The University of Newcastle, Australia

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

The best way to learn the practical skills required after graduation is to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-world environments. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) aims to help you acquire these skills while earning credit for your degree.

What is Work Integrated Learning?

WIL is an umbrella term used to describe a range of approaches that integrate theory with the practice of work within a purposefully designed curriculum. That means, for it to be WIL, it needs to be part of a course or a graduation requirement of your program.

Often referred to as practicum, clinical placement, internship or fieldwork, WIL also occurs in various types, from placement to virtual WIL, project-based learning to simulation activities and clinics.

WIL offers you an opportunity to gain invaluable, hands-on knowledge in your field of expertise, and encourages the professional attitudes and attributes needed to succeed in the workplace.

WIL opportunities are aligned with the curriculum of more than 350 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and are delivered at different times of the year.

  • WIL can be real or simulated, provided on or off campus, a compulsory or optional part of your program.
  • WIL involves clearly stated outcomes and assessment, and should be consistent with quality teaching and learning.
  • WIL can be designed to meet the needs of an industry partner to achieve real-world outcomes.
  • WIL students are expected to exemplify the skills, attitudes and attributes of a professional in your field of expertise.

WIL is part of how the University ensures you are work-ready, engaged with your chosen career, and excited about the future post-graduation.

  • WIL assists you to be work and career-ready.
  • It enriches knowledge in your field of study through hands-on exposure in the workplace.
  • You will receive an insight into the professional attitudes and attributes needed for the jobs of the future.
  • WIL may provide a competitive advantage in the global employment marketplace.

Who can participate?

WIL courses and industry experience are available to domestic and international students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate or research higher degrees.

The majority of the University’s undergraduate degree programs include an opportunity to take part in some type of WIL. Tens of thousands of students from across the University take part in a diverse range of core, compulsory, elective, and directed WIL courses opportunities each year.

It is not just teachers, nurses, doctors and engineers that can take part in these meaningful workplace learning opportunities. WIL courses are offered in fields such as Information Technology, Communications and Design, Creative Industries, Social Science, Business, Commerce and Science.

When can I complete a WIL opportunity?

WIL opportunities are delivered at different times of the year, depending on the course timetable. Identifying the discipline or area that you are in is the first step to find the best point of contact. Check out our list of the disciplines that include WIL opportunities and a selection of the courses available, as well as contacts for enquiries.

More information

If you would like to know more about WIL in your program, the course handbook is a good place to gain valuable information before contacting your faculty or program convenor.

A number of programs require students to complete compulsory clinical, industrial or professional placement. You should always check your degree details to see whether a placement is applicable and if there are any requirements.

Further information is also available under the following faculties:

The University recognises the value of WIL experiences and has developed policies to ensure placements comply with the Fair Work Act 2009.

However, as WIL is aligned with the curriculum, there is generally no expectation that you will be remunerated – in fact, the majority of placements are unpaid.

If you are looking for paid work you should contact the Careers Service.

Students may be covered by the University's insurance policies while undertaking WIL that is a course requirement. The placement or WIL must form part of the curriculum and be assessed by a course coordinator.

Please read about the University's insurance coverage to check that the insurance is applicable to your circumstances.