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.

Who is eligible?

The International Physician Observership Program is open to:

  • Fully trained international physicians and specialists currently practicing abroad.
  • International residents and fellows enrolled in a residency/fellowship program at a foreign institution and who are expected to graduate from that same institution.
  • International medical students enrolled at an international medical school and who are expected to graduate from that same school after the prospective visit would take place. Medical students who are in the last year of medical school at the time of their application are not eligible.

The International Physician Observership Program is not designed for international medical graduates (IMG) residing in the United States or abroad, who intend to apply for residency or fellowship in the U.S. These applications will not be considered for this program.

*Visitors entering the U.S. with the following visa types are eligible to participate: B1, B2, F2, H4, J2, L2, O3 or ESTA. Visitors entering the U.S. with any other visa types are currently ineligible.

Please note that at this time, Cleveland Clinic Center for International Medical Education cannot accept applicants who are citizens of the following countries: Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.



Available Specialties

Observership opportunities are offered by the following Cleveland Clinic institutes on main campus in Cleveland, Ohio (unless noted differently):

Cleveland Clinic Children’s

  • Neonatology (at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital)
  • Neonatology (at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital)
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute

  • Plastic Surgery

Head & Neck Institute

  • Head & Neck Surgery

Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute (Miller Family)

  • Clinical Cardiology

Respiratory Institute

  • Medical Intensive Care
  • Pulmonary Medicine
  • Pulmonary Critical Care (at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital)

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

If the specialty you are interested in is not listed above, please visit the International Physician Preceptorship Program section.

Duration & Fees

Duration & Fees


The length of the program is one month.


The program fee is $500.

A $200 non-refundable processing fee, which will be applied toward the program fee, will be charged for all applications. Upon acceptance to the program, the remaining non-refundable balance of $300 will be due to hold your place.

Please note that at this time, Cleveland Clinic cannot accept applicants who are citizens of the following countries: Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Cleveland Clinic does not accept payments from sanctioned parties.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Once your visit has been confirmed by e-mail, you’re expected to complete your observership/preceptorship.  If cancellation is unavoidable, please submit your notification in writing prior to your scheduled visit to CIME@ccf.org. Please be aware that your $200 processing fee is non-refundable and non-transferable and, in most circumstances, the full tuition amount is non-refundable. View our refund policy for details.



How to Apply to the International Physician Observership 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 a program 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.
Program periods 2025 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2025 June 1, 2024 July 31, 2024 September 15, 2024
Period 2: July to December 2025 December 1, 2024 January 31, 2025 March 15, 2025

Program periods 2026 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2026 June 1, 2025 July 31, 2025 September 15, 2025
Period 2: July to December 2026 December 1, 2025 January 31, 2026 March 15, 2026

You will be notified in writing either that your application has been accepted or that we cannot accommodate your request. If you are accepted but we are unable to provide your requested rotation, you will be offered the next available rotation date.

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

Documents Required to Apply

Documents Required to Apply

Application Policies

  • Each applicant is responsible for ensuring their application is complete.
  • The Review Committee will not consider any additional changes once an application has been submitted for review.
  • Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all information and supporting documents provided are authentic and accurate.
  • We reserve the right to request additional information or verification of information and documents submitted. If an applicant is unable to do so, we reserve the right to withdraw consideration of the application.
  • Applicants assume all costs associated with authenticating, retrieving and submitting documents and material in support of their application and fulfillment of observership.
  • The tuition fee needs to be paid in full in advance prior to start of the program. No cash payment is accepted.
  • Applicants must possess competent English-language skills for a professional healthcare environment.

Documents Required

  • Up-to-date CV/Resume.
  • Personal Statement – one page addressing your interest in this program.
  • Letter of Recommendation from a physician or the dean of your current medical school who can attest to academic and other relevant experience issued in the past 6 months. It needs to be printed on physician's or dean's office letterhead with appropriate signatures.
  • Current employment or medical school enrollment verification letter.

All documents submitted must be in:

  • English
  • PDF, DOC or DOCX format