McGill has a long and proud tradition of excellence in the clinical training of health professionals. In our M.Sc.A. program, academic training takes place on the McGill campus, whereas clinical training takes place in a variety of sites, most of which are ‘off campus’.
The Applied M.Sc. program in Speech-Language Pathology is short and intense. Within only two years, students are taught the theoretical and clinical bases of this exciting profession. Clinical placements are a very important part of your training and are required for professional certification. Speech-Language Pathologists working in different settings, and with a wide range of clientele, offer their time and expertise to do ‘hands on’ training with our students, acting as Clinical Educators.
Fall and Winter Practica
At McGill, clinical training experiences during the Fall and Winter semesters of each of the two years of the training program include:
- Various observations in daycare, hospital, and other settings; screening and group intervention activities; taped case studies; on-line observations; and lab sections of academic courses.
- Practicum placements during the Fall and Winter Semesters of Year II (1 day per week for 12 weeks).
These activities, which focus on pediatric and adult populations and involve speech-language pathology as well as audiology, are conducted in the Montreal region as students continue to attend classes. These activities offer insight into typical language development and various communication disorders and start to prepare students for the transition into more focused clinical work.
Two intense clinical practicum courses are scheduled in the Summer Semesters of Year I and II (SCSD 646 and SCSD 679). These practica provide students with highly targeted clinical experiences that allow them to consolidate their academic skills and understand their practical relevance, to develop skills in assessment and intervention related to various clinical populations, and to develop skills in professional conduct. These courses consist of:
Year I: A 4-week full-time practicum that typically starts in May following completion of the first year.
Year II: A 12-week full-time practicum that starts after completion of the second year of courses.
Location of Practica
Summer placements often occur in a location outside of Montreal; it is important that all entering students be aware that they must be ready to travel for these two placements and be financially prepared to cover the associated costs of undertaking practicum courses. Also, note that students must register for the summer semester and are obliged to pay additional tuition fees to undertake the summer practica.
While effort is made to place students in their preferred area or clinical setting, this is simply not possible in many cases due to the number of available placements and their locations. Inter-university territorial agreements both within and outside of Quebec limit where McGill students--and students of all other Canadian programs--can do their practica. For example, areas where McGill placements are rarely obtained include: a large part of Ontario (including both Ottawa and Toronto); the Edmonton Area; and all of British Columbia and Nova Scotia (even for students whose permanent residence is in these jurisdictions). Areas where many high-quality placements are often available include Winnipeg, Newfoundland, Southern Alberta, and Saskatchewan, although the availability of placements in particular geographic areas is never guaranteed.
The School is responsible for organizing high-calibre clinical placements and has successfully done so for over 50 years; however, students must be flexible! Individual placements always depend on the constraints imposed by the number of students, the availability of clinical settings, and voluntary supervisors.
In order to successfully complete the program, all students must be prepared to accept clinical placements that are neither in Quebec nor in their province of origin.
Will I have the same clinical placements if I'm not Bilingual?
Students who are fully bilingual in English and French tend to have more choices for certain types of placements located in Quebec, notably in the hospital/health sector where functional bilingualism is mandatory. However, these placements are still not guaranteed.
To ensure that all students in our program have the best quality training, the School creates placements in the Montreal region for English (unilingual) students in our program by running “satellite clinics” each year. These placements are often among the top-rated by our current students. Thus, while students have varied clinical experiences during the program, we ensure that the quality of training all students receive is uniformly high.