Electives for Visiting Students at UCL Medical School
UCL Medical School welcomes international and UK medical students to our electives programme. The aim of this programme is to enable visiting students to pursue in depth an area of their own interest, and to gain experience of clinical practice in the UK healthcare system with the same rights, duties and responsibilities as our own medical students.
To be eligible to take up a place at UCL, applicants must have completed a minimum of 3 years of their medical degree programme with a minimum of 12 months clinical training and excluding an intercalated BSc. Additionally students must fulfil UCL’s English language requirement which cannot be waived
Elective placements at UCL enable visiting students to broaden their clinical method and management experience, refine their communication and analytic skills, and continue their professional development. Our electives involve hands-on contact with patients. Objectives are agreed in discussion with the supervising clinician when a student takes up their placement. Timetables are scheduled flexibly and at the discretion of the supervising clinician to include relevant ward rounds, clinical meetings, and (where applicable) observe or assist with clinical procedures, and the opportunity to join teaching sessions and seminars arranged for UCL medical students. Our scheme cannot guarantee that aims and objectives specific to the core curricula of home institutions will be fulfilled.
Elective placements may be spent in the academic divisions of the School of Life and Medical Sciences or clinical directorates within the associated teaching hospitals: University College London Hospitals; The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust; and The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
Electives are offered for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks during medical school term dates: 1) September to December, 2) January to April and 3) May to July.
Electives are not available in August. Only one elective period may be spent at UCL by any student.
Students from outside the UK require a Standard visitor visa for study to enter the UK to take up a clinical elective placement.
We have designed our visiting student application process to be as straightforward as possible, seeking to maximise the educational and training value of placements for you, while complying with regulatory and, where applicable, visa requirements. The following sections detail each element of the process. Please keep in mind that many of the requirements for applicants arise from regulations beyond UCL Medical School’s control. Timelines and deadlines have been designed to maximise our opportunity to match your interests to a placement, while ensuring that there is sufficient time to resolve queries arising from your application, and minimise the risk that approval cannot be granted or, when required, a visa cannot be obtained in time for you to take up a placement.
All administration and correspondence is by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The visiting elective programme has been suspended for the whole of the 2021/22 academic year
We hope to be able to offer electives for the academic year 2022-23 and more information about this will be published in January 2022.
The Application Form (Part 1) is submitted online and the link to the form will go live at 10am UK time on the opening date. Part 1 enables us to determine whether or not we are able to find a placement that suits your proposed visiting dates and interests, and identify issues that may prevent you from taking up an elective placement with UCL Medical School. We charge an application fee of £50 but the number of placements offered is dependent on your timing and preference of specialty. Some specialties are more popular than others and availability is also dependent on the teaching commitments of departments at certain times of our timetable. Please note that we are unable to guarantee an offer of a placement.
- Administration and contacts
Our Visiting Electives Administrator works part-time and is not routinely based at UCL Medical School. Given this, correspondence related to your application will be by email; unscheduled telephone calls are unlikely to be answered and if you wish to leave a message you will be asked to send an email instead.
We aim to respond to enquiries within 3 weeks. Please do not seek an update on your enquiry before then as this may delay rather than hasten our response. If a truly urgent matter related to your application arises for reasons beyond your control, and you require a more rapid response, please mark your email as urgent in the subject line.
While we will try to respond as soon as we can, we cannot guarantee to do so more rapidly than for routine correspondence. Please note that late applications will not be treated as urgent, as doing so may disadvantage others who have applied to our visiting electives programme (see 'Application process and timeline’ below). If you do not receive a response after 3 weeks, please contact the Visiting Electives Administrator again. We aim to notify you if a suitable placement has or has not been found for you 6 to 8 weeks after receiving your application.
Emails should be directed to: email@example.com
Fees are paid via the UCL Online Store
(If you are arranging an elective at the IoN/NHNN please do not make payment via this link)
Placement Duration Administration Fee (non-refundable) Tuition Fee (refundable) Total to Pay 4 weeks £400 £350 £750 5 weeks £400 £450 £850 6 weeks £400 £550 £950 7 weeks £400 £650 £1050 8 weeks £400 £750 £1150
Administration Fee (non-refundable)
This fee covers verification of documentation, UCL registration, Occupational Health Clearance and EPP testing (where required) UCL sponsorship of Study Visa applications (where required) including documentation verification for visa compliance, and UCL Medical School certification of completion of the elective.
Tuition Fee (refundable)
This fee is refundable if you withdraw your application or are unable to take up your placement.
