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Scholarly concentrations complement the core MD curriculum and empower students to develop expertise in a specific area of medicine.

Scholarly Concentrations Program

The Scholarly Concentrations Program is an optional experience that takes place alongside and complements the core medical school curriculum. It 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 they submit 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. Graduating IU School of Medicine students report a strong interest in their scholarly concentrations during residency interviews. Unlike traditional academic certificates and degrees, scholarly concentrations do not add time or costs to completing an MD degree.

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 2023-2024 Scholarly Concentrations Annual Report to see highlights of students' work over the last year.

cover of the 2024 annual report

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 shows locations of scholarly concentrations around the state. Bloomington: human sexuality and health, medical education. Evansville: Quality and innovation in health care. Fort Wayne: Health Care Integration and Healthy Aging. Indianapolis: Biomedical research, genetics in medicine, and medical humanities. Muncie: Health promotion and disease prevention. Gary: Urban medicine and health care disparities. South Bend: Ethics, Equity and Justice. Terre Haute: rural health. West Lafayette: Biomedical engineering and applied medical technology, care of hispanic/latino patients. Statewide: Business of medicine, public health, religion and spirituality in medicine.


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 coursework and experience requirements.

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.

Students gain firsthand experience by developing and conducting scholarly inquiry appropriate to their concentration. They can come up with their own project or 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.

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.   

Each concentration includes a number of courses or experiences that empower students to explore their chosen topic.

Concentrations have required or recommended pathways for completion that fit well with the medical school curriculum and calendar. Typically, students begin their concentration during the first year of medical school or the summer between the first and second year and continue into the fourth. There may be opportunities to begin a concentration during the second year; however, this can be very difficult. It is critical that students determine if the concentration plan of study will work in their schedule by talking with the concentration co-directors and their lead advisor in advance of applying for a concentration.

Student Experiences


Deeb Omari

Resident in Pediatrics, McGraw Medical Center of Northwestern University, Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities Scholarly Concentration Graduate

Emma Eckrote

Emma Eckrote

Resident in Pediatrics/Psychiatry/Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, IU School of Medicine, Rural Health Scholarly Concentration Graduate

"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."

Tari Kurman

Tari Kurman

MS4, Human Sexuality and Health 

"I think the scholarly concentration will make me a better physician regardless of what field I go into, because I believe the clinical practices we use to improve health care for LGBTQ+ patients can be applied to improve health care for all patients."

Read more student experiences

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Scholarly concentrations is an optional program that’s available to medical students at IU School of Medicine.

Currently enrolled IU School of Medicine MD students can apply to the scholarly concentrations program during the Fall term, Dec. 8, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024. Some regional campus concentration recruit students upon matriculation. 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 2024. 

No. Concentrations are completed within the traditional four-year medical curriculum. Students typically begin the summer between their first and second years of medical school or during their first year. After that, the program is longitudinal and occurs alongside your core medical education.

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

No. In order to have a robust experience, students may only participate in one concentration. 

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 Concentrations Program 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.