Program Overview

The UCLA Health International Physician Observership Program is an informal observational experience that enables participants to observe different clinical team members from the host department.  Participants will shadow UCLA Health physicians, observe them in outpatient and inpatient clinical settings, and can attend department meetings, patient rounds, and grand round lectures. Observerships are typically one to three months long and provide participants the opportunity to immerse in UCLA Health's clinical programs, gain exposure to relevant techniques and technology, and build relationships with clinicians. Observers will receive a Certificate of Participation upon successful completion of the program.

U.S. and California laws and regulations, as well as UCLA Health regulations are strictly enforced, and observers will not directly participate in patient care or advise on any cases.

What You Can Expect

  • As an observer, you will be able to observe your host faculty in the clinical setting and attend lectures and meetings.
  • You will be accompanied by an attending physician, fellow, resident, healthcare staff, or supervisor at all times when observing patients.
  • You will not be able to perform or be involved in any patient care or research.
  • You will not have access to UCLA Health's patient record system (CareConnect), library, or Mednet email privileges.

Participation in the observership program does not have any bearing on pending or future residency or fellowship applications. UCLA Health is unable to provide any recommendation letters regarding your participation in the observership program. Federal regulations prevent observers from having patient care responsibilities or involvement in any form of volunteer research. Please note as an observer, you are not eligible to have a email address and cannot have access to our electronic patient record-keeping system. All health professionals participating in the UCLA International Physician Observership Program are required to comply with all UCLA Health and David Geffen School of Medicine policies.

Observerships typically last one to three months. A request for periods longer than three months should be explained in the application. The request must be approved by the host department and an explanation of the activities that you will be observing is required from your host MD.


Minimum education - Graduation from a medical school, and completion of your medical degree.

English Proficiency - In order for you to have the most productive educational and learning experience during your observership, you must be proficient in English.

Visa - You are required to have a B-1 (Temporary Business Visitor) visa. Please note UCLA is unable to assist in processing visas. To find out more about temporary business visas, please go to the U.S. Customs & Immigration Services website.  If you have a different type of visa, please contact International Education.  

Program Fees

  • Application fee: $750 (non-refundable)
  • Departmental Training Fee: $4,000/month (may vary by department)
  • Payment will need to be received prior to start of the observership.
  • Observers will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation, and living expenses.


Applicants may only apply to one specialty at a time. Observers must first be accepted and invited by a UCLA Health host faculty. Once you have received your Invitation Letter with confirmed observership dates from your host faculty, please contact [email protected] for an observership application. Please submit all application documents to [email protected] at least 30 days prior to your observership start date. 

For additional questions regarding the program, requirements, or application process, please contact International Education.

If you are interested in coming to UCLA Health as a visiting research scholar, please note this is a different program and requires a different visa. Please contact the faculty directly regarding acceptance and application.

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