The MD Observership takes place at the end of year 1. It allows students to gain exposure to the practice of medicine in a clinical healthcare, research or community setting prior to the Clinical Rotations phase of the program in years 3 and 4.

The observership offers students the opportunity to further their personal and professional development, gain insight into health service provision, participate in research activities, access leading researchers and/or medical specialists from both health and community agencies, and develop lasting friendships, mentorships and networks.

Students are responsible for finding their own placement and have the option to undertake this placement within Australia or overseas. As a global medical school, students are strongly encouraged to pursue overseas placement opportunities. Students may also consider interstate placements.

There are limited clinical placement opportunities at UQ's Queensland Clinical Schools. 

Key dates

Students are required to enrol over the summer semester in either MEDI7151 for Domestic and Onshore International students and MEDI7152 for students from the Ochsner cohort.  Domestic and Onshore International Students are required to complete 20 days (5 days per week, min. 20 hrs. per week)  and Ochsner students must complete 40 days (5 days per week, min. 20 hrs. per week)  to satisfy the Observership requirements.




17 April 2017

Applications for TROPIQ program close


15 May 2017

Paediatrics and Children’s Health (formally known as LCCH placements) applications


01 June 2017

Expression of Interest for Study Tours

Close 18th June 2017

30 June 2017

Application processes open for finding your own placement

Close October 2017

03 July 2017

Applications open for placements within the Rural Clinical Schools

Close 31 July 2017

September 2017

Preferencing Si-net Applications open via Blackboard


20 November 2017

Observerships commence


Prior to commencement of year 2

Observerships complete



1. The Year 1 Elective (Observership) is a compulsory requirement of the MD program. Failure to complete the elective placement will prevent successful graduation from the MD Program. For further information please see the MD Program Rules.

2. Students are responsible for arranging their elective placement and make all necessary arrangements (e.g. travel, accommodation). Students will have the opportunity to nominate their preferences for limited places at UQ Clinical Schools, with priority allocation given to Oschner cohort students. The Faculty of Medicine does not guarantee allocation to a placement within UQ Clinical Schools.

3. Students must complete the Observership placement by the start of Year 2 classes in the following year. Students are not permitted to start the placement prior to the cessation of the Semester 2 examination period.

4. The Observership placement must be related to medicine.

5. Students must be supervised by a qualified clinician, scientist, or allied health professional who has agreed to act as a preceptor, and all placements must be approved by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland.

6. Domestic and onshore international students may complete the Observership placement anywhere within Australia or overseas. The placement must be a minimum duration of 4 weeks (20 days).

7. Ochsner cohort students must complete an 8 week (40 day) clinical placement in Australia to meet accreditation requirements of the Australian Medical Council, and this may include a Clinical Research placement, for a maximum of 4 weeks (20 days).

8. Any student wishing to undertake an elective outside UQ Clinical Schools may split their placement into 2 blocks (Domestic and Onshore 2 x 2 week, Ochsner 2 x 4 week). Split placements do not need to be in consecutive weeks.

9. It is a requirement for students to complete 5 days per week (min 20hrs per week). This cannot be shortened by completing additional hours per day.

10. Students wishing to undertake a placement at a 'non-UQ location' (i.e. UQ Clinical School or UQ Research institute/centre) will not be approved without a  Student Placement Agreement (including Terms and Conditions).

11. Institutions where an Overarching Student Placement Agreement has already been implemented, do not require a One-Off Student Placement Agreement. These institutions include Faculty International Partners, UQ Research institutes/centres, and some GP locations.

12. If your placement is in an area or country listed by the Australian Government with a travel advisory of Level 3, "Reconsider your need to travel", or Level 4, "Do not travel", it is considered 'Restricted' and will require additional approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor International (DVCI) or delegate. If you are successful in gaining this approval, please attach written confirmation of this to your Observership application. Please note, the Faculty of Medicine reserves the right to revoke approval of any Year 1 Observership application should the risk level and travel advisory change for the location.

13. If your placement is outside of Australia you are also required to complete and attach the International Student Placement Form.

14. All students travelling outside of Brisbane will be required to complete the Insurance request form so that there is insurance coverage issued by UQ.  Students who are travelling internationally will receive a personal insurance reference number prior to departure that should be kept with important documents such as passport and visa/s if required.

15. Students are required to submit the Student Feedback Form in week 3 (domestic and onshore international students) or week 7 (Ochsner students).  This is compulsory assessment.

