Fieldwork & Placements


One of the most exciting aspects of the professional graduate program in occupational therapy involves fieldwork placement courses. The placement blocks occur in the winter and summer terms. Placements are offered in a variety of settings in several practice areas providing students with opportunities to grow their skills and knowledge through experiential learning.

Placement Details

Western MscOT students complete four clinical placements over the course of the two-year program.

Placement Course # Year of Program Time Period Length (wks)
1 OT9580 1 Jan. – Apr. 4 (Assigned Days for Simulation)
2 OT9581 2 Nov. – Dec. 8
3 OT9680 2 Mar. – Apr. 8
4 OT9681 2 May – Jun. 8

Students are expected to graduate with a mix of clinical placement experiences assessing and treating a diverse population of individuals and conditions across settings, areas of practice and lifespan to ensure they meet graduation requirements and are prepared for clinical practice.


  • Acute Care
  • Outpatient
  • Day Hospital
  • Public Sector
  • Private Practice
  • Community Health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Long-Term Care
  • Children's Centre

Area of Practice

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • LEAP (Advocacy, leadership, role emerging, and planning & development)


Students work with individuals across the lifespan:

  • Children (< 17 years)
  • Adults (18 – 64 years)
  • Seniors (> 65 years)

Placement Sites

Local – In-Catchment

The MScOT program collaborates with more than 100 clinical facilities in southwestern Ontario to offer placement experiences for OT students. Placements are arranged within the Western catchment area, which extends from Windsor in the southwest to Owen Sound in the north, and to Waterloo in the east.

Catchment-Regions-2022.jpgStudents are required to complete placements, as arranged and assigned by the Fieldwork Coordinator, at any of the affiliated healthcare facilities within southwestern Ontario. Given Western’s catchment area, all students will be required to relocate for at least two (or more) placements. Examples include students relocating to Orillia, Niagara, Guelph, or Chatham. Students must be prepared to relocate to any of these communities to complete their clinical placements and meet graduation requirements.

Please click here to view the map of the local catchment area.


Western MScOT students may have the opportunity to complete placements in other parts of Ontario or Canada. However, these placements are scarce, not guaranteed, and fully dependent on placement site availability within the catchment area of another university.

All placements must be discussed and arranged with the Fieldwork Coordinator. Students MUST NOT reach out to sites or other universities on their own. Students are not permitted to complete more than one placement in an out-of-catchment area.

Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM)

The opportunity to participate in a NOSM placement is considered to be a privilege that may be negotiated for a second-year student with good academic standing (B average) who has a record of excellent performance in all previous fieldwork placements and has abided by the school’s code of conduct.

Students who are looking for a unique opportunity to discover Northern Ontario are invited to apply for a NOSM placement. These placements mainly serve people from Francophone, Indigenous, and rural communities. Funding is provided for those who are eligible. Priority is given to students who live in Northern Ontario and plan on returning to work after graduation and have the capacity to serve these minority populations.


Western MScOT students can complete one international placement. These opportunities are not guaranteed and vary from year to year. In the past, students have completed placements in Australia, India, England, Trinidad, and the United States.

Please click here to learn more about eligibility and the application process.

Associated Costs and Funding

Associated Costs

MScOT students are responsible for all costs incurred related to the completion of the required fieldwork placements. Completing placements outside of London might be associated with additional costs (such as temporary housing rental, travel to/from London, parking, etc). Access to a vehicle during clinical placements is beneficial, but not necessary.


Additional funding may be available through funds provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) and is subject to change.

Funding is also available through various bursaries and awards from Western's School of Occupational Therapy, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and Society of Graduate Students.

Placement Requirements

Pre-Placement Requirements - Medical and Non-Medical

On an annual basis, MScOT students must complete pre-placement requirements which include items such as immunizations, a vulnerable sector police record check, CPR training, etc. The School of Occupational Therapy has partnered with Synergy Gateway Inc. to provide support and clearance for pre-placement requirements. Students must pass all the requirements before they begin their placement, and they must be valid for the duration of the placement. Students are responsible for all costs associated with these requirements including Synergy clearance appointments.

Students must be aware that at this time most placement partners including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and community clinics, have pre-placement policies for students that include mandatory vaccination requirements. Students will be required to be compliant with the policy requirements of our placement partners in order to attend placements in those facilities.

If students are not compliant with those policies, they will not be able to attend those placements and will fail to meet clinical graduation requirements. Students that fail to meet clinical graduation requirements will not be eligible to complete the program.

Evaluation Requirements

All fieldwork placements have an assigned course number and are graded on a pass/fail basis. Each student’s performance is evaluated by the clinical instructor at mid-term and final evaluation using the Competency Based Fieldwork Evaluation. Each placement must be successfully completed to progress to the next block in the program.

Graduation Requirements

To meet graduation requirements, students must complete a minimum of 1000 hours in a combination of physical health, mental health, and LEAP practice areas.

Fieldwork Accommodations

Fieldwork Accommodations

Accommodation consists of arrangements that allow a student with a disability a fair opportunity to engage in academic activities and fulfill essential course and program requirements. Accessible Education (AE) at Western provides support and services to students with disabilities at Western, including academic and fieldwork accommodations.

Because of the individualized nature of accommodation, students and prospective students are encouraged to meet with an Accessible Education counselor early on to obtain information about specific accommodations and services that may be available to them.

Some academic accommodations, such as those for traditional lecture-based courses, may not be suitable or appropriate when students are completing clinical placements. In such instances, accommodations that are specific and can be operationalized to learning in clinical placement contexts will need to be considered.

Students are also responsible for ensuring academic accommodations are updated each term and are in place early for clinical placements.

Please see the Academic Accommodation page for more information.