FAQs for Students Applying


Below are answers to questions frequently asked by students interested in applying to our program. If your question is not answered below, email globalhealthelectives@med.cornell.edu with your specific questions.

We have also developed an FAQ with answers specific to questions regarding the Health Statement form. We recommend students print out and bring the Health Statement FAQ to their physician to help with completing the health statement form.

Click here for the printable Health Statement FAQ.

When can I apply for electives in this program?

  • Only students in their final year of medical school are eligible to apply.  Applications must be submitted 6 months in advance of the applicant's first choice of elective.  The application review process and the placement process can take up 4 months.  Please keep this in mind as we do not provide application status and/or updates.  We strongly advise to check email spam folder as we typically communications via email.

I sent in my application- when can I expect a confirmation email?

  • We ask that you allow up to 4 weeks to receive a confirmation email.
  • If you have not received a confirmation email after 4 weeks, please send a follow-up email to globalhealthelectives@med.cornell.edu requesting an update.

How do I receive an update on my application status?

  • We do not advise about a student’s application status over the phone or in person. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your application, submit them to our email globalhealthelectives@med.cornell.edu.  However, please be advised that we do not give status updates on applications.  The application review process and the placement process can take 4 months.

Can I submit my application less than six months in advance?

  • We do not consider applications sent less than six months in advance of the requested elective dates.  The application review process and the placement process can take 4 months.

The course catalog does not show dates for the months I am looking to apply- how should I request the correct dates on my application form?

  • When viewing the catalog, be sure to choose the appropriate year from the drop-down menu.
  • There are dates up to May 2023 in the course catalog currently. The course catalog is updated in April for the following academic year (2022 - 2023), however students should still apply 6 months in advance of their earliest requested elective dates.
  • On your application, use the current catalog’s date ranges and elective options offered. If necessary, we will ask you to update this form once the new catalog has been released.
  • Note: Elective dates generally shift 1-2 days from the previous year. Therefore, you should be flexible by a minimum of 1-2 days at the beginning and the end of the elective dates listed in the current catalog. There is also an orientation that is scheduled on the Thursday prior to the start of your elective.

If I email the clinical department, can they tell me if there is an elective spot for me?

  • Do not contact individual clinical sponsors for information on vacancies, elective availability, placement etc.  Applicants who contact clinical departments directly will be disqualified from participating in the program.
  • All requests regarding the program should be coordinated with the Office of International Medical Student Education.

What are the best electives/dates to apply for to increase the chance of placement?

  • Students should only apply for electives and dates that they are genuinely interested and available to participate in. There are several factors that determine whether a student is placed, most importantly the strength of the student's application and availability of spots determined by departmental needs. Placement is not guaranteed.
  • We do not have capcity for elective placement during the months of June, July and AugustThis is because the start of the academic year many electives do not host international students in the summer. We recommend considering alternative months.

Can I make changes to my applications after submitting it?

  • Changes to application are only allowed up to 1-week after you receive the "Application Received" email as the application review process begins immediately.

How long does it take to reach a decision on my application?

  • It takes 4 months to fully process applications and receive a response from departments. 
  • Typically, students hear a decision 2 months prior to their earliest requested elective dates.
  • The office of International Medical Students Education will notify you via email when the clinical departments reach their decision regarding your application.
  • If you require a decision by a specific date, send an email with your request PRIOR to applying. We cannot guarantee a decision will be reached on your application by a specific date, but we can give feedback on whether it is possible.

How many electives can I be considered for?

  • Applicants may indicate a maximum of 9 electives and a maximum of 3 months to be considered for. Students can be accepted for electives lasting a maximum of 8 weeks.
  • While we attempt to accommodate student’s top choices, you will be considered for all electives and dates indicated on your application form. You must be able to attend the full length of the elective if you are accepted- dates are not flexible.

Can I apply to the program if I am not a final year student?

  • You must be a final year student at the time of your actual rotation. We define your final year as the year preceding your graduation date.
  • If you are applying too early, clerkship grades/marks may not be listed on your transcript.  This is required for the processing/review of your application and placement. 
  • Students who have already graduated are not eligible to participate.

Do you have observerships I could participate in?

  • Our office does not coordinate observerships.

I am interested in doing a two-week elective, is the fee $3,000?

  • Four-week electives= $3,000
  • You can also be accepted for 2x 2-week electives (total four weeks= $3000)
  • Two-week electives= $1500

Should I pay the full elective fee when I send in my application? Will that increase my chances of being accepted?

  • Only once you are accepted should you submit elective fees. Do not send any fees other than the $300 application fee with your application documents.
  • Sending any other fees besides the $300 application fee will not increase your chance of acceptance.

I paid the wrong fee, how can I get a refund?

I am a US Citizen, am I eligible to apply?

I am not sure I am considered an international student- how can I find out?

I am not sure my university is approved for the program- how can I find out?

  • Before you apply, email us at globalhealthelectives@med.cornell.edu with your question, along with your single page application form (filled out at the top only) and your CV. We will advise if your university is approved and you are eligible to apply.

My university's language of instruction is not English- can I apply?

  • Applicants should submit TOEFL scores along with application documents.  We typically look for a score greater than 100 to meet the English Proficiency requirement.

Will I be considered for more electives if I send two applications?

  • Only send one complete application. Our program considers students for a maximum of nine elective choices within a maximum of three months only.
  • If you are placed for more than 4-weeks, the dates will typically be altogether (back-to-back) unless otherwise  requested by the student on their application form.

I do not have malpractice or health insurance- can I still apply?

  • Malpractice insurance and health insurance are not required until after you have been accepted for an elective.
  • Please visit our Insurance page for further details.

I was approved for an elective and accepted, but now I can no longer participate- what do I do?

  • Should you need to cancel your elective, immediately notify Dianne Young via email at dey2001@med.cornell.edu or by phone at (646) 962-8058.
  • Visit our Cancellation Policy page for more details regarding our policy and associated fees.

How do I receive an evaluation of my performance for elective(s) taken at WCM?

  • Students who need an evaluation should contact the Registrar's office (registrar@med.cornell.edu) approximately 2 weeks after completion of their elective to request an evaluation.

My medical school requires a stamp/seal on an official document at the end of my rotation. How do I obtain this?

  • Students who require a stamp or seal can contact the registrar's office (registrar@med.cornell.edu) about 2 weeks before the end date of their elective. The staff will arrange a date and time to meet with the student.  Please keep in mind that student must bring only official documents to be stamped or have a seal placed.  This means that the document must be on official school letterhead (with school’s address) and be completed with student’s name, school, dates, etc. 

At the end of my elective training, I will need a letter of recommendation for future medical education, residency etc.  Can I request this service?

  • Students who have successfully completed an elective in the same department for 4 weeks can request a LOR from the attending or senior staff who trained them.  This must be requested by the last week of being on service. Students should obtain the attending and/or senior staff’s email contact for future communication.  This should be kept confidential between the staff and student.  

Apply to the Visiting International Student Elective Program

Student Eligibility and Policies

Elective Offerings and the Course Catalog

Application Requirements

Visiting Student Reflections

Approved Students

Weill Cornell Medicine
Office of International Medical Student Education
1300 York Avenue (C-118) New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-8058 globalhealthelectives@med.cornell.edu