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 placement phase of the program in years 3 and 4.

The Observership offers students the opportunity to further their personal and professional development.  It will allow students to 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.  

MD-Onshore students are required to complete 4 weeks of Observership placement and have the option to undertake this placement within Australia or overseas. MD-Ochsner cohort are required to complete 8 weeks of placement anywhere within Australia.  Students are required to attend their Observership five days per week and for a minimum of four hours each day over the entire period.  Students are unable to shorten the duration by completing additional hours per day.

Students are responsible for finding their own Observership placements.  There will be however, a limited number of Observership placement opportunities at UQ's Clinical Schools that students can preference from, with Ochsner students having priority for these placement offers.  As these placements are limited, students are reminded not to rely on being allocated to one of these offers.

More information be found in the Observership Guidelines, found in the tab below. 

Any student queries should be directed to the Placements team on med.placements@uq.edu.au

Guidelines and Presentation

2019 Observership Guidelines

The 2019 Observership Guidelines are available on the Key Guidelines website, under the 'Year 1 Observership' tab. 


Observership Presentation

The 2019 Observership Presentation was delivered on the 7th of May 2019.  The presentation recording and slides of the speakers can be found on the Year 1 Community Site 2019.


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.

2019 Preceptor Guide

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 (5 days per week, 4 hs per day) 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, 5 days per week, 4 hrs per day). 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. 


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.




29 Apr 2019

Applications for TROPIQ program 

17 June 2019

17 June 2019 - Midday

UQ Clinical Unit and James Cook University (JCU) offer preferencing opens

01 July 2019 - Midday

17 June 2019

Applications for Non UQ (self sourced) placements are open 

Oct 2019

w/c 15 July UQ Clinical Unit allocations released  
May - Aug 2019

Partnership University Opportunities:

  • China: CMU & SMMU
  • France: Lille University
  • Germany: University of Tubingen
  • Austria: University of Graz

CMU/SMMU Closes 28 June 

University of Tubingen closes 15 August

11 Nov 2019

Observerships can commence


29 Jan 2020

Final possible day of Observership



07 January 2020 Due date of Preceptor Assessment forms 

The Preceptor Assessment is to be completed by the preceptor, either via the PDF form or the online survey link.  The student will be emailed the result of the online survey once complete.

The student is responsible for uploading the PDF form or the emailed survery result to the Y1 Community Black Board site.

Finding your Own Placement

Non- UQ placements

Year 1 students have a range of locations and experiences from which they can source for their Observership experience.

Applications can be submitted from June 2019 for students sourcing Non-UQ Observership placements. Students are required to provide a completed and signed copy of the 2019 Observership Student Placement Agreement with application and to submit it to the Placements system. 

Instructions on how to fill out the Student Placement Agreement (SPA) can be found here.

Instructions on how to submit a non-UQ (self-sourced) placement can be found here.

NOTE approvals for self-arranged placements can take up to 2 weeks. Students are advised NOT to make any travel arrangements until full approval has been received.

If you intend to travel to a country that is considered to be of high risk to Australian travellers, then you will need formal approval from the University to go there.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) groups countries by perceived risk, and travel to DFAT category 4 countries (do not travel) will generally not be allowed. Travel to DFAT 3 countries (reconsider your need to travel) will require formal approval, and this can take many weeks to obtain, so please consider this in your planning. Generally, we are more likely to allow travel to DFAT 3 countries where you have family there (and intend to stay with them), you know the language and customs etc.

2019 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2019 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement

Applications open on the 17 June 2019.

Applications should be finalised in October 2019.

Category of Location

Location Description

Placement Type

Student Cohort

Application Process

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 the Placements system.

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 to the Placements system.

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/ 

International Partnership Universities

China: CMU & SMMU

France: Lille University

Germany: University of Tubengin

Austria: University of Graz

Study tours or Hospital Placements

Domestic and onshore International students

Please see Partnership Opportunities tab below.

Once confirmed, submit an online application to the Placements system.

If students are having trouble securing their Observership placement, they can find a list of sites we already have an Overarching Agreement with here, under 'locations'. 

