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Internationalisation and Electives Program (SMILE)

Internationalisation of Medicine forms a critical component of the 2016-20 University of Tasmania Internationalisation Strategy (PDF 784.1 KB) and is important in both the local and the global contexts within which the University operates. This is in response to globalisation and the need for all Univeristy students to be responsive to, and form and integral part of, the global community.

The mission statement of Medicine is consistent with internationalisation:

"to produce graduates who will provide a significant contribution and positive impact on communities in Tasmania, mainland Australia and internationally ... committed to fostering collaboration on a domestic and global scale"

The School of Medicine Internationalisation and Elective (SMILE) Program was established in 2011. This program, for medical and paramedical students, integrates and expands the electives program with various activities associated with internationalisation. Through 'at home' and abroad experiences, students and staff are encouraged to develop a sense of global citizenship. The priority graduate attributes of the SMILE Program are: inter-cultural competence, social accountability and having a global perspective. Refer to the SMILE curriculum maps (PDF 515.8 KB) for more information.

School of Medicine Internationalisation and Electives (SMILE) Program

Visiting Students Program


As you may be aware, the Australian Government has implemented a series of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and at present, the situation remains very fluid.


After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to suspend international applications until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and will post any updates on this website as soon as is practicable.


Please note that we will only be considering applications from local students until 31st July 2021 for the November 2021-January 2022 period ONLY.


Tasmania is the southern most state of Australia. It has a population of just over 500,000 and a temperate climate. Tasmania has 3 main regions, South, North and North West and each region has a major hospital where electives may be undertaken.

Placements are only available from the first week of November to the last week of January. They are offered in most departments of the hospitals, subject to availability, for a minimum of 4 weeks to a maximum of 12 weeks. A 12-week elective can consist of 4 week rotations over three departments in the hospital.

The definition of the Elective placements that we offer is as follows:

  • Consolidation of skills
  • Understanding our health system
  • Intercultural competence
  • Early specialisation in an area of choice
  • Not part of their core curriculum
  • Emphasis on enjoyment

To be eligible students must be in their penultimate or final year at the time of the elective. Students are encouraged to take part in any teaching components, in addition to full clinical participation on the ward to which they are attached. In accepting an elective in Tasmania, students will be required to be familiar with, and abide at all times with the University's Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct.

UTAS Visiting Students on Facebook

Application Process

All applications are processed through the University. Any enquires should be directed to Electives Administrator and not to the individual hospital or clinicians.


The elective period is from the first week of November until the last week of January. Dates outside this period will not be considered due to our own domestic students on placement.

Elective students are accorded the same rights and responsibilities as final year students, are subject to the same screening and immunisation standards and required to provide supporting documentation of this.

If you wish to proceed, please submit a completed Application Form (PDF 177.8 KB). If you are offered a placement, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $300 AUD within 8 weeks of receiving your Offer.

If you receive an Offer for placement from us you will be asked to then provide the following:

Completed application forms should be forwarded to:

Electives Administrator
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 34
Hobart TAS 7001

Fax: +61 3 6226 4788

Applications close on the 31st May in the year you wish to undertake an elective.

Ward Dress Code

Consultant hospital doctors vary in their expectation of what students should wear on the wards. We expect students to be well groomed and conservatively dressed while on the hospital wards.

We recommend males to wear shirts with long or short sleeves with a collar, dress trousers and closed-toe shoes. Females can wear trousers or skirts (no minis, exposed midriffs, low-cut tops). Jeans, sandals and sandshoes are unacceptable. Long hair should be tied back and nails kept short (for bedside work or procedures; hair is an OH&S issue in the labs). Theatre Scrubs will be provided to students participating in Surgical electives. You are required to bring your own Stethoscope.


As a medical student coming to Australia on an elective usually you will come on a tourist visa rather than a student visa and hence it is not compulsory to have health insurance.

However we still recommend you take out health insurance which is also called "Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)" , unless you come from Belgium, Sweden or Norway. (as our governments have agreed to provide free health care if you come from these countries).  More details are found here:

The other alternative is to take out your own private travel insurance which includes cover for a variety of medical, dental and health issues such as helping you get over the flu to treatment for injuries resulting from an accident.


Online Payment

Fees for overseas students are $300 per week. Domestic (Australian and New Zealand) students are charged a fee of AU$150 per week. There is no application fee.

If you wish to proceed, please submit a completed Application Form (PDF 386.1 KB). If you are offered a placement, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $300 AUD within 8 weeks of receiving your Offer. The balance of fees is payable 8 weeks prior to your placement.

It is not our policy of offer a refund for elective payments. However, a refund will be considered if a student can provide a very good reason with supporting documents eg. Medical certificate.


Students are responsible for their own accommodation and travel expense.

We have provided a list of some of the Accommodation Options in Hobart.

Email Launceston General Hospital House Services, who can provide low cost accommodation, subject to availability.

List of Clinical Placement Options

(Please note that some clinical placements may not be available at the time of application due to being fully allocated already)

Royal Hobart Hospital
  • Anaesthetics
  • Cardiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • ICU Critical Care
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medical Imaging (Radiology)
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Palliative Care
  • Pathology/Haematology
  • Psychiatry
  • Renal (Nephrology)
  • Respiratory
  • Surgery
Launceston General Hospital
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Women and Children
North West Regional Hospital
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Surgery

Top Sights (via Google)

Fourth Year Elective Program


Children play up to the photographer

The 4th-year Elective Program allows you the opportunity to explore new health care, cultural and training environments or delve deeper into existing medical interests.

It provides a chance to reflect on wider issues such as the ethics, politics and globalisation of health care and the role of doctors in health delivery.

