FAQs for Foreign Medical Students Elective Training Programme

1. Who can apply?

Any medical student from any country can apply. They should have started the clinical component of their medical course by the time of the proposed elective.

2. I am an Indian National/Non Resident Indian doing my medical studies in another country. Does this make it any easier for me to do the elective?

Yes it does! If you are an Indian National or a Non Resident Indian (NRI) and your passport clearly states that your Nationality is Indian, you do not have to take the permission of the Medical Council of India. This means that you need to send only ONE bank draft for Rs. 2000 for the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry and need NOT send the other one for the Medical Council of India. Also, the time for processing your application can be reduced to just 6-8 weeks instead of 6 months, provided that vacancies for electives exist during the period you desire.

3. When should I apply?

You should apply at least 6 months in advance of your anticipated date of commencement of the elective.

4. How long can the elective period be?

Minimum - 3 weeks; Maximum - 12 weeks.In addition, if during an elective period, of say, 3 weeks, you choose to rotate through more than one specialty, it would be generally possible, subject to availability of vacancies.

5. Which time of the year are electives offered?

All through the year.

6.  Which time of the year is the best?

August to February is the recommended period - as the weather is reasonably pleasant (12 - 23 degrees C). In October / November we may have heavy rains. Commuting may be difficult for a few days during this period. However, this is also the time when most infectious diseases like malaria, gastroenteritis, typhoid, leptospirosis etc occur. March to July is hot (38 - 42 degrees C).

7. How many students do you accept at a time?

There is no real limit on the number of students we can take. We have a large teaching program and vacancies invariably exist. However, you are advised to indicate your period for the elective after due thought as it may be impossible for us to change the dates of the electives once decided upon.

8. What is the procedure for application?

Send all the following documents in a single envelope to The Director-Principal, PIMS, Kalapet,
Pondicherry-605014, India

a) Filled up application form of Medical Council of India (4 sheets)
b) Filled up PIMS Elective Application Form (2 sheets)
c) Letter of approval from the Dean of your medical school
d) Six passport size photographs (apart from those affixed on the forms)
e) Six copies of passport
f) Demand draft for Rs. 5000/- payable to The Secretary – Medical Council of India at New Delhi
g) Demand draft for Rs. 2000/- payable to Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences at Pondicherry

9. What are bank drafts?

These are also called demand drafts in India. These are the same as "Pay orders" or "Banker’s Cheques”.

10. In what currency should the bank drafts be in?

Only in Indian rupees, and not US$ or any other foreign currency. You may have to approach different banks for this. Please note that payment can only be in the form of a demand draft and in Indian rupees only.

11. What bank drafts do we have to provide?

You have to send two drafts. One for the Medical Council of India for Rs. 5000/- and the other in favour of the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences for Rs. 2000/-

12. There are two of us coming together for an elective during the same period. Can we send a common bank draft?

No, the drafts and application forms for each individual should be sent separately.

13. Is it possible to have a family member/friend within India mail these drafts to you separate from my application, which I will mail from here?

No – please send your filled in application form to your family/friend and ask them to mail everything together to us.

14. There is some delay in getting the bank drafts, shall I send the application first and the bank drafts later.

No. There is nothing we can do with the application without the bank drafts. So please send all the material together.

15. Is there any other fee to be paid? ?

Yes, if accepted for the training, you have to pay the tuition fees of Rs. 20,000/- for the elective training. This is to be paid ONLY when you arrive at PIMS for your elective. This may be paid either by cash or demand draft, payable to the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences at Pondicherry. A receipt will be issued. (Cheques will not be accepted).

 16. Where do I send the letters to the Medical Council of India and the Government of India?

Send everything to us in a single envelope and we will handle the rest.

17. What do we write for point no.8 on the MCI form: Applicant's address in India during stay?

As you will be staying at the PIMS Hostel, please mention that.

18. Is it a problem that at present I don't have a likely address in India?

Not applicable.

19. What does the “letter of approval from the Dean of faculty from the sponsoring University” mean (point no.15 on the MCI form)?

This can be in the form of a letter addressed "To whomsoever it may Concern" stating that the applicant is a bonafide student of that college and is of good standing and has the permission from the institution to undertake the elective.

20. Will it be possible for me to be specifically attached to particular departments during my elective?

Yes. In your PIMS application form, please mention the specialty you are interested in and the preferred period for each.

21. In which specialties can I obtain training in?

During your elective at PIMS, training can be provided in the following specialties:

  During any year of study
Only during the Final year of study

 General Surgery 
 Internal Medicine
 Obstetrics and Gynecology
 Orthopedic Surgery
 Community Medicine
 Chest Medicine
 Skin & Venereal diseases
CardioThoracic & Vascular Surgery
Plastic Surgery
Paediatric Surgery
Neuro Surgery


22. How does the allocation of elective posts work? Will I get the elective of my choice? How will I be informed about it?

Almost always, you will be allowed to do the elective in the departments of your choice. We will inform you specifically only if this is NOT possible.

23. During my elective, is it possible for me to rotate through multiple specialities in 3 weeks? For example, General Surgery for 1 week, Internal Medicine for 1 week, Orthopaedics for 1 week?

Yes, this is possible – but please consider whether this would be beneficial to you. Do remember that very short postings may not be of much use. Please indicate your choices and preferred duration in the appropriate row in the PIMS application form (point no.16).

