Start main page content


Read all the pages of this web document before you apply for an elective clerkship in Johannesburg, South Africa.

  • ALL registration fees must be paid IN FULL on the day of arrival or registration with the Elective Officer. A credit card facility is available in the Faculty of Health Sciences. No cash or cheques are accepted. Payment by EFT must reflect in the Faculty bank account at the time of registration and the proof of the EFT payment must be submitted at that time.
  • NO REFUND of registration fees will be considered under any circumstance.
  • Applications for the Trauma Unit at both Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, should be made one year in advance.

No changes will be considered once your elective programme has been confirmed and/or has commenced.

Under NO circumstance will elective registration fees be refunded.

Cancellation after commencement of your elective clerkship will NOT be subject to a refund.

The registration fee for the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is NOT refundable.


  • A stethoscope is a standard requirement.
  • Identity name tags to be worn at all times.
  • Men to wear smart or casual long pants and a collared shirt (or a cultural equivalent).
  • Women to wear dresses, skirts and tops, or long pants and tops (or cultural equivalent).
  • Closed shoes must be worn at all times whilst on duty in the hospital. No open shoes and/ or sandals are allowed whilst on duty.
  • Appearance must be neat and tidy at all times whilst on duty befitting that of a professional person.
  • Scrub suits are worn in the Trauma, Emergency Medicine and Surgery units.
  • Students in the Trauma unit are given one complimentary scrub suit. Additional scrub suits will have to be purchased at the student’s own expense. It is advisable for students in the Trauma Unit to bring along eye goggles for protection.

Compulsory immunisation against Hepatitis, MMR, Measles, Mumps and Rubella is a precondition for admission.

BCG- Bacille Calmette Guerin vaccination or PPD - Purified Protein Derrivative inoculation is advised as a precautionary measure in the event of exposure to TB- tuberculosis patients.

Malaria prophylaxis is required for students intending to travel to high risk areas such as the Kruger National Park and Mozambique.

As stipulated by both the department of Home Affairs and the Department of Health, it is COMPULSORY for all visiting International students to have personal medical coverage for the duration of their stay in South Africa. ALL international students must have Health and Personal Accident insurance including comprehensive hospital coverage for the duration of their stay. This should be arranged by the student. In addition, Professional/Public Liability insurance cover is not available through the University and, if required, should be arranged by the student prior to the start of the clerkship. You will not be permitted to register with this University unless proof of full health insurance coverage is provided.


Who needs a study permit?
In terms of the Aliens Control Act No. 96 of 1991 (section 26), if you are resident outside South Africa and are not a South African citizen or you do not have permanent residence status, you are required to obtain the correct entrance visa/ permit for the duration of stay in South Africa. For further information in this regard, please visit:

If you are offered an elective clerkship at the University of the Witwatersrand, it will be on condition that you obtain official permission to enter the country. It does not bind the Department of Home Affairs in any way to allow you to reside in South Africa. In terms of this Act, no South African educational institution may offer tuition to a student who has not received a study permit/ visa. If the duration of your stay is 90 days or less, you need not apply for a study permit; you will be issued with a visitor's visa however you must contact the nearest South African Consulate/Embassy in this regard.

Where do I go to apply for a study permit/visa?
You are required to apply for a study permit/ visa at the South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission in your country of residence or country of origin. If there is no South African representative in your country, you must apply to the South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission nearest to your home country.

When do I apply for a study permit/visa?
You should apply for you study permit/ visa once you have received a letter of acceptance / confirmation from the University. The study permit should cover the duration of your elective.
When applying for your study permit/visa the following is normally required:

  • a letter of acceptance / confirmation from this University
  • a guarantee that you are able to cover your repatriation fee to your country of origin
  • provision of proof of comprehensive medical insurance / health coverage

Students should apply well ahead of the elective period as it can take up to 12 weeks to register with the (HPCSA) and 6-8 weeks to obtain the permit / visa.

It is noted that medical students are sometimes issued with work permits by the South African mission stations abroad, Please note that this in no way implies that the foreign student may receive remuneration - there is NO remuneration for time spent in our hospitals as an elective student.


The University and the hospitals do not pay students for the work undertaken during the elective period.

Students applying for an elective programme in South Africa are advised to take note of the following:-
It is recommended that prior to your departure for South Africa, you meet for a tutorial with a physician who is experienced in HIV medicine. Topics to be discussed include:

  • blood and body fluid precautions
  • indications for taking post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for an HIV exposure
  • the choice of regimen with or without a protease inhibitor
  • adverse effects of the PEP regimens
  • follow up testing
  • other potential blood-borne occupational infections
  • a contact person with telephone number from your own university in case of a need for discussion of an exposure and for possible follow-up on return from the elective period.

Elective students working in teaching hospitals are expected to observe the protocols, procedures and guidelines that the Faculty of Health Sciences has agreed upon and which our staff and students observe with regard to HIV testing and safety precautions

Students are to take every reasonable precaution in the wards in the teaching hospitals.

Since students are working under supervision, they should at all times report any problems, and discuss any queries, with their supervisors, registrars or heads of departments.

On registration, the elective student will be given written information on "HIV Exposure Protocol for Students" in the event of a needle-stick injury or mucosal exposure.

Anti-retroviral therapy prophylaxis prescribed and obtainable from both Medical School and/or hospitals:
• AZT 200mg 8 HOURLY FOR 28 DAYS
• 3TC 150mg FOR 28 DAYS