Both fees are payable in a single payment 4 months before the start of your elective placement
- Dates and availability of electives
The minimum length of an elective placement is 4 weeks and the maximum length is 8 weeks. Placement dates must start and finish within UCL Medical School term dates.
The number of places offered in each block is determined by the capacity of clinical supervisors and resources available to teach visiting students in addition to UCL medical students. Applications close when capacity has been reached.
Applications are processed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis in the order in which the Part 1 forms arrive from 10.00am on the day that applications open for each block.
- List of Hospitals and Specialties currently offered
- Accident & Emergency
- Acute Medicine
- General (Internal) Medicine
- General Surgery
- Intensive Care (with Anaesthetics)
- Nephrology RFH
- Obstetrics & Gynaecology
- Orthopaedics UCLH
- Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics @ UCL
- Surgery (colorectal)
- Surgery (head and neck/maxillofacial)
- Surgery (Plastic & Reconstructive)
- Vascular Surgery
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square
Visiting electives at Queen Square are arranged directly with the UCL Institute of Neurology and all queries and applications should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Application process and timeline
The application form has 3 parts.
Part 1 enables us to determine whether or not we are able to find a placement that suits your proposed visiting dates and interests, and identify issues that may prevent you from taking up an elective placement with UCL Medical School. You should only submit Parts 2 and 3 of the application form once you have heard from us that we are able to provisionally offer you a placement. Please be aware that English language tests used to evidence fulfilment of UCL’s English language requirement must be have been taken within 2 years of the proposed start date of your placement.
Part 2 confirms your eligibility for an elective placement with UCL Medical School, and must be signed by an authorised signatory at your home medical school. Information you provide in Part 3 of your application is used by UCL Occupational Health and Wellbeing (UCL OHW) to determine if they can or cannot clear you for your elective. Please note that Part 1 is on online questionnaire and Part 2 should be sent by email to the Visiting Electives Administrator.
Part 3 of your application form contains health information considered confidential to you and UCL Occupational Health & Wellbeing (UCL OHW), and this should be sent directly to UCL OHW and should not be sent to the Visiting Electives Administrator.
UCL Occupational Health Service: email@example.com.
10-12 months prior to the start of each block (Blocks start September, January and April)
Applications open online 10-12 months before the start date for each block
You should:Complete and submit Part 1 of the application form (personal details and elective preferences) via the link on the website; make an online payment of the non-refundable initial processing fee (£100) via UCL Online Store; provide evidence of your proficiency in English language.
6-8 weeks after application received
Notification of placement and provisional offer
You will receive notification either that we have identified an elective placement that meets your requirements or that we have been unable to match your requirements but may be able to offer alternatives.
Please note that the Medical School will make every effort to secure a placement for you, but cannot guarantee to match your dates and specialty.
If we have found a suitable placement, you will receive a provisional offer by email.
You should confirm your acceptance of the provisional offer and download Parts 2 and 3 of the application form.
No later than 4 months before the start date for your placement
Payment of Administration Fee and Tuition Fees.
You should complete your payment of the non-refundable administration fee (£350) and tuition fee (£350 to £750)*, refundable if a placement is not taken up via UCL Online Store so that your application can be processed. Please note that offers cannot be confirmed until fees have been received by UCL.
*Please note that these fees apply for electives placement taken up in and after September 2018.
Fee rates for elective placements taken up to and including July 2018 are £300 administration and £300-£700 tuition.
No later than 4 months before the start date for your placement
Submission of documents to the Visiting Electives Administrator.
You and your home medical school should complete the Part 2 (Academic Verification) of the application form and return it by email with ALL required documents (in English) to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A copy of a Criminal Record check/Disclosure and Barring Service clearance or equivalent police check undertaken within 2 years of the placement start date
- A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport
Please note that you should submit your application and all documents together. Applications which are submitted with incomplete documentation will be declined.
2 weeks after submission of documents to Visiting Electives Administrator
Verification and confirmation of documentation.
You will receive either:
an email from UCL Medical School confirming that your documentation is satisfactory and complete, that OH have confirmed health clearance and that your fee payment has been received or a request for further information if any items need clarification.
Your completed and checked application will be passed to the Sub Dean (Electives) for approval.
Within 2 weeks of email confirmation of satisfactory documentation
Confirmed Placement Offer.
You will be sent email notification that your elective has been approved and that the offer can now be confirmed. The email will include instructions for enrolment with UCL and for taking up your placement.
Within 2 days of the email confirming your placement details
Formal letter of confirmation for students requiring a Short-Term Study Visa
UCL is the sponsoring institution for the Short-term study visa and you will be registered as an UCL student for the duration of your elective.
