The Division of Community Engagement

Clinical Electives


MED 528 Optional Summer Elective, MED 457, MED 557

Undergrad medical students who have completed their second academic year, and students in their senior years, qualify for clinical electives.  Any students who are at the end of their second academic year or those in years 3 or 4 may enroll in MED 528 Optional Summer Clinical Elective.  Electives completed in the summer after year 2 can be counted up to a maximum of 6 weeks of clinical elective time.

It is the policy of the Global Health Program that students wishing to take the optional summer clinical elective at a Global Health Field Station must complete the Global Health 12 Hour elective during the academic year.  For more information about the Global Health 12 Hour elective, go to the Shadow Electives page of this website. The link to the Global Health 12 Hour elective is here.  Students who attend Global Health Rounds can claim their attendance for credit toward the 12 Hour Global Health Elective.

Students who take the Global Health 12 Hour elective will automatically qualify for the Global Health travel bursary for travel to Global Health Field Stations i.e. no application required.  Those who have taken the 12 hour elective are not required to take it again during their undergraduate medical education.

Third and fourth year students can use time from this optional summer elective toward their minimum total 14 weeks clinical elective requirement (minimum of 4 weeks in Year 3 for MED 457 and minimum of 10 weeks in Year 4 for MED 557). 

The Global Health Program offers rich overseas clinical experiences in field stations in LMIC which can be used to fulfill these elective requirements. To peruse the GH field stations clinical placement options go to pages 6-10 in the GH Field Stations Electives document . The Global Health Program encourages students to consider a 4 week experience as a minimum.

A handy guide to assist learners in determining an elective that best suits their interest is the Researching Your Elective Destination Worksheet which can be found here.  This worksheet can help students explore basic information about the people, places and things they may visit on their international elective.

Once learners have an idea of what field station they are interested in attending, they are to complete the Expression of Interest Field Station Form which can be found here and return it to  The Global Health Office will then be in touch to discuss the details of the elective.

Optional Summer Clinical Elective Applications for Global Health Field Stations open on September 1 and close January 31.  The Application Form can be found here, the checklist here and the Release of Liability Form here The checklist and Release of Liability Form must be submitted to one month prior to departure.  Learners taking a field station at other times of year will complete these same forms but determine a deadline for submission based upon the dates of their elective. 

Please note:  the Global Health Program follows 5.0 Electives Cancellation Policy of the MD Program Electives Policy.

Applications are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Some electives, e.g. Fudan, need a minimum number of learners in order to be delivered in any given year. Consequently, confirmation of elective might not be out before mid-February 2020. For those electives without a minimum, there will be a rolling confirmation given which means that the earlier a student signs up, the earlier confirmation of the elective will happen. Students interested in electives in Kenya need to be aware that visa applications must be submitted at least 6 months prior to the start of the elective.

In order to be covered for malpractice and liability with the university and receive credit for the elective, students must be registered in MED 528, or MED 547 or MED 557.  This process is extremely important as it protects the students and their preceptors.  Registration for MED 528 becomes available in February and closes in May and the fees will be announced at that time.  Please note that there are two sections (A & B) to register in. Students will then be eligible to do as many or as few electives as they desire, from one to 9 weeks. The Global Health office recommends learners plan experiences of a minimum of 4 weeks at a Field Station elective to fully benefit from the experience.

Learners who have chosen a Global Health Field Station elective for MED 528, 547 or 557 will meet with a faculty advisor familiar with the site to give further details about the site, expectations and preparations necessary for the elective.  Some faculty advisors will work with the field station site to enroll learners and request a confirmation of elective from the field station preceptors.  This confirmation email will be sent to the UME office on behalf of the students enrolled in the elective.  Students however, should also ensure they send the first and last name of the preceptor and the preceptor’s email address to The UME office will then add the elective to MedSIS.  MedSIS will then automatically send an evaluation to the preceptor on the last Thursday of the elective.  There are locations, both Field Stations and others, where electronic evaluations will be difficult to obtain. Students should take at least 2 paper copies of the evaluation form with them. These will be available in the Global Health Office.

Elective Evaluation Process:

  • Students must ensure that each elective is listed in MedSIS before the elective begins and that the preceptor is listed by the last Monday of the elective.
  • MedSIS will send the evaluation request to the designated preceptor(s) on the last Thursday of the elective.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the evaluation has been completed.  It is recommended that the student contact the preceptor if the evaluation has not been completed within two weeks following the completion of the elective. There are locations, both Field Stations and others, where electronic evaluations will be difficult to obtain. Students should take at least 2 paper copies of the evaluation form with them. These will be available in the Global Health Office.
  • To be sure that your academic record is up to date, students are required to review MedSIS to ensure electives are listed before the elective begins and that the preceptor is listed so that MedSIS can send an evaluation request. 
Completing an elective does not automatically mean credit is granted for that elective.  An evaluation must be completed by the student's preceptor with a "pass" indicated in the evaluation.

Note:  Students must be aware of the limitations of their clinical abilities in relation to the risk of being asked to undertake more independence in patient care while abroad than would normally be the case at home.    Students will meet with a faculty advisor who will help ensure they have made an appropriate selection and completed the necessary preparation. Students should understand that international electives in LMICs will be more shadowing experiences with limited hands-on experience.

To learn of further steps to be taken to prepare for your elective go to the section:  ADDITIONAL STEPS