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 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.

*Visitors will need a B1 or B2 visa, or ESTA in order to participate.



Available Specialties

Observership opportunities are offered by the following Cleveland Clinic institutes:

Cleveland Clinic Children’s

  • Neonatology
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Neurology

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

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 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.



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 an application period most appropriate for you
  3. Create an account here
  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 2023 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2023 June 6, 2022 July 31, 2022 September 15, 2022
Period 2: July to December 2023 December 1, 2022 January 31, 2023 March 15, 2023

Application periods 2024 Online application open date Online application close date Expected notification of final decision
Period 1: January to June 2024 June 1, 2023 July 31, 2023 September 15, 2023
Period 2: July to December 2024 December 1, 2023 January 31, 2024 March 15, 2024

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.

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 experience issued in the past 12 months. It needs to be printed on physician's or dean's office letterhead with appropriate signatures.

All documents submitted must be in:

  • English
  • PDF, DOC or DOCX format