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Scholarly Concentrations Program

A Scholarly Concentration is an optional experience that complements the core medical school curriculum and empowers students to delve into topics such as Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities, Business of Medicine, Public Health, Quality and Innovation in Health Care and more. Students completing a Scholarly Concentration benefit from the school’s statewide network of experts and resources, receive unique mentorship opportunities, develop skills, and complete scholarly projects that are valuable for residency applications and professional development.
cover of annual report

Annual Reports

Read the inaugural 2020 Scholarly Concentrations Annual Report.

Download the Annual Report


Expanding on the Core Curriculum

Paul Wallach, MD, executive associate dean for educational affairs, shares how Scholarly Concentrations allow students with diverse interests to choose an area of emphasis that is important to them during medical school.

Concentration Benefits

Unlike traditional academic certificates and degrees, Scholarly Concentrations do not add time or costs to completing an MD degree. The work required to complete concentrations is manageable, takes advantage of elective time, and is completed during the summer and less intense times in the curriculum. Concentrations are a fantastic way for MD students to customize their education and engage in experiences that lead to multidisciplinary scholarship, research and community engagement. Students who successfully complete the requirements for a Scholarly Concentration earn two elective credits toward graduation and a Scholarly Concentration designation, suitable for their curriculum vitae and other professional documentation.

Focused Areas of Study

IU School of Medicine offers a wide range of Scholarly Concentration topics that leverage expertise at each of its nine campuses. Individuals applying to medical school at IU School of Medicine are encouraged to preference regional campuses that host Scholarly Concentrations through the Early Decision Program.


All concentrations share the same core curriculum requirements. The details of the scholarly project and product are dependent on the topic and student interests. Additionally, each topic has topic-specific experiences and coursework requirements.

  • Fundamentals of Research and Scholarship course
    Students develop fundamental skills in research study design, scientific inquiry and methods, data management, statistical analysis and human subjects research ethics.
  • Scholarly Project
    Students gain firsthand experience by developing and conducting scholarly inquiry appropriate to their concentration. Completion of the project will form the basis of a scholarly concentration product.
  • Scholarly Product
    A scholarly product is typically a manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and a poster for presentation at IU School of Medicine Education Day. Publication is not required.
  • Topic-Specific Experiences and Coursework
    Each concentration includes two to three additional courses or experiences that empower students to explore their chosen topic.

Concentrations have required or recommended pathways that fit well with the medical school curriculum and calendar. Typically, student begin their concentration during the first year of medical school or between the first and second year. However, there may be opportunities to begin a concentration at other times in the curriculum. It is vital that students or prospective students determine if the concentration plan of study will work in their schedule by talking with the concentration co-directors. Current students are encouraged to consult their lead advisor in advance of applying for a concentration.

What Students Have to Say

Emma Eckrote

Emma Eckrote
MS3, Rural Health

"The scholarly concentration (has) strengthened my desire to serve those in my small community and afforded me the skills to be able to do so with confidence and greater knowledge of the needs around me. It is preparing me to come home and care for those who took such good care of me." 

Scholarly Concentrations Program FAQs

  • Do all medical students have to complete a Scholarly Concentration?
    No. Scholarly Concentrations is an optional program that’s available to medical students at IU School of Medicine.
  • When is the cycle time for application to a Scholarly Concentration?
    Currently enrolled IU School of Medicine MD students are able to apply to the Scholarly Concentrations Program during the Fall term. Applicants are encouraged to preference campuses that have Scholarly Concentrations in which they’re interested.
  • Does completing a Scholarly Concentration extend the time it takes to complete a medical degree?
    No. Concentrations are intended to be completed within the traditional four-year medical curriculum.
  • Do students have to pay additional tuition and fees to complete a Scholarly Concentration?
    No. There are no additional fees or tuition associated with completing a concentration.
  • Can students complete more than one concentration?
    Students may only participate in one concentration. In order to have a robust experience, students need to focus their efforts and interests in one concentration.
  • Can students complete a Scholarly Concentration in addition to a dual degree?
    Yes. Students in dual degree programs can participate if the topic of the dual degree is different than the concentration topic. Students in dual degree programs must still fulfill all Scholarly Concentration requirements.