16. Preceptors will submit through an online link supplied through the faculty.  If your host site does not have access to the internet a PDF version can be provided by contacting the Clinical Placements team.

17. Other assessment requirements are included in the Electronic Course Profile. All assessment must be completed in order for you to pass this observership.

MEDI7151 course

MEDI7152 course

In addition to these guidelines, students must follow the relevant  application processes for the Observership options (see Locations section).

Information for Preceptors

Students are responsible for providing the below guide to their preceptor/s.  This will ensure the preceptor has an understanding of the objectives of the Year 1 Observership and expected experience level of the student.

Year 1 2016 Observership Preceptor Guide

2017 TBA


Students are required to enrol over the summer semester in MEDI7151 for Domestic and Onshore International students and MEDI7152 for students from the Ochsner cohort. 

Students are responsible for finding their own placement and have the option to undertake this placement within Australia or overseas. As a global medical school, students are strongly encouraged to pursue overseas placement opportunities. Students may also consider interstate placements.

Paediatrics and Children’s Health (formally known as LCCH placements) 2017

Paediatric Observership placements will be offered to Year 1 MD students for the Summer Semester course requirements in 2017. These places are limited and applications will open on Monday 15th May 2017 at 0900.  

Application requirements: 

  • Placements will ONLY be available for the 4 week block 20th November until the 15th December 2017 
  • CV required (maximum 1 page)
  • Covering letter (maximum of 3 paragraphs)
  • Copy of valid Blue Card
  • Preference of specialty required (selected at time of application)

Please also note:

  • No first years will be placed in Emergency (ED) or Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Clinical placements will ONLY be offered, no Research placements
  • Students are not to contact clinicians directly at LCCH or affiliated UQ Clinical Units
  • Please note that many clinicians are associated with multiple hospitals in Brisbane, if your chosen supervisor is associated with a UQ Clinical site this will also need to be approved by the relevant Clinical Unit. 

To apply please click here.

Year 1 MD Observership China Study Tour Expression of Interest

The Study Tour is a four (4) week medical observership in China.  Students will spend two (2) weeks at Secondary Military Medical University (SMMU) and two (2) weeks at Capital Medical University (CMU), experiencing a range of medical disciplines in hospitals and clinics.  It is designed to provide students with the opportunity to experience medicine in a new environment and to enhance their knowledge.

  • 10 placements are available to Domestic students
  • At this time ONLY expressions of interest will be accepted.
  • Students are required to submit a one (1) page Letter of Motivation for the purpose of their application. 
  • Students are required to submit a CV 
  • Students are required to be in Good Standing with the University of Queensland
  • Specific dates of placement are still to be confirmed.   
  • Expression of Interest opens on Thursday 1st June 2017 at 0900 and will close on the Sunday 18th June 2017 at 2359.
  • Further information will be communicated to eligible students by Friday 23rd June 2017

Important Information:

  • DO NOT book accommodation and travel until directed by the University Faculty of Medicine Clinical Placements team.  Students will be eligible for a bursary towards travel and accommodation costs, however it is necessary to follow a specific process (to be communicated).
  • Students will be required to complete a short course through the Institute of Modern Languages, through the University of Queensland, in Mandarin.  The cost of this course will be subsidised by the University. 
  • Students will have the support of the Host University whilst on placement in the clinical setting. 
  • It is the responsibility of the student, upon successful application, to organise necessary Visa requirements through the Department of Immigration.
  • Travel insurance is to be applied for through the University and an individual reference number is supplied for International travel.
  • Emergency contact information is required at time of expression of interest. 
  • Students will be notified of un/successful placement and provided a letter of support or offer by the University. 
  • Until a student is notified of successful placement at SMMU/CMU China study tour, NO further arrangements will be made

For further information please do not hesitate to contact the Clinical Placements Team electives@som.uq.edu.au  

To complete the Expression of Interest form, please click here.

Universite de Lille applications

Lille University have agreed to accept six (6) students for the 2017 Observership. These placements will be open to the International and Domestic cohort.   Students will be offered a 4 week placement to experience medicine in the French environment and to enhance their knowledge.

Applications open Saturday 01st July 2017 at 0900

Applications close Sunday 13th August 2017 at 2359

Before completing the application please refer to the ‘Move On’ Procedure for Inbound students.

Application requirements:

  • CV
  • Cover Letter
  • French language proficiency in TCF/DELF/DALF Minimum B1

Apply here

If your question is application specific please contact, Florene Cotte Florene.cotte@univ-lille2.fr

Please contact electives@som.uq.edu.au if you have any further questions regarding your Observership requirements. 

