Non-McGill (Away) Electives

Electives can be undertaken anywhere in the world in any discipline. It is entirely the student’s responsibility to make contact with the supervising physician/host institution and to arrange all details of the elective. The McGill Global Health website is an excellent starting point for ideas (see particularly “International Electives”).

Pre-departure training is required for all MDCM students travelling outside of Canada (including the USA) for an elective.

Online pre-departure training for MDCM students is coordinated by McGill Global Health Programs office. Please check here for full details on how to fulfill this mandatory requirement. MDCM students DO NOT NEED  to sign-up for the in-person pre-departure training offered by the International Education Office twice per year. Questions can be directed to globalhealth [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

Students must complete a McGill Travel Registry form on Minerva for each US and international experience – the electives coordinator will create the electronic form and advise the student by e-mail that it is ready for completion. Students should also register their travel with the Government of Canada registry.

Safety: In general, the Faculty will not approve electives in regions for which the Canadian government has issued a Travel Warning.

 

Financing Away Electives

Since non-McGill electives are not a curriculum requirement, the Faculty is unable to provide financial support for such.  Most universities charge an administrative fee to process your elective application request, ranging from $100-$400 per 4-week rotation.  You will also have to plan for transportation, housing, and living costs while undertaking away electives.

There is, however, funding available for electives at rural sites in Quebec.  Contact the university with which the rural site is affiliated for details.

A small amount of funding is available to students undertaking electives in under-resourced international settings through Global Health.

Insurance for Away Electives

Health Insurance: Students leaving Quebec for electives must ensure they have appropriate personal health insurance.  Information on your McGill student plan is available here

Liability Insurance: McGill University provides malpractice/liability insurance for its medical students undertaking away electives; details can be obtained from the mcgillelectives [dot] med [at] mcgill [dot] ca (McGill Electives Coordinator).

How to Book an Away Elective

  1. To complete an elective booking for a non-McGill elective, two steps must be completed:
    • Step one:   Apply through the host institution
    • Step two:   Complete the McGill electronic placement form (after your elective has been approved by the host institution).
    The elective booking deadline for both steps is 8 weeks prior to the elective period start date.   Some host institutions may have earlier deadlines.
  2. To complete Step 1, make an application to the desired host institution according to their requirements and guidelines.
    • Electives in Canadian schools: book through AFMC Student Portal
    • US or international schools: book through the individual schools or institutions
  3. To complete Step 2, the McGill Electronic Placement Form, click LOGIN and enter your McGill username (e.g. firstname [dot] lastname [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca) and password in order to access your electives dossier.
    • Complete an electronic Elective Placement Form.
    • Upload the acceptance letter for your non-McGill elective (Word, jpg, or pdf formats only).
    • Submit the Elective Placement Form, which will automatically enter the elective into your electives dossier. Although the form states "Approved", it needs to be reviewed by the electives coordinator.

    NOTE: Failure to upload proof of confirmation at the time of form submission automatically removes the elective from the system.

  4. Elective bookings not submitted on time are subject to review of professionalism at McGill.  Most schools will issue a letter of unprofessionalism if you breach their policies and procedures while attempting to book an elective.  
  5. The McGill Electives Coordinator can provide letters of good standing and proof of insurance, as required by the host institution.  
  6. Students can obtain copies and/or verification of their immunization records from Student Health Services.

Cancelling an Away Elective

  1. Click LOGIN to access your electronic electives dossier.
  2. View “Details” of the relevant elective, and click the “Cancel” button at the bottom.
  3. Contact the host institution directly in order to advise them of your cancellation. You must abide by the host institution’s cancellation deadlines. Most schools will issue a letter of unprofessionalism if you do not adhere to their policies and procedures.
  4. If you are facing exceptional circumstances (e.g. family emergency, personal illness, etc.), you must contact the Assistant Dean Student Affairs immediately for approval to cancel your elective late (i.e. after the deadline). Should the host school issue a letter of unprofessionalism and you have approval from the Assistant Dean Student Affairs for late cancellation of the elective, this will be taken into account when Associate Dean Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) reviews the letter issued by the host school and follows up in accordance with the UGME Policy on Student Professional Behaviours.

Special Requirements for Quebec Electives

As of February 2017, applications for visiting electives at the French-language schools in Québec must be submitted through the AFMC Student Portal. You no longer need to complete a BCI credit transfer form. With the new application process, students will apply through the AFMC and connect with BCI to receive simultaneous authorization from their host and home school registrars.

Please remember to follow the two steps required to book an away elective:

The standard application period for electives in Quebec is 3-7 months in advance of the proposed elective start date.

Special Requirements for Other Canadian Electives

The standard application period for electives across Canada is 4-7 months in advance of the proposed elective start date. Canadian visiting medical elective requests must be submitted through the AFMC Student Portal.

Please remember to follow the two steps required to book an away elective:

Criminal Background Checks:
You may be required by the hospitals affiliated with some Canadian universities to produce a criminal background check.  Be sure to undertake this process well in advance of the proposed elective. When registering for the check, mention that you are a full time student in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and that you require it for study purposes only.

SPVM

Morpho

RCMP

Proof of Immunizations:
You may be required to submit proof of immunizations to certain Canadian universities, in order that they process your elective request. In January 2017, the AFMC Student Portal launched the common immunization form for all AFMC member schools. To have the form completed, please contact McGill Student Health.

Special Requirements for U.S. Electives

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act):
Some American universities require that students have HIPAA certification (formal training in health information security, patient protection and privacy). Although McGill does not formally certify students in this area, the Dean's office will attest on the elective application form that the Faculty of Medicine at McGill provides core teaching on confidential issues and patient records.
 
Mask Fit Testing: If you are required to undertake a respiratory mask fit test in order to apply for electives at an American university, contact Student Health Services to make the necessary arrangements.
 
Criminal Background Checks:
You may be required by the hospitals affiliated with some American universities to produce a criminal background check.  Be sure to undertake this process well in advance of the proposed elective. When registering for the check, mention that you are a full time student in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and that you require it for study purposes only.

SPVM

Morpho

RCMP

Visas: Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa prior to going to the US for an elective.  Students will likely be issued B-1 visa status at the border upon presentation of a piece of Canadian ID/passport, proof of residence in Canada (i.e., current driver’s license), and documentation proving the purpose of travel to the US (i.e., the elective acceptance letter from the host institution).  See the B-1 Temporary Business Visitor section of the United States Embassy: Consular Services Canada website.

Formal Agreements:  If applying/intending to apply to a U.S. institution that requires a formal agreement with McGill University, please be aware of the following:

  • The elective application process will take much longer than usual – factor in 2-6 weeks for McGill’s legal review of the agreement
  • After review, McGill may determine that the agreement cannot be signed, which would render the proposed elective impossible

As a result, please develop a “backup” plan for any elective period during which an application for elective at an institution requiring a formal agreement is being considered.

Special Requirements for International Electives

Formal Agreements:  If applying/intending to apply to an international institution that requires a formal agreement with McGill University, please be aware of the following:

  • The elective application process will take much longer than usual – factor in 2-6 weeks for McGill’s legal review of the agreement
  • After review, McGill may determine that the agreement cannot be signed, which would render the proposed elective impossible

As a result, please develop a “backup” plan for any elective period during which an application for elective at an institution requiring a formal agreement is being considered.