Elective placements

Our guide on planning your elective placement

Elective placements
[Illustrations: Rose Lloyd]


Planning an elective placement can be an exciting time for student physiotherapists. For many it’s an opportunity to build on your interests and perhaps seek to gain experience in a speciality or an area related to your career aspirations. For others, it can be challenging; knowing where to start and what to consider, and how to ensure you find a quality learning opportunity.

Some students choose to arrange practice placements overseas. Your university will have a critical role in helping you plan and organise your elective placement to ensure quality assurance processes are in place to support your learning and supervision requirements. You will need to organise your placement as early as you can, as the process can be time consuming. 


  • Discuss your idea with your personal tutor.
  • The international office or work experience hub may have useful contacts.
  • Be clear of your expected placement assessment learning outcomes and how they will be achieved.


  • Find out what others have done before.
  • Browse and post questions on iCSP.
  • Follow individuals and teams on Twitter.


    • Be clear what supervision arrangements and contact points you will have with your university for the duration of the placement.
    • Ensure you are being supervised by practice educators who can help you meet your learning needs.

    Professional liability insurance

    You must check that you have sufficient professional liability insurance (PLI) in place whether you plan to go abroad or stay within the UK. Student members of the CSP are covered by our PLI scheme, as long as they are being supervised by a registered health care professional. 


    The CSP PLI covers supervised student placements overseas for up to 180 days duration, anywhere in the world except in USA, Canada or Australia.

    If you want to do a placement in any of these three countries, you will need to take out separate insurance.
    *Subject to the terms and conditions 

    Public liability insurance / employer liability insurance

    The CSP PLI scheme covers medical malpractice only. You must check with the placement provider and your university to ensure you have cover should an accident or injury occur while you are working. 

    Overseas students

    Foreign students studying on a UK-based, recognised HCPC pre-registration physio programme do benefit from the PLI scheme while undertaking a formal student elective in their home country (other than in USA, Canada or Australia).
    *Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy

    Keep a record of supervision

    Keep a clear record of your arrangements and details of your supervising physiotherapist (or other registered health professional). If a claim be made you will need to be able to prove you had an appropriately registered supervisor


    Student members of the CSP can apply to our Charitable Trust to help fund elective placements, whether it is in the UK or overseas. Successful applicants can claim up to £2,000 in financial aid. 

    Sara Conroy is a CSP professional adviser

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