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Practical year abroad


The practical year is divided into three tertials, each 16 weeks in duration, in the following disciplines:

  • Internal medicine,
  • Surgery and
  • General medicine or an elective subject offered at the University Medical Center Mainz or one of its teaching hospitals.

In principle, it is possible to complete all three tertials abroad. If you opt for an elective subject rather than general medicine, you can only take an elective subject abroad that is also offered at the University Medical Center Mainz. Other elective subjects are not recognized!

If you decide to pursue a practical year placement abroad, you must organize this yourself. You can find some helpful reports of experiences for example here or in the database of the EU ServicePoint. Please keep in mind that you must comply with the nationwide standard tertial dates, even if you complete your tertial abroad.

Please also note that foreign teaching hospitals may charge fees to foreign practical year students, and you will require good to very good language skills.

There is no standard term that is equivalent to “practical year” (praktisches Jahr) in anglophone countries. In the US it is referred to as an “elective”, while in many other countries this term is used for the clinical rotation (Famulatur)”. Because of this, be sure to clarify that the skills listed in the Practical Year Logbooks will be taught during your tertial study abroad. All logbooks, for both the mandatory courses in surgery and internal medicine and also for the elective subject, can be found at www.um-mainz.de/rfl/studium-lehre/studiengang-medizin/praktisches-jahr.html. 


If you complete your tertial abroad within the European Union, you may obtain funding through the EU ServicePoint. More detailed information and a list of all documents that you will need to submit can be found on the following site:

Certificate of equivalence

For a tertial abroad to be recognized, you will need to provide proof that the hospital is deemed to be equivalent to a teaching hospital. Only university hospitals or teaching hospitals affiliated with a state-recognized university are deemed equivalent.

The German Licensing Regulation for Physicians (ÄAppO) also stipulate that the institution providing training must have:

  • A suitably equipped radiology department
  • A suitably equipped medical diagnostic laboratory
  • A medical library
  • A dissection room, and
  • sufficient space for students to reside and receive instruction.

To obtain a certificate of equivalence, contact the appropriate member of teaching staff at the University Medical Center Mainz. You should obtain the equivalence certificate before you commence your tertial abroad.


You will need to appropriately enroll at the university abroad associated with the hospital. If this is not permitted under local law, an exception may be made. If you are not enrolled, we will require a certificate of conformity from the dean of the university abroad or the head of the hospital abroad. This must show that as a foreign, non-enrolled student, your rights and duties are equivalent to those of enrolled students.

Tertial splitting

It is possible to split a tertial abroad.

If you do so, you are permitted no absences during the split tertial. The possible variants for tertial splitting are:

  • 8 weeks abroad/8 weeks at the teaching hospital

of JGU MainzOR

  • 8 weeks abroad (I) and another 8 weeks abroad (II).

If you wish to split your tertial, be sure to contact Ms. Schmidt beforehand at:  ines.schmidt@uni-mainz.de . If you are aiming to obtain funding through an Erasmus practical placement, please note that the stay abroad must comprise a minimum of 60 days.

After returning from a tertial abroad

After completion of your tertial abroad, you must yourself ensure it is recognized by the State Examination Board. To do so, you will require

  1. The certificate of equivalence
  2. The tertial certificate
  3. The enrolment certificate of the university abroad, or, if you were not enrolled, the certificate of conformity.

In addition, please complete the survey at: https://survey.zdv.uni-mainz.de/index.php/351794?newtest=Y&lang=de. The data collected will be used to provide assistance to students planning to take their practical year abroad in the future. It won't take you longer than 5 minutes to complete the survey.