MD Anderson’s Observer Programs are designed to offer clinicians, researchers, and other health care professionals observational experiences to enhance their learning and exposure to oncology research or related clinical specialties. Observerships are unpaid, hands-in-pocket educational experiences, and participants are not permitted to partake in any direct patient care, research, clinical, or business activities.
The Observer appointment is not intended for job shadowing experiences, career placement, or accepting GME residents, fellows, or medical students for elective credit.
Observer appointments may vary from six days up to 90 days, depending on the goals and objectives of the trainee and the resources of the department. The duration of the observation period is limited to no more than 90 consecutive days, per calendar year.
Trainee activities at this institution are governed by The University of Texas System Rules and Regulations, including the institutional Intellectual Property Policy. Observers are expected to maintain the confidentiality of university proprietary information, and to obtain approval from their faculty sponsor chair/mentor/program director prior to disclosing or publishing any results of their activities at MD Anderson.
Applicants must meet the following eligibly criteria to be considered for an Observership at MD Anderson.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Employed, hold a current appointment or enrolled at an academic or healthcare institution.
- Granted approval by their home institution for the visit. The home institution must support the visit in writing, outlining the
specifics as well as expected outcomes and benefits of the experience.
- Meet the English Proficiency requirement.
- Must be able to secure the appropriate visa for an observer appointment, if applicable. MD Anderson does not sponsor visas
- Must be financially self-sufficient for the entire duration of their appointment. The Observer appointment is an unpaid position, therefore transportation, housing , health insurance and living expenses are the responsibility of the observer.
- Letter of Support from a home institution official
- Transcripts that confirms enrollment is required for student applicants
- Evidence of English Proficiency, if English is not the applicant’s first language
- All documents not originally written in English must be translated by a certified translation agency at the applicant’s expense
- Additional requirements may vary with each departmental observer program
Trainees: No Fee
Students: No Fee
- A fee of $2,000 will only be charged to professional applicants who have been conditionally accepted to an Observer program.
- A $500 non-refundable/non transferable deposit must be received before the application is submitted for processing. The remaining $1500 is due after the official offer is received and before the program start date
- Payment of the administrative fee is accepted by credit card in the Slate payment system. Cash or check payments are not accepted.
- No fees are assessed for trainees or students accepted to an Observer program.
- The hosting program may also assess additional fees.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Once an appointment has been confirmed, the professional candidate is expected to complete the observership. If a cancellation is unavoidable, notice should be submitted in writing before the confirmed start date to RTP-EAS@mdanderson.org. The $500 deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
How to Apply
- Applicants must secure approval of a faculty sponsor or educator to host their visit and apply to an open program listed on the MD Anderson Observer site.
- Each Observer program will review submitted applications and conditionally accept requests based on available resources and the nature of the visit.
- Upon receiving conditional acceptance, applicants will receive specific instructions regarding any additional appointment contingencies, and if applicable, directions to pay an initial $500 non-refundable deposit before the application is forwarded to Research Trainee Programs(RTP) for processing.
- After review and final RTP approval, an official appointment letter will be issued, and the candidate will be directed to accept the offer, complete the appropriate onboarding contingencies and pay the remaining $1500 fee balance prior to the program start date.
Submitting an application is not a guarantee of an observership. The application approval process requires a minimum of four weeks. Please plan your start date with your program host accordingly.
Travel arrangements should not be made until an official Observer appointment letter is received from Research Trainee Programs.
If you have questions about the application process, please email us at RTP-EAS@mdanderson.org. For questions related eligibility, requirements or details on the observational experience of a specific program, please direct your inquires to the Observer program contact person.
Frequently asked questions
Who is eligible to apply for an Observer appointment?
Professionals: (e.g. faculty, physicians, researchers, staff) Individuals currently employed or appointed at a healthcare or academic institution.
Trainees: Individuals (e.g., resident, fellow) who are currently appointed to an ACGME, or other clinical accredited educational training program may qualify for an Observer.
Students: Individuals (e.g., CHEP students, undergraduate, or medical students) enrolled in a formal program leading to a diploma, degree, or certificate of completion.
Does MD Anderson sponsor visas for Observers?
MD Anderson does not sponsor visas for Observers. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain the visa appropriate for an observational experience. The visa documents must be also presented to the VISA department upon arrival to receive clearance to start the program.
If eligible based on the criteria for an MD Anderson observer experience, how do I apply?
Contact the department(s) or faculty sponsor of choice to determine space availability or apply directly to program from the Observer website.
Who can I contact if I am having trouble with the online application or uploading documents?
Can an Observer transfer to another department once they arrive and started their appointment?
Transfers from one program or department to another is not permitted. Observers are restricted to the program identified and approved in their application.
What is the term limit of the Observer appointment?
Observers are limited to a maximum of 90 consecutive days per calendar year. Observers may be eligible to reapply 12 months after their appointment ends.
Can an Observer change to a trainee title?
No. Observers are not permitted to change to a trainee titles during an active appointment nor upon completion. Observers may be eligible to apply for a trainee position 6 months after their appointment ends.
Can Observers receive a certificate of completion?
The Observer experience is not for credit; therefore, certificates and letters of recommendation cannot be issued. Observers can request a verification of their appointment as an Observer by completing and submitting a verification request form and submitting to RTP-EAS@mdanderson.org.
How many physicians, faculty or educator is an Observers allowed to shadow?
Observers may only shadow one physician, faculty or educator at a time.
Are medical students eligible for an observer appointment?
Medical students may apply for the observer appointment.
Are international medical students eligible to apply for an observer position?
International medical students may apply for the observer appointment.
May an Observer experience be used to fulfill a ‘rotation’ or ‘clerkship’?
Student or trainees seeking elective credit do not qualify for the Observer position but may qualify to participate in an approved Anderson’s UGME or GME rotations.
What are the vaccine requirements for approved observers?
Observers are required to provide evidence of the following vaccines. TDAP, MMR, HEP B, Varicella, COVID -19 if applicable, and a negative TB test that was completed within the last 12 months. If observing during flu season, proof of the flu vaccine will also be required.
The Observer Appointment
Professsional, Trainee, Student
6 - 90 days
Application Submit Deadline
3 months prior to start
Institutional Mandatory Training
Professional: $500 deposit, $2000 for 6 - 90 days
Trainee: No fee
Student: No fee