Elective attachment

General Information for Elective Students

The following information aims to provide you with certain facts about the life you will see and experience during your stay in Hong Kong as an elective student. We hope that this will assist you in making preparations prior to your departure for Hong Kong.

The City of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. The total area is about 1,100 square kilometres (425 square miles). It consists of Hong Kong Island, separated from the Kowloon Peninsula by Victoria Harbour, the New Territories and over 260 outlying islands. The University is located on the Hong Kong Island and can be reached from the Kowloon Peninsula by crossing Victoria Harbour by means of Mass Transit Railway (5 mins), ferry (7 mins) or by the three cross-harbour tunnels. The Hong Kong International Airport is located at Chek Lap Kok on the Lantau Island.

With a total population of around 7 million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The majority of the population are Chinese and speak the Cantonese dialect, but English is the medium of instruction in most schools. Therefore, there should be no problem in communicating with the University staff and students if you are fluent in English. There may be, however, a language barrier if you want to communicate with the patients.

The climate of Hong Kong is sub-tropical. Summer, from May to September, is hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 26 to 33oC. The cool dry winter lasts from December to February and is about 14 to 20oC.

Hong Kong is an international shipping, banking, commercial and industrial centre and an important entrepot for the mainland. The usual working hours, which also apply to the University of Hong Kong, are from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday and from 9:00 to 12:30 on Saturday. Offices are usually closed on Sunday and public holidays, while most shops remain open and public transport services are unaffected.

You may refer to the website of Hong Kong Tourism Board at http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng for more details about Hong Kong.

The University of Hong Kong and HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Founded in 1911, the University of Hong Kong is the oldest tertiary education institution in Hong Kong. It has a student population of over 22,000. There are altogether 10 faculties at the University, namely Architecture, Arts, Business & Economics, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science and Social Sciences. With the exception of some non-English language programmes, English is the language of instruction and all written works and examination papers are done in English.

The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine is the first faculty established within the University. The undergraduate student population is about 2,000. It has 17 teaching departments located in or near the Queen Mary Hospital on Pokfulam Road, the regional hospital for the Hong Kong Island. Nearby are the Yu Chun Keung Medical Library, Madam SH Ho Residence for Medical Students and the Pokfulam Amenities Centre.

Please refer to the websites of HKU (http://www.hku.hk) and the Faculty (http://www.med.hku.hk) for more details.

Medical Clearance
Vaccination for Chickenpox is important because you may be encountering patients with poor immune system in the wards during the elective period. Chickenpox infection will be fatal for these patients. It is thus necessary for you to establish immunity against Chickenpox before your elective attachment starts.

Hepatitis B carriers can do electives as long as they do not carry out any “exposure prone procedures”, so it is not advisable for a student to apply to one of the departments where this is required, e.g. surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology etc.

How to get to the Madam SH Ho Residence for Medical Students from the airport?
There is a range of public transport modes that you can choose from:

  1. Airport Express (AEL) Railway Line
  2. You may take the high-speed Airport Express railway to Hong Kong Station in Central. The estimated journey time is about 23 minutes and the fare is HK$90. From Central, you may then take a taxi to the Madam SH Ho Residence. This will cost you about HK$60.

  3. Airbus and Public Buses
  4. You may also take Airbus, i.e. A11, from the airport to Central. The estimated journey time is about an hour and the fare is HK$40. Alternatively, you may take public buses, i.e. E11 or N11, from the airport to Central. The estimated journey time is about 70 minutes and the fares are HK$33 to HK$48 respectively. Either way, you may then take a taxi from Central to the Madam SH Ho Residence. Again, this will cost you about HK$60.

  5. Taxi
  6. You may also consider taking a taxi straight from the airport to the Madam SH Ho Residence. This will cost you about HK$400. You may find it helpful to show the following address to the taxi driver:

    Madam SH Ho Residence for Medical Students
    6C Sassoon Road
    Pokfulam
    Hong Kong
    (香港薄扶林沙宣道六號C何善衡夫人堂)

    *Please note that red taxis serve Hong Kong Island and Kowloon whereas green taxis serve the New Territories and blue taxis serve Lantau Island. So you should take a red taxi to the Residence.

Further information
Any further queries should be addressed to:

The University of Hong Kong
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
2/F, William MW Mong Block
Faculty of Medicine Building
21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam
Hong Kong

Elective Programme and Application Procedures

Nature of the elective work
Elective openings are available in individual departments where undergraduate medical students will be arranged to undertake clinical electives. Applications are basically considered in light of the student’s previous training and experience and the capacity of the department concerned to accept the student for the chosen period, and preference will be given to students who have a certain level of clinical experience and exposure. Upon acceptance, elective students will be arranged to attend teaching and learning activities together with the senior medical students of our University.

Duration of the elective
Applicants may apply for elective attachment in any department(s) for a period as specified in the following table, depending on places available in the department(s) concerned. Please pay attention to the black out periods and the maximum elective duration of certain departments when choosing your choice of disciplines.

NOTE: The elective vacancies during the period February 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015 have already been filled up. Students who wish to be offered an elective place should not apply for this period.

Provided that the minimum attachment period requirements of the departments concerned are satisfied, applicants may choose to split their electives and attach to more than one department during the attachment period.

