Clinical Education

The Clinical Education component of the curriculum provides opportunity to apply knowledge and skills students have learned in the academic setting. Students are supervised by licensed physiotherapists, who are referred to as clinical instructors during placements. Our clinical instructors help educate the students by sharing their professional and clinical expertise.

Placement Dates 2021-2022
Placement Catchment Areas
Other University Catchments
International Placements

Placement offers can be submitted by directly emailing You will receive a confirmation email once we have processed your placement offer. Placement offers for Clinical Practice I - IV can be offered at any time of the year. 

In order to provide excellent clinical experiences for our students, we have the following guidelines for physiotherapists that are interested in supervising students for clinical placements:

  • Be licensed and in good standing with a recognized College of Physiotherapists
  • Agree to abide by McMaster University policies and procedures
  • Comply with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Standards of Professional Practice, especially regarding Clinical Education


The Placement Process:

  1. Placement request emails are sent to clinical sites within the McMaster University catchment area 4-5 months prior to the start of placement.
  2. The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) follows up with the clinical sites ensuring an appropriate number of placement offers have been provided and attempts to ensure there are enough offers in each setting to meet student needs. Students may not make personal arrangements with clinical sites, clinical instructors, or with clinical coordinators without written permission from the DCE. 
  3. As placements are confirmed they are posted for students to view. Each student is assigned to an area of practice (i.e. community, rehabilitation, hospital/acute).
  4. Eligible students select and submit their placement preferences online based on the assigned area of practice.
  5. Students are matched to a placement considering their placement preferences and clinical requirements.
  6. Once the placement matching process has been completed, students are able to view the results. Students are provided the opportunity to apply to switch placements with a classmate or to switch into an unassigned placement offer.
  7. Once all placements are finalized, clinical sites are notified with their student assignment. Students are informed that they are able to contact their clinical site. 

Separate processes are in place for out of catchment, Northern Studies Stream, and international placements.

The Northern Studies Stream (NSS) was established in 1991 to specifically address the shortage of OTs, PTs, and SLPs in Northwestern Ontario through various recruitment and retention initiatives. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) coordinates student placements across northern Ontario for a multitude of health disciplines. 

The goals of the current NSS are threefold: 

  • To increase student awareness and knowledge of the health determinants that are unique to northern and rural communities; 
  • To increase student awareness of Aboriginal health issues, culture, and health practices relevant to the First Nations people living in northern and rural Ontario; and 
  • To increase student skills in addressing professional practice issues while engaging in clinical education and living in a northern and/or rural community.   

With 25 years of documented success, the current NSS is focused on providing clinical education opportunities for students across northern Ontario. Approximately 50% of students in the PT Program will have the opportunity to participate in clinical education placements in Northern Ontario. 

Students who are Northern Ontario residents will be given priority for placements, however, any student, regardless of residency, may apply. Funding for travel and accommodation is available, to a maximum cost paid for by the NSS, through funding made available by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. 

Map of Cities Included in the Northern Study Stream

Thank you to all of our clinical partners who provide McMaster physiotherapy students with clinical placement learning opportunities.

Please note this is not a comprehensive list of all facilities. The Clinical Education team does their best to update the listing on an ongoing basis.

In-Catchment Facilities
Northern Studies Stream Facilities
Benefits for Clinical Instructors Supervising PT Students
Offering a Placement
Becoming a New Placement Site
Learning Objectives and Unit Overview
Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA)


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