24. Is there any outreach clinic in rural areas? And, can elective students be allowed to join such kind of clinics?

Yes. We have outreach clinics. You have to ask for this specifically and this is assigned by our Community Medicine department. The main outreach clinic is situated about 25 km away from the college.

25. Will I be permitted to perform procedures on patients?

No, you are not permitted to perform any procedure or treat any patient during your elective.

26. How far is the nearest bank?

The Central Bank of India has a branch in campus and also maintains an ATM in the campus.

27. How will we know if we have been accepted or if you have even received our application?

We will acknowledge receipt of your application by email. In case you do not receive any information from us 3 weeks after you mail your application, please send an e-mail to mmmpims@gmail.com regarding your application. As a rule, we seldom reject students who fulfill the mandatory requirements. It takes up to 4 - 5 months to receive all clearances from agencies in India. Please check the status of your application about 3 months after you have sent in your application via email.

28.How is the matter of the Visa handled? Is that arranged through my application, or do I have to apply for one through the Indian embassy here? 

You have to personally arrange for a visa in your own country before you leave for India. Please note that you can come in for an elective ONLY on a student's visa. If you come on any other visa, we will NOT be able to take you in for an elective.

29. Whom do I contact on arrival at PIMS?

These details will be emailed to you on completion of all the formalities. You would also be required to report to the Office of the Director before you begin your training program.

30.Can we start the elective even before you receive approvals from the government authorities?

No. You can start your electives only after we receive permission from the Medical Council of India and Ministry of Health.

31.What is the language of communication?

English is the language of teaching and communication amongst doctors, medical students and nursing staff. However only a few patients speak English. Hence, for communicating with patients, knowledge of Tamil, Hindi and other Indian languages will help. Fellow students or paramedical personnel would help you in interpretation.

32. Are there any local students? Will there be other elective students?

Yes. Local students are invariably posted except during college vacation times. There may also be other elective students at any point of time.

33. Is there a dress code?

White coats- full or half sleeves- are compulsory when entering the hospital area, You are not allowed to wear T Shirts & jeans, short skirts & shorts. Please keep the local conservative culture and customs in mind at all times. Since the weather is generally warm, you might find cotton clothing to be more comfortable.

34. Should we prepare our vaccination record before our elective study, and whom should we give them to?

The Institution has no special vaccination requirements. You can be guided by the Visa requirements for this. It is strongly recommended that you have completed your Hepatitis B vaccination schedule and documented that you are protected by checking the Anti HBs titre (> 10 units).

35. Can you make arrangements for me to stay? 

Limited accommodation is available for elective students in the hostels on the campus. Accomodation will be provided in the hostels (separate for males and females) and will cost Rs. 200/- per day (excluding food).

36. What would be my approximate living expenses?

Of course that would depend on your lifestyle – but you can stay rather comfortably by spending Rs. 750/- per day.

37.We are willing to stay outside the campus in hostels or hotels, but worry about availability in Pondicherry. Would you be able to provide any assistance in this matter?

Definitely no.

38. What arrangements are possible for food? 

The hospital has three canteens / cafeterias which serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in between. There are small eat outs just outside the campus too. Do remember that the campus follows a ‘no alcohol’ and ‘no smoking’ policy.

39. Are their any facilities for worship in campus?

Yes, PIMS has a beautiful church within the campus (of the Orthodox order of service), which is open at any
time for worship. Apart from that, other church services are held on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays – further
information may be availed from the Office of the Chaplain.
There is also a Prayer Hall available, which is open during the day.

40.Other than the tuition fee for the elective course itself, is there any other payment necessary for our elective study?

No, but you have to look after your accommodation and living expenses including food.

41. I will be arriving at Chennai airport. Will there be a shuttle service picking me up from the airport, and if yes how much will it cost? 

There are no such shuttle services. Please hire a prepaid taxi at the airport. The fare to the hospital will be approximately Rs. 3000 (non air conditioned car). 

42. Is post exposure prophylaxis available for HIV? What about Hepatitis B?

Yes. It is available in the hospital. We expect you to be vaccinated and seroprotected against Hepatitis B.

43. What about immunisations?

Make sure that all the major vaccinations like MMR, DTP, Polio, etc are up to date and also that Malaria chemoprophylaxis is taken. Rabies and Japanese encephalitis shots are not necessary. While in Pondicherry, you are advised not to eat uncooked food and preferably stick to bottled water.

44. Is your medical school a University Medical Center?

Yes. We are affiliated to the Pondicherry Central University.

45. Can I use the library?

Yes. You will be issued a card of permit to use the library. However it will not be possible for you to borrow books from the library. The Central Library hosts a wide range of medical and nursing texts and journals, apart from having a dedicated wi-fi zone. 

46. What type of electrical outlets are used in India and how do I need to use my electric appliances there?

We have 220V AC with the plugs having round connections.

47. What is the contact details of the college and hospital?

Telephone: 0413 - 2651111 / 2656271 / 2656272

Fax: 91 - 413 - 2656273


48. If I got sick while on elective, would I be able to access health care?

Yes, but we would recommend that you obtain medical insurance before arrival.

49. Is there internet access at the university and hospital and is it available 24 hours a day?

All departments have internet access - so does the library. Most of the campus is a wi-fi zone.

50. Will I get a certificate of completion of the elective?

Yes, a certificate of completion will be issued to you on satisfactory completion of the elective.