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Observership Policy Overview


Upstate Medical University is pleased to offer the opportunity for physicians from around the world to observe Department of Internal Medicine physicians, residents and fellows in practice. The goal of the Observership Program is to provide insight into day to day responsibilities of physicians in their respective specialties and provide a basic overview of the American medical system.

Observership Opportunities Available

  • General Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrine, Diabetes & Metabolism
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatrics
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Pulmonary/Critical Care
  • Rheumatology

Application Process

In order to maintain security for the Upstate Medical University campus, privacy of protected health information, and the appropriate Employee Health clearance, visitors to University Hospital sites of service must be properly logged according to the policy of Visiting Health Care Providers, which covers individuals who are visiting the campus for the purpose of learning, training, observing, or delivering direct or indirect patient care for a brief period of time. Observership Privileges must be obtained for Visiting Health Care Providers through the Medical Staff Office. Observers will not be granted privileges for direct patient care.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Applicants must have TAKEN and PASSED (on first attempt) Step 1 with a minimum score of 200
  • Applicants must have TAKEN and PASSED (on first attempt) Step 2 CK with a minimum score of 200
  • Applicants must have TAKEN and PASSED (on first attempt) Step 2 CS
  • Applicants must submit a copy of their Medical School Transcript
  • Applicants must submit a copy of their valid ECFMG Certificate
  • Applicants must provide a Letter of Reference from someone they worked with in a clinical environment

Applications (see links below) and all supporting documents (as noted on the application) must be received 8 weeks prior to the requested start date to allow for processing. Please indicate on the application the preferred rotations and dates available. Our rotations are two weeks in length and can be renewed for additional weeks with the consent of the Observership Coordinator, the Supervising Physician, and the Chair of the Department of Medicine.

We DO NOT accept any observers in July due to new incoming residents and fellows.

Multiple rotations are permitted for a maximum of eight total weeks per application. Each rotation must be two weeks in duration, and must fit within the dates available. There is a $300.00 (US Funds) application fee which is non-refundable. A Certified Check or Money Order needs to accompany the application and should be made payable to Upstate Medical Universtiy, Department of Medicine/MSG. Personal Checks will not be accepted.

The cost for each 2 week rotation is $1,500. This MUST be paid either through certified check or money order.Upon acceptance, and based on number of total weeks of approved rotation, payment must be received and processed prior to the first day of the rotation. You will be notified, in writing, of either acceptance or denial of your application within 4 weeks of initial receipt. You may ask questions or check on the status of your application after four weeks have passed by emailing the Educational Programs Office, observer@upstate.edu

Once dates are confirmed, they cannot be changed without a new application and application fee.

Department of Medicine Application Information

Medical Staff Application Information

(To be completed if application is approved)

All costs associated with the application process (visa processing, travel, health clearance, etc) will be the sole responsibility of the applicant. Upstate Medical University is in no way responsible for processing costs.

What to Expect

Your request for an Observership will be processed upon receipt of your application (see application form for required documents). Your application will not be processed without all the required documents. We will be in contact with you as soon as we have all the information needed.

Where to Report

Specific reporting instructions will be included in your acceptance correspondence, and will be based on the rotations in which you are scheduled to participate.

Identification Badges

Report to the Payroll Department with a form issued by Payroll (Request for Non-Employee ID Badge), with an approved signature from the appropriate department, and an additional form of photo identification in order to obtain an ID badge. At the completion of your rotation, return the ID badge to Payroll to inactivate the ID Badge. ID badges must be worn at all times.

Dress Code

Observers are expected to dress in a professional manner. T-shirts, cutoffs, open toe shoes etc. are not allowed. It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes. Lab coat must be worn at all times.


During your rotation you will be evaluated by the attending you are working with and you will also have the opportunity to evaluate them as well. You may print the evaluations here or you can pick them up. Please provide us with an evaluation form of each attending you work with and give the attending an evaluation form to complete about you.  

Evaluation: Observer of Attending
Evaluation: Attending of Observer


You are responsible for all parking costs. Parking passes must be obtained directly from the Parking Office, located in Room 1801, University Hospital

Lab Coats

It is required that you wear a Lab Coat during your rotation and while on the premises of Upstate Medical University. You are responsible for providing your own lab coat, one will not be provided for you.

Working Hours

Services vary with each specialty. Once approved, the Coordinator in each specialty / department will provide your specific working hours.


The sponsoring institution does not provide funding for meals. You are responsible for all meals.


Observers are responsible for securing their own accommodations. There are many, quality hotels nearby. Another popular option among observers is renting or subletting rooms on craigslist.org. We do recommend to be cautious when using this option. Please feel free to contact the observership coordinator with any other questions you may have.

Cancellation Policy

Once your assignment has been confirmed via e-mail, you are expected to complete the rotation as we will close out that rotation to other learners. While cancellations may be necessary in the event of an emergency, money paid for rotations will only be refunded if we are notified a minimum of 30 calendar days in advance. No refunds will be given if cancellation takes place less than 30 days to the start of the rotation, or during the rotation itself. As stated earlier, the $300 Application Fee is Non-Refundable under any circumstance. If you want to change the date to a later time after already confirming your dates with the coordinator, you will need to re-apply and send another $300 application fee. 

Termination Policy

Upstate Medical University reserves the right to terminate an Observer’s rotation at any time in the event that the Observer’s performance jeopardizes a patient’s well-being or performance is unable to achieve the objectives of the educational experience. If termination of rotation is warranted, a pro-rated fee will be refunded to the Observer for the time left in the rotation, however, the $300 application fee remains Non-Refundable.

Medical School Library

Your Identification Badge will allow you to gain access as a visitor to the Medical School Library facilities.

Teaching Conferences

Information will be provided regarding regularly scheduled conferences and didactic sessions, based on the specific rotation in which you are scheduled to participate.

General Questions

If you have questions about your rotation, or if a problem arises, please contact the Observership Program Coordinator immediately, observer@upstate.edu.

Absence During Your Rotation

Excused absences are limited to one day per two-week rotation. If a problem arises, please see the Observership Program Coordinator and the Supervising Physician for approval. Unexcused absences may result in termination of the rotation and inability to obtain a Completion Certificate. Please see Termination Policy above regarding refunds of monies paid in the event of termination!


At the completion of the approved rotation, Observers will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation and length of rotation at Upstate Medical University.

We look forward to seeing you and hope your rotation with us is educationally rewarding. If you have any question, please feel free to contact the Observership Program Coordinator – we will be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Information on the City of Syracuse, New York

Please refer to the following links/websites to learn more about our program and the Syracuse area and for the latest updates on what is happening in the city during the time of your visit.

Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York shall admit students of any race, color, religion, sex, age, national origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam veteran, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to all of the students involved in any of the Clinic’s educational programs.

Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, nation origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or military veteran, in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, training programs, stipend awards and all other such administrated programs.

Acceptance of an individual to the Observership Program does not constitute a commitment by Upstate Medical University or the Department of Internal Medicine to interview or accept the individual for residency training in the Department of Internal Medicine or any residency or fellowship program at Upstate Medical University.