Student opportunities

Students learning in the Medicine & Health facilities at the UNSW Kensington campus

We offer students the opportunity to undertake short and long-term rural placements, to expand experience and build skills. See below for specific details of how to apply and what to expect.

Short term placements

All commonwealth Supported (non-international) medical students at UNSW have the opportunity to preference their 4-week rural short-term clinical placement allocation in the year preceding year 5.

  • Students will be given the opportunity to express their interest in a short term four-week rural placement. An expression of interest form will be sent out in September the year preceding Phase 3, where you can indicate which discipline you would like to be allocated (it must match your sequence).

    As there are limited places in specific terms at each rural site, students may not receive their first preference. Students are allocated the sequence of terms and the Rural Support team fills each rural placement according to this sequence.

    The School of Psychiatry allocates metro students to Orange-Bloomfield for Psychiatry placements. For more information, please contact Melissa Jones.

    The GP Department in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine allocates students to rural GP practices. For more information, please contact Sarah Jacobs.

  • A limited number of students who have not been allocated their four-week rural placement for Year 5 may be able to complete their rural placement during their elective term in Year 6. The Elective must be undertaken in one of the following Rural Clinical Campus sites:

    • Albury Base Hospital
    • Broken Hill Base Hospital
    • Coffs Harbour Health Campus
    • Grafton Base Hospital
    • Griffith Base Hospital
    • Kempsey District Hospital
    • Bloomfield Hospital, Orange (Psychiatry term only)
    • Port Macquarie Base Hospital
    • Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. If you wish to do this, you must gain prior written approval from the Rural Clinical Campus. Approval is not automatic, and retrospective approval will not be granted.

    After you have gained approval, you will need to make your own arrangements with the Hospital. Once confirmed send the following information to Rural Clinical Campus before making any travel plans:

    • name of the supervisor at the clinical site
    • discipline of the term
    • dates of the placement
    • location of the placement.

    Applications for all electives must be submitted to the Teaching Support team by May of the year preceding the proposed term as per the Elective Term guidelines.

    Early application is recommended (preferably at the end of Year 5 when rural allocations are advised) as applications will be considered in order of receipt and a quota applies.

    Note: Accommodation at a location on the coast will be particularly expensive during the placement period due to the school holidays.

  • Wherever possible, students stay in accommodation provided by the hospital. Charges vary from hospital to hospital but are usually less than $80 per week.

    For short-term rural placements, fuel and accommodation are covered for students who hold a commonwealth supported place in our medicine course. 

  • Rural elective placement: Royal Flying Doctors Service

    Hello! My name is Becky, I am a final year UNSW medical student in 2023 and I have just returned from a two-week elective placement with the Royal Flying Doctors Service in Broome, WA. It was an experience that I’ll never forget!

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    Zayn’s Rural Medicine Placement

    My 4 weeks in Maclean were hands down the best clinical training I have had across my degree.

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Long-term placements

As UNSW is a publicly funded university, it is subject to various government requirements. One such requirement of the Commonwealth, the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program, requires UNSW to achieve the following outcomes, with respect to rural clinical placement whilst undertaking studies:

  • At least 30% of UNSW medical students must undertake an extended clinical experience at a Rural Clinical School campus. There is an expectation that students admitted to Medicine under the RES will undertake an extended clinical experience in rural environments.
  • All other local students must have an opportunity to undertake a rural placement and at least 50% must undertake a minimum of four weeks of clinical learning in a rural location.

Allocation to a Rural Clinical School campus

Students complete the online preference form for the allocation of students to a clinical environment for Phase 2 and Phase 3 the year preceding the phase.

Contact us

Rural Support – Port Macquarie Campus
26 Highfields Cct
UNSW Rural Clinical School 2444
Ph: 02 6580 7555