Visiting Independent

The College issues licensure on a case-by-case basis to visiting medical students attending a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools which includes the Canada sponsor note, for a maximum of eight weeks of UBC elective and/or independent clinical experience time per academic year. The academic year runs from August 25 of a year to August 24 of the following year.

Note: A visiting medical student who may be eligible for an elective must first contact UBC to obtain verfication that their elective request cannot be accommodated. The College will require confirmation of this verification before reviewing a student's request for registration and licensure for an independent clinical experience.

Note: Undertaking an elective that includes time at a Vancouver Island Health Authority/Island Health facility is not possible at this time due to health authority medical staff rules.


Application Process

Visiting independent medical students must be registered with the College before they can begin their clinical experience. Please allow six weeks for the application to be processed.

  1. All visiting independent medical students who wish to set up a clinical experience – including observerships/shadowing – must contact the College directly at
  2. Guidelines on setting up an independent clinical experience in BC will be sent to the student. All of the documentation listed in the guidelines must be received by the College as one complete package a minimum of six weeks prior to the clinical experience start date before the student’s clinical experience request will be approved.
  3. Once approval is granted, an application package will be sent to the student containing:
    • application form
    • consent to a criminal record check form
    • credit card authorization form
    • English language proficiency requirements information sheet
  4. The supervising physician for a medical student's independent clinical experience must have been registered and licensed with the College in the full class of registration for a minimum of three years, be in good standing, agree to supervise and be responsible for all clinical contact, and ensure compliance with the College's Professional Standards and Guidelines, subject to College approval. The supervisor can also only supervise two medical students at a time. 

Note: The complete application package must be completed and returned to the College no later than six weeks prior to the student’s clinical experience start date. Failure to submit the forms on time could result in the student not being registered for the clinical experience.

Additional Information

  1. A registration fee of C$90 (includes C$40 criminal record check fee) and an annual licensure fee of C$50 is required.
  2. Documents received more than 60 days in advance of the clinical experience starting will not be processed (i.e. letters of good standing from universities are valid for 60 days).

Important Information for Supervising Physicians

University of British Columbia (UBC) faculty members who supervise students in non-UBC clinical experiences involving patient contact do so independently and any legal issues that arise are not indemnified by UBC. Additionally, the non-UBC clinical experience cannot be represented as a UBC elective in a letter of recommendation or evaluation report. Note this includes observerships.

Any physician supervising a medical student in a non-UBC clinical experience is responsible for the actions of the student. The physician is also responsible for ensuring the health authority has approved the visiting medical student participating in a clinical experience in its institution.

Supervising physicians must confirm in writing to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (the College) that they will be responsible for the supervision of any clinical contact by the medical student with patients and will

  • inform the patient that the visiting medical student is participating in an educational experience under their supervision;
  • obtain verbal consent from the patient to allow the visiting medical student to participate in the care situation; and
  • provide direct supervision at all times during the visiting medical student’s clinical experience.

If a portion of the educational activity is to take place in a hospital, a letter from the hospital/health authority, satisfactory to the College, approving the visit is mandatory.

Additionally, UBC faculty members who supervise students in independent (non-UBC) clinical experiences must confirm in writing to the College that:

  • the supervision they provide is done independent of UBC and that any legal issues that arise are not indemnified by UBC
  • the clinical experience will not be represented as a UBC clinical experience in a letter of recommendation or evaluation report

More information regarding the eligibility requirements for supervisors can be found here.

Note: Supervising physicians must not be a relative of the medical student. Please contact the College at for further information.