Edinburgh Medical School

Application process

How to apply for a medical elective with us.

Applications for 2025 elective placements are now closed.

Applications for 2026 placements will open in January 2025.


Am I eligible?

You must be in your penultimate or final year of medical undergraduate study at the time of your placement, as you are required to have completed your clinical training before you undertake an elective with Edinburgh teaching hospitals.


How long is the placement?

Placements are four weeks long.  Placements begin on the first Monday of the month, with one department only.


How to apply

Applying for a medical elective is a three-stage process:

1.    Complete the online application form.  This form is only available during the application period.

2.    Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated email from us, requesting that you send copies of these documents via email:

  • Your academic transcripts
  • A reference/letter of good standing from your Dean or Head of School
  • Passport

Transcripts are required to be officially translated into English, and we would expect that the reference is also in English. These documents must be submitted to us within 28 days of the date you submitted your application. Otherwise, your application will be processed as unsuccessful.

Other documentation (see below) will be requested only if we offer you a place.

3.    Providing the above documentation is received within 28 days and we are able to offer a suitable placement, successful candidates will be made a conditional offer. 


Documents we will need after provisional offer

Certified copies of the following will be requested approximately six months before your placement begins: 

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency (if from a non-majority English-speaking country) - see below for further details.
  • Proof of indemnity/malpractice insurance - The Medical School cannot advise on insurance matters - this is the student's responsibility
  • Immunisation and blood test record - this information will be requested via an emailed link from NHS Lothian Occupational Health around two months prior to the placement
  • From non-EU/UK applicants, a criminal record check (dated no more than 3 months prior to the elective start date) - for students in Scotland, we will require an update of your Disclosure Scotland PVG certificate.

Certified copies can be obtained by taking your original documentation, along with photocopies, to a member of staff at your current institution and asking them to check the photocopies against the originals; mark the photocopies as true copies of the originals; sign and apply their university stamp.

All of the above will be required to be officially translated into English, if the original document is not in English.

We require that all elective students join Disclosure Scotland - the cost of this is £59 (GBP).  We will send an application pack for this around six months before the start of the placement.  Disclosure Scotland will provide you with a Protection of Vulnerable Groups certificate which will cover the time when you are on placement.

Your offer remains provisional until all of these documents have been received, and payment has been made - if you are unable to provide these documents, we will not be able to offer you an unconditional place.

You will be sent a link to pay the £400 (GBP) matriculation fee once all other documentation has been provided.


Will my English be good enough?

If you are coming to us from a medical school in a non-majority English-speaking nation, even if you are taught and examined in English, you must prove that you have a suitable level of skill in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Proof of English proficiency comes in two main forms:

1. Secure English Language Test (SELT)

2. an acccepted school qualification in the subjects of English Language or English Literature.

Please provide a copy of one of the following  certificates, taken within two years of the start of your placement (for school qualifications, this is 3.5 years from the date of the award):


IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each component.
TOEFL-internet bases test (iBT)

92 or above with 23 in each section.

We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.

GCSE English language/IGCSE English (First or Second Language) Grade C.
Cambridge English

Advanced or Proficiency.

Overall 176, with 169 in each component.

Completed Degree from an English speaking country (as categorised by the UKVI)


Completed Degree from a non-majority English speaking country where you are both taught and examined in English Both teaching and examinations must be in English.  Letter of confirmation required from University – must be dated within 6 months of the start of the elective placement
International Baccalaureate English at higher or standard level. Grade 5 within the last 3.5 years.


Where will I be placed?

The main Edinburgh Medical School teaching hospitals are:

  • Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE)
  • Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh
  • St John's Hospital, Livingston
  • Western General Hospital (WGH), Edinburgh.


Can you help with visas?

The University of Edinburgh Student Immigration Service will be able to assist you with visa questions. 

Detailed information on short-term student visas, including a checklist of all documents required, is available at the link below, along with contact information should you wish to submit an enquiry to them. 

Student Immigration Service website



The University of Edinburgh Accommodation Service may be able to advise you generally on arranging accommodation within Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh Medical School is unable to assist you with accommodation arrangements. 

University of Edinburgh Accommodation Service



Visiting medical elective students are not charged tuition fees but you will pay a matriculation fee (£400 for 2025 placements).

You pay for your own travel and living expenses in Edinburgh.


Keeping in touch with us

Please use your student university email address for all correspondence with Edinburgh Medical School.

After you have confirmed acceptance of your conditional placement and we have acknowledged this, we will not contact you again until approximately before your placement begins to request the remaining documentation/information from you.

Email:  electives@ed.ac.uk