Availability of Rotations 

As of January 1, 2024 - international electives continue to have very limited availability. Please consider this when applying for the non-refundable application fee. Each academic year, Cleveland Clinic receives more applications than it has educational opportunities.


Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH) Main Campus does not participate in VSLO entirely. All applications must be submitted through our website. A couple of departments (cardiothoracic surgery and plastic surgery) have begun to use VSLO to expand their reach of students but please note, once accepted through VSLO by the respective department, student must submit an application on the Cleveland Clinic elective website. For the 2024/25 academic year: SURG 4002C, SURG 4021C, SURG 4022C and SURG 4023C requests must be submitted to VSLO first.

Missing Documents/Information

Since many items may be supplied after acceptance, you can apply without having these documents, but you will need to upload a document attesting you will send the information after acceptance (e.g., proof of malpractice, health insurance and visa) since the system will require it. Please upload a Word document or PDF stating you understand the requirement and will send when available after acceptance.

Also, we realize some results may take time to receive. You can apply without the results, but you will need to upload a document attesting that you will submit the required information once you have received it. If you do not, your application will be considered incomplete. Examples of this include: background check, urine drug screen or letter of good standing (many schools may wish to send the letter directly). Please note application fees are non-refundable.

Working Hours

Clinic (outpatient) services are typically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hospital services vary with each department.

The Elective Coordinator in each department will provide your specific working hours and schedule, typically on your first day of the rotation. 

Absence During Your Rotation

If you need to be absent during your rotation, please complete an absence form (also on the Orientation Tab). Complete the form and have it signed and approved by the department.

According to the policy, you can be absent no more than three days out of the four weeks. If you're absent more than three days, you may not receive credit for the rotation and/or have the rotation cancelled.


You are responsible for all meals except on-call meals.

On-call meals are provided only when you are required to stay over in the hospital (except for Emergency Medicine) . A badge swipe system is used for on-call meals. When you receive your on-call schedule, you will need to give the Elective office the information needed to activate your badge. This is not automatic.

Meal allowance will expire at the end of your rotation. They are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Expiration dates will not be extended. Those on a B1/B2 Visa are not eligible for meals.

Emergency Medical Care

Cleveland Clinic's Primary Health Care Department and Emergency Department provide emergency visits for medical students. Check your personal insurance hospitalization plan for coverage information.


If your school requires an evaluation of your performance, please provide the form to the clinical department you are presenting to.

Please note that the Elective office does not complete any type of evaluation form; evaluations must come from the clinical area you are rotating with. If your school does not have a form and you wish to have an evaluation completed, you can use the visiting student end of rotation assessment form. Obtaining evaluations are the students responsibility. If you work with many different supervising physicians during your rotation, it is best practice to obtain feedback from each physician you work with. Be sure to have a discussion with each physician that you expect feedback from. Once you have obtained this feedback, it is best to have one person complete one final collective evaluation.  

TOEFL or OET Requirements

TOEFL or OET is required for all international students. Students should strive to score in the highest rank possible for reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.

If you are attending medical school in an English-speaking country, you may submit a statement to that effect. English-speaking countries include those where English is predominantly spoken, such as Canada, Ireland, UK, offshore Caribbean and South Africa. Additionally, you may be eligible for a TOEFL waiver if you have attended secondary school or university in the US, Canada or another predominantly English-speaking country. If so, submit your school transcript and include this information on your CV. If your medical school is not located in a predominantly English-speaking country, we will not accept an official letter from your dean stating that your school is conducted in English.

Please do not request a waiver without meeting the above criteria.

However, TOEFL or OET scores may also be required by Cleveland Clinic for any applicant at the elective office's discretion.

Background Check

Domestic Visiting Students: If you are a domestic student with a valid Social Security Number, no background check is required. A background check will be completed at time of onboarding, after you have been approved by the Elective Office. 

International Visiting Students: We accept background check reports from the local magistrate/police department in the city and country where you are currently attending medical school.

Background checks are to be completed within one year of the student's scheduled rotation dates. This is required and cannot be waived due to the fact that most international students do not have a SSN, therefore, a US background check cannot be completed. 

Drug Tests

We require a five-panel drug test. Anything over a five panel is accepted (must include the five listed below). Results of your test should be sent about one month prior to start date.

What drugs are included in a 5 panel drug test?

  • Cocaine.
  • Amphetamines.
  • Opiates.
  • PCP.
  • THC.

Malpractice Insurance and Limits

Malpractice insurance is required. Proof must be submitted prior to start date. Malpractice limits are as follows:

  • Claim Limit: $1,000,000.
  • Aggregate Limit: $3,000,000.

If your school offers malpractice coverage for away rotations but doesn't meet the malpractice dollar limits noted above, you must purchase supplemental malpractice insurance. Please be sure the malpractice insurance coverage covers you as a medical student for your elective involving hands on patient care. It cannot list any other student type or profession.

Conflict of Dates

Many students' academic calendars do not align with our own, but we cannot switch dates. We must adhere to our own dates to allow the maximum number of spots for students to rotate. Some students incorporate a week of vacation time to make the schedules work.

Deadline to Apply

The application for each time-frame will close about three months prior to start date. Applications are not processed first come first serve. Students will be notified of acceptance/denial 30-60 days prior to start date. Please do not email asking for an update, you will receive a notification. We may close block dates at any time.


Cleveland Clinic does not charge tuition. Cost to rotate is the application fee and other cost of living fees for the month while in Cleveland, Ohio.

Domestic vs. International Application?

If you are a domestic student attending an international medical school, you would apply as an international student. Please upload your US passport in the visa section. Type of application is based on student's medical school.

How Is Selection Determined?

Selection is determined by the clinical departments, space availability, and competitiveness for a Cleveland Clinic residency.