UQ Rural Clinical School

Applications for Y1 Observership placements at UQRCS sites open 03 July 2017 for a four week period, closing 31 July 2017. Placements will be confirmed mid-August   

Placement information:

This initiative is supported under the RHMT Program. Priority is afforded to CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place) students with a rural background and an interest in rural health.

Apply Here

Non- UQ placements

Applications will open in June 2017 for students sourcing Non-UQ Observership placements.  The Student Placement Agreement (SPA) is currently being updated and will be provided to students as soon as possible.  Once this is completed a copy of the 2017 will be available on the website.   

UQ Clinical Sites

Note: Preferencing for places at UQ Clinical Schools will occur separately. There are extremely limited numbers at these sites. Students should not rely on being allocated a place at one of the UQ Clinical Schools. Preferencing for the UQ clinical sites will open in September 2017 and be available through mySi-net.   

Students are not to contact clinicians affiliated with UQ Clinical sites, attempting to do this will result in a possible refusal of placement. 

Exact dates and instructions will be available to students as soon as possible.


Your placement provider may require you to submit certain documents when you apply for an elective placement.  

Confirmation of Enrolment - contact the Student Centre.
Please allow for at least three full working days.

Copy of recent academic transcript - order transcript via online application system.
Please allow minimum 3 full working days. Fast turnaround facility also available.

Letter of Good Standing - submit request to UQ Medicine by emailing electives@som.uq.edu.au. Please allow at least 10 working days for this letter to be completed. This Letter will be issued only to students who are currently in good standing with the University, and who have achieved an average GPA of 4.5 and above and have a clear conduct report. Students must wait for the release of official results before obtaining this letter.  

Letter of Recommendation - unavailable through UQ Medicine.  
A Letter of Good Standing may be acceptable to your placement provider instead.


Preceptors will be provided a link to complete an online Student Evaluation. It is important that for all Non-UQ placements, at time of application, you provide the contact details (including name, email and phone number) as the Clinical Placements team will forward on the relevant links. 

Assessment required prior to the commencement of your Observership:

  • Aus Health 101 EDUx online course

In addition to:

  • Reflection - Student feedback form (completed 1 week prior to completion of placement)

UQ-Ochsner Students

During pre-clinical years (Phase 1 - Year 1 and Year 2) UQ-Ochsner MD students undertake 8 weeks (40 days) of experience (20 hours per week) within the Australian Healthcare environment. This program requirement is completed as an Observership placement between November Year 1 and the commencement of classes in Year 2, after the completion of course work in Year 1.

Due to the accreditation requirements of the Australian Medical Council, Ochsner cohort students must complete clinical Observerships in Australia. These may include a clinical research observership for a maximum of 4 weeks (20 days). Students may split their elective into 2 x 4 week blocks, or a 6 and 2 week block.

Unfortunately UQ-Ochsner and non-Ochsner students are unable to undertake a Year 1 Observership at the Ochsner Clinical School. 


Year 1 students have a range of locations and experiences from which they can select their first observership.

Students should be aware that the application and approval process differs depending on whether you opt for a clinical or non-clinical experience; or whether the observership is at a UQ or other location. 

Please note, students are not permitted to contact a Preceptor associated with an UQ Clinical Schools site directly. 

UQ Clinical School Sites Include:

  • Greenslopes Private
  • Caboolture Hospital
  • Ipswich Hospital
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • Mater Hospital
  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee
  • Prince Charles Hospital
  • Redlands Hospital
  • Redcliffe Hospital
  • Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital
  • Sunshine Coast Hospital
  • Uniting Care Wesley
  • Rural Clinical Schools: Located in Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Hervey Bay and Rockhampton.

Category of Location

Location Description

Placement Type

Student Cohort

Application Process

Application Submission Dates

Non-UQ Locations

Overseas, Interstate and non-UQ options in Queensland. Eg. community and private clinicians. Refer to the list of pre-approved overseas destinations.

Clinical or community placement

Domestic and Onshore International Students. Ochsner students must undertake clinical placement in Australia

Students source their own placement. Once confirmed with the placement provider, submit an online application to UQ Medicine.

TBC for 2017

UQ Rural Clinical Schools*(RCS)

RCS Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Rockhampton hospitals.

Clinical Placement

Domestic students only

Competitive application process. Students submit a written application direct to the RCS.

