Why study Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in HASS? 

As a student of the humanities and social sciences you are uniquely placed to work on solving the complex issues of the future

During your studies it’s important that you have the opportunity to apply the capabilities you develop through your degree to realistic work situations and scenarios. These experiences will help you channel your strengths and identify how theoretical knowledge can inform workplace practice. 

As part of a recent panel discussion, Professor Heather Zwicker, HASS Executive Dean, explained why humanities and social science students are critical to the workplace of the future, and why it’s important for HASS students to connect the world of study with the world of jobs:

Professor Heather Zwicker,
HASS Executive Dean

“Nothing about the pandemic that we have just come through was in any way narrowly medical or narrowly scientific. The toughest  questions have been:

  • How will we get along as a society? 
  • What model of democracy and looking after each other makes sense? 
  • What will be our ethics of care? 
  • How can we understand and work against vaccine hesitancy?

Those are the big questions. And if there is one huge lesson from the pandemic, it’s that we just never know what’s coming next. So, what we do in Humanities and Social Sciences is we equip our students to develop their own innate sense of curiosity, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, the ability to go out and move into an uncertain future in an uncertain world. But the problem is there is no such role currently called vaccine hesitancy addresser”. 

As students of the humanities and social sciences your skills are, and will continue to be, in high demand. However, as Heather mentions, you probably won’t find many job ads labelled HASS Specialist. That’s why it’s important for you to find opportunities to integrate your studies with work situations and scenarios – the more you’ve experienced the world of work, the easier you’ll find it to apply your HASS capabilities across different jobs, industries, or careers. 

The best way to gain exposure to work situations and scenarios is through Work Integrated Learning (WIL). WIL is specifically designed learning opportunities that include realistic workplace elements that take place in the courses you study. Many HASS programs have WIL embedded within compulsory courses, while other programs include WIL electives. 

Explore the tabs below to learn more about the WIL opportunities available to you. 

Industry placements

Industry placements are short or long term experiences in a work environment supervised by an industry professional. In industry placements you have direct interaction with colleagues and clients, and responsibility for tasks related to the service provision of the host organisation. During industry placements you may conduct work across various locations in the host organisation or the community!

Lots of industry placements happen in level 2 and 3 courses. So if you want an industry placement, make sure you use the Program Planner to identify the prerequisites you need early!

Check out COMU3801: Communications Internship an exciting example of the type of industry placement you can complete during your HASS studies.

Field experience

Field experience are activities supervised by a subject matter expert or industry professional. You will observe how theory can be used to inform practice through experiences such as: 

  • worksite visits;
  • study tours; 
  • fieldwork; or 
  • work shadowing. 

Field experience is different to industry placements because during field experience you will learn mostly through observation, it is not expected that you will take part in producing work for the organisation you attend.

Work simulations

Work simulations are activities designed to simulate a work environment. You often use equipment and practices that are standard in the industry. Examples include: 

  • authoring newspaper columns, government reports, or legal briefings; 
  • creating museum exhibits; 
  • structured role playing scenarios; 
  • radio and TV studio productions; or 
  • rehearsing for, and giving a performance.

Work simulations are usually conducted in specialised teaching facilities on-campus rather than at workplace.

Check out ARCS2003 - Forensics: The Archaeology of Death & Crime Scenes one of the many courses that include work simulation.

Click on your program or major to see the available WIL courses

Discipline-specific WIL is generally available to both single and dual program students. Explore the WIL options available in your School below. 

School of Communication and Arts

School of Education

School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

School of Languages and Cultures

School of Political Science & International Studies

School of Social Science (Museum Studies)

UQ WIL definition and policy

At UQ work integrated learning (WIL) is defined as “learning experiences that explicitly integrate theory with practice within a purposefully designed curriculum to foreground employability. WIL must be either assessable by UQ (for credit) or otherwise a requirement of an academic course or program.”

If you want to learn more about WIL at UQ please visit the What is WIL, a site authored by students to give you more information about WIL. If you're still curious drop by the UQ WIL and Work Experience Policy.  

What do WIL and a mirror have in common? 


You can use your WIL experience to populate your resume, but before you do make sure you've reflected on the capabilities you developed throughout the process. Did you improve your communication skills through drafting a mock ministerial briefing? Did you use your critical thinking skills to pitch a solution to an industry client? I don't know; but you will, once you've reflected on your experience.  

Financial assistance

Funding may exist at UQ to help you take part in WIL experiences, check out this link to learn more. If you are travelling to or from a rural or remote area of Australia to complete your WIL experience, you may be eligible for funding through the Australian Collaborative Education Network. Follow this link for more information. 

Please note that you are not guaranteed to receive funding, so please do not count on it when you are forming your budget.

WIL work health and safety

Before your first day, it is important that you know and understand your role and responsibilities as well as UQ's insurance and Occupational Health and Safety

Check out the HASS 5in5 that steps you through things you need to know before starting a WIL experience that may be off campus! Follow this link, sign in to Blackboard, and then click on the quick enrol button: 

The difference between WIL and unpaid work experience

At UQ work experience is defined as “an arrangement undertaken by a student under which an organisation will provide experience to the student as part of the student's education, but not as a mandatory or assessable part of a student's course or program." Work Experience is regulated under the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld) and is subject to specific restrictions and conditions. UQ expects that work-based learning opportunities will provide greater educational benefit for the student than operational benefit for the Host Organisation. UQ should authorise work experience arrangements in advance.

If you choose to complete work experience, make sure you are aware of what you can, and cannot, be asked to do. Before starting any work experience check out the relevant link below: 

Unpaid work experience insurance form

To be covered by UQ insurance (for unpaid work experience) you will need to complete this form and have it signed by an Authorised Person (usually your Head of School). Both you and the Authorised Person then keep a copy.  

For more information, please refer to the UQ WIL and Work Experience Policy.  

Know your rights

It is your right to feel safe and respected during your WIL experience, just as it is with any other university or work environment

You deserve to be treated with respect at all times by fellow students, members of staff and external industry partners. If you ever feel discriminated against or exploited during a WIL experience you can report this to your course coordinator. Additional support also exists at UQ including:

It is your right to be treated fairly at work

When undertaking a WIL experience, paid or unpaid, you are entitled to all legal workplace rights, just as you would be in part-time or casual work that you might undertake alongside university. The Fair Work Act 2009 applies to both international and domestic students alike. If you have concerns discuss these with your course co-ordinator or visit the Fair Work Ombudsmanwebsite for information.