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UAB International Medical Education welcomes requests for Observerships from International physicians, clinicians, researchers, technicians, or students who wish to observe our premier hospitals and clinics, as these activities strengthen the teaching mission and the spirit of collaboration of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.

We define these opportunities as informal shadowing experiences that allow international scholars to watch procedures, attend patient rounds and teaching conferences, and observe the use of our cutting-edge technology.

Please note that International Observerships will be under the direct supervision of a UAB faculty mentor/sponsor and will not include any direct patient care, no privileges, no providing consultation or advice related to care, and no compensation.


Your participation in a UAB International Observership will:

  • Allow you to collaborate with top faculties, attendees, chief residents and researchers, gaining insight into the delivery of American Medicine as practice at UAB Hospitals and clinics
  • Help improve your history taking skills as you observe physician interactions with patients (history taking, examination, diagnosis, treatment, coding, writing prescriptions, and entering information on the patient’s electronic chart, etc.)
  • Develop your professional communication and interaction, as you participate in teaching rounds, journal clubs and conferences.

Observerships are not a substitute for formal training for physicians and any experience gained will not be creditable towards any medical or doctoral degree or clinical requirements for medical school or medical specialty board certification. This observership program does not have any bearing on pending or future residency or fellowship applications. UAB International Medical Education is unable to provide any recommendation letters regarding your participation in the observership program.


Graduation from an international medical school no greater than two (2) years before the proposed start date and have passed USMLE Step 1.
You must provide a copy of your medical diploma written in English or accompanied by an English translation.

The maximum length of observership is 8 weeks – two (2) 4-week rotations.

You must obtain a minimum TOEFL Test score of iBT (internet-based) score of 100 with a minimum of 22 on the speaking section. TOEFL is waived only if English is your first language, or if your medical or graduate school teaches all classes and rotations in English. A document from your school administration must be uploaded stating English is the first language used. Good command of the English language will also be determined during the virtual online interview via Zoom.

Policies and Procedures

The same rules and regulations that apply to University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty and students apply to international observers. Your invitation and participation in our observership program is contingent upon compliant behavior and adherence to all UAB policy and procedures. If your behavior or performance is substandard, you may be asked to leave UAB and required to return to your originating country. 

Completed application and compliance steps should be received six (6) months before the start of the training. You will be notified of placement in an available observership slot or rejection in a timely manner by email. Please be sure to include the correct email address.

If place in an observership, no changes will be allowed in your assigned placement.  

If you are unable to participate in your observership as scheduled, please contact our office via email as soon as possible.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact

Process, Fees and Application


  1. International visiting scholars who wish to observe at a UAB hospital or clinical facility must download and complete the international observership application and send it with the following documents to 
    1. Curriculum vitae/resume
    2. Copy of your medical or doctoral diploma or, if a student, your current transcript
    3. Photo (only jpgs less than 250KB)
    4. Copy of the biographical information page of your passport
    5. Letter stating your purpose and reason of interest in the observership
  2. Applications will be reviewed and if accepted, will be matched with a mentor based on applicant’s profile to an available observership opening. If not accepted, applicants will be notified via the email address supplied in the application.
  3. Matched Observers will be sent a full observership packet via email to complete before arrival to UAB. 

Important Note for Applicants
Selections are made on the basis of the applicant’s outstanding quality and relevance to the prospective observership opening. Due to the highly competitive application process, there is no guarantee that the slot you have chosen for your preferred specialty will be available the dates that you have requested. UAB does not maintain or publish a listing of observership opportunities.

Please note: Completed applications should be received 6 months prior to proposed training start date. Matched Observers should not make travel arrangements or travel to UAB until you have received clearance to train from International Medical Education.

Matched and Invited Applicants 

Matched and Invited Applicants will be responsible for:

  • Securing and paying for housing, transportation and meals.
  • Providing and maintaining medical insurance that meets UAB Observership standards
  • Providing documentation of current immunizations:
    • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
    • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular, Pertussis)
    • Hepatitis B Series
    • Varicella (Chickenpox)
    • Meningococcal (Exempt for Observers 22 years and older)


A nonrefundable application fee of $350 is required.

The Observership program fee is $5,000 per month – does not include housing, UAB stipend or living expenses.

To Apply

Download and complete the UAB International Observership application.
Return the application, along with the required documents, in a single pdf to

Please note that we have limited opportunities.