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The MD program in the department of Otolaryngology includes direct patient contact in the clinic and operating room, with a focus on hands-on learning
MD Education in Otolaryngology

MD Education in Otolaryngology

The Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at IU School of Medicine has a long and time-honored tradition of training medical students pursuing a career in otolaryngology. Students can expect direct patient contact experiences in both the clinic and the operating rooms, with a focus on hands-on, experiential learning. Students find that this department places a high value on tailoring its education to the needs of the learner.

Students interested in an otolaryngology residency at IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis are encouraged to engage with the department via several opportunities: clinical rotation, electives, student research and faculty mentorship. Along with Step I scores and participation in otolaryngology, competitive applicants for the otolaryngology residency program possess former research experience with published journal manuscripts.

Peer Support

Medical students preparing to match into otolaryngology resident programs are encouraged to participate in the student-led otolaryngology interest group. Members benefit from networking opportunities with faculty and peers in the field of otolaryngology.

Clinical Clerkship Rotations

Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery is one of the subspecialties medical students experience as part of their surgical rotation. This month-long program allows third- and fourth-year medical students to become acquainted with the scope of otolaryngology. Students rotate between three different facilities at the school’s Indianapolis campus: Riley Children's Health, IU Health University Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.

The otolaryngology clerkship experience gives medical students a glimpse into the medical specialty, treating issues related to hearing, sinus disease, skull base tumors, head and neck cancer, facial plastic surgery, trauma, head and neck reconstruction and voice disorders. Medical students in this rotation have the opportunity to learn basic and procedural skills, as well as comprehensive head-and-neck clinical exams and assessments—all the while treating adults and children in both general and ear, nose and throat subspecialties. This gives medical students an understanding of how simple illnesses can progress to the subspecialty level. Students also work alongside faculty and residents, gaining a better understanding of how each role fits together as part of the medical team. 

The clerkship is offered Monday through Friday. Call and weekend work can be completed at the discretion of the medical student.

Primary Care Otolaryngology Online is a fundamental resource for medical students enrolled in the otolaryngology clerkship at IU School of Medicine. This pivotal, adjunct text is cited throughout the rotation.


Elective courses within the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery are diversified to provide medical students advanced exposure to ear, nose and throat conditions within both clinic and operating room settings:

  • 93EN710: Clinical Elective in Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery (Indianapolis)
  • 45EN703: Otolaryngology (Northwest-Gary)*
  • 02EN711: Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery (Fort Wayne)*
  • 46EN722: Otolaryngology IU Health (Northwest-Gary)*
  • 71EN703: Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery (South Bend)*
  • 93EN990: Special Elective in Otorhinolaryngology

*Electives on regional campuses are not led by primary-appointed faculty in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

Through otolaryngology elective courses, students have the opportunity to work with neurotologists, head and neck surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, pediatric otolaryngologists, laryngologists, rhinologists, general otolaryngologists and microvascular reconstructive surgeons. Students are expected to gain procedural skills for pathophysiologic problems in otolaryngology as well as improved diagnostic skills, including fiber optic examinations, audiologic evaluations and head and neck radiology. Students in these elective courses join faculty and residents in multidisciplinary medical conferences and grand rounds lectures. In addition to clinical elective courses, an otolaryngology research elective is also available.

Additional Otolaryngology Opportunities for Medical Students

Research is an integral part of the educational experience in medical school. Otolaryngology faculty value the opportunity to connect medical students interested in scholarship with research projects that suit their interests. Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide array of clinical and basic science research projects. An otolaryngology research elective is also available.

Otolaryngology faculty are vested in each student’s success. They actively provide informal mentorship to students interested in otolaryngology and will meet one-on-one to discuss how best to succeed in the field.

The Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery encourages students who are highly interested in a residency at IU School of Medicine to visit the program through a senior elective. Visiting students must submit requests for rotation through the AAMC Visiting Student Application Service. Located on the AAMC site under “Services,” the Visiting Student Application Service is an AAMC application designed for medical students to apply for senior electives at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals.