be added by the student August 1 December 14

*Deadlines that fall on the weekend or a statutory holiday will be considered the following business day

Independent Study and Practicum Course FAQs

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

The independent study (HS 4990F/HS 4991G) and practicum (HS 4900E, 4910F/G) courses require an application by students. These applications can be found on the School of Health Studies website under the one-on-one learning tab. 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 HS 4990F in the fall term and HS 4991G in the winter term. You would be required to complete all course components for each course, however students taking two independent study courses would not be required to attend the second term tutorials.

Can I take two practicum courses?

No. You can only take one of HS 4900E or HS 4910F/G. Some organizations have a preference of a full-year practicum versus a one-term practicum. Others do not have a preference and is dependent on the interest of the student and supervising member of the organization.

Are there scheduled and required class times for these courses?

Yes. The independent study and practicum courses have a shared one-hour weekly tutorial/seminar where we discuss course requirements and students can ask questions regarding course elements. Given the time is shared between the two courses, it is likely students would not be required to attend every week as the topic may be related to a course in which they are not enrolled.

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. Supervisors for an independent study do not need to be faculty members in the School of Health Studies. Students have found supervisors from several different Faculties across Western and in some cases supervisors from other institutions where students worked on projects in the summer, for example. Not all faculty members supervise independent study students. There is no list of potential supervisors.

How do I find an organization where I can participate in a practicum experience?

The School of Health Studies does not facilitate the partnering of students with potential community organizations. However, as community organizations inquire with potential projects, we create a list that is released to students entering the senior year as possible locations to inquire. Generally, students seek out community organizations where they have been involved in the past, potentially as a volunteer or organizations that work in an area of health and health care that is of interest to students. Practicum projects must be approved during the application process, however many areas are eligible for consideration. Examples of past placements include (but is not limited to):

  • 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 currently accept undergraduate placement students)
  • School boards and schools
  • 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, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH))

Do I have the option to take a full- or half-credit?

Yes, for the practicum courses. There is a full course (HS 4900E) or a one-term course (HS 4910F/G) that can be taken in either term (but only once). You cannot take both half courses or a full course and a half course. All independent study courses are one-term, half courses.

How are students selected?

Independent study courses and practicum courses require applications. The application forms are available around the beginning of June. Deadlines are identified within the applications. Applications must be complete and include supervisor and/or organizational details. These courses are intended to extend your knowledge of health and health care. Project proposals that are not deemed to meet that expectation will not be approved. However, the discipline of health is broad and the interpretation of projects equally broad.

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.

What are the deadlines?

There are deadlines for the fall and for the winter course offerings. See the specific course information for additional details. Practicum courses starting in September (HS 4900E, HS 4910F) have a deadline of August 1, independent study courses starting in September (HS 4990F) have a deadline of June 30 and both courses (HS 4910G, HS 4991G) have a deadline of November 1 for a January start.