Electives policy
(includes Split Elective and Projects)
Occupational Health -
NEW - post-elective health quiz
Letters of Recommendation
Transcripts of grades and Criminal Record checks

Approval of proposal
includes a requirement to undertake a formal Risk Assessment

Travel and study
abroad, travel insurance and visas
Assessment form and Certificate of Attendance

Grants and Awards including new bursaries information and School of Medicine Travel Awards

Electives evenings
Planning your elective and the archive of reports
Submission of Report and Elective report prizes
Useful web sites


Home pages

School of Medicine intranet


Please email queries and comments: webmaster.feo
Last updated: 05-Jul-2013 9:36

Electives Director
Dr Michael Barrett
South Kensington
020 7594 9823

Electives Deputy
Dr Etienne Horner
St Mary's campus
Electives administrator
Wendy Pearson
St Mary's FEO
020 7594 3605

Arthritis Research UK medFORCE electives [pdf]
McKinsey electives medFORCE Knysna, South Africa [pdf]
Operation Wallacea elective [Word] + brochure [pdf] medFORCE Fiji [pdf]
Forensic medicine undergraduate prize Electives in India
Conducting projects and audits as part of electives The Sankofa Center (Africa)
Wellbeing of women medical and midwifery electives [Word] Elective periods in Sri Lanka
Let them help themselves out of poverty [pdf]
- a registered charity that assists in fundraising for
community-based projects particularly in Africa

Singapore Electives with Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

Projects abroad - organised elective scheme


Elective study guidelines

  1. 2013-2014 Year 6 course map + electives information [Excel]

  2. 2013-2014 Elective student time guide for OH services [pdf]

  3. Future elective dates for your diaries:
    Wednesday 24 July 2013  Year 6 Elective Afternoon 1.30 - 2 pm at the Drewe, Charing Cross campus

  4. Elective drop-ins: 2-5 pm Comm. Skills D room, Charing Cross campus
    Wednesday 11 September 2013
    Wednesday 13 November 2013
    Wednesday 4 December 2013
    Wednesday 29 January 2014
Year 6 course map 2012-13 + electives information [Excel]

What the elective study period is about
It is important to remember that the elective is a time for learning about Medicine and this should have high priority. It is important to note that the minimum time to be spent on elective is 7 weeks. The holiday aspect of the elective is very much a secondary priority.

Where you can go: Electives in more than one country, in particular when those countries are not adjacent or in the same part of the world are discouraged. It is important for students to learn about healthcare in a different country and this takes time. It is undesirable for students to spend large proportions of their elective travelling from one country to the next. List of hospitals in auto-filtered spreadsheet [Excel] Please note: ALL hospitals where previous students have been on elective are included but the email addresses and contact names may be out-of-date so it is wise to pop in to St Mary’s FEO to look at report summaries which span one or two years.  If the hospital you are looking for is not included then it is best to Google and acquire your own contacts and proceed accordingly.

Travel issues
Students need to remember that they are travelling to parts of the world, which may be, dangerous and should observe recommendations of the Foreign Office who provide advice for overseas travellers at http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel. Students should ensure that whilst on elective, they familiarise themselves with the address, location and telephone number of the British Embassy/Consulate. They need to plan in advance their accommodation, modes of travel, etc. so as to reduce the risk of mugging, murder, rape, etc. A useful site for this type of information is https://www.tripprep.com. Students also need to be very aware of the health hazards of particular countries, which might have a high prevalence of TB, HIV, Malaria, etc. See the Occupational Health page.

Financing the elective
Students need to be aware that electives are expensive. They should make appropriate financial plans for their elective such that they do not find themselves in financial difficulties at a later point in the course. See the Grants and Awards pages.

VERY IMPORTANT: health clearance - College policy
If you are going to a tropical country for your elective you must comply with College policy by completing health clearance with the College occupational health service

Travel to infection-risk areas
If students wish to travel to countries where the risk of HIV and other bloodborne viruses are prevalent they are strongly advised to take precautions and equipment to minimise risks of exposure. The College OH service has produced a questionnaire to collect information on local risks and safety arrangements which you should ask your elective host to complete and return to you when arranging your elective. The form is available on the OH website: travel questionnaire. Extra caution is required when travelling to some Asian, Arabian countries (particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand), where laws are extremely harsh and where officials are particularly suspicious. When controlled drugs are taken to such countries, it is advisable to take a letter from the School authorising and explaining the drugs. It is recommended by the School of Medicine that anyone going on elective to sub-Saharan Africa, India, South-east Asia or central and south America takes an HIV kit in addition to a medical pack. Read attached information from Occupational Health, Imperial College Health Centre. Students are also strongly advised NOT to undertake surgery or obstetrics & gynaecology in very high-risk areas and on patients known to be high risk. Check the Occupational Health page for latest details and costs, and for details about vaccinations. Note that for all travel to or via the Tropics, permission to travel will ONLY be granted following attendance at College Occupational Health Department and without it, any travel will likely not be covered by College insurance.

Projects during the elective
Many students enrich their elective experience through a research project. Students should consider a number of issues in planning projects which involve activities outside normal clinical activity - further details

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What can curtail or prevent the elective {Year 5 students}
Local, political and other circumstances might change during the period of an elective, requiring students to leave their elective placement earlier than intended in order to return to the UK. In such an emergency situation, the College reserves the right to require students to leave the country immediately from their elective. Please note that costs incurred in such unplanned travel are currently covered by the College's travel insurance cover. However, students should allocate reserve funds in their budget to cover any such immediate costs and to claim back later from insurers.

Understand your limitations: Students should remember that they are not qualified doctors. They should consider the ethical implications of finding themselves delivering care and performing procedures. Students should work under appropriate supervision. Students taking electives outside the UK should make appropriate arrangements as required by difficult countries to protect themselves against medico legal liability.

Approval of the plan: All students should discuss their elective plans with their personal tutor and for this to be ratified by the Elective Director or Deputies on the RISK ASSESSMENT/APPROVAL form. Final approval will NOT be granted until all documentation has been returned to the FEO in plenty of time.

What is expected of you: All students are ambassadors of Imperial College London and must plan their programmes of work with the hosting institutions, corresponding with them in a professional manner and keeping copies of all emails, letters, faxes, etc. as would be required and expected.

Host institution's cancellation policy: Students, when accepted for an elective placement, must make sure that they adhere to the host institutions cancellation policy, which would be necessary if applying to more than one institution for the same period of time eg for either a split elective or an elective that covers the whole of the elective period.  Students would be displaying a lack of concern for the repercussions of lack of professional skills, if elective placements are not cancelled in time, especially as there is a lot of preparation involved in organising and accommodating prospective elective placements – getting schedules prepared well in advance to insure patient coverage etc.  Also this could seriously affect future students being accepted for future elective placements.

Applying to Harvard and the Ivy League institutions, USA: Harvard usually notifies successful applicants for their elective placements only 3 weeks before the actual start date, the rest of the Ivy League usually two months before the start date. Do bear this in mind when applying for a back-up placement that you do not offend 2nd choice placements by not cancelling in time.  It is obvious that if you accept a placement eg Yale/Mayo/NYU Ivy Leagues you would not be able to accept a successful Harvard placement as three weeks' notice (when Harvard notifies future elective students as stated) is not enough notice for the other Ivy League institutions!

Changing your plan: If at any time you need to change your plans, you must inform your hosts and Wendy Pearson in good time.

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Last updated: July 5, 2013 9:36 AM