As an agreement with these sites is already in place, no further legal negotiations or Student Placement Agreement (SPA) is necessary, however students must follow the standard application and approval procedure.


Note - Queensland Health facilities

Gold Coast University Hospital do not accept first year students for placements, so please do not contact clinicians regarding your Observership. 

Please note that applications for placements at any QH facility within the Sunshine Coast Hopsital and Health Service must be coordinated through the UQ Placements team. This includes Nambour, Caloundra, Gympie, Maleny, and Sunshine Coast University Hospital.  
Students are not to contact individual clinicians to arrange/request clinical placement.  Please direct all enquiries to the placements team - med.placements@uq.edu.au

Note - UnitingCare Hospitals

Students interested in being placed at the Wesley Hospital, St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital, Buderim Private Hospital and St Stephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay need to contact UnitingCare Clinical School.  You can contact them on medical.school@uchealth.com.au


Partnership Opportunities

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.

Please know that once students have secured a placement with one our partnership universities, they are still required to submit their application through the Placements system.  Information on how to do this can be found in the tab 'Finding your Own Placement' above.


Students will spend four (4) weeks in China, with our affiliated partners at either Capital Medical University (CMU) and/or Second Medical Military University (SMMU). 

Students will experience 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.

Students are required to submit:

  • CV 
  • One (1) page Letter of Motivation for the purpose of their application. 
  • Passport Photo
  • Immunisation record
  • CMU Visiting student Form (attached HERE)
  • Students are required to be in Good Standing with the University of Queensland

Students will be required to fund at their own travel and expenses.

Placement dates are 24th November - 20th December 2019.

Applications can be submitted from May.

Applications close 28 June 2019

Please email applications to med.placements@uq.edu.au


Lille University have agreed to accept a small number of students for the 2019 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.

Application requirements:

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

To Apply: Contact the Placements team for an application form and to register your interest. 


Applications due 15 August

Tübingen University Hospital offers 6 students the opportunity to participate in a 4 week observership elective each year.  More information on their process is provided to students below:

Submit completed applications HERE



Applications now closed for 2019

University of Graz offers year 1 students the opportunity to participate in a 4 week elective.   More information on the program is provided to students below:

To Apply: Contact the Placements team for an application form and to register your interest. 

Important Information:

  • 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.
  • Placement fee of $400 Euro applies

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


TREES – Rural Placments

TROHPIQ has teamed up with UQ Rural Clinical School to provide students with an opportunity to experience regional and rural Queensland, gain fantastic hands-on learning experiences, and meet some awe-inspiring rural practitioners. Students can choose to complete their Observership in a rural location, and receive a scholarship to help support them during their placement. For further details or to apply https://trohpiq.org/trees/

JCU Placements

James Cook University is responsible for a number of hospitals North of Rockhampton.  A list of placements in North Queensland is available below. These opportunities are available for preferencing with the UQ Clinical Unit sites.
Hospital Dates Places offered
Cairns Hospital 11/11/19 - 6/12/19 4
Mackay Base Hospital 25/11/19 - 20/12/19 7
Townsville Hospital 18/11/19 - 13/12/19 2

Preferencing opens 17 June 2019 and closes 1 July 2019 through your Placement system HERE



Your placement provider may require you to submit certain documents when you apply for an elective placement.  You can find information on who to contact and turnaround times below.

Document Contact Timeframe
(Working days)
Confirmation of Enrolment  Student Centre Approx. 3 days
Academic Transcript Online application system Approx. 3 days
Letter of Good Standing* med.placements@uq.edu.au Approx. 7 days
Letter of Endorsement** med.placements@uq.edu.au Approx. 7 days

* This Letter will be issued only to students who are currently in good standing with the University, 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.  

** A Letter of Good Standing is not available until after Semester 1 grade release, therefore in its place we can provide a Letter of Endorsement  


Australian students who receive Centrelink payments and are planning to complete a placement outside of Australia must comply with Centerlink's requirements or they could be at risk of having their payments ceased while overseas.  Students should contact Centrelink directly for further advice. 

If Centrelink request a statement from your education institution, please email the Placements team (med.placements@uq.edu.au) to request a Centrelink Letter. 

