Program Overview

Columbia Ophthalmology Department is pleased to host observers from outside of Columbia University Irving Medical Center from February through December. Our faculty offers world-class care and our research is internationally recognized. While observers must refrain from "hands-on" patient contact due to hospital regulations, participants are able to observe first-hand, the highest level of medical and surgical ophthalmology. Participants are also encouraged and welcome to take part in research efforts in specialty areas including: 


Program Information and Requirements

  • All observers must complete the pertinent Visitor Medical Attestation forms (links below).
  • An updated immunization record is required confirming PPD testing within the past year and Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella immunization or immunity.
  • Observers rotating between September and March must document influenza vaccination.
  • Medical attestation forms must be filled out within three months of the observership start date.
  • A second PPD will be required within the month prior to the observership.


Program Application

  • There is a $350 USD, non-refundable program fee assessed to accepted observers to cover administrative costs; however, scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis.
  • Application is not a guarantee of observership. You will receive a response within 4 weeks of application submission.
  • Applications will only be accepted within 6 months of the requested start date.

Observership application are accepted from February through December. We do not receive observers the month of January when we host the Departmental BSCO. You are welcome to apply to the BSCO by following the link.  




Part 1  - Complete Observership Preceptor Solicitation


Part 2 - Pay Observership Fee   

  • Pay a nonrefundable, $350 USD program fee and a $10 processing fee for credentials processing once you have been notified of your successful preceptor pairing.
  • There may be restrictions from Paypal in processing payments from certain countries. If you experience any issues with your online payment, please email

Complete Payment

*Upon review and satisfactory completion of Part II of the application process, applicants will receive official word about whether they have been accepted as well as verification of the Observership start date. 


Part 3 - Complete Forms

Upon receipt of conditional acceptance, applicants must complete the application process by submitting the program fee payment receipt, with the appropriate completed forms, as described in the Conditional Acceptance notification. Also, each applicant is required to undergo a background check from General Information Services, Inc., and must complete and return all forms listed in one of three categories that best suits your status, as follows:

  1. Clinical Observer
  2. Resident in an Accredited GME Program 
  3. Non-affiliated Visitor 

*All documents must be in PDF format as one document, please do not send cell photos

1. Clinical Observer Program Application

 Submit a copy of each:

  • Your curriculum vitae 
  • A government issued ID
  • Two (2) letters of professional reference from director-level references at your home institution

Complete, sign and return:

2. Resident in an Accredited GME Program Application

Obtain and remit a letter from your home (sponsoring) institution confirming that they will be responsible for the cost of your salary, fringe and malpractice insurance during your Observership at NYPH. The letter must also include your current appointment status at your home institution and the dates of your Observership.

Submit a copy of your curriculum vitae. 

Complete, sign and return:

3. Non-affiliated Visitors Application

“Non-Affiliated Visitors” may include high school students, visiting undergraduates, post-baccalaureates, and other observers (who observe but do not practice research or clinical techniques or processes) or trainees (who receive training in research or clinical techniques or processes, including practice with appropriate supervision). 

Submit a copy of your curriculum vitae. 

Complete, sign and return: 


Contact Information

If you have questions or need additional information about Observerships, please contact: