Enter your search string and click the Go button

International Physician Observer Program

The Observership program is an informal shadowing experience that enables participants to watch procedures and surgeries; attend patient rounds and teaching conferences; and have full access to Cleveland Clinic’s medical library system. Federal regulations prevent observers from having patient care responsibilities or involvement in any form of volunteer research.

Available Specialties

Observership opportunities are offered by the following Cleveland Clinic departments:

 Abdominal Imaging Gynecology, Surgical1  Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
 Allergy and Immunology1  Head and Neck Surgery  Pediatric Neurology
 Allogen Lab1  Heart Failure  Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
 Anesthesia, Cardiothoracic 3 Hepatobilliary and Transplant1  Plastic Surgery
 Anesthesia, General 2  Interventional Cardiology 2  Pulmonary Medicine
  Breast Services  Medical Intensive Care  Radiation Oncology 2
 Cardiac Intensive Care  Musculoskeletal Imaging  Sleep Disorder Center
 Cardiovascular Imaging  Neonatology  Sports Health (Orthopaedics)
 Clinical Cardiology1  Neuroradiology  Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery 2
 Colorectal Surgery  Nuclear Medicine  Thoracic Imaging
 Dermatology  Ophthalmology2  Urology1
 Echocardiography Laboratory1  Orthopaedic Surgery 2  Vascular Surgery
 General Surgery1  Pain Management  Vascular Medicine

All available specialties are included in a drop-down list on the application form. 

1Apply to Preceptorship Program, 2Post-Residency Applicants Only, 3Post-Medical School Applicants Only


3,000 program applications received annually

600 international physicians and medical students selected every year to participate in the program

35+ clinical and surgical specialties in which participants can engage

65+ nationalities represented by our visiting observers


The length of the program typically is one month. A maximum of two months may be requested; however, this is subject to department availability and capacity.

The International Physician Observer Program is open to:

Fully trained international physicians and specialists currently practicing abroad
• International residents and fellows currently enrolled in a residency/fellowship 
  program at a foreign institution and who are expected to graduate from that same

• International medical students currently enrolled at an international medical school
  and who are expected to graduate from that same school


Foreign medical graduates residing in the US or abroad who intend to apply for residency or fellowship in the US may only be considered for our Global Clinical Observer Program.



A $200 non-refundable processing fee will be charged for all applications beginning with Period 2 (2014).
How to Apply for the International Physician Observer Program

1. Observership applications are presented to one specialty only; please select the one specialty that reflects your area of expertise or that you are most interested in.

2. Refer to the schedule below and select an application period most appropriate for you.

3. Create an account.

4. Complete the application form and submit all required documents before the close date of the period you are applying to.

5. Pay the fee.


Due to the volume of interest to our program, you may submit an application to only one Period during a 12-month timeframe (regardless of rejection or acceptance into the program). 


2013 - 2014 Calendar Year

Application Periods Online application open date Online application close date Expected Notification of Final Decision

Period 1:January, February, March, April  2014


August 23, 2013

October 25, 2013

Period 2: May, June, July and August 2014

CLOSED    February 21, 2014

 April  15, 2014

Period 3: September, October, November, December 2014

March 1, 2014

April 19, 2014

June 21, 2014

Requests for final decisions earlier than the notification dates listed in the last column above cannot be accommodated under any circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions about this Program

Program FAQs offer answers to commonly asked questions about the International Physician Observer Program.

View Program FAQs


The Cleveland Clinic © 1995-2011. All Rights Reserved. 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195 | 800.223.2273 | TTY 216.444.0261