Procedures and Guidelines

International and Inter-provincial Clinical Practicums

Categories: clinical clinical inter-province international placements practicum Physical Therapy

Responsibility: Academic Coordinator Clinical Education
Authorization: Program Planning and Resource Advisory Committee
Approved Date: Original approved February 9, 2005
Amendment Date: November 1, 2019


Clinical placements for Master of Physical Therapy students can occur outside the province of Saskatchewan. The following document outlines the policy/guidelines and processes related to these placements.

International Placements


“The University of Saskatchewan is committed to furthering internationalization efforts, and offers a number of international services and resources on campus. Globalism at the University of Saskatchewan is based on a firm commitment to social justice and adherence to global standards.” (Source: University of Saskatchewan website, International page) In keeping with the University of Saskatchewan policies and directions toward international activities, the School of Rehabilitation Science has reviewed program guidelines related to international activities with a view to establishing priorities and examining resources available for such activities.

In January, 2003, School of Rehabilitation Science Faculty Council members, as part of an integrated planning session, unanimously recommended that the School of Rehabilitation Science be involved in international activities. They recommended a ‘diverse mix of opportunities for students and faculty’.

The School of Rehabilitation Science Faculty Council further approved, by consensus, principles that should be considered when planning an international component to the School of Rehabilitation Science programs. These included:

  • strong support for intersectoral and interprofessional activities and collaboration with the larger university community.

These principles as a whole were considered in revision of the guidelines for clinical practicums.

In March 2004, School of Rehabilitation Science Executive of Faculty met to discuss ‘International Activities – Future Directions’. In preparation for this meeting a draft document on ‘clinical education international activities ‐ a cost‐benefit analysis’ was distributed and reviewed. It was recommended that international clinical placements should be structured:

  • considering the fit with the new Master of Physical Therapy program;
  • focusing efforts and resources in one area/type of international experience;
  • prioritizing those practicum’s which fit with a ‘liberal and social transformation’ context and interprofessional collaboration.

Further discussion recognized that the previous School of Rehabilitation Science ‘Policy on Foreign Placements’, February, 1995, permitted individual student placements in the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. This was permitted by decision of Executive of Faculty upon receipt of a written request for permission to be placed in a foreign setting, and based on obtaining a minimal academic standard as well as satisfactory performance in previous clinical practicums. Any educational benefits from such placements were primarily only for the individual student, and had little or no beneficial impact on the curriculum as a whole, or the student body as a whole. It served a small number of students and was resource intensive.


In light of the current University of Saskatchewan and Master of Physical Therapy Program directions, and given the resource requirements, resource availability and consideration of the greatest benefit to the students and the Program, the following guidelines are proposed for international undergraduate student practicums.

  • Only international practicums which are structured interprofessional group experiences, or special (exchange) experiences arranged in collaboration with a University program in another country where a bilateral agreement exists, will be considered.
  • Recognizing that international practicums require significant resources, a lengthy practicum time (for travel, acclimatization, experiential learning) and a lengthy student selection and preparation time, the fit with the current MPT program structure is difficult.
  • Students will be informed of special international experiences as they are identified. International experiences may be limited to clinical course level/year of student in the program.
  • Students will be asked to submit an application for such experiences and must meet minimum criteria to be considered. The Academic Affairs Committee will approve the minimum criteria on recommendation from the Clinical Coordinators. Students may also be required to submit letters of reference and attend for an interview.
  • The Clinical Coordinators will review applications before submitting them to the Academic Affairs Committee for consideration.
  • Students must agree, in advance, to several requirements for participating in international practicums. These may include, but are not exclusive to: financial commitment, time commitment for preparation/orientation/team building, preparatory course requirements, language requirements, assistance with travel and accommodation arrangements, screening for travel visas/criminal record checks, special insurance requirements (i.e. additional liability, malpractice, health, travel insurance), consultation visit with University of Saskatchewan International Office and specific immunization as required by the facility or geographic location.
  • Students will conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates they represent the University of Saskatchewan and the Master of Physical Therapy Program in a professional and positive way when they are engaged in preparation for, and implementation of, an international experience.
  • Specific processes to implement any given international experience will vary and be developed as is appropriate, i.e.: written contracts for consent and responsibilities assumed.

Inter‐Provincial Placements 


The Master of Physical Therapy program recognizes the value of diverse clinical experiential learning for each student as preparation for entry to practice. Inter-provincial placements frequently provide unique and diverse perspectives of health care programming and physical therapy service delivery, in addition to the experiences available in Saskatchewan.


Students are encouraged to identify an out-of-province choice for one clinical placement. Because it is increasingly difficult to obtain out-of-province placements, a placement request is not a guarantee of a placement offer. There are also significant additional administrative resource requirements for the Clinical Education Unit with inter-provincial placements.


Upon review of the current external environment and resource requirements the following guidelines have been established:


  • Normally, each student will be allowed one request of an out-of-province placement, depending on availability of placement and resources required to set up the placement. It must be understood that a request does not guarantee a placement.
  • Out-of-province placements are allowed in PTH 854, 856 and 858.
  • Students will not negotiate placements directly with a facility. If this rule is not adhered to, the student will lose the privilege of requesting or having any out-of-province placement for the whole of the remaining time in the program.
  • Students should be as flexible as possible in their requests for timing and location of an out-of-province placement.
  • Students are responsible for all costs incurred with out-of-province placements, which may include, but is not limited to: travel, accommodation, daily living expenses, and additional insurance.
  • Students must agree, in advance, to several requirements for participating in these practicums. These may include, but are not exclusive to: financial commitment, time commitment for preparation/orientation, arranging travel and accommodation, screening criminal record checks, special insurance requirements (i.e.: may include: additional liability, malpractice, health, travel insurance, workers compensation insurance), specific immunization as required by the facility or geographic location, other specific requirements of the affiliation agreement provided by the host facility/health region.
  • In some provinces, students must register with the provincial licensing board and are responsible for the registration fee(s) if required.

The preceding guidelines are subject to review and revision by relevant committees including Academic Affairs, Curriculum and Program Planning and Resource Advisory.


Peggy Proctor, Academic Lead Clinical Education and Community