Student FAQs

How many fieldwork hours do I have to complete to graduate?

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) requires students to complete a minimum of 1000 hours of fieldwork. At the U of A, students will complete a total of 29 weeks = 1087.5 hours (based on a 37.5 hour/week). For further information regarding how CAOT is involved with clinical education please refer to their website (

How many placements do I need to complete and how long are each of them?

Students will complete 5 placements over the course of 26 months, distributed throughout the program as follows:

Year 1: Fall (Introductory) 1 week
Spring (Level 1) 7 weeks
Year 2: Winter (Level 2) 7 weeks
Summer (Level 3a) 7 weeks
Year 3: Fall (Level 3b) 7 weeks
What type of placements will I need to complete as part of this program?

Students are required to graduate with fieldwork experience reflecting exposure to a diversity of areas of practice, and practice settings across the lifespan. Students are responsible for ensuring they graduate with this diversity. At a minimum, students must have:

Physical Health (P) (minimum 262.5 hours = 7 weeks)
Every placement that is not coded as mental health is considered physical health.
Mental Health (M) (minimum 262.5 hours = 7 weeks)
Individuals with a psychiatric diagnosis (acute, chronic, or in recovery remission) that falls within DSM V with the exclusion of "Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence". Acquired brain injury, developmental delays and autism are not considered appropriate experiences for the mental health placement.
Community (C) (minimum 150 hours = 4 weeks)
Placements that occur predominantly in client homes and/or communities and placements that occur in community-based clinics.
Rural (R) (minimum 150 hours = 4 weeks)
A rural site is defined as a site located a minimum of 50 km outside of a major urban centre and cannot be a suburb of that urban centre.
How do I get matched to placements?

At a designated time, approximately 3 months before their placement begins, students select their top 10 choices in the Health Sciences Placement Network (HSPnet) for placements within the catchment area (AB, SK, NWT) that meet their needs, interests and fieldwork requirements. The computer matches students to sites and attempts to maximize the number of students placed.

After the computer matching process is completed, the placements are approved by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) and students are able to see which placement they were matched to through HSPnet. The placement sites are contacted to inform them that a student has been matched to their site and are sent a placement confirmation which contains the name and email address of the student. The site coordinator and/or preceptor is asked to contact the student.

Can I stay in Edmonton/Calgary for my placement?
Students are only guaranteed one placement in the city where they are receiving their classroom education: Edmonton or Calgary.
Can I do a placement in another province or country?

There are limited opportunities (typically determined by lottery among those interested) for students to complete a maximum of one fieldwork placement outside of the UofA's catchment area (AB, SK, NWT). The Canadian Fieldwork Placement Sharing System (CFPSS) is currently being coordinated nationally by the Fieldwork Coordinators from each of the Canadian OT programs. Individual recruitment of placements for students is done at a user cost paid by the student.

Students who are contemplating going out of the country for either of their final two placements (Level 3a or 3b) must be in good academic standing and are required to attend the annual International Fieldwork Seminar for their cohort in the Fall of their 2nd year of the program. Various exchange opportunities through partner universities are available each year in addition to the potential of directly recruited international placements in a student's country of interest.

What happens if I fail a fieldwork placement?
Students who fail a fieldwork course must repeat the course in a similar setting and type of service and are required to re-register and pay the required course fees. Normally a student will be allowed to repeat only one fieldwork course. In the event that a student fails the repeated course or a second separate fieldwork course, the student will be required to withdraw from the program.
What are the costs associated with fieldwork?
Students must register and pay associated tuition costs for each fieldwork course. All costs related to required documentation for fieldwork such as CPR, immunizations, security clearance checks and fit mask testing are the responsibility of the student. All costs related to accommodation, travel, meal expenses, clothing and use of a vehicle are the responsibility of the student.
Are there any funding opportunities available to cover my costs when I am on placement?
Bursaries are sometimes available, specifically for rural/remote locations or international travel. Interested students may wish to visit the websites for Northern Alberta Development Council or University of Alberta International.