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Choosing your medical elective

Introduction to your medical elective

Follow our Medical elective blog on BMA communities#medelective bloggers

Fourth year medical student Lydia Akinola is blogging from St Vincent and the Grenadine, read more about her experience of island living.

Liverpool medical student Samantha Dolan has just arrived in Kathmandu. Read her first impressions of Nepal, a country recently devastated by earthquakes.

Are you away on your medical elective? Tweet us your pics and thoughts to @BMAstudents with #medelective.

Medical electives were instituted as part of the medical curriculum in the 1970s, and for many students, are one of the highlights of undergraduate medical training.

Medical electives provide a fantastic opportunity for you to broaden your medical education.

Electives can be undertaken in the UK. They can also provide the opportunity to travel overseas, experience a different culture and health system, and encounter a range of medical conditions seldom seen in the UK. Most students complete their elective during their final or penultimate year at medical school.

Medical electives provide a fantastic opportunity for you to broaden your medical education by spending part of your course (about eight weeks) working abroad or in this country. It is very much up to you where you go and what you do. However, in many medical schools the Dean's approval will be necessary, so check this at an early stage.

It is important that you start thinking about your elective well in advance. Unfortunately, many students make the mistake of underestimating the amount of effort required in organising a successful elective.

Remember: funding awards will go to those with the best, most detailed plans.

This guide aims to assist medical student members to organise their elective, by collating the available information and including a rough timeline for students to use when planning their elective.

The ultimate responsibility is yours, and your elective will only be as good as you make it.

There is a lot to organise and numerous forms to complete when getting everything ready for your medical electice, but you will be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.


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Watch our short video highlighting the questions you need to consider first.

This page is available exclusively to BMA members.

BMA members