Visiting Student Electives


Statement 3.2.3 - Visiting Student Electives (VSE) for Medical Students enrolled in an LCME Accredited Canadian School; Undergraduate Medical Education


Date of Original Approval: April 2014

Date of Last Review: N/A

Date of Next Scheduled Review: October 2014

Please note that effective immediately all applications will be completed online. Before applying, you should read the information included below.

Guidelines for Eligibility

  • Students must be enrolled in the final two years of a Doctor of Medicine program at an LCME accredited Canadian Medical School.
  • Students must have completed Core Rotations before participating in an elective at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
  • Under no circumstances will a student be able to complete a Core Rotation as a visiting student.
  • Students must have completed Core Rotations before participating in an elective at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.  For example, to complete an Anaesthesia elective, students must have completed core surgery.
    1. Students who have completed core rotations at their Home Schools will be given priority over students who have not completed their core training at their home school in a specific sub-specialty.  Generally, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry UME program does not offer pre-clinical visiting student elective opportunities.
    2. In the event that a Home School does not offer a core rotation in a specific sub-specialty, consideration will be given to providing the elective, dependent on capacity.
  • For students enrolled in non-Ontario medical schools, electives are available for up to a total of 12 weeks. No exceptions will be made.
  • Proof of Canadian medical/professional liability or malpractice insurance must be provided by every student.
  • Electives offer no remuneration, nor is financial aid available from this faculty.
  • It is the responsibility of every student to ensure that they are covered by compulsory Health insurance.
  • Electives are non-refundable.
  • Placements are to be made through the Visiting Electives Office.  Students are not permitted to make prior arrangements with any department or physician at any of the hospitals or clinics.
  • Elective applicants are not permitted to contact clinical departments or hospital coordinators directly.   Without exception: preceptors are not permitted to arrange electives independent of the VSE Office.
    • It is a requirement of health care in the Province of Ontario that electives be centrally coordinated by the Visiting Student Electives Office. 
    • Electives coordinated outside of the Visiting Student Electives Office will not be recognized or assessed, and are therefore considered Observerships. 
    • Students will not be covered by professional liability insurance nor will they receive academic credit for the the time spent on the Observership.
    • Without exception: Preceptors who arrange a learning experience independently of the VSE Office will be fully responsible for all actions of the student.  Because professional liability insurance is not provided, the Preceptors insurance will be liable for issues related to the student in the event of malpractice.  Further:
      • An Elective Assessment Form will not be provided to the student or the preceptor.
      • The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will not recognize the learning experience as an elective.
      • The Home School will be notified that the learning experience was not established using required criteria.
      • Because an Observership is non-credit, the student will not receive academic credit for the time spent on the elective.  The Preceptor shall be responsible for any financial loss claimed by the student as a result of the non-recognition of the learning experience as an elective.
      • Should a Preceptor allow a student to be involved in the direct care of a patient, they will be in violation of the Observership policy of the hospital to which they are appointed.
  • Electives are offered based on an annual review of the capacity of all departments.  Once departmental capacity is achieved, no further applications in that specialty will offered.  Applications received after capacity will be declined without processing.

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Application  Information & Process

  • A completed application form, plus the elective fee must be received within the qualifying application period:
    • Concurrent VSE Program: September 1 to December 31
      • Application Review Period Open: January 1
      • Application Review Period Closes: March 31
        • Applications received after March 31 will be destroyed and no refund will be provided.
        • This semester runs concurrenty with Clinical Science Electives, a mandatory 4th year course for all Schulich students.  Application processing will be completed after the add/drop period for all Schulich students.
    • Winter VSE Program: January 1 to April 30
      • Application Review Period Open: April 1
      • Application Review Period Closes: August 31
        • Applications received after August 31 will be destroyed and no refund will be provided.
    • Summer VSE Program: May 1 to August 31
      • Application Review Period Open: September 1
      • Application Review Period Closes: December 20
        • Applications received after December 20 will be destroyed and no refund will be provided.
  • All application information will be reviewed and approved by the Home University before an an elective can be processed.
    • Should the Home School indicate that the Core Rotation has in fact not been completed by the time of the start of the elective, the application will be rejected without refund and a letter of unprofessional behavior will be sent to the Chief Academic Officer of the UME program of the Home School.
    • Should any other information in the application be deemed to have been falsified, the application will be rejected without refund.
  • Receipt of elective applications is automatically acknowledged at the time of application.
  • Availability of elective positions is based on program capacity. The VSE website will update capacity information on a regular basis.
  • Applications will be processed within 8 weeks of the requested start date.
  • Students may desire to work with a specific preceptor.  In some circumstances, the department will make an effort to match students with preceptors.
  • If a program does not have capacity, applications for the program will not be processed. The VSE website will identify programs that have reached capacity.  If a student applies for an elective that is identified as at capacity, the elective fee will not be refunded.
  • Students may not switch their elective choice after an application has been completed.  Students may cancel an elective and re-apply should their interests change.  Any cancellation must be received within 6 weeks of the elective start date.
  • Immunization form must be completed once an elective has been approved and confirmed by the VSE office unless already verified by the Home School.
  • Students from Canadian Universities are required to pay a fee of $100.00 per elective, payable online.
  • Receipt of application and fee does not guarantee confirmation of placement.

