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Canadian and American Electives

Learn about the benefits of doing an elective in Canada or the US, including clinical experience, residency preparation, and networking opportunities. Discover the application process, universities to apply to, and costs involved.

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Canadian and American Electives

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  1. Canadian and American Electives Trinity College Dublin October 2010

  2. Introduction Who can apply? • Open to all students (you don’t have to be from Canada or the US to apply!) Where can I apply? • Most Canadian universities take IMGs for electives • Many opportunities open to IMGs in the US Why should I do an elective in Canada or the US? • Great clinical hands-on experience • Important if you plan to complete a residency in Canada or the US • Opportunity to make contacts and obtain North American references (you may also want to try and meet Program Directors)

  3. Applying for a North American Elective When should I apply? • Apply early!!!! (up to a year in advance for some) • Extremely competitive as the number of students studying abroad and requesting electives has substantially increased • Research university websites well in advance to familiarize yourself with application dates, required documentation and program availability What universities and programs should I apply to? • Apply to do electives in programs and at schools at which you wish to obtain a residency position • Apply to multiple universities for electives because there is NO guarantee you will be granted an elective • If you will be applying to both Canada and the US for residency then it is best to complete electives in both Canada and the US

  4. Applying for a Canadian Elective Which universities take IMGs for electives? • Ontario (McMaster, Western, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, University of Toronto) • Universities of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba • Memorial University (Newfoundland) and Dalhousie (Nova Scotia)

  5. Applying for a Canadian Elective Special considerations at Canadian universities: • Must be going into final med (summer after 4th year) to apply to elective programs EXCEPT at Western, Northern Ontario and Memorial which take students after 3rd med • University of Toronto only takes students in final med from January to June (this excludes us from doing electives here) • McMaster only takes two students per school per year

  6. Applying for a Canadian Elective What will it cost me to do an elective? • IMGs have to pay for electives (avg. $200-$600) • Additional medical insurance required at McMaster ($1000-$1500) • Keep in mind transportation and living expenses What kind of documentation is required? • Elective request form • Medical school confirmation • Immunization record • CV/personal statement may be requested

  7. Applying for an American Elective • Trinity offers an “exchange elective” with a few American schools (Georgetown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania) - Apply early through the med office • Huge amount of programs in the States so research them early • Highly variable in what each school requires to carry out an elective (USMLE scores, IMG status, etc)

  8. Applying for an American Elective • Most American electives are free of charge (excluding cost of travel, transportation, and accommodation) • Most programs in the US that you rotate with will guarantee you an interview, so rotate where you would want to go!

  9. The North American Elective Experience What will I gain clinically from this experience? • Very hands-on!!! • History-taking and physical examinations – you will see patients on your own and report back to preceptor (both inpatients and outpatients) • Propose, discuss and execute management plans • Chart patient progress notes and dictate consults • Present at team rounds • Minor procedures (ex. immunizations/injections, suturing, incision and drainage, cryotherapy) • Attend resident teaching sessions

  10. The North American Elective Experience What will I gain overall from this experience? • Excellent teaching and you’re very much a part of the team • Insight into specific specialties and whether or not they’re a good fit for you • Insight into residency programs and location • Opportunity to make good contacts and ask for references!!!

  11. Ask questions! • Your best resource is other students who have completed electives at places and programs you’re interested in • Final meds have compiled a list of electives, their experience and their contact information (Claire Doran will distribute and please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions at all) • Contact us anytime: Kelsey Fawcett at Erin Hanley at

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