Incoming clinical electives

The ANU Medical School and ACT Health/Canberra Health Services offer the opportunity for medical students from Australia and overseas to complete a clinical elective term at the Canberra Hospital, our state-of-the-art teaching hospital. Placements are available for students who are in their final or penultimate year of study, for a minimum period of four weeks and a maximum of eight weeks, across a range of specialities.

Applications for inbound clinical elective placements are currently closed.  Please check this page in April 2023 to confirm applications have reopened before submitting your application.

Applications should be submitted at least 6 months in advance of the placement start date. Please read the clinic elective placements handbook and application booklet before applying. 
The Medical School is unable to provide advice in regard to international travel restrictions or obtaining a visa to enter Australia. If you will be travelling from overseas to complete your elective in the ACT, it is your responsibility to keep yourself informed of the latest travel advice from the Australian Government and ACT Health. Receiving an offer to undertake an elective placement does not guarantee entry to Australia.


How does the application process work?

Non-ANU medical students who wish to undertake an elective placement at the Canberra Hospital must read the Incoming Clinical Elective Placements Handbook in full and ensure the information and conditions relating to an elective placement is understood. Once read, students complete the Incoming Clinical Elective Placement Application Booklet and pay an AUD$100 application processing fee.

The completed Application Booklet is then emailed to, along with the student’s CV, Letter of Good Standing from the Faculty Dean, and proof of English language proficiency (if applicable). Once we have received your application, it can take between 2-8 weeks to receive an outcome.

When will I receive an outcome of my application?

It can take anywhere between 2-8 weeks for your application to receive an outcome. The timeframe depends on the response time of the departments we are contacting and whether we need to contact multiple departments for your application.

What kind of visa will I need?

The Australian Government issues all visas for international visitors. For further information on visas and to find the right visa for your trip, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website. The type of visa required will be dependent on the issuing country of your passport. We recommend applying for a visa as soon as possible as the approval process can be quite lengthy, and you will not be permitted to enter Australia without one. Applying for and obtaining the correct type of visa is solely the responsibility of the applicant. ANU does not provide any information about the type of visa required for your needs.

Can the ANU Medical School sponsor me for my trip to Australia?

The ANU Medical School is unable to act as a sponsor on your behalf and will not complete sponsorship forms for a Study Visa.

I am a medical student at an Australian University but the handbook says that my university does not have a Deed in place with ACT Health. Can I still apply for an elective placement?

A Deed must be in place between your home University and ACT Health for you to undertake your elective placement in the ACT. If your institution is not currently on the list, it is not likely that a Deed will be signed before you commence your placement.

If I already have my elective placement confirmed, can I change the dates or departments?

We will do our best to accommodate your needs while in Canberra for your elective placement. However, the dates and departments that are originally organised for you may be difficult to change with little notice. Last-minute changes will only be made in exceptional circumstances. Please contact the Electives Coordinator in the first instance if you need to change any details of your elective placement.

I am an international student studying at an Australian university. What type of student am I classified as?

You will be classified as a domestic student and will not be charged the international student elective placement fee. We advise that you still include Proof of English Language Proficiency in your application if you are originally from a non-English speaking country.

Why do I need a National Police Check?

A National Police Check (NPC) is a mandatory requirement for all students on placement within ACT Health facilities. ACT Health require an NPC from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and any country where you have been a resident for more than 12 months from the age of 18. Even if you have never been to Australia, you are still required to provide an Australian NPC.

Can I apply if English is not my first language?

Of course! We accept both domestic and international students into our clinical elective program. Non-ANU clinical elective students are required to meet the same English proficiency requirements as ANU medical students, as outlined in the policy on the ANU website.

The application periods do not include January. Can I still apply for a placement in January?

Due to the Christmas and New Year shut down period, there are limited placements available between December and January. Some departments may allow elective students to commence a placement in December and resume after the Christmas period, but that will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. January is the summer holiday period in Australia so many administrative and hospital staff will be on leave, outpatient clinics will be closed or minimised, and there will be limited surgical sessions.

Can I get credit towards my degree from completing an elective placement?

An elective is an opportunity to broaden a student’s clinical experience and no formal credit or assessment will be given for the elective term.

Am I responsible for my own travel and health insurance?

Yes. The ANU Medical School is not responsible for any health or travel insurance. Organising insurance is the responsibility of the student.

How can I find accommodation in Canberra?

The ANU Medical School is not responsible for arranging accommodation for an elective placement. It is the student’s responsibility to make their own accommodation arrangements for the duration of their placement.

What if I am sick during my elective placement or need to take time off?

If you fall sick and are unable to make your whole placement or just need a couple of days off, you will need to contact your supervisor as soon as possible. They may organise for you to make up the days you missed, or you may need to cancel your whole placement depending on the severity of your illness. If you do not have their contact details, please contact the Electives Coordinator.

Can I get a refund or postpone my elective placement?

The AUD$100 application fee is non-refundable. This fee covers the administrative cost of processing an application and assessing the relevant supporting documentation, including screening and vaccination evidence, to ensure the student has met all eligibility criteria and compliance requirements. If an elective placement is cancelled for any reason, this fee cannot be refunded. However, students who have resheduled their placement to a later date (with approval) are not required to pay the fee again.

International students who have paid the AUD$650-800 elective placement fee can apply for a refund of the placement fee only if the placement is cancelled prior to the scheduled commencement date. If your circumstances change and you are no longer able to undertake your elective, it is expected that you will extend professional courtesy and notify the ANU Medical School as soon as possible. Failure to attend without advanced notice of cancellation will result in the elective placement fee being forfeited by the student.

Where should I report to on my first day?

More information about your first day will be provided once you have received a placement offer.

What should I wear during my elective placement?

As a medical student, you should appear well groomed and professional. Trainers and jeans are not acceptable while on the ward and for safety reasons open-toed shoes or sandals should not be worn. You are not required to wear white coats at the Canberra Hospital.

What limitations do I have as an elective student?

As a medical elective student, you must always identify yourself as a student to patients and doctors, and your student status should always be recorded on patient record entries. Medical students are expected to abide by the Medical Board of Australia’s Codes and Guidelines, as well as the ACT Health’s Code of Conduct.

Can I attend lectures during my elective?

Elective students are more than welcome to attend general hospital lectures or meetings, like Grand Rounds, and student group activities, like lectures. A timetable of lectures and presentations can be obtained from the Electives Coordinator or from bulletin boards around the Hospital.

Will I work weekends? What hours will I be working?

Your work hours will depend entirely upon which department you are working in. Your supervisor will confirm what hours you will be working on your first day, but in most cases you will have the weekends off.