The availability of electives and observerships for students from non-North American schools depends upon the scheduling requirements for our own Queen’s students, the hospital departments' scheduling requirements which include undergraduate and postgraduate students, visiting physicians, visiting elective students from North American medical schools, and of course patient numbers.

Scheduling is done through Undergraduate Medical Education office only. PLEASE NOTE that there is a restriction on the number of electives available during the summer months, and at peak periods. We recommend you do not apply for an elective during July or August, and during the Christmas vacation, since we may not be able to provide you with an elective experience. The maximum duration of electives that may be carried out at Queen’s University is 4 weeks. Elective/observerships are not paid positions and there is no financial aid provided to support students interested in participating in these educational experiences. Students who are granted an elective, will be able to participate in supervised patient care activities. Students who are granted an observership will not be able to participate in patient care, but will be able to observe the care of patients.

Applicants cannot complete core rotations in the Visiting Student Electives Program at the Queen’s  School of Medicine.  Prior to enrolment in an elective, a student will be required to have completed his/her core clinical clerkship rotation in the discipline applied for. 

Queen’s will only allow a total of 3 choices for each (up to 4 weeks) elective application. This applies whether a student proposes one 4 week or multiple shorter elective rotations totaling 4 weeks. In general, most departments require a minimum 2-week elective rotation.

Any student studying at the non-Canadian W.H.O. (World Health Organization) schools is required to pay a minimum of $500.00 (Cdn.) elective fee per 4-week elective (fee subject to change).


Immigration Medical Exam
For every visiting elective student, a Canadian Immigration medical exam is required before entry. "Your own doctor cannot do the medical examination. You must see a physician on Canada's list of Designated Medical Practitioners" (taken from Without this medical exam, you will be turned back at the border and not permitted entry into Canada. You should plan to have this exam carried out 2 months in advance of your elective in order to ensure that the results will be available in time.

Visas and Work Permits
International students are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa from the Canadian Consulate in the country of study for entry into Canada, if necessary. Visas cannot be obtained after arrival in Canada. "International health care students can do their clinical clerkships or short-term work in Canada without a work permit if the work is for the primary purpose of acquiring training. A normal training practicum should not exceed four months." (

Please contact the embassy in your country for more information regarding Canadian pre-entrance requirements for medical electives.


No exceptions will be made with regard to the following:

  • All applications should be received by the Visiting Students Electives office at least 4 months (but not more than 6 months) prior to the proposed elective start date.

PLEASE NOTE: The Undergraduate Education office will not accept applications outside of the above mentioned dates even if a department has indicated availability. No exceptions will be made for incorrect date submissions.

  • Please allow up to 8 weeks of processing time for your application.
  • A placement is considered final once the student has been issued a formal acceptance letter. No further changes either in elective disciplines or dates are permitted.

NOTE: Applications are only processed once all supporting documents and fees have been submitted. All documentation must be in English. Incomplete applications are not considered, and if your dossier is not complete 2 weeks after payment has been received, your application will be denied and your fees refunded.