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Electives for final-year medical students from outside of New Zealand

Final year elective placements have been postponed until further notice due to COVID-19. Visit for ongoing updates.

This page contains information on the usual process, expectations, and requirements for applications from overseas students.


In addition to clinical placements for Dunedin-based students, the Dunedin Medical Campus offers electives to final-year (sixth-year) trainee intern medical students from outside of New Zealand.

Elective positions are available at the Dunedin and Southland teaching hospitals, which both have strong connections to the Dunedin Medical Campus.

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Eligibility for final-year medical electives

  • Only final-year students of recognised medical schools are eligible for these electives
  • We do not offer nursing or pharmacy electives to overseas students
  • We do not coordinate postgraduate overseas electives or internships for graduating medical doctors (these can be organised by contacting the hospitals directly)

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Elective topics for overseas students

Students are accepted for elective periods of four to eight weeks. Only one discipline per elective is available.

We attempt to match students' requests with available positions, however our own students have priority in the choice of attachments.

Electives available at Dunedin Hospital

  • Surgery
    • Cardiac Surgery
    • Ear, Nose, and Throat
    • General Surgery
    • Neurosurgery
    • Ophthalmology
    • Orthopaedics
    • Urology
  • Medicine
    • Cardiology
    • Gastroenterology
    • Older People's Health
    • Nephrology
    • Neurology
    • Radiology
    • Rehabilitation
    • Respiratory

The following electives are generally unavailable to overseas students because New Zealand students take all available places:

  • Anaesthesia
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Intensive Care
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychological Medicine
  • Rural General Practice
  • Sports Medicine
  • Urban General Practice

Electives available at Southland Hospital (in Invercargill)

  • Anaesthesia
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Urology

The following electives are generally unavailable to overseas students because New Zealand students take all available places:

  • Psychological Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics

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Our expectations

The consultants and medical staff you will work with in New Zealand will be involved in your ongoing education, therefore active participation with your team will be essential.

We view the elective period as an important part of medical training, and expect students to attend and perform to an adequate standard. A report detailing your attendance and performance will be sent to your medical school.

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Accommodation for final-year medical students

Dunedin accommodation

We can give you with a list of accommodation options in Dunedin, however arrangement of accommodation is your own responsibility.

Invercargill accommodation

Accommodation is generally available in the Southland Hospital Doctors' Residence for  approximately NZ$85.00 per week (including GST). These rates exclude meals, however kitchen facilities are available.

If you are offered an elective placement at Southland Hospital, we will arrange accommodation at the Doctors' Residence for you. If there are no rooms available, you must arrange alternative accommodation yourself.

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Financial information

  • Electives are an educational exercise therefore students will not receive remuneration for their activities
  • Successful applicants must pay a non-refundable administration fee of NZ$1,250.00 (including GST) within six weeks of an elective attachment being offered and accepted
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Visa requirements

Immigration New Zealand has information about visa requirements.

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How to apply for electives

Key dates

The Trainee Intern Year (Final Year) runs from mid-November to mid-November of the following year. Our programmes are prepared in October.

We are unable to organise electives a year in advance, so application forms will not be available until 1 December of the year preceding your elective placement request. (For example, application forms for 2020 placements will be distributed after 1 December 2019.) Elective placements are not offered between December and January due to the summer vacation period in New Zealand.

How to request an application form

Elective application forms are not available on our website. Instead, they are sent to applicants after we’ve received initial contact via email.

If you are interested in a placement for 2020, please email (from 1 November 2019) the Trainee Intern Course Coordinator outlining:

  • The medical school at which you are enrolled
  • The exact dates of your elective placement
  • The specialties you are interested in, in order of preference
  • The length required for the elective placement


Sending you an application form does not guarantee that a placement will necessarily be offered. If your request cannot be met, we will advise you accordingly.

Placement preferences

Should a placement be available, preference will be given to students who come from the following countries (which reciprocate, and with whom we have exchange agreements):

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Students from German universities are usually ineligible unless their university has an exchange programme in place with the Dunedin Medical Campus.

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Further information

Do not contact any hospitals or consultants directly. For all enquiries please contact:

Trainee Intern Course Coordinator
Dunedin Medical Campus, Otago Medical School
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Tel +64 3 470 9844
Fax +64 3 470 9901

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