Incoming clinical electives

Arial view of ANU campus

The ANU 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 / North Canberra Hospital (formerly Calvary 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.

Please read the Clinical Elective Handbook and Clinical Elective Application Booklet before applying.

Applications must be submitted at least 6 months in advance of the placement start date. Applications submitted outside of this timeline will not be accepted.


How does the application process work?

Medical students who are interested in completing a clinical elective placement at the Canberra Hospital are required to read the Clinical Elective Handbook in full and understand the information and conditions relating to a placement prior to submitting an application.

To apply, students need to complete the Clinical Elective Placement Application Booklet and email this to The student must attach a payment receipt for the AUD$100 application fee, along with a CV outlining their previous clinical experience, a Letter of Good Standing from their faculty, and Proof of English Proficiency (if applicable).

When will I receive an outcome of my application?

Offers for elective placements are usually sent around 6 months prior to the placement. It can be difficult for clinical supervisors to confirm their availability more than 6 months in advance of the start date. The application processing time is also dependent on the response time of the department/s we are contacting and whether we need to contact multiple departments for your application. 

If your university requires an application outcome sooner than 6 months beforehand, we will do our best to accommodate your needs where possible.

What kind of visa will I need? Can ANU sponsor me for my trip to Australia?

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.

You will not be enrolled in a course of study at the ANU during your visit to Canberra, and will not be classified as an ANU student while you are here. The ANU is unable to act as a sponsor on your behalf and will not complete sponsorship forms for a Student Visa.

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

If you need to make any changes to your placement, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. 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 (subject to availability).

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. Likewise, if you are an Australian citizen studying at an overseas institution, you will be classified as an international student.

Can I apply if English is not my first language?

Of course! We accept both domestic and international students into our clinical elective program. If English is not your first language, it is expected that you have a high level of English proficiency, which will need to be shown in your initial application.

International students from non-English speaking countries are required to show proof of their English language proficiency through results from an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test. The Letter of Good Standing from your Faculty Dean should also indicate your level and ability of English.

Can I apply for a placement during the December - January holiday period?

Due to the Christmas and New Year shutdown period, placement availability is very limited between December and January. Many clinical and administrative staff will be on leave, outpatient clinics will be closed or minimised and there will be limited surgical session. Additionally, elective places may be reserved for local ANU students who will be undertaking their Elective Block during this period. Therefore, we are unable to organise non-ANU elective placements between December and January.

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

No. 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 is not responsible for any health or travel insurance. Organising all forms of insurance is solely the responsibility of the student.

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 directly 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 situation. If you do not have their contact details, please contact

Can I get a refund or postpone my elective placement?

The $100 AUD application fee is non-refundable and is not returned if you cancel your placement. If you postpone your placement, you will not be required to pay the application fee again. Being able to reschedule a placement is not guaranteed and will be subject to availability.

If you have paid the international elective placement fee ($600-850 AUD) and cancel your placement within a timely manner, you can apply for a refund. The only instance where a refund will not be given is if you forfeit your placement by not cancelling prior to the start date and by not showing up.

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?

Yes. 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 bulletin boards around the Hospital.

Will I work weekends? What will my hours be?

Your work hours will depend entirely on which department you are working in. Your supervisor will confirm what hours you will be working on your first day and will provide you with a roster, but in most cases you will have the weekends and public holidays off.

Will I need to organise my own accommodation?

Yes, elective students will need to organise and finance their own accommodation and transport during their stay in Canberra. The ANU cannot assist in organising or financing accommodation and on behalf of incoming elective students.

German Medical Students – The National Board of Examination requires me to have signed confirmation from the ANU that I will have the same rights as ANU medical students while on placement. Is this possible to receive?

No, it is not appropriate for ANU to sign this document as the University only administers the application process and does not actually deliver or supervise the clinical placement program. Students are not enrolled at ANU, nor do they gain any credit for the elective placement. This is reflected in the Declaration in the application booklet, which is signed at the time of application: I understand that I am not enrolling in a course/program at the Australian National University (ANU), and I will not be considered a student of ANU. I will not receive academic credit or graded assessment from ANU for my clinical placement with ACT Health/Canberra Health Services.  We can organise your clinical supervisor to sign this form, but no ANU staff member is permitted to sign the form.