Student Placement Agreements

2019 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2019 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement

Instructions on how to correctly fill out the Observership SPA can be found here.

Preceptor Guide 

2019 Preceptor Guide

Student Handbook

2019 Observership Student Handbook

Clinical Unit Preferencing

UQ Clinical Unit Sites

UQ Clinical Unit sites have a small number of Observership placements available for all students to preference from.  Students should not rely on being allocated a place at one of the UQ Clinical Units. 

  • Preference for these placements will be given to Ochsner students.
  • Preferencing will be by clinical site only, and will not be by discipline.
    • If students desire a specific discpline, they are encouraged to source their own placement in their field of interest (at a Non-UQ Clinical Unit site).
    • As per Observership guidelines, students are not to contact clinicians affiliated with UQ Clinical sites. 

Instructions on how to preference for a UQ Clinical Unit or JCU offer through the Placements system can be found here.

Below are the sites, and availability for clinical unit placements:

Clinical Unit 
METRO CLINICAL SITES (18/11/2019 - 13/12/2019)  
Princess Alexandra Hopsital 24
Queen Elizabeth Jubilee II Hospital 5
Redland Hospital 4
Greenslopes Private Hospital 23
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital  10
Mater Adult Hospital 8
Queensland Children's Hospital 20
The Prince Charles Hospital 33
Redcliffe Hospital 10
Ipswich Hospital 5
UQ RURAL CLINICAL SITES (25/11/2019 - 20/12/2019)  
Bundaberg Hospital* 15
Toowoomba Hospital* 10
Hervey Bay Hospital* 6
Rockhampton Hospital* 12
JCU SITES (dates differ to UQ Clinical Unit offers)  
Cairns Hospital (11/11/19 - 6/12/19) 4
Mackay Base Hospital (25/11/19 - 20/12/19) 7
Townsville Hospital (18/11/19 - 13/12/19) 2

*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.

For more detailed information about the exciting opportunities at the Rural Clinical Sites, please see:
Bundaberg Hospital
Toowoomba Hospital
Hervey Bay Hospital
Rockhampton Hospital

Remember!  Accommodation at UQ Rural Clinical sites is free (apart from a $50 cleaning fee).

Placement Offers

Placement offers will be published to students w/c 15th July in the Placements system and students will be notified by email.

  • Students must confirm or decline their placement by emailing the Placements team on med.placements@uq.edu.au by MIDDAY Friday 2 August 2019.
  • Please consider this offer carefully as if you decline the placement, you will not be allocated a second offer.
  • If the team receives no notification from you, the placement will be deemed ‘unconfirmed’ and offered to students who did not receive a placement.

Swaps -

  • Students are permitted one direct swap with another student who has received an offer. 
  • International students are unable to swap placements with a student allocated to UQ Rural Clinical school sites (Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay or Toowoomba).
  • Students are required to swap their entire 4-week placement, and must have evidence of swap acceptance from the participating student. 
  • Swap requests are to be emailed through to med.placements@uq.edu.au by MIDDAY Friday 2nd August 2019.

Evaluations and Assessment

Preceptor Assessment Form

At the end of the placement students are required to be assessed by their preceptor/s, either via the PDF form (found here) or the online survey link that is sent to the Preceptors by the Placements team.  The student will be emailed the result of the online Preceptor Assessment survey once completed.  

The student is to then upload the PDF form or emailed survery results form to the Y1 Community Black Board site, in the 'Observership' menu item to the left.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the Faculty has received a competed Preceptor Assessment form by the end of each Placement as a copy of this evaluation is required prior to the commencement of Year 2. 

If you are uable to make this deadline, please contact the placements team (med.placements@uq.edu.au).

Reminder: Many students will travel to locations with limited internet access.  Please make sure to print the PDF version of the assessment prior to departure.  This can be completed by the preceptor and then scanned and sent to the clinical placements team upon the students return to Australia.    

Student Feedback and Reflection 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact med.placements@uq.edu.au

Mobility Funding

Rotary Club of Toowong Feros Medical Students’ Grant

Rotary International is a non-political, non-religious organisation of business and professional leaders (united worldwide) who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Medical students have the opportunity to experience medical conditions which they would rarely see in equivalent Australian practice.  The total amount of funding available to each medical student is $1,500. This funding is constituted of $750 towards airfares and a further $750 to be spent on equipment and/or medical consumables for each student to take with them.

