Electives are awesome!

Electives are an important part of our learning. They let us meet new people, be exposed to different environments and do a lot which we normally wouldn't. Electives take place before your last year of the degree and are usually self-organised. Below is information to help you in that process.

The Faculty and LMS

Katherine Edhouse is the Faculty Elective Coordinator. If you have any questions it is best to contact her by email [email protected] or phone +61 8 9431 3270

All MD students have access to MD Community on LMS and the elective information is under MD Clinical Elective. It includes how to apply for an elective, the Faculty approval process, forms, assessment requirements and information on elective scholarships, Os-help and other financial support.

Some of the information on LMS is duplicated here.

Choosing and Organising an Elective

An elective can take place in WA, in Australia or overseas. Where you go is up to you. Many students choose to arrange their own, whilst others use corporate services to do so.

Choice of hospital usually boils down to: medical interest or travel interest, or hopefully both.

There are a variety of places to get information on hospitals. Apart from previous students, distributes out a handbook (The medics guide to work and electives around the world) for its members at the WAMSS Electives and Exchange night. MDA National provides all of its members with  free access to The Elective Network. Work the World provides safe, structured clinical placements in developing nations across Africa, Asia and South America and more info can be found at www.worktheworld.com.au. Work the World also have a partnership with MIPS.

If you've opted to self-organise, you will need to make contact with the hospital and arrange your elective. This usually takes place 6-12 months in advance depending on the popularity of the site you wish to visit. You will need to liaise with the faculty to ensure that the place you have chosen is appropriate.

AMSA and the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) also arrange for students to participate in medical exchanges. IFMSA takes on the role of placing you at a hospital of your preference (subject to availability). You do not need to accept a medical student into your home in return for using IFMSA. There is a minor cost to this, and you can learn more by contact the WAMSS Electives and Exchange Officer at [email protected]

Also of use is the Medical Journal of Australia's Guide to working Abroad.

Financing an Elective

An elective can work out to be expensive when you take into account travel costs, accommodation, food and if your elective requires payment. There are many scholarships, grants and loans available from the University (Study Abroad, Sobotka), OS-HELP (Student Loan) and scholarships, grants and low-interest available from our fantastic sponsors.

There is also information on the LMS unit for you to peruse. You're encourage to seek funding from anywhere that you can think of in order to reduce the financial burden of overseas/interstate electives.

Insurance and Vaccines

The University's Corporate Travel policy will cover you for the duration of your elective including weekends and public holidays falling within the approved dates and generally allows for up to two days either side of the official elective period for travel/down time. If you are planning any additional travel time outside of this period a separate stand-alone leisure travel insurance policy needs to be purchased for the relevant number of additional days. Also keep in mind that most travel insurance policies do not provide cover in the event of failing an exam. So check!

Each year, at the WAMSS Electives and Exchange night, the Faculty Infection Control Officer, Dr John Terry, UWA Medical Centre, will present on health and safety and vaccination requirements. You can find out more information on LMS: MD Community/MD Clinical Elective and by contacting the Faculty.


As mentioned, WAMSS, AMSA and IFMSA organise exchanges for students. Outgoing students are not required to host an incoming student. Instead, WAMSS and AMSA seek local volunteers to house incoming students. Host persons/families are paid $500 in compensation. If you're interested in hosting a medical student, please contact the WAMSS Electives and Exchange Officer at [email protected]