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. 


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, min 4 hrs per day).

7. Ochsner cohort students must complete an 8 week (40 day, 5 days per week, min 4 hrs per 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, 5 days per week, min 4 hrs per day).

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 4 hrs per day). 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).  

2017 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2018 TBA 

2017 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement

2018 TBA

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

2018 TBA

MEDI7152 course

2018 TBA

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.

2017 Preceptor Guide

2018 TBA

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. 

Evaluations and Assessment

Preceptor Assessment Form

At the end of the placement students are required to be assessed by their preceptor/s.    

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. 

A PDF version will also be published for students when the 2018 Preceptor Assessment is finalised.  Please note that a copy of the evaluation is required prior to the commencement of Year 2. 

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.    

Aus Health EDUx 101 Course

Assessment required for the year 1 Observership (all students):

Students are required to register for an edX account using their UQ student email and username before they can enrol in a course.

This will ensure students receive a certificate of completion.  All non-UQ students will be required to pay for a certificate of completion, so it is imperative that students login and register using their UQ student email. 

Once you have completed Health101x as part of an activity at the University of Queensland, you can register your successful completion by following the instructions below:

  • Click on the SUBMIT button to verify that you have successfully completed the course
  • Click on the link to download a statement of completion and login with your University of Queensland student username and password. 
  • Select the course/program activity that is associated with the Health101x
  • Download your statement of completion 
  • Upload this to the Year 1 MEDI7151 or MEDI7152 Blackboard site, under the Assessment tab. 

Student Feedback and Reflection 

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


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 med.observership@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.

2017 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2018 TBA

2017 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement 

2018 TBA


2017 Preceptor Guide 

2017 Preceptor Guide 

2018 TBA


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.




TBA 2018

Applications for TROPIQ program close

TBA 2018

TBA 2018

Paediatrics and Children’s Health 

TBA 2018

TBA 2018

Expression of Interest for Study Tours

TBA 2018

TBA 2018

JCU Applications (North QLD placements)  TBA 2018

TBA 2018

Application processes open for finding your own placement

TBA 2018

TBA 2018

Applications open for placements within the Rural Clinical Schools

TBA 2018

TBA 2018

Preferencing for Clinical Units open via online portal

TBA 2018

TBA 2018 Students complete Online Aushealth Course modules Upload onto relevant Blackboard site

TBA 2018

Observerships commence

TBA 2018

TBA 2018 Student Feedback  Submit in third week of Observership placement 
TBA 2018 Student Evaluation  Provide preceptor with copy of the student assessment form and return to clinical placements team prior to commencement of year 2.

Prior to commencement of year 2

Observerships complete

TBA 2018


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.

TBA 2018

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.

TBA 2018

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

TBA 2018

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

TBA 2018

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. 

TBA 2018

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.

TBA 2018

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/ 

TBA 2018


* Note: Limited places are available in these locations.

Finding your Own Placement

Non- UQ placements

Applications will open on Friday 30th June 2017 for students sourcing Non-UQ Observership placements.  Students are required to provide a completed and signed copy of the 2017 Observership Student Placement Agreement:

2017 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2018 TBA

2017 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement 

2018 TBA

Applications will open here when the process is finalised

Placement Options

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 Queensland - LCCH

Paediatric Observership placements will be offered to Year 1 MD students for the Summer Semester course requirements in 2018. These places are limited and applications will be available .....  

  • Placements will ONLY be available for a 4 week block, dates are still to be finalised for 2018.
  • These placements will begin the first Monday after year 1 exams.

Application requirements: 

  • 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)
  • The majority of placements will be clinical.
  • Students are not to contact clinicians directly at LCCH or affiliated UQ Clinical Units.  All Peadiatric placements and children's health positions are to be administered through the Paediatrics and Children’s Health Queensland team.  
  • 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. 

Application coming soon

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 four (4) weeks in China, with our affliated partners at either Capital Medical University (CMU) and/or Second Medical Miliatry 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.

  • 8 placements are available to Domestic and International 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.   

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.
  • 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
  • DO NOT book accommodation and travel until directed by the University Faculty of Medicine Clinical Placements team. 

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

The link for the China Tour Expression of Interest form will be available soon.


Universite de Lille applications

Lille University have agreed to accept a small number of students for the 2018 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

Application dates and documentation for 2018 will be available soon.

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

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


JCU Placements

James Cook University is responsible for a number of hospitals North of Rockhampton.  A list of placements in North Queensland will be available to students.  Similar to UQ clinical units, students will apply through the Clinical Placements team.  
Below are examples of what JCU offered to the 2017 cohort:




Start Date

End Date

Cairns Hospital



27 Nov 2017

21 Dec 2017

Cairns Hospital



27 Nov 2017

21 Dec 2017

Mackay Base Hospital



20 Nov 2017

15 Dec 2017

Mackay Base Hospital


Medical Imaging

20 Nov 2017

15 Dec 2017

Mackay Base Hospital



20 Nov 2017

15 Dec 2017

Townsville Hospital


Medical Oncology

20 Nov 2017

15 Dec 2017

Townsville Hospital


Radiation Oncology

20 Nov 2017

15 Dec 2017

Students will be required to apply and preference for site and discipline.  
The application portal will be available through soon


Clinical Unit Preferencing

UQ Clinical Sites

There are extremely limited numbers at these sites. Students should not rely on being allocated a place at one of the UQ Clinical Units. 

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

  • Students are offered for the 4 weeks block ONLY
  • Preferencing will be by clinical site 
  • Students will not have the choice of discipline  
  • Dates are still to be finalised for 2018, however will commence the Monday after the Year 1 exam block

Below are the 2017 sites and number of students offered placements for 4 week block:  


Number of Students

Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital


Princess Alexandra Hospital


QE II Jubilee Hospital


Greenslopes Private Hospital 


Redcliffe Hospital 


Mater Public Hospital 


The Prince Charles/Northside 


LCCH or ANY Paediatric Placements at a Clinical site

Apply through the Children’s Health process under the APPLY tab  

The application portal will open here, once placement numbers and sites are finalised for 2018. 

Rural Clinical School Placements

UQ Rural Clinical School (UQRCS)

The UQRCS offer placements at all four rural sites.  

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.

Plecement information and timeframes will be listed here and the application link.

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.

Each Candidate must complete an application form, together with a ‘Letter of Motivation’ (no more than two pages) about themselves and their intended elective work.  For more information on the Grant please refer to the Rotary Club of Toowong Feros Medical Students’ Grant Information. 

Application and deadlines will be available here when finalised for 2018.



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.


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.

Deadlines and application information will be available here when finalised for 2018

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

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.

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.

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.  

Students are required to fill in the Insurance Travel Form

·        If you are completing an Elective 200km or more away from your normal place of residence

·        If your placement is 60-200km away and it requires you to stay over night

·        If your placement is 60-200km away and your travel is by commercial air, rail or boat

Remember that it is the students responsibility to submit the forms as required. If you fail to do this, you will NOT be covered for Travel Insurance.  If you would like conduct private travel before or after your placement, please seek additional insurance advice.


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 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. 

2017 Observership Clinical Student Placement Agreement

2018 TBA

2017 Observership Non Clinical (Research) Student Placement Agreement 

2018 TBA

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

To gain the most from your Observership experience, it is strongly recommended that you have completed Clinical Science and Clinical Practice 1 and 2 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).


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.