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Scholarly Concentrations

IU School of Medicine is confident that the curriculum prepares all future healers to transform health across the state and beyond. Many students come into medical school with varied interests related to medicine. Maybe they worked in an underserved rural clinic or still reflect on bioethics discussions from one of their favorite undergraduate courses. The Scholarly Concentrations program offers medical students the opportunity to pursue their passions through coursework and scholarship in an academic setting that runs throughout medical school yet doesn’t extend the time it takes to complete a medical degree.

Explore the concentrations

Learn more about the Scholarly Concentrations program and decide if a concentration is right for you.

Explore scholarly concentrations

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


  • Concentrations are completely optional and empower students to pursue a focused area of study that expands upon the school’s core curriculum.
  • Concentrations allow students to customize their education and engage in experiences that lead to multidisciplinary scholarship, research and community engagement.
  • Each concentration exposes students to world-class experts and resources at sponsoring campuses and communities.
  • Throughout each concentration students receive mentorship and develop skills and products that will help them stand out in residency and professional opportunities.
  • Completing a scholarly concentration does not add time or tuition to the traditional four-year medical curriculum.
  • Students completing a concentration earn eight weeks non-clinical elective credits towards MD graduation requirements, a scholarly concentration designation on their transcripts that’s suitable to include on their curriculum vitae and other professional documentation. They will also be recognized at graduation.

Read student testimonials

Requirements and Timeline

Concentrations have required or recommended pathways toward completion that fit well with the medical school curriculum and calendar. Students typically begin their concentration between the first and second years of medical school, or during the first year, and continue into their fourth year. There may be opportunities to begin a concentration during the second year of medical school; however, this can be very difficult. It is critical that students talk with the concentration co-directors and their lead advisor to determine if a concentration plan of study will work in their schedule before applying. Scholarly concentrations are composed of a core curriculum and typically two or three topic-specific courses, which allow for exploration. A scholarly project and product are also required. Explore each concentration for specific details.

Core courses

Fundamentals of Research and Scholarship

This introductory course is online and asynchronous and provides students with a broad understanding of translational science, the types of research that are conducted under the translational science umbrella, and how this research impacts the public at large. Content includes terminology and key concepts related to clinical and translational science, and key research methods, including designing research studies, identifying ethical issues, and communicating findings. Students learn about the role of community engagement in promoting health equity and develop an understanding of social determinants of health and how to examine root causes of health inequity. Basic processes of writing a manuscript and submitting it for publication are also covered.

Scholarly project

Students will gain firsthand experience by developing and conducting scholarly inquiry appropriate to their concentration. They can come up with their own project of join an existing project. Projects can be individual or done as part of a group. Completion of the project will form the basis of the scholarly concentration product.

Scholarly product

Students are required to produce a manuscript that they submit to a peer-reviewed journal. Publication is not required. An abstract does not meet the program’s requirement. Students also produce a poster for presentation at IU School of Medicine Education Day.


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