Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology

Throughout the MSc(SLP) program, students will complete 28-29 full-time clinical practicum weeks. Clinical placements will follow each academic unit and vary in length from 2 weeks following Unit I to 8-9 weeks following Unit 5. Clinical education courses take place in a variety of facilities, including teaching hospitals, community hospitals, health care agencies, specialized centres, private clinics, home care, schools, and other community facilities. During clinical placements, students practice under the supervision of clinical instructors, who are primarily registered SLPs, but may also include other health care providers.

General Placement Information

Over the course of the program, students will participate in five clinical placements:

  • Year 1, December: 2 weeks, observation only
  • Year 1, March-April: 6 weeks
  • Year 2, September-October: 6 weeks
  • Year 2, January-March: 6 weeks
  • Year 2, May-July: 8-9 weeks

Most placement sites have been specifically chosen by the program. If a site is interested in supervising students, they can request being added to our approved list, by contacting the Director of Clinical Education, Justine Hamilton at or 289-426-0846.

Students may express interest in particular, approved placement sites and they may end up getting a placement in a preferred site, but they may not. Placements are assigned using a complex algorithm that primarily balances the need to ensure that all students obtain the full range of hours required in order to be licensed to practice in Ontario.

Students are expected to travel outside of Hamilton, Ontario for clinical placements. Common clinical placement regions outside of Hamilton include, but are not limited to Niagara, Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Waterloo, Wellington, and Halton. Some clinical placements may be located in rural, under-serviced, and remote areas. Many placements, rural and urban, require travel throughout the work day (e.g., traveling to schools, seeing clients in their homes, workplaces, and other locations in the community). Sometimes students may travel with their Clinical Instructors but often they must drive separately. Students are responsible for their own transportation, medical and auto insurance coverage, accommodation, and associated costs in order to complete program requirements – there is no funding from the SLP program to assist students with these costs. Students must prepare for costs such as relocation, transportation, rent (in addition to rent for Hamilton residence), commuting, parking, additional medical and auto coverage, and food.

All SLP placements are full-time (typically an average of 35-40 hours per week, recognizing that there will be week-to-week variations based on client and facility need). The particular days and times of day worked will vary according to each individual site, and may include evenings and weekends.

Additional half-to-full day audiology placements occur throughout academic blocks in Units 2-4 to supplement audiology hours as needed.

Over the course of the program, students will gain clinical experience across a wide variety of organizations, including but not limited to hospitals, schools, preschool programs, children’s treatment centres, home care programs, day programs, and private practices. Students will typically have one or two primary placement supervisors (called Clinical Instructors), but may be given opportunities to participate with other personnel at the facility, including both Speech-Language Pathologists and Communicative Disorders Assistants.

Experiences while on placement are vital to the development of effective practicing clinicians. Students have the opportunity to transfer knowledge gained during in-class and self-directed learning into real world environments under the guidance of their Clinical Instructors.

Over the course of the 28-29 weeks of clinical placement experience, students are required to obtain a minimum number of specified practice hours in order to apply for registration or licensing in the chosen jurisdiction. Only hours obtained in placements where a passing grade was obtained are counted toward registration/licensing requirements. Students who fail a placement must complete an additional placement of the same duration, which may extend the length of their program.

Students will find all placement-related information, including the Clinical Education Handbook, in Avenue to Learn under the Clinical Education course folder.

Non-Academic Requirements

Students are required to maintain current non-academic requirements for the duration of their registration in the MSc(SLP) program. Failure to maintain current requirements may result in the student being withdrawn from the program and/or clinical placement.  Non-academic requirements can be found here:

Year 1 students:

Year 2 students:

Students must be prepared to supply confirmation of meeting the Health Screen, Vulnerable Sector Screen, CPR Training, Mask Fit, and Health & Safety Training requirements either prior to or on the first day of each placement.

Some placement sites have additional requirements (e.g., site-specific health and safety training, more frequent police checks, additional paperwork, etc.) and these should be identified in the in the initial placement offer. It is the student’s responsibility to inquire about additional requirements and then ensure they have met the additional requirements prior to the start of placement.

Clinical Education - Overview

Annual Placement Calendar 2020
Clinical Placement Task Checklist for Clinical Instructors
Mac SLP Program Intro Slides - Summer 2019
Mac SLP - Summary of Unit and Course Content (rev May 2020)
Confidentiality Form Signed by All Students


Letter-to-Placement-Employers-Unpaid-Placements - Mar 2019
First Week - Safety Orientation Checklist
Injury Claims Procedures June 2019
Injury/Incident Report Form
Student-Declaration-of-Understanding (Mar 2019)

Unit 1 Evaluation

Description of the 2-Week Observational Placement
Observation-Reflection Log Template
Assessment of Observational Placement Performance

Unit 2-5 Evaluation

Assessment of Clinical Competence - McMaster Field Trial - INSTRUCTIONS
Assessment of Clinical Competence - McMaster Field Trial - RATING SCALE
Assessment of Clinical Competence - McMaster Field Trial - FORM
Assessment of Self Directed Learning - INSTRUCTIONS (rev Jul 2019)
Assessment of Self Directed Learning - FORM (rev Jul 2019)
Structured Reflection Log Template

Resources and Perks

Perks for Mac SLP Clinical Instructors
SRS Faculty Appointment Info Page
McMaster SRS CV Template for Part-Time Appointments
Telepractice Resources for SLPs
Annual Recognition Program for Clinical Instructors
Training and Resources for CIs
Professor Hippo-on-Campus - Mental Health Education Modules
SQF Model of Clinical Teaching
Dalessio (ASHA SIG 11, 2020) - Strategic Questioning in Clinical Environments
ASHA Leader - Supervising Students Can Enrich Your Career
Leadership and Productivity Courses - Flyer with Hyperlinks
CASLPO Supervision Guidelines
ASHA Evidence Maps
AHPDF Electronic Library
Link to $75 USD ASHA Membership
Link to McMaster’s Health Science Library
Preceptor Guide from NOSM

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


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