Elective Opportunities Available at Individual Departments

Department / Specialty Acceptance of Elective Students:
(✔) = Accept
(X) = Do not accept
Minimum duration Maximum duration Black out months when elective students are NOT accepted Other conditions
Anatomy * 2 weeks 4 weeks - -
Accident & Emergency 3 weeks 6 weeks last two weeks of August and December Understanding Chinese (Cantonese) preferred
Anaesthesiology 1 week 4 weeks July, August, December -
Biochemistry * 4 weeks 8 weeks February, March, May, June, August, September, November, December -
Clinical Oncology X - - - -
School of Public Health - - - -
Diagnostic Radiology X - - - -
Family Medicine and Primary Care 2 weeks 4 weeks August, December Fluent Cantonese is required. Only accept students in their last 2 years of study.
General Medicine 3 weeks 8 weeks March, August, December -
Microbiology * - - - -
Obstetrics & Gynaecology 4 weeks 8 weeks March -
Ophthalmology 1 weeks 2 weeks July, August, September, October, November, December -
Orthopaedics & Traumatology 4 weeks 8 weeks August -
Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2 weeks 8 weeks January, February, March, May, August, December Only accept Year 4 students.
Pathology - 2 weeks January, February, March, April, July, August, September, October, November and December -
Pharmacology and Pharmacy * - - - -
Physiology * - - - -
Psychiatry 2 weeks 6 weeks August, December Fluent Cantonese is required.
Surgery 2 weeks 8 weeks March, June, November Only accept Year 4 and Year 5 students. Year 3 students will not be accepted.

* The departments may accept elective students. An applicant who wishes to work in any of these departments or in a specialized field is required to give full details of the proposal at the time of application.

Information about elective work

  • Insurance
    Elective students MUST arrange and be covered by medical malpractice insurance, personal life insurance, disability insurance and medical insurance for the period of attachment. Upon being granted an offer to undertake electives at the University, applicants are required to submit details of all the above-mentioned insurance schemes or indemnity cover that are arranged for the period of attachment in Hong Kong. The elective offer will be automatically withdrawn if an applicant fails to submit the necessary insurance documents before the commencement of the electives.
  • Language
    Elective students will normally be arranged to attend teaching and learning activities with our medical students under the Year 5 Specialty Clerkship. The official medium of teaching is English, except under some circumstances where spoken Chinese (Cantonese) may be used for patient clerking.
  • Attire
    Elective students should bring their own white laboratory coats to all clinical sessions. They should also wear decently, and causal wear/footwear such as jeans, T-shirts, sports shoes, sandals and so forth are not allowed.
  • Fee & finance
    Applicants, except those under nomination of partner institutions holding valid exchange agreement with the Faculty, are required to pay a non-refundable administrative fee of HK$800 (on the basis of each application made).

    Payment should be made in the form of a crossed cheque or a bank draft, in Hong Kong Dollars only, payable to “THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG”. *International students are advised to purchase an international bank draft in Hong Kong currency from their local banks.

    Applicants should attach their payment of administrative fee together with the application form. They should put down their names and quote “elective application” on the back of the cheque/bank draft for easy reference.

    An official receipt will be sent to applicants together with the confirmation letter of acceptance or the notification of unsuccessful application.

    No tuition fee is charged for elective attachment, nor is any stipend to be paid to students. Applicants should have sufficient fund to cover all expenses incurred during their stay in Hong Kong. No financial assistance will be offered to elective students.

  • Accommodation
    Elective students are responsible for arranging accommodation on their own. A list of hostels with contact details will be available to accepted applicants for reference.

    Limited accommodation is also available at the Madam SH Ho Residence for Medical Students (“the Residence”) of the University which is located at 6C Sassoon Road, Pokfulam (near the main teaching hospital, Queen Mary Hospital). Applicants who would like to apply for the Residence should specify so on page 2 of the application form. The Faculty Office will then help to check the availability. Please note that accommodation at the Residence will only be offered, subject to room availability, on a first-come-first-served basis.

    Official offers will only be granted to applicants who have successfully arranged accommodation for their elective stay in Hong Kong. Otherwise, only conditional offers will be made.

  • Visa requirement
    All non-local students must apply for a student visa upon receipt of the official letter of acceptance. Failing to do so will result in cancellation or postponement of the elective.

    The Medical Faculty Office does not deal with visa issues. Elective students may contact the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (Email: cedars@hku.hk) for assistance or advice on the issue. Please refer to the website http://cedars.hku.hk/nonlocal/visa.html for details of visa application.

  • Approval of the Hospital Authority
    All clinical electives must seek the approval of the Hospital Authority (HA) of Hong Kong, provided that the electives are being conducted under the HA hospitals/clinics. In order to obtain the approval of the HA, applicants will be asked to submit documentation on medical malpractice insurance, personal life insurance, disability insurance and medical insurance after they have been accepted by one of the departments. Only with the approval of the HA will an applicant be allowed to undertake an attachment to our teaching hospital.
  • Choice of discipline
    After granting of an offer to undertake an elective in the specified department(s), no change of department/discipline/specialty is allowed.
  • Rescheduling of elective
    Any request to reschedule the elective will only be entertained under exceptional circumstances.
  • Cancellation of elective
    To cancel an elective, please write to the Faculty Office via email medfac@hku.hk.

Application procedures
Applicants should send the completed application form together with (1) a recommendation letter from the Dean’s Office of the applicant’s medical school; (2) a letter certifying the completion of infection control training issued by the applicant’s medical school; (3) a recent photo and (4) payment of administrative fee in the form of a crossed cheque/a bank draft to the following address:

The University of Hong Kong
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
2/F, William MW Mong Block
21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam
Hong Kong

*Please specify “Elective Application” on the envelope.