Field Placements

Students who are self-directed and have found an employer to host their placement can enroll in an independent Field Placement. Instead of traditional co-ops or internships, Field Placements focus on learning over work and self-reflective professional development.

This is similar to Placement Courses but without the class. Throughout the Field Placement the student meets one-on-one with their faculty supervisor to discuss learning goals, placement experiences and professional growth through critical feedback and assignments. The Experiential Learning Program team offers support and advising throughout the process.


Before enrolling in a Field Placement, students are responsible for initiating contact with the Placement Program Coordinator and securing a Placement employer and OCAD U faculty supervisor. If you are unsure how to connect with a faculty supervisor, start by speaking with your Program Chair who can help connect you.

Once students have secured a Placement employer and faculty supervisor, students must submit a completed Field Placement Application to the Placement Program Coordinator at

Details for Undergraduate Students

  • Eligibility: 10 credits complete, 70% GPA
  • Duration: Fall, Winter, or Summer Terms (approx. 12 weeks)
  • 0.5 credit
  • 80 - 120 hours at the placement
  • Regular one-on-one meetings with the faculty supervisor for academic evaluation
  • Download Undergraduate Field Placement Application

Details for Graduate Students

  • Eligibility: approval of Graduate Program Director
  • Duration: Summer Term (approx. 12 weeks). Fall and Winter Field Placements are possible, depending on Grad Studies Program
  • 0.5 credit – 100 hours or 1.0 credit – 200 hours
  • Regular one-on-one meetings with the faculty supervisor for academic evaluation
  • Download Graduate Field Placement Application

Application Deadlines

  • Spring/Summer Term (start in May): submit application by April 1st, 2019
  • Fall Term (start in September): submit application by August 3rd, 2019
  • Winter Term (start in January): submit application November 1st, 2019

Help us, help you: students should notify the Experiential Learning Placement Program Coordinator as soon as possible if they intend to enrol for Field Placement.

Late applications will only be considered by the Office of the Registrar on a case-by-case basis. ​

Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing for a Field Placement

How do I find a Placement Employer?

Students are responsible for preparing professional materials (résumé and portfolio) in order to initiate contact with a Placement employer. The CEAD supports students throughout the process of conducting research and contacting organizations. Students are encouraged to make an appointment for advising with the Placement Program Coordinator to discuss their professional materials and identify potential opportunities.

How do I begin my industry and/or community research and where can I get help?

We recommend starting by reflecting on your own skills, interests, and career goals, to engage with the industry and or community that fits you best. Complete the Intro Questionnaire to help you reflect and set goals prior to beginning your research into your field placement.

Students are encouraged to reach out to their immediate network (faculty, peers, alumni, friends, professional contacts, etc), research on the Talent Network, and schedule an appointment with the Placement Program Coordinator for advising on your research and outreach.

I've found a placement, can I start working right away?

Your placement hours should begin with start of the academic term. Before you start, connect the Placement Program Coordinator with your employer to discuss occupational health and safety and OCAD U’s Institutional Agreements. You can start your placement hours once we have connected with your Placement employer.

Can I do a placement with my current employer?

Your placement should not be with an employer you are currently or were previously working with. Some exceptions for specific cases can be made - please discuss further with the Placement Program Coordinator.

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Starting your Field Placement

I’ve enrolled for a Field Placement - what’s next?

Start by creating a ‘curriculum’ for your Field Placement experience, in consultation with your faculty supervisor. For resources on creating this framework for your Field Placement, check out the Experiential Learning Toolkit.

Your orientation with your Placement employer should include:

  • Discussing your learning goals in relation to the placement activities
  • Confirming your working schedule
  • Completing your placement orientation, training and signing the OCAD U Student Agreement
Is there financial support for students doing placements?

In 2018, the CEAD launched the Accessing Placements Fund for students who are enrolled in a for-credit placement (either through a Placement Course or as an independent Field Placement). Learn more and apply to the Accessing Placements Fund

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What to expect throughout the course

Do I need to sign a contract with the Placement Employer?

Your Student Agreement is the contract that outlines the Code of Conduct, Health and Safety Risk Management, and Intellectual Property arrangement. This will need to be completed in conversation with your Placement employer during your orientation and returned to the Placement Coordinator.

Some Placement employers may require students to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Certain Placements require a Vulnerability Sector Screening through the Police Services (if you’re working with children or the elderly), in which case, the Placement Coordinator can assist with the process.

Once in the placement, who creates the work schedule?

The schedule is discussed and agreed upon between the student and the Placement employer. When establishing a schedule, students should take into account part-time work, other courses, commute time, course work and projects.  Students are responsible for maintaining contact with their faculty supervisor and submitting assignments for academic evaluation.

What if my Placement Employer wants to pay me?

According to OCAD U’s Experiential Learning Program Policy , for-credit placements should be non-paid service-learning opportunities. Placement employers can offer an honorarium or reimburse the cost of travel, meals, material/supplies/equipment or other agreed upon expenses.

After the placement hours required for credit are completed, students can negotiate continuing in a paid role with the Placement Organization.

Why can’t I get paid for my placement?

The non-paid for-credit Experiential Learning policy prioritizes learning and mentorship through a well-rounded experience focusing on students’ learning objectives.

Students complete a maximum of 120 hours in their placement for 0.5 credit - this time is equivalent to the hours spent in completing a 0.5 credit course.

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About Experiential Learning Placements

How is an Experiential Learning Placement different from an internship or co-op?

Experiential Learning Placements prioritize personal and professional growth through mentorship. They are opportunities through which students can ‘test drive’ a specific professional context and are supported and evaluated by OCAD U faculty for credit, whereas co-op and internship are work-oriented paid positions, with minimal academic support.

OCAD U does not have a co-op program; students seeking paid internships (not for credit) should get in touch with the CEAD's Career Development office.

Are Placement Courses the same as Field Placement?

Almost! Students doing Field Placements work independently, and students enrolled in Placement Courses meet in a group setting with in-class activities and assignments. Students interested in doing a Field Placement are expected to self-initiate their own placement.

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Do I need to be enrolled in a Placement Course to receive career-related advice?

All OCAD U students and alumni can contact a member of the CEAD for advising - we can discuss a range of professional development questions related to your job search, preparing applications, portfolio and résumé review, graduate studies, and interviews. Please get in touch to make an appointment:

Weekly professional development advising sessions are offered via appointment or drop-in hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 2:30pm and 4:30pm, at the Centre for Experiential Learning at 115 McCaul, 3rd floor. Appointments can be booked through the Talent Network.

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Farihah Shah
Placement Program Coordinator
P: 416 977 6000 ext. 2855

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