Scholarly Concentrations


IU School of Medicine is confident that our curriculum prepares all of our future healers to transform health across the state and beyond. But we get that sometimes students want more. Many students come into medical school with varied interests related to medicine. Maybe you worked in an underserved rural clinic or still reflect on bioethics discussions from one of your favorite undergraduate courses. With Scholarly Concentrations you can continue to pursue your passions in an academic setting that doesn’t extend the time it takes to complete your medical degree.

Learn why Paul Wallach, MD, is excited about Scholarly Concentrations…and why you should be too.


  • Concentrations are completely optional and empower students to pursue a focused area of study that expands upon the school’s core curriculum.
  • Throughout each concentration, students receive mentorship and develop skills and products that will help them stand out in residency and professional opportunities.
  • 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 across the state.
  • Completing a Scholarly Concentration does not add time to the traditional four-year medical curriculum.
  • Completing a concentration results in two non-clinical elective credits that count towards MD graduation requirements.
  • Completing a Scholarly Concentration requires no additional tuition or fees.

“Pursuing a Scholarly Concentration during my medical training at University of Arizona College of Medicine allowed me to focus more time doing what I love (giving back to my community). I did my project on reproductive healthcare for transgender men, and found it to be so, so valuable. Carrying out a project from start to finish has had a real impact on my community, been a great addition to my resume for residencies, and helped me gain invaluable skills that will help me in the future!” 


Alex Geiger, MD

Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Resident at IU School of Medicine

Requirements and Timeline

Core Curriculum

All Scholarly Concentrations share the same core curriculum.

  • Fundamentals of Research and Scholarship course
    • Online and asynchronous
  • Scholarly project
    • Students will 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 a manuscript to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and a poster for presentation at a future IU School of Medicine Education Day. Publication is not required. An abstract or a submission for a presentation at a local, regional and/or national conference is also encouraged.
Topic-Specific Requirements

Each concentration includes coursework and experiences that empower students to explore their chosen topic.

Timeline and Journey

Concentrations have required or recommended pathways toward completion, although there may be some flexibility. Typically, students begin their concentration between the first and second years or medical school, or during the first year. However, there may be opportunities ti begin a concentration at other times in the curriculum. It is vital that students determine if the plan of study will work in their schedule by talking with their concentration co-directors, mentor and lead advisor in advance of applying for a concentration.

Example student completion journey diagram for Scholarly Concentrations program
Actual student journeys may vary; students ensure a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by working with concentration co-directors.

Topics and Locations

There are a wide range of Scholarly Concentrations topics offered at IU School of Medicine campuses. Each concentration highlights an area of expertise on its home campus. Some concentrations require students to be on its campus, while others are more flexible and available statewide. See each concentration description for these requirements.

Scholarly Concentrations Graphics

See Where a Scholarly Concentration Can Take You


General Overview FAQs

Do all medical students have to complete a Scholarly Concentration?

No. Scholarly Concentrations are completely optional to students.

Will completing a Scholarly Concentration add to the time it takes to complete a medical degree?

No. Concentrations are intended to be completed within the traditional four-year medical curriculum.

Do I have to pay additional fees or tuition to complete a Scholarly Concentration?

No. There are no additional fees or tuition associated with completing a concentration.

How do I find a project and a mentor?

At this time and to make it easy to get started, each Scholarly Concentration has identified potential scholarly projects and people to serve as mentors. Students, working with the appropriate concentration co-directors, can also identify their own projects and mentors.

How do I contact concentration co-directors and get more information?

Co-director contact information is available in each concentration description. Students should contact co-directors with any concentration-specific questions.

General questions about the Scholarly Concentrations program can be directed to

Timeline and Location FAQs

Do I have to start a Scholarly Concentration during my first year of medical school?

We understand that some students might find they’re interested in doing a Scholarly Concentration later in their medical school experience. Some concentrations may be easier to complete if you wait; some may be more challenging because of clinical rotations, applying and interviewing for residencies, etc.

The chart below indicates which concentrations are open to applicants transitioning from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the medical school curriculum.  Please talk to the concentration co-directors to explore your options; co-director contact information is available in each concentration description.

Yes No Maybe – Contact Co-Directors to Discuss
Health Integration and Healthy Aging Biomedical Engineering and Applied Medical Technology Health Information Technology
Genetics in Medicine Business of Medicine Medical Humanities
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Care of Hispanic and Latino Patients Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities
Public Health Human Sexuality and Health  
Rural Health
Quality and Innovation in Health Care

What if I’m interested in a Scholarly Concentration at a different campus than where I am currently located?

