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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 of personal interest such as urban medicine and health care disparities, business of medicine, public health, quality and innovation in health care and more.

Students learn through topic-specific courses, complete a scholarly project, and produce a manuscript submitted for publication along with a poster for presentation at IU School of Medicine Education Day. Students benefit from the school’s statewide network of experts and resources, receive unique mentorship opportunities, develop skills, and complete scholarly work, all elements of their medical education that are valuable for residency applications and professional development.


Expanding on the Core Curriculum

Scholarly concentrations allow students with diverse interests to choose an area of emphasis that is important to them during medical school.

Concentration Benefits

Scholarly 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. 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.

Students who successfully complete the requirements for a scholarly concentration earn eight weeks of non-clinical elective credit toward graduation, a scholarly concentration designation that appears on their transcript, and are recognized at graduation. This designation is suitable for their curriculum vitae and other professional documentation.

Annual Report

Read the 2021 Scholarly Concentrations Annual Report to see highlights of students' work over the last year.

a collage of photos make up the annual report cover. They show students in scrubs, two people hugging, a meeting on zoom, a student working at a microscope, and a newspaper clipping

Download the Annual Report

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.

Map of Indiana showing concentration locations


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 concentration 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 a number of 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 the summer 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 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.

Student Experiences

Emma Eckrote

Emma Eckrote

MS4, 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."

portrait of stephen avila

Stephen Avila, MD

Neurology Resident, Cedars Sinai Medical Center

"The Business of Medicine concentration was the most asked about topic during residency interviews as my interviewers were intrigues and felt that it brought a lot of value to their program."

Read more student experiences

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 can apply to the scholarly concentrations program during the Fall term, Nov. 5, 2021, to Jan. 3, 2022. Applicants to IU School of Medicine are encouraged to preference campuses that have scholarly concentrations in which they’re interested. They'll have a chance to apply after matriculation in 2022. 
  • 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. However, concentrations are additional work during the summer between the first and second years of medical school and during school years, although they generally take advantage of less busy times.
  • 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 interested in pursuing dual degrees in public health or business can use those scholarly concentrations as on-ramps to the respective dual degree programs, which will count scholarly concentration work toward the dual degree. Students in dual degree programs must still fulfill all scholarly concentration requirements in order to receive IU School of Medicine non-clinical elective credit and the scholarly concentration designation. For information about the MD-MPH program, contact program director Bill Tierney, MD. For MD-MBA program information, contact Becky Schlomann, associate director for recruiting and admissions at Kelly School of Business, at or (317) 274-8603.