You may discover much about yourself and your hosts during your stay. Most elective experiences yield many gifts including a two way exchange of knowledge and culture.

Often students also make a make a significant contribution to the health care of the community they visit.

Elective Program

The 4th Year Elective Program occurs in the summer break between 4th and 5th year.

You are able to choose, within some limits, the place and supervisor anywhere within the world. You also determine what your focus of learning will be and how to get the best out of your attachment.

Learning objectives can include:

  • further develop knowledge in medicine and/or surgery
  • expand on training experience from a field delivered in Medicine's undergraduate programme
  • obtain experience that may influence subsequent career orientation
  • experience a different type of health care delivery from that practiced in Australia
  • experience a different culture and society and how that impacts on concepts of health and disease
  • obtain a short introduction to research methods

Photo Competition HCS Electives Symposium

A variety of bursaries, scholarships and other sources financial assistance are available for students preparing for electives.

Refer to Prizes, Bursaries and Scholarships for information about internal financial support.

External Bursaries

Organisation Bursary Eligibility
Junior Association for the Study of Medical Education (JASME) GBP 500 Member of JASME (nominal fee)
AMSA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Elective Bursary AUD 1000 Interest in Aboriginal health
IMPACT-MIPS Global Health Elective Bursary Information (DOCX 139.6 KB)
Flyer (PDF 1.1 MB)
AUD 800 Elective in low resource country
Study Overseas Foundation AUD 1000 Type of overseas study activity
ACEN Student Scholarship AUD 1500 Elective in a regional or remote area
Global Society Scholarships AUD 1000 Any OS placement

TUMSS Elective Photo Competition


OS-HELP is a Commonwealth loan that assists students with study overseas. It only applies before you commence your final year. Refer to the OS-HELP Guidelines and Application Form page for more information. The 2016 application form may be found here.

Deciding where to go for your elective can be a daunting task. Let's face it, when you have the whole world to choose from, the choices may seem endless. There will be a few factors which will narrow down your choice:

  • How much money do you have?
  • What is the main purpose of the elective?
  • Do you have any contacts or family that could host you during an elective?
  • Do you want to go alone or in a group?

Preferred destinations for UTAS students

In each clinical school there are locations that have been developed by academic staff specifically for 4th year electives. UTAS students return to these locations each year, so the UTAS name is well known and respected. There may be additional benefits in going to these locations including scholarships, waiving of fees and possibility of undertaking longitudinal community development programs or research.

Rural Clinical School

Contact Dr Nick Cooling

Reykjavik, Iceland
Contact Dr Nick Cooling

Copenhagen, Denmark
Contact Dr Nick Cooling

External databases


  • Beyond Borders: McGraw-Hill's Guide to Health Placements. By Hamish Graham
  • The Medics Guide to Work & Electives around the world Book by Mark Wilson 2005

Private companies dedicated to elective programs

If you want someone else to organise your elective (for a fee), here are some options. The advantage is that they will plug you into an established program, organise accommodation and make all the logistic arrangements. The disadvantage is that you don't have the challenge of developing the elective yourself, which is a useful skill to learn.

Specific elective destinations

Books – mostly available from Clinical Library

  • CDC Health Information for International Travel 2008
    Edited by Paul M Arguin, Phyllis E Kozarsky, Christie Reed Philadelphia PA Elsevier Mosby 2008
  • International Travel and Health: Situation as on 1 January 2008
    By World Health Organisation Geneva: World Health Organisation 2008
  • Beyond Borders: McGraw-Hill's Guide to Health Placements
    By Hamish Graham
  • The Medics Guide to Work & Electives around the world Book
    By Mark Wilson 2005

Planning your elective – Websites




  • MSJA Volume 3 Issue 2: Medical electives in developing countries: making a real difference? by Mitchell Blake, Medical Student, The Australian National University

Taking donated equipment overseas


Pocket Guides


Pre-departure Courses

Medicine offers a pre-departure course for all students going on elective.

An alternative, external preparation course for electives is available from Murdoch University, Western Australia. The unit, SSH208 Global Engagement, is available in semester and full-year mode, both internally and externally. It will be offered in an intensive pre-departure mode, will continue in-country through a reflective blog or wiki, and then conclude with additional intensive sessions post-return. More details are available in the Murdoch University Handbook.

Bringing the Learning Home: A resource for studying abroad (PDF 408 KB) is a recommended online study guide for in-depth preparation for an elective or other study experience abroad.


Health Care

Putting your international (elective) experience to work

This website is designed to help students explore the value of their overseas experience, particularly in the context of career planning and employment. The resource is divided into three topics, which align with the three phases of international study, or any other international professional experience, such as internships

Important Documents

Key Contacts

Lecturer - Medicine / Coordinator - Global Programs
Dr Bailey Dunn
Level 2 MS2
Telephone: +61 3 6226 4768

Electives Administrator
Michelle Woolley
Level 1, MS1

Electives Administrator
Anne Barker
Level 1, MS1

Celebratory luncheon with some of our 2019 Visiting International Electives students:

Back Row (L to R):
Prof Richard Turner (Professor of Surgery), Dr Bailey Dunn (Director of Internationalisation & Global Health), Jonathan Marstrand, Markus Mauldhardt, Chloe Arbet-Engels, Willem Roosens, Michael Zbiegien, Oscar Rommens, Anne Schubert, Dr Nick Cooling (Year 4 Lead).

Front Row (L to R):
Anne Barker (Administrator), Camille Hoffman (Homestay Coordinator (South), Cody Gu, Anna Sielemann, Silva Kassenboehmer, Luise Mostbeck, Sofie Thomassen, Meike Busch, Shelley Woolley (Administrator).