The Medical School will provide you with the formal letter of confirmation when you have satisfactorily completed our application process for registration. Please note that you can only apply for the Short-Term Study Visa 3 months in advance of the elective placement.
Please ensure that you have read UCL visa guidance information:
We advise you not to book air tickets or incur other costs for your elective until you have received this formal letter of confirmation and are confident that the timing is sufficient for your visa to be issued in time to take up your placement.
- Regulatory and visa requirements
Registration and prior clinical study
Applicants must be full-time registered medical students in good standing at their own medical school who have completed a minimum of 3 years of a medical degree programme (excluding an intercalated BSc) and including 12 or more months of clinical study. The elective period must be a required component of the undergraduate medical degree leading to a qualification from an overseas higher education institution that is recognised as being equivalent to a UK higher education qualification.
English language proficiency
If your first language is not English, UCL requires that you provide recent evidence that your spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programme for which you have applied.
The minimum level required to undertake a clinical elective is ‘Standard’.
The level recommended to benefit fully from your clinical elective experience is ‘Advanced’, which is the level required for entry to the undergraduate medicine degree programme at UCL.
UCL’s preferred qualifications are:
- British Council International Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Version)
- Standard level: Overall grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests.
- Advanced level: Overall grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.
- Standard level: Score of 92 overall with 24/30 in reading and writing and 20/30 in speaking and listening
- Advanced level: Score of 109 overall 24/30 in reading and writing and 20/30 in speaking and listening
Students who are nationals of a majority English-speaking country* OR have studied for a minimum of 2 years at a medical school in a majority English-speaking country will not be required to submit English language test results.
*Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or United States of America
Short-Term Study Visa
Applicants from outside the EU/EEA who are studying for a medicine degree abroad are now permitted to enter the UK on a Short-Term Study Visa to take up a clinical elective placement.
For full information on the Short-Term Visa requirements for a medical elective, please go to the UCL Immigration and Visa website:
Professionalism and Student Code of Conduct
It is a condition of offer and enrolment that students agree, during their placement, to observe all the regulatory and policy requirements that apply to UCL medical students, including:
Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodation and because of the short duration of elective placements, visiting elective students are not eligible to apply to UCL halls of residence.
- Occupational health requirements
Health screening and testing for visiting elective students is undertaken by UCL Workplace Health and all queries about health clearance should be submitted directly to the service at email@example.com.
The occupational health requirements are set out in Part 3 of the visiting electives application form. Students must complete and submit Part 3 with all required documentation directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Part 3 of your application form contains health information considered confidential to you and UCL Workplace Health, and so must be sent directly to UCL Workplace Health and must not be sent to the Visiting Electives Administrator.
Students from countries with a high incidence of TB (http://www.who.int/tb/country/data/profiles/en/index.html) will be required to have a Quantiferon test as set out in NICE guidelines. Appointments will be arranged by UCL OHW on the first morning and students must attend before joining their placement. These countries are listed at: http://www.who.int/tb/country/data/profiles/en/index.html
Additionally students who are applying for placements in Renal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgery, and Accident and Emergency must obtain clearance for Exposure Prone Procedures (EPP), for which UCL OHW works to UK Department of Health guidelines agreed by Medical Schools Council. Appointments for EPP testing will be made on the first morning of the placement for all students requiring EPP clearance and student must attend before taking up their placement.
Current guidance on EPP is as follows:
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV
Medical students are required by the Department of Health in the UK to provide evidence that they are not infected with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) before they can perform EPPs. The Department of Health defines EPPs as “those invasive procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in the exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker. These include procedures where the worker’s gloved hands may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp tissues (eg. spicules of bone or teeth) inside a patient’s open body cavity, wound or confined anatomical space where the hands may not be completely visible at all times”. Venepuncture, cannulation and suturing are not considered as EPPs.
Please note that in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines, UCL OHW are required to confirm the results of the following tests which were performed abroad, and which will be repeated in the UK, on UK validated blood samples analysed by a CPA accredited laboratory:-
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Hepatitis C antibodies
- HIV antibodies
These confirmatory tests must be completed before a medical student is given approval to undertake EPPs. Students may attend an elective placement for which EPP clearance is required, but must not undertake EPPs until written clearance UCL OHW has issued a “Health and Exposure Prone Procedure Clearance Form” which you must present to your clinical supervisor.
