Inviting an External Student to an Observership (Visiting Research Student)

Observers are classed as learners and therefore their information must be captured by Western University. To invite a student to complete an observership via the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, they must be registered as a self-funded visiting research student (VRO) at Western University. This provides them with the support of Western International and the Schulich Internationalization Office.

*Due to processing timelines, it is recommended to submit applications at least six months prior to arrival, please email if the timing is shorter*

Observers have zero patient contact and no clinical activity, including but not limited to:

  • taking a medical history,
  • conducting physical examinations,
  • diagnosing or treating patient’s condition,
  • ordering, preparing or administering drugs,
  • documenting on patients’ health records, either in electronic or hard copy format,
  • having independent access to health records, either in electronic or hard copy format,
  • performing or assisting in surgical procedures, or diagnostic patient interventions,
  • obtaining consent,
  • interacting directly with patient/SDM,
  • providing health care advice.

Outline of Steps for Inviting a Self-Funded Visiting Research Student for an Observership

  1. Contact the department Program Administrator directly where you wish the student to have observer status to confirm that there is an opportunity to observe and a Credentialed Professional Staff member (Physician, Dentist, Midwife) willing to be the sponsor. When an opportunity is determined, the department will provide the Observership Application Package which will need to be completed in full and submitted back to the department for final signatures.
  2. Collect the documents (see step 1 in this link) required from the student
  3. Prepare the invitation letter, the VGS Supervisor Information and Declaration Form (if applicable)
  4. The Department Chair will sign the VUGS/VGR Plan Form (this should be the supervisor of the clinical department that your VRO student will be placed in during their observership), and the Invitation letter
  5. Forward all Documents to the Schulich Internationalization Office (, who will then send to Western International (
  6. Western International will confirm your documentation and advise if revisions are necessary
  7. Send completed Observership forms, along with a copy of the observers CV and proof of COVID vaccination, to Medical Affairs office ( Ensure the forms are completed in full with all required signatures on Appendix A.
  8. Provide documents all documents and instructions to VRO Student
    a. Medical Affairs will reach out directly to the student with further information
  9. VRO student can apply for Visitor Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
For further details and document downloads:

Self-Funded Visiting Research Student Invitation Information (via Western International)
Observership Information (via London Health Sciences Centre)
Observership Invitation Information (via Schulich Internationalization Office)

Questions? Reach out to