Application is open to first year students for their Observership.  Applicants must demonstrate that they have the experience, maturity and skill levels to cope with the clinical and living conditions in the location that they choose to perform their elective.

For more information on the Grant please refer to the 2019 Rotary Club of Toowong Feros Medical Students’ Grant Information. 

Students will require a short Letter of Motivation and CV for application.

Applications close: Friday 02 August 2019

Please send through your applications to med.placements@uq.edu.au


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.

IMPORTANT:  The due date for OS-HELP applications is this Sunday the 15th of September.

Please note - Domestic students wishing to apply for an OS-Help loan for their overseas Observership, and have not received full approval from the Faculty yet are advised that they are still able to submit an application  even if they do not have supporting documentation ready at the time of your application. We encourage all students to please still submit your application and you can provide your supporting documentation at a later date.

MIGA Elective Grants Program for Medical Students

MIGA’s annual Elective Grants Program provides financial assistance to medical students undertaking their university elective in developing communities. 

For more information on this program and how to apply please find the attached MIGA Elective Grants Program Brochure.

Applications close on Friday, 30 August 2019 at 5pm

For more information on the program please visit www.miga.com.au



Observership OHS

The Faculty of Medicine OHS team is here to work with you to protect your health, safety and wellness while you're studying with us.  During your Observership, your safety is our priority, so please check out the following information to ensure your Observership placement remains safe and incident free.

Phase 1 Observership OHS Information

For more information - med.ohs@uq.edu.au


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

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. 

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 (5 days per week, min 4 hrs per day), and Ochsner students can split placements into either 2 x 4 week blocks or a 2 & 6 week block (5 days per week, min 4 hrs per day). Each placement will require its own Student Placement Agreement and preceptor feedback form.

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, must ensure that an SPA is completed and signed by the placement site.  This is then submitted to the Placements system which will then be processed by the Placements team.  

Please refer to the timeline 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 the Student Insurance Information page.

As a UQ student, once approved, you are covered for public liability, professional indemnity and malpractice insurance during the dates specified on your submitted application form.

Further information regarding this protection can be viewed here.  

To be eligible for automatic cover under UQ’s travel insurance policy, all international travel must be registered through International SOS  (this occurs automatically when bookings are made via Campus Travel, but must be done by the traveller when booking through other means). This is not required for domestic travel.


The Faculty of Medicine reserves the right to withdraw at short notice any approval given for a student elective placement to an area or country that in the opinion of the Faculty may jeopardise the wellbeing or life of the student.  In these circumstances the Faculty will endeavour to allocate the student to a similar placement elsewhere or the student will be allocated to a placement in Brisbane.

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

How do I fill out a Student Placement Agreement (SPA)?

Step 1. Determine if your placement will be Clinical or Research in nature, and then download/print out the appropriate SPA from the Observership website, located under the Documentation tab. 

Step 2. Fill out the host Organisation Details on the top of the SPA, then your student details and placements dates where indicated on the form.

Step 3.  Have your host Preceptor fill out and sign the designated section on page 2. 
(Please leave the box below blank for the Faculty to fill out once you have submitted your form.)

Step 4. Fill out the Appexdix 1 located on page 3.  Please fill out each section clearly and include as much information as possible.

Step 5.  Please upload the SPA as a whole document when submitting your application.  This includes the terms and conditions on the remaining pages.

Find detailed instructions under the Documentation tab on the Observership website.

What happens if I haven’t passed Clinical Practice 1 or Clinical Science 1?

Students must successfully complete #8 units, including Clinical Science and Clinical Practice 1, before commencing an Observership. If you have not taken Clinical Science and Clinical Practice 2 due to failing a semester 1 course, you are advised to delay your Observership until you have successfully completed these courses (usually at the end of your second year of study).

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. 

Ochsner students:

The Ochsner cohort must complete an 8-week (5 days per week, min of 4 hrs per day) 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 (5 days per week, min of 4 hrs per day) 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, Queensland and interstate options.