JCU has a commitment to a brighter future for life in the tropics worldwide. In keeping with this strategic intent, the College of Medicine and Dentistry is pleased it can make a contribution through the medical and health research it contributes to, and the positive medical and health outcomes that it contribute to when its students are on placement.

Through its research, teaching and engagement activities, the College of Medicine and Dentistry is at the forefront of improving health within Australia and world-wide.

Undergraduate opportunities

Students in the College of Medicine and Dentistry have the opportunity to participate in an exciting variety of international clinical placements.

Engagement in the tropics worldwide is a key element of JCU’s mission. The College of Medicine and Dentistry aims to train and educate graduates who are able to meet the health needs of communities in the tropics.

Based throughout the Asia Pacific region these carefully developed and well supported clinical placements enhance the learning and scope of practice of our undergraduate students.

Students undertaking these placements further their understanding of the health needs of  our region and experience first-hand the differences in health care systems, access to care and health beliefs.

Post graduate research

For information on postgraduate research please see Postgraduate research and Coursework.

Collaboration with international partners

Engagement in the tropics worldwide is a key element of JCU’s mission. The College is proud of the strong relationships it has built over a long time with our internationally based partners in order that we can make a contribution, which include:

  • Fiji National University
  • Atoifi Hospital, Solomon Islands
  • Vanuatu
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sinagpore

Placement opportunities as at 2016

World May photo


All final year medical students have an elective term during which they can arrange for a clinical placement of their choice either domestically or internationally. This is known as the Clinical Elective Term.

In addition, medical students are able to apply for an International Selective Placement. These are core learning placements. In 2016, these placements are available in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Singapore and many of the placements are supported by New Colombo Plan funding.

These Selective Placements are different from the Clinical Elective Term. The placements are carefully developed, working in partnership with local universities, health care providers and organisations.

The selection process for these placements is competitive, with approximately 20% of medical students having the opportunity to undertake an International Selective Placement.

Here are just three quotes from students about their overseas experiences:

“It was a challenging experience culturally and educationally. I learned a lot about appreciating the vast differences in the way hospitals work in different settings and not to compare everything to the way things are done in Australia.”

“ I had fantastic clinical experiences. I performed a lot of births, assisted in many caesarean sections and got a lot of experience in clinics. I felt much more confident in my ability to identify and manage obstetric emergencies.”

“Spending time with the medical students and locals in Fiji was probably the most valuable experience outside the hospital. By making friends with these people I really got to understand more about living and practicing medicine in Fiji.”


The final year of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery course is predominantly clinical placement. Students are placed in regions such as Cairns and Hinterland, Cape and Torres, Townsville, Mackay, Central West and North West Queensland, as well as the Northern Territory and Tasmania to complete their Clinical Rotations. Final year students are required to attend their placement clinic full time each week (4 rostered clinical days and 1 rostered study day) for the duration of the rotations.  

In addition to the clinical rotations 1 and 2 students may also apply for Overseas Selective Placements. Overseas selectives are very dynamic placements, with numerous influences contributing to their success. Factors such as funding, political stability, student safety, interest and learning experiences are all taken into consideration when determining the viability of an overseas placement. The College of Medicine and Dentistry foster close partnerships with local universities, healthcare providers and not for profit organisations to ensure enriching student experiences.

Currently the available selective sites for consideration are:

Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Fiji, PNG, and the Solomon Islands

Many of these locations attract the New Colombo Plan Government initiative, however where funding is not provided students are also encouraged to look into the suitability of and OS-Help loan to assist with expenses.

Japan placement 2016:

“Kyoto University Hospital has one of the best maxillofacial surgery units in the world. We got to see a wide variety of procedures, such as emergency dentistry, tooth extractions, jaw fracture surgeries, and growth removals”.

Cambodia placement 2016:

“Not only was this an emotionally satisfying experience, it was also a great learning opportunity. I was able to practice my extraction techniques, I learnt a more efficient way of applying fissure sealants and how to make do with limited resources. I was an adventurous and fun-filled experience.”

Research for the tropics