Some Scholarly Concentration courses are available online or via Zoom, so you can complete them from any campus. All concentrations do have a residency requirement for their scholarly projects, so you will likely need to be on that campus for at least part of the time. Talk with the co-directors of the concentration you’re interested in to learn more; co-director contact information is available in each concentration description.

How will it affect clinical rotations if I sign up for a Scholarly Concentration on a campus where I am not currently located?

The Scholarly Concentration program has been designed so that most project work is done prior to and after Phase 2 to allow for the appropriate and necessary focus on clinical rotations. Many courses are online and can be done anywhere. Clinical rotations are available statewide, so students working on a Scholarly Concentration can do many of their required clinical rotations at that campus. Other rotations may require temporary relocation, as they do now. Students are encouraged to consult with Scholarly Concentration co-directors to understand requirements for being on a campus and any work that may be necessary while they are doing clinical rotations. In addition, students interested in a particular Scholarly Concentration can talk with the regional campus dean about the possibility of transferring to that campus.

Does the scholarly project work time differ between concentrations?

Scholarly Concentration project work time can vary by project. Students working with their mentor and co-directors will determine what’s appropriate and a manageable timeline for completion.

Application and Eligibility FAQs

Can I complete more than one concentration?

Students may only be in one concentration. In order to have a robust experience, students need to focus their efforts and interests in one concentration.

How do I apply for a Scholarly Concentration?

We are not currently accepting Scholarly Concentrations. Watch for future application opportunities.

How will students be selected for Scholarly Concentrations?

Scholarly Concentration co-directors review application responses to make a selections. Scholarly Concentrations are intended to enhance your education. So, make sure your application is complete–be thoughtful and honest. You don’t need to write a manuscript (in fact, there are length limits). Bullet points are fine.

Compatibility With Other Program FAQs

Does an IMPRS project or other research project count toward a Scholarly Concentration?

It is possible that an IMPRS or other research project could count toward a Scholarly Concentration scholarly project. Talk to the co-directors of the Scholarly Concentration you’re interested in. If you’re considering IMPRS, contact the program director. Whether you’ve already completed your project or will be doing it this summer, you need to have agreement with the Scholarly Concentration co-directors and mentor that your project fits the topic and that you can meet the requirements of the concentration, including completing a Scholarly Concentration product and the required coursework.

Can I work on a Scholarly Concentration and IMPRS project at the same time?

It may be possible to do both IMPRS and a Scholarly Concentration at the same time. Experience indicates that when IMPRS projects and Scholarly Concentrations are aligned, this is easier. Also, doing both is like working a full-time job during the day (IMPRS) and taking classes at night (Scholarly Concentration). The chart below indicates if the program work is compatible or whether you should contact concentration co-directors and your IMPRS mentor to discuss options.

Yes No Maybe
Contact Co-Directors and IMPRS Mentor to Discuss
Genetics in Medicine Quality and Innovation in Healthcare Biomedical Engineering and Applied Medical Technology
Public Health Business of Medicine Health Integration and Healthy Aging
Rural Health Human Sexuality and Health Care of Hispanic and Latino Patients
  Medical Humanities Ethics, Equity and Justice
    Health Information Technology
    Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities


What happens if I need to drop out of a Scholarly Concentration?

Talk with your concentration mentor, co-directors and your lead advisor before you make the decision to drop the concentration. There is no penalty for dropping out of a Scholarly Concentration. One thing to keep in mind: Because you would earn two non-clinical elective credits toward graduation for completing a Scholarly Concentration, if you drop out late, you’ll have to take two electives to meet the school’s elective requirements.

Can students who are not officially enrolled in a Scholarly Concentration take Scholarly Concentration courses?

At this time, Scholarly Concentration courses are only for students enrolled in the designated Scholarly Concentrations.

What if I’ve already taken a course similar to a Scholarly Concentration course. For example, an urban medicine elective. Could I substitute that course for a similar Scholarly Concentration course?

It’s important to maintain the integrity of the coursework required to earn a Scholarly Concentration designation and for students to have learning opportunities. So, at this time, it is not possible to substitute an existing elective for a Scholarly Concentration course. The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention concentration has begun a substitute course for Introduction to Public Health for its students with significant public health background. This can only be taken with permission of the co-directors. No other concentration has a substitute course at this time.

Can students already completing a dual degree participate in a Scholarly Concentration?

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.

Don’t See Your Question?

Contact the Scholarly Concentrations program.