Career Planning Advice


Electives are an opportunity for you to explore different specialty options and to gain exposure to your discipline(s) of interest.

McGill, as do all other Canadian Medical Schools, requires that you complete electives in a minimum of three different disciplines, see list of disciplines.

The essentials to consider are the Procedures and the Electives Policy, which details all the principles and rules around booking electives and the deadlines.

What do I do ...

If I have an early elective in Med3?

  • Consider testing out a specialty you are considering, which you might not otherwise get to try.
  • Only book an elective for which there are no prerequisites you won't have completed yet.
  • You can call or email the elective coordinators to ask them for their advice on how best to prepare for an early elective at their site.

If I want to take an elective at McGill?

  • See the procedures (linked above) for booking a McGill elective.
  • Read through the offerings and make a short list of your favourites.
  • Apply for it anywhere from several months to  4 weeks in advance of the start date.

If I want to take an elective outside McGill?

  • See the procedures (linked above) for applying to electives at non-Mcgill sites.
  • Look at the application requirements on the AFMC Portal for the university you are considering: especially any specific immunization and police check requirements and protect time in your schedule to take care of this 4-6 months in advance..
  • Try to plan to apply anywhere from 4 to 7 months in advance of the start date.

If the elective I want is full?

  • Look at another university.
  • Consider asking the elective coordinator for different dates, or an alternative discipline.
  • Consider using the time to take some of your mandatory vacation weeks.

If I don't know what I want to do?

  • Consider taking a virtual or in-person meeting with the Career Advisor to discuss interests.
  • Simply follow your present interests: try an elective in something you enjoy, whether or not this will be your ultimate specialty choice.
  • Try something you are unlikely to get exposed to otherwise.

If I already know what I want to do?

  • Ensure your electives cover three different disciplines at a minimum.
  • Consider taking an elective or two outside McGill to broaden your horizons.
  • Plan your electives in advance and have backup plans as well.

If I want to do an international elective?

  • This process is not streamlined, so you'll need to plan well in advance.
    • For electives at U.S. schools: refer to the specific school or institution
    • For International schools outside of the U.S.: refer to the specific school or institution

If I have a question or need advice about electives?

  • Review the electives presentation for your class on MyCourses.
  • Email your Career Advisor for strategy and planning questions
  • Email the McGill electives coordinator for technical questions for McGill electives, and the contact person at your target site for technical questions about away electives. 
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