TBC for 2017

James Cook University Rural Electives in North Queensland*

Cairns, Mackay and Townsville hospitals

Clinical Placement

Domestic and onshore international students only

Submit expression of interest to UQ Electives Office

TBC for 2017

Overseas study tours*


Clinical and/or community placement

Domestic and onshore international students only

Competitive application process. Students submit a written application direct to UQ Medicine International Office

TBC for 2017

Research-based electives

UQ and non-UQ research labs, centres and institutes

Research placement

All cohorts

Students must source their own placement. Once confirmed, submit an online application. 

TBC for 2017

UQ Clinical Schools * (excluding the Rural Clinical School)

Greenslopes Clinical School

Ipswich Clinical School

Mater Clinical School

Northside Clinical School

Royal Brisbane Clinical School

Southside Clinical School

Uniting Care Health Clinical School

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital

Clinical placement

All cohorts

Student preferencing and allocation system.

Only students who have been unable to secure a placement elsewhere will be considered through this process.  


Please note: Currently Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital conduct a separate application process for placements at that site.

TBC for 2017

TREES Program
Rural Locations

Beaudesert Hospital
Beaudesert Family Practice
Blackbutt Medical Centre
Bundaberg Indigenous Wellbeing Centre
Dalby Hospital
Dysart Medical Centre
Emerald Hospital
Gladstone GP Superclinic
Goondiwindi Hospital
Kilcoy Medical Practice
Kingaroy Haly Health & Skin Medical Centre
Kingaroy General Hospital
Miles Medical Centre
St George Medical Centre
Tamborine Mountain Medical Practice
Texas Practice
Wondai Medical Centre
Yeppoon Hospital

Hospital or General Practice

Domestic and onshore International students

Competitive application process. Students submit a written application direct to the TREES Program http://trohpiq.org/ 

TBC for 2017


* Note: Limited places are available in these locations.


Where do I start? 

Below are email templates for Domestic, International and Ochsner students.  This guide has been designed to assist communication with potential preceptors. 

Template for Domestic/International students 

Template for Ochnser students

Is it possible to split the observership?  

Students are able to split the Observership into 2 blocks. Domestic and International are eligible to complete 2 x 2 week blocks (20 days total), and Ochsner students can split placements into either 2 x 4 week blocks or a 2 & 6 week block (40 days total). Each placement will require its own Student Placement Agreement and preceptor feedback form.

What happens if I miss a day? 

Attendance is 100% mandatory for completion.  Days will need to be completed at a later time or as it has been discussed with preceptor/student administration. 

Who can I contact and who is a ‘Qualified Preceptor’? 

The preferred method for arranging the observership is that you contact a medical practitioner, practice or site either within Queensland, Interstate or Internationally to negotiate a placement yourself.  Places cannot be in a UQ teaching facility or QLD Health Site.  The preceptor must be a medical practitioner or Allied Health Professional in a clinical setting. 

I have been able to find a potential Observership with a non UQ preceptor, what is my next course of action? 

Students who have sourced their own placement and have confirmed with the placement provider, can submit an online application to the Clinical Placements team. 

Please refer to the key dates tab, which outlines vital deadlines and application dates.

What are my insurance requirements? 

Your Insurance requirements will depend on the location of the Observership. Please refer to: http://www.fbs.uq.edu.au/insurance.

If you have any specific insurance questions, we recommend your contact UQ Insurance directly on insurance@uq.edu.au.

What is the OS-HELP Loan? 

OS-HELP is a loan scheme for eligible Commonwealth Supported students who want to undertake part of their studies overseas. First year MD students can apply for the OS-HELP Loan to assist with their overseas placements. 

Further information in relation to the OS-HELP Loan including eligibility criteria and applications dates can be found on myUQ

If you have any questions about the OS-HELP Loan or the application process, please contact the Student Employability Centre: employability@uq.edu.au.

What is a Student Placement Agreement (SPA)? 

An SPA is a legal document between the host provider and UQ.  It must be signed by the host and the head of school.  All self-sourced placements will require an SPA.  Without a fully completed and signed SPA your placement will not be approved. 


Ochsner students:

The Ochsner cohort must complete an 8-week (40 day, minimum of 20 hours per week) clinical placement in Australia to meet the accreditation requirements of the Australian Medical Council, and this may include a Clinical Research placement.

Can I complete research as part of my Observership?

Ochsner students can complete a maximum of 4 weeks (20 days) in a research placement for the purposes of this Observership. 

Where am I limited to travel?

Ochsner students are limited to travel, nationally.  They are eligible to visit JCU, rural and interstate options.