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Experiential learning

Student presenting posterThe Practicum is an experiential learning tool that provides fourth-year students with opportunities to acquire workplace skills and knowledge, confront the relationship between theory and practice, and cultivate a sense of personal and professional development. Students develop their capacity to manage a series of workplace-related learning objectives, and apply their skill sets and classroom knowledge in local community placements.

Experiential learning overview

  • Pre-Practicum process

    The pre-Practicum process commences in the winter of third year. The Practicum office initiates this process by sending an email to eligible third-year students in the beginning of their winter semester. As part of the pre-Practicum process, students are expected to acquire a vulnerable sector screening. Students are matched with community organizations based on the goals, interests, and learning outcomes identified in pre-placement interviews (verbal and written). In consultation with a designated fieldwork supervisor, students design, manage, and receive feedback on a series of self-directed workplace goals and objectives.

  • Practicum course

    The Practicum course--with 5 classes in total--runs concurrent to 100 hours of fieldwork over the one academic term (approximately 12 weeks). Students produce a major theoretical paper, reflection journals, and in-class presentations. The course also entails conducting a site visit, and developing a learning contract. The Practicum course helps students navigate their personal, professional, and academic goals. The Practicum Coordinator concludes the term with a poster day, where faculty, staff, students and community partners hear about the experiences of Practicum participants.

  • Examples

    One Practicum student discussed how his experience at the local criminal law firm piqued his interest in the intersection of criminality, mental health, and addiction. Another student, whose placement was with victim services at the Durham Regional Police Service, proposed and led a project streamlining information for victims of crime, and translating that information into multiple languages.

    Previous Practicum placements for Legal Studies students have included:

  • Testimonials

    My practicum placement was at a law office in Oshawa and I owe a lot of my success to that experience. The skills I developed as a legal assistant provided a strong foundation for my professional career. My experiences in the practicum course play a big role in my day to day work and also prove to be a big boost to my resume.

    I strongly believe the practicum program prepared me for the working world post-graduation and provided me with great references and experiences. I work with other graduates from other universities who did not have the opportunity to have a hands-on practicum and they envy my experience. Ryan Mills

    When I first applied for the practicum course, I never imagined being blessed with such a fulfilling experience. I have learned a lot of valuable life lessons and skills that I can apply in any future career setting.

    The organization I worked with helps multicultural women find the counselling they need. Many of them, whether they are permanent residents or immigrants, don't know where to turn for help. My project opened my eyes that there are more than just often-expensive legal services available. Sandra Edobar

    Everyone involved wants to see you succeed, and wants to see you become the best version of yourself.


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