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Vulnerable Sector Screening

  • Students will be required to provide proof of a Police Records Check upon confirmation of the elective, unless verified by their home school.
  • Failure to provide an adequate police record check may result in the termination of your elective.

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Electives Offered After Completion of Core Rotations


Subject to capacity, Clinical Electives are offered to students who have completed their core rotations in the following specialties and sub-specialties:

  • Anaesthesia*
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinical Neurological Sciences*
  • Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear Medicine*
  • Family Medicine*
  • Medicine
    • Cardiology*
    • Clinical Immunology & Allergy*
    • Clinical Pharmacology
    • Critical Care
    • Dermatology (Windsor only)
    • Emergency Medicine* (two weeks only)
    • Endocrinology & Metabolism*
    • Gastroenterology*
    • General Internal Medicine*
    • Geriatrics
    • Haematology & Oncology*
    • Nephrology*
    • Respiratory Medicine*
    • Rheumatology* (four weeks only)
  • Microbiology & Immunology*
  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology*
  • Oncology (two weeks only)
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Otolaryngology (two weeks only)*
  • Paediatrics
    • Cardiology
    • Critical Care
    • Developmental
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Endocrinology
    • Gastroenterology
    • General Paediatrics*
    • Genetics
    • Haematology & Oncology
    • Neonatology
    • Nephrology
    • Neurology
    • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry
    • Addictions
    • Child & Adolescent
    • Consultation-Liaison
    • Forensics
    • General Adult*
    • Geriatric
    • Mood & Anxiety Disorders
    • Psychosis
  • Surgery
    • Cardiac
    • General Surgery*
    • Orthopaedics*
    • Plastic & Reconstructive
    • Thoracic
    • Urology
    • Vascular*

* Available at both London & Windsor program sites. Distributed Medical Education electives are also available in a number of general specialties Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine based on preceptor availability.

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Assessment of Clinical Electives at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

  • The supervising physician or resident is responsible for evaluating students while on an elective.
  • It is the responsibility of every visiting student to ensure that their assessment form has been completed and returned to their home school.

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Cancellation of a Clinical Elective

  • Six weeks notice must be given if a student wishes to cancel an elective. 
  • If a cancellation notice is received in less than six weeks before the start of the elective, a letter noting lack of professional behaviour will be sent to the student's home university.

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Travel and Accommodation

  • Students are advised not to make any travel arrangements until an elective has been confirmed by the VSE Office.
  • Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodation, although a listing of accommodation will be provided.
    • The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry provides an accommodation lits as a service to visiting students, but does not inspect, approve or endorse any location on the list.

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Health Requirements for Students in Clinical Placements

  • All visiting elective students should be prepared to provide proof of any or all requirements at any given time during the clinical placement at Western. View the current Immunization Policy.

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Policy on Infectious Diseases

  • When dealing with patients with infectious diseases, students are expected to provide care in keeping with the learning objectives for the program and the needs of the patient. It is the obligation of trainees to familiarize themselves with hospital precaution policies and to follow these precautions.
  • Both LHSC and SJHC have policies in place regarding influenza, requiring that students working in hospitals MUST show proof of receiving the flu shot at least 14 days prior to the start of an elective. Should a student not be able to provide such proof on the first day of the start of the elective, then the student will be required to wear an N95 mask for the duration of the elective. Proof of Influenza vaccinations are required from all VSE students from November to March (inclusive), each year.
  • The Undergraduate Medical Education Program expects all students to govern themselves according to the long-standing tradition that the physician has an obligation to treat all patients regardless of affliction and without prejudice.
  • Students must ensure that their N95 Mask Fitting is up to date and that this information is on file with their Home School prior to departure for the visiting elective.

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Pre-Entry Requirements in Clinical Experience Areas

  • All teaching hospitals are required, under the Public Hospitals Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to ensure that students receiving clinical experience in the hospital, and the faculty involved, comply with the Act and its regulations.
  • Any problem related to the failure of a student to comply could lead to the student being removed from the clinical experience and liability being placed on the university for the resulting damages to either the patients or staff. 

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In-Placement Notification to Occupational Health Services

  • Students who have any of the following that may affect their duties while at the hospital are to contact Occupational Health Services at the hospital prior to their placement:
    • A major medical condition.
    • An infectious condition.
    • A significant allergic reaction including a latex sensitivity.

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Termination of an Elective by the UME Program

  • Under certain circumstances, a Visiting Student Elective may be terminated:
    • Students who demonstrate a weakness in professional behaviour or patient safety will be reported by their Preceptor to the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education (UME), and the Manager, UME Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.  Upon meeting with the Associate Dean, the elective may be terminated and a letter outlining the professional misconduct may be sent to the student's home school.  No refund will be offered.
    • Students who demonstrate a weakness in Medical Expert will have their deficiencies documented in consultation with their Preceptor via a mid-elective formative assessment.  At such time, the student will be notified that their elective experience will be remediated. Should the student continue to demonstrate a weakness in Medical Expert, the elective may be terminated at the discretion of the Preceptor in consultation with the Associate Dean, UME. 
    • In both cases, the decision will be communicated and documented in writing, and provided to the student's home school with a grade of 'fail' on the elective assessment.

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For more information, please contact:

e-mail: electives@schulich.uwo.ca