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 4 weeks or 20 days and Ochsner students must complete 8 weeks or 40 days to satisfy the Observership requirements.



17 April 2017

Applications for TROPIQ program close

June 2017

Application processes open for finding your own placement

June 2017

Applications open for placements within the Rural Clinical Schools


Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital applications


Applications for Study Tours

August 2017

Applications to Rural Clinical School close

September 2017

Preferencing Si-net Applications open via Blackboard

October 2017

Applications close for finding your own placement

27 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 elective placement by the start of Year 2 classes in the following year. Students are not permitted to start the elective placement prior to the cessation of the Semester 2 examination period.

4. The elective 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 elective placement anywhere within Australia or overseas. The elective placement must be a minimum duration of 4 weeks.

7. Ochsner cohort students must complete an 8-week 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 four weeks.

8. Any student wishing to undertake an elective outside UQ Clinical Schools may split their 4-week (or in the case of Ochsner cohort students, 8-week) placement into 2- blocks. Split placements do not need to be in consecutive weeks.

9. It is expected that all students participate in full-time hours (as negotiated by their preceptor/s).

10. Students wishing to undertake an elective 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 elective 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 elective application.  Please note, the School of Medicine reserves the right to revoke approval of any Year 1 Elective 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 evaluation form in week 3 (Domestic and Onshore International Students) and week 7 for Ochsner students.  This is compulsory assessment.

16. Preceptors will submit the Preceptor Evaluation form online.

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, student must follow the relevant  application processes for the elective 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 Elective (Observership) and expected experience level of the student.

Year 1 Observership Preceptor Guide


Information for the 2017 will be added shortly. Thank you for your patience.


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.


Information for 2017 will be added shortly. Thank you for your patience.

UQ-Ochsner Students

During pre-clinical years (Phase 1 - Year 1 and Year 2) UQ-Ochsner MD students undertake 8 weeks of experience (full time hours) within the Australian Healthcare environment. This program requirement is completed as an Elective 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. Students may split their elective into 4 week blocks, or a six and two 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 types of experiences from which they can select their first observership.

Places fill up early, so to maximise your chances of being placed in an observership of your choice, please ensure your application is made as early as possible. 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 organise observership at UQ Clinical Schools. 

Instructions for making an application to the elective of your choice. 

Note: Preferencing for places at UQ Clinical Schools will take 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. 

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, and Ochsner students can split placements into either 2 x 4 week blocks or a 2 & 6 week block. Each placement requires its own SPA and preceptor feedback form. Placements can be either:

  • Clinical Research
  • UQ Rural Clinical School
  • Non-UQ locations

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 UQ Medicine. 

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

Previous MD students have stated students don’t have to seek their own placements.  

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? 

First year MD students are eligible for the OS-HELP Loan to assist with their overseas placements. Eligible students must have successfully completed #16 units in their current program. 

Following the release of academic results, students who have obtained a passing grade may be granted a loan. OS-HELP Loans cannot be paid following the completion of your overseas placement. Supporting Documentation is not required at the time of application.

Maximum amounts available for study are:

            $6,470 for study not in Asia;

            $7,764 for study in Asia;

Further information in relation to OS Help Loans can be found at http://www.uq.edu.au/myadvisor/os-help-21170 or email: advantage@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 clinical placement in Australia to meet the accreditation requirements of the Australian Medical Council, and this may include a Clinical Research placement. Unfortunately this means no placements in the US for the Observership. 

Can I complete research as part of my Observership?

Ochsner students can complete a MAXIMUM of 4 weeks 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.