- Taking up your place
Prior to your arrival
Medical School Code of Conduct
Please familiarise yourself with UCL Medical School’s Code of Conduct:
Occupational health appointments take absolute priority. If you have been instructed to attend UCL Occupational Health Services, be sure to attend. If you have any queries, please contact UCL OHW on Tel: 020 7890 2999 or email email@example.com
First morning from 10am
Please go to the Student Centre on the right of the main entrance to UCL in Gower Street. Enrolment is inside the Chadwick Building from 10.00am to 4.00pm. You will need to take with you the formal letter confirming your elective, your passport and, if applicable, your Tier 4 visa. Please note that original documents must be presented as instructed in the enrolment information sent to you by UCL (not the medical school)
During enrolment you will register your UK address with Student Records.
Please ensure that you notify Student Records of any changes to your address while you are studying at UCL, in particular if you are here on a Tier 4 visa for which this is a condition of your visa.
UCL Student ID card
A UCL student ID card will be issued to you when you enrol and your student ID must be worn visibly in all clinical environments.
This ID card allows access to UCL buildings including the libraries (reading rights only) and the UCL Union after 5pm. To access UCL services and facilities you will be asked for the card to prove your student status.
UCL email account
Once you have enrolled, you will be able to activate your UCL email account:
Please go to the ISD Service Desk in the DMS Watson Library to obtain a password for your UCL account
DMS Watson Library
Report to your placement
Once you have completed all the above, you can go to meet your clinical supervisor and the clinical team in accordance with the placement specific joining instructions sent to you by your supervising consultant.
- Certification of satisfactory completion
If your medical school requires an elective report issued by UCL Medical School, you should download an Elective Report Form and ask your educational supervisor to complete it at the end of your placement. If, additionally, your medical school requires certification of satisfactory completion from UCL Medical School, you should send a copy of your signed report form to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly stating that your require certification of satisfactory completion.
Certificates of Satisfactory Completion are provided in English only and include:
- Date of placement
- Name of supervisor
Confirmation that the student has followed a course of study with the same rights and responsibilities as UCL medical students
If your medical school issues its own report form, you may instead ask your clinical supervisor to complete this at the end of your placement. However, completion of your medical school’s form is at the discretion of your clinical supervisor, and may be declined if it requires assessments beyond those made to complete UCL’s elective report form, or where the information required is already fully covered by UCL’s elective report form.
- Self-organised electives arranged directly with NHS Trust clinicians or UCL Academic Divisions and Institutes
Students who arrange elective placements directly with NHS Trusts, UCL Academic Divisions or Institutes outside UCL Medical School’s visiting elective programme, or those run by GOSH (excluding Tier 4), should note that:
- you will not be registered at UCL;
- you will not be covered by UCL insurance policies;
- if from outside the EU, you will still be required to obtain a Tier 4 student visa which is needed to take up an elective place;
- you cannot be granted access to UCL buildings or libraries;
- you will not able to obtain any documentation or signatures certifying attendance at UCL from College authorities.
Clinicians who accept visiting elective students directly should:
- ensure that their Trust clinical negligence indemnity covers them to supervise visiting elective students, beyond those accepted to UCL medical elective programmes;
- ensure that their Trust Human Resources team have undertaken any necessary checks (eg DBS and occupational health) and issued an appropriate contract or agreement to the visiting elective student.
Clinicians who wish to accept elective students through the UCL Medical School Visiting Elective Programme may join at any time by contacting us via email@example.com
- Electives organised through Divisions and Institutes
A small number of Divisions/Institutes within UCL organise their own elective schemes separately from the Medical School and students who wish to apply are advised to check Divisional/Institute websites for information about how to apply.
For electives in Neurology, students should contact the Institute of Neurology education team - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicants and Divisions/Institutes are advised that:
- these electives are independent of the Medical School
- insurance, health and criminal records checks are the responsibility of the Division/Institute
- payment of the elective fees should be made to the Division/Institute and not via the UCL Online
- the certificate of satisfactory completion of these electives can only be issued by the Division/Institute. The Medical School cannot certify satisfactory completion of these electives.
- students from outside the EU must obtain a Short-Term Study Visa either through the Division/Institute or by applying through the Medical School scheme. Students will be entering the UK illegally if they are intending to take up a medical elective having entered with a visitor’s visa
- Student Selected Components
Student Selected Components (SSCs) are not currently offered to external students, but students at UK Medical Schools who are interested in undertaking a 4 week SSC at UCL may apply under the visiting elective scheme.
Offers made will be subject to the same terms, conditions and fee rates, and students should ensure that any placement offered satisfies the SSC requirements of their own Medical School.
- Erasmus and Turing Exchanges
Erasmus exchanges have been withdrawn and we regret that UCL has no Turing exchanges in place for undergraduate medicine.