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Undergraduate elective placements are an important part of the medical school curriculum. They involve a period of four to twelve weeks, occurring in the UK or abroad, during which students can see how some of their learning is applied in real situations. It also provides the opportunity to develop new skills, increase awareness of social and cultural issues, and be exposed to different healthcare settings. The elective period has a strong focus on independent learning.   

Considerations around electives periods include risk-assessment, learning objectives and ethical issues. Ensuring that the placement is beneficial to both the student and the host is a complex task, and while medical schools each deal with their unique elective programmes, the often international nature of electives means that coordination is important.

Electives Committee

The Electives Committee provides a forum for medical schools to share experience and best practice in undergraduate medical electives, both in and outside of the UK. It enables medical schools to identify issues that would be most effectively addressed by a collective approach.

Areas of work include: 

  • Developing national recommendations for good electives
  • Risk management issues, including the provision of guidance to medical schools on disaster and disease outbreaks
  • Consideration of the regulator’s global health objectives
  • Indemnity policy and advice
  • Matters related to incoming elective visitors
  • Preparatory materials covering ethical issues


The Electives Committee meets three times a year, which includes holding an annual conference. Its membership consists of all 32 Medical Schools Council members which offer undergraduate medical elective programmes. The medical schools are represented on the committee by their elective leads. Representatives from the student charity Medsin, as well as elective administrative staff, are also invited to meetings.

The current chair of the Electives Committee is Dr Bal Bajaj, elective lead of Swansea Medical School.

Electives Conference 2019

The Electives Committee holds a conference every year. This year's conference will be held on Friday 15 November at Woburn House, London WC1H 9HD.

The title of this year’s conference is 'Improving quality and outcomes in medical electives.' It will focus on how electives staff and medical school processes can support quality and improvement in medical electives and be aided by student input on their experiences during the elective block. See the flyer here.

Invitations are open to medical school elective leads and administrative staff, students who have returned from an elective in the last academic year (including graduates) and those who will be going on an elective within the next academic year. To reserve your place, please click here.

Student/graduate attendees

While the main demographic for the conference is medical school staff, the student perspective is invaluable to any conversation relating to medical electives, therefore student/ graduate attendees are encouraged. There is also an opportunity for post-elective students/graduates to present a poster or narrative on their experience.

Student submissions 

Presenting is not a requirement for attending the conference, but all students who have completed an elective are invited to contribute by either presenting a poster or a short narrative at the conference. For more detail, please click here