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Academic Placements

Enrich classroom learning through community engagement

Direct experience increases knowledge and develops skills

Academic placements are unpaid community-based experiences that are part of an academic course, linking the theories learned in class to the diverse aspects of the community around you.

Academic Placements provide you an opportunity to:

  • engage as an active participant in your learning through hands-on experiences;
  • discover insight into and have an impact on the community around you;
  • participate in an interactive and collaborative course experience with community;
  • develop skills under the supervision of someone more experienced; and,
  • build relationships with a new network of contacts and build your resume.

Kelsey Tharmakumar


"These opportunities have allowed me to put some of the theories that I learned in classrooms into practice. I encourage everyone to make use of such opportunities; they could make the difference to your life as it did to mine!"


In the 2017-2018 academic year, the following courses are working with the Office of Experiential Education to offer Academic Placements or other community-engaged learning experiences:

  • HLTH AGE 1BB3 - Aging and Society (Fall Term & Winter Term)
  • HLTH AGE 3BB3 - Field Experience (Winter Term)
  • HLTH AGE 3EE3 - The Practice of Everyday Life (Fall Term)
  • POLI SCI 3PR3 - Practice of Politics (Winter Term)
  • SOC SCI 3EL3 - Leadership through Experiential Learning (Fall Term)
  • SOC SCI 3F03 - Social Sciences in Action (Fall Term, Winter Term & Multi-Term)
  • SOCIOL 4QQ3 - Women, Sexuality and The Welfare State (Fall Term)
  • SOCIOL 4XX3 - The Sociology of At-Risk Youth (Fall Term)

*To be updated. Accurate as of June 2017.

Health and Safety Requirements

The health and safety of students on placements is of the highest concern

McMaster University, and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) (formerly Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities - MTCU) has particular policies in place that guide student safety and your host organization will also have their own policies. 

It is important to strictly follow the guidelines and policies of McMaster University, MAESD, and your host organization as they have been put in place for your protection and the protection of the people you are interacting with at your placement.

Students completing unpaid placements as part of an academic course are required to print and complete the following documents, and return them to the course instructor, unless otherwise indicated:

  • Students must sign the student declaration letter, required to let them know, via sign-off, they have coverage via WSIB or ACE/private coverage and to report incidents accordingly;
  • Placement “employers” sign off on letter to placement employers, noting that they have been informed that WSIB coverage (or ACE/private coverage) is provided via the MAESD, and therefore their respective WSIB standings (i.e. premiums) will not be effected; and,
  • Students and placement “employers” will sign off on the Pre-Placement Safety Orientation Checklist.

Students or supervisors with questions about the above forms can contact Ruthanne Talbot at or 905-525-9140, ext. 23382.

For more information, contact: