Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Medical Electives Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Further information

How to apply

Apply online

Read this important information for visiting students.

  1. Placements
  2. Health screening
  3. English language skills
  4. Working with Children Check
  5. Fees
  6. Insurance
  7. Visa
  8. Accommodation and transport


Placement availability

Placements between December - January

The main elective period is from December to end of January each year. Updated information regarding expressions of interest will be available late January.

Placements over the Christmas/New Year Period

Placements during the Christmas New Year holiday period (late December- early January) are limited in all hospitals and disciplines.

Placements between March – October

Very limited electives are available during this timeframe as local medical students are on placement in our hospitals.

Departmental availability

We do not know placement availability in advance. Once an application is received we approach your chosen department to secure you a placement.

Placement at a specific hospital

We cannot guarantee that you will be placed in a specific hospital.

Department availability

Placement availability is affected by hospital operations like staffing, the number of local students/interns in the department, and the number of available supervising doctors.

It is up to each department to decide if they can accept you for a placement at the time requested.

Contacting departments

Please DO NOT contact hospital departments or doctors directly.

Placements in all the teaching hospitals are coordinated through The University of Western Australia and individual departments will refer all enquiries back to us.

When to apply

Hospital staff are not willing to confirm placements more than 12 months in advance. We recommend you apply early January for the next placement period.

Successful placements

Once you lodge the online application you will receive an immediate automated acknowledgement.

It can take 10–12 weeks to process your application and get confirmations back from hospital departments.

You will be notified when a placement has been successful with a formal letter of offer (confirmation letter). This letter will include important information on what you need to do to complete your placement.

Examples are: placement fee payment information, detailed health screening requirements, and any other additional documents required prior to commencing your elective. You will need to act on these items two months (or earlier) before your elective begins.

Placements are not guaranteed

We will try out best to secure you a placement but there are no guarantees. There are always many more applications than can be successfully placed. Most departments will only consider one student at a time.

We will make every effort to let you know the outcome of your application as soon as we can.

Placements with friends

We will attempt to place students travelling together in the same hospital and over the same period.

Please note that most departments only accept one elective student at a time. You and your friend will likely be placed in different departments.

Include your friend's name in the online application form. Be aware that you and your friends will not necessarily have your placements confirmed at the same time.

First day at your placement

Hospitals prefer students to commence on Monday and finish on Friday as is the normal practice of medical students here.

If the Monday is a public holiday you will commence your elective on the Tuesday.

Your formal letter of offer (confirmation letter) will provide information relating to hospital security/access, and the time and place to meet your doctor on the first day.

What to wear

Females: skirts, dress or long pants, sleeved shirt, closed shoes. No sneakers.

Males: Neat shirt with collar, long trousers, closed shoes. No sneakers.

Illness during an elective

If you are sick and unable to attend your elective you will need to advise your department as soon as possible.

Elective certification

Your supervisor will certify adequate attendance and participation in clinical activities for your university. If necessary the form can be formalised by the Faculty of Medicine with a university seal.

Graded assessment is not provided.

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Health Screening

Serology reports

All documents need to be in English, including serology reports where the result is not obvious.

TB Screening

A chest x-ray (CXR) is not sufficient for TB screening.

Evidence of tuberculosis screening with a Mantoux or Quantiferon test is required. 1B screening requirements in Western Australia are explained on the Department of Health website:

MRSA test

MRSA testing needs to be performed in Perth prior to starting the placement. You will receive a pathology form with your formal letter of offer (confirmation letter.) There will be a cost for this test that must be paid on that day.

Please allow two working days for processing results.

Swabs can be collected outside Western Australia, as long as you have not been in a hospital or nursing home environment since collection and your arrival in Perth.

You must provide a copy of the MRSA result to us prior to beginning your elective.

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English language skills

IELTS or TOEFL is not essential to prove your English language skills.

If you have not taken IELTS or TOEFL, you can provide certification or a letter from your university confirming you communicate well in English; both spoken and written.

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Working with Children Check

A Working with Children Check (WWC) is a comprehensive criminal record check, mandatory for elective students undertaking placements in child-related work.

If your elective is at Princess Margaret Hospital or King Edward Memorial Hospital you will need the Working with Children check. Details about how to apply for this check will be given when your elective is confirmed.

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Application fee

There is no application fee.

Placement fee

A placement fee is charged when your placement is confirmed.

International students: AUD $1000.

Australian and New Zealand students: AUD $220.

The fee is payable within 30 days of confirmation of placement.


You can pay the placement fee online using your credit card. An online link will be provided on your formal letter of offer (confirmation letter.)

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Medical indemnity insurance is required for all visiting elective students.

The University of Western Australia does not provide visiting elective students with insurance cover. You must arrange your own personal accident, health and professional indemnity insurance.

If you are not covered by your university there are several Australian companies that provide elective cover:

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Visa type

Once your placement is confirmed we recommend you apply for your visa promptly as approvals can take considerable time.

Clinical Elective Placements are classed as observation visits, not training/research. A visitor visa, subclass 600, is appropriate. For advice, consult your nearest Australian Consul

We cannot advise on matters relating to visas and immigration.

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Accommodation and transport

Finding accommodation

Accommodation is not provided. Further information is on the UWA Current Students website.

Student status and student cards

Elective students are not eligible for a student card or a UWA student number.

Student concession on public transport

Visiting students are not be eligible for a concession on public transport in Western Australia. Your existing student ID card from your university will not be accepted on public transport here.

For timetable and other information see www.transperth.wa.gov.au/Timetables

Wireless internet access

Students visiting from participating institutions are able to connect via UWA's wireless network using eduroam www.bits.uwa.edu.au/it-help/access/wireless/eduroam/visitors providing that you have already arranged access and know the credentials for your home institution.

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