Elective Term

Elective Term

Note: Electives for non-UNSW students, please go to the Clerkships webpage

The Elective Term is a compulsory component of the UNSW undergraduate medicine program. These pages will provide the necessary information for organising the term.


  • For available cholarships, refer to Opportunities.
  • Changes to the Eligibility Criteria for International Medical Students Applying for Electives at McGill University - Click here for letter 19 Jun 2018
  • Registrations for South African placements will not be approved.  This country is now on the exclusion list for the Elective.  19 Dec 2016

Objectives of the Elective Term

  • The objectives of the Elective course will depend on your choice but should include one of the following:
  • To develop your knowledge and skills in a selected area of Medicine;
  • To acquire experience in a selected area of Medicine in consideration of a future career choice;
  • To experience a different type of health care delivery from that practised in Australia;
  • To correct deficiencies in your knowledge and skills in a selected area of Medicine;
  • To gain further experience in an area of research.



Important Dates

Year 6 students in 2021  
Elective term dates Commence after the Biomedical Sciences Viva, 2020.
Complete Elective by the end of Feb 2021; TP1 commences 1 Mar 2021
Withdraw unattended eMed Elective registrations Noon, 26 Feb 2021
Reports on eMed Supervisor's uploaded by 3 Apr 2020.
Students' due by end of TP1, 2020.
Year 6 students in 2022  
Register all intended placements in eMed Overseas placements will not be approved while a travel ban is in place due to COVID-19.
Register all Australian placements on eMed as soon as possible.
Elective term dates

Commence after the Biomedical Sciences Viva, from 12 Nov 2021.
Complete Elective by the end of Feb 2022; TP1 commences beginning Mar 2022.

Student and Supervisor Reports to eMed Supervisor's uploaded by noon, 2 Apr 2022.
Students' due by end of TP1, 2022.



Frequently Asked Questions

Risks & Insurance

Important Considerations about Electives Undertaken Overseas

The safety of UNSW students is of paramount concern to the Faculty. Therefore, the Faculty may not approve some electives.

In general, the University acts on advice issued by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Whilst electives are organised well in advance, it is essential for students to check the DFAT website on a regular basis for travel warnings before leaving Australia. Conditions in some countries are in a volatile state and sometimes even the most serene location can become unstable in a short time. In addition to generic concerns, there are some areas where it may not be safe for women to travel alone.

UNSW & UNSW Medicine will not approve electives in countries which are declared by DFAT as “Do not travel” or “Reconsider your need to travel”.

Information about the following is listed on this page.

Risk Assessment

As part of the application for your Elective, you may be required to complete a risk assessment depending on your destination (embedded in the Elective registration on eMed).  Approval of the elective will be dependent on completion of this form.

If you will be completing the Elective in Australia or in any developed country, it is unlikely that there will be any particular risks. However for students travelling to developing countries, you need to consider the following risks:

  • Level of clinical supervision. In some areas where the level of supervision is limited, you will need to consider how you will handle situations for which you are not adequately trained.
  • Your personal safety. This may relate to health, environmental and occupational hazards.
  • Political instability. In some countries, political events may necessitate terminating your elective if DFAT issues a revised travel warning.

All potential risks should be considered, such as those associated with travel, accommodation, clinical setting, leisure activities etc. If clarification is required please email phase3@med.unsw.edu.au or ring 9385 8765.


Insurance & Indemnity

Students engaged in the Elective are indemnified in the event that they become legally liable for injury to any person or damage to the property of others arising from their participation in the Elective.

UNSW has Liability Insurance in excess of $AUS10M for any one claim in the event of such an occurrence. The university also provides personal accident insurance if the student is accidently injured whilst participating in any approved and recognised course related activity including clinical placements.

Information about the policies may be found here - https://www.fin.unsw.edu.au/services/insurance


International SOS

UNSW has engaged International SOS, a medical and travel risk management service to help UNSW take proactive steps to minimise and avoid risk for its travellers.

Services include:

  • Travel risk management form guide
  • MyTrips - MyTrips allows you to record your trip with International SOS so you can receive travel alerts before and during your travel. It also allows UNSW to contact you if there is an incident or emergency while you are travelling.
  • International SOS app - Travellers can also download the International SOS mobile app to their smart phones. It provides immediate access to the assistance centre, where medical, security or logistical experts will support you in the event of an emergency.
  • Helplines - International SOS medical and security specialists are on hand 24 hours a day to answer any queries and concerns you have prior to travel.
  • Emergency assistance.

In order to access these services, students are encouraged to log on at International SOS using the UNSW student log-in details.






The New Colombo Mobility Program

Please refer to the UNSW Scholarships website.


Electives in Queensland

Please be advised that it is students’ responsibility to consult the following information via the Queensland Health website.

There have been changes to the OHS provisions in Queensland and it is essential for students to comply with Government legislation which includes an e-learning OHS module which is at this link: http://www.elearn.com.au/qh_external/

Organisations offering elective opportunities

Listed below are some links that students had previously provided us with to share (and there are no formal agreements with UNSW Medicine).





It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that both reports are received by the end of Teaching Period 1 in Year 6 in time for consideration by the Assessment Committee.

Failure to submit the student and supervisor(s) reports will result in a fail result for the elective term and the term will have to be repeated at the end of year 6, thus delaying graduation.


You are required to pass the Elective course but it is not graded.

There are two requirements to pass the Elective course.

1. Supervisor’s Report(s).

It is essential that you present the Supervisor’s Report to your supervisor(s) at the beginning of your attachment so as it is clear what is required. You must ensure that the supervisor completes the report at the end of the attachment and forwards this to the Faculty. 

2. You are required to write a report on the Elective course.

The report needs to be a minimum of 1,000 words covering all placements together. This is to be done via the original eMed submission. If there was more than one placement, please submit the report as one submission only. The reason for this is so that the elective report will go into Portfolio as one single document. There is no Learning Plan associated with the Elective course.

The Elective report must be submitted to eMed by the end of the following teaching period. For most students, this will mean the end of TP1.  

The report should focus on how the elective has helped in your development in the graduate capabilities. You should describe what you did, how this experience has complemented your experiences at UNSW, what you learnt and how this relates to the graduate capabilities.

The report will not be graded but will be reviewed by the portfolio examiners at the time of your Phase 3 Portfolio Examination and it may be addressed during your interview.

Please note that the report is not intended to be a travelogue – it should not include details about travel arrangements, accommodation, local tips on good restaurants etc. While information of this nature may be beneficial to future students choosing an elective, it is not to be included in your report. Students wishing to pass on practical information for the benefit of future students can provide this to MedSoc which maintains a database of possible elective sites.

Failure to submit either the Supervisor Report(s) or your Elective Report will result in a Fail grade which would delay graduation.

The supervisor reports must be uploaded against the relevant eMed Elective registration at the completion of the elective term. Your own report must be submitted online via your Electives page on eMed.

* Please note that Java counts words differently from a standard word-processing software.  In eMed, you will find that the elective report ("My experience") has a maximum word count of 2100 words.  This is to account for the way that Java counts words but you will still be limited to 2000 words if using a program like MS Word to draft your report.


Elective Term Checklist

Use the step-by-step checklist below as a guide to organising and completing your Elective Term.

The Elective Term application process is managed through eMed.

Need Further Information?

Tel: +61 (2) 9385 8765
Email: phase3@med.unsw.edu.au

Key Contact

Electives Co-ordinator
Medicine Education & Student Office
T +61 (2) 9385 8765
E phase3@med.unsw.edu.au


Supervisor's Report Form

GP Elective Term

These forms are also available in your application form on eMed

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