Visitor Programs Suspended

Due to COVID-19, all visitor programs are suspended until further notice. Please visit us again for updates.

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 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 institution.
  • 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 U.S. or abroad who intend to apply for residency or fellowship in the U.S. may only be considered for our Global Medical Observer Program and Global Surgical Observer Program.


  • Close to 1000 international physicians and medical students selected every year to participate in the program
  • 130+ nationalities represented by our visiting observers


Available Specialties

Observership opportunities are offered by the following Cleveland Clinic departments:

  • Cardiovascular Imaging
  • Clinical Cardiology
  • Head & Neck Surgery
  • Medical Intensive Care
  • Neonatology
  • Ophthalmology (Post-Residency Applicants Only)
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Hospital Medicine
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Neurology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Pulmonary Medicine

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

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

Duration & Fee

Duration & Fee


The length of the program typically is one month.

Fees & Tuition

The tuition for the program is $500.

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



How to Apply to 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 [All visitor programs are suspended until further notice due to COVID-19]
  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
Application periods 2022 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2022 On Hold On Hold On Hold
Period 2: July to December 2022 January 1, 2022 January 31, 2022 February 28, 2022

Application periods 2023 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2023 June 1, 2022 July 31, 2022 August 30, 2022
Period 2: July to December 2023 December 1, 2022 January 31, 2023 February 28, 2023

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.
  • Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback to candidates who are not accepted into the program.. 

Documents Required

  • Up-to-date CV/Resume.
  • Personal Statement – one page addressing your interest in this program.
  • Letter of Recommendation from a physician who can attest to academic and other relevant accomplishments.

All documents submitted must be in:

  • English
  • PDF, DOC or DOCX format