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The NIH Clinical Electives Program (CEP) is accepting applications from students attending LCME-accredited and U.S. osteopathic schools only. It is an opportunity for a 4-to-8-week elective in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Please be aware that all students coming to the NIH Clinical Center may be subject to local, state, or national requirements regarding vaccination, testing, and quarantine requirements prior to rotating.


To further its mission to train the next generation of physician-scientists and clinician-investigators, the NIH Clinical Center - through the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education - offers short term, 4- to 12-week clinically oriented rotations in the Clinical Electives Program (CEP). Domestic or international senior-level medical or dental students meeting the eligibility criteria may apply. The focus of the CEP is enhancing the training experience for highly motivated students who are strongly interested in, or committed to, research-oriented careers in academic medicine.

NOTE: Residents or clinical fellows currently enrolled in ACGME-accredited graduate medical education training programs in the United States may apply for short-term elective rotations at the NIH Clinical Center through the Resident Electives Program (REP) administered by the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education. Interested REP applicants should visit NIH's Elective Rotations for Residents and Clinical Fellows page for more information.


  • Learning about the care of patients with rare or complex disorders enrolled in human subjects research protocols at the NIH Clinical Center (a 200 bed research hospital on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD)
  • Enhancing understanding of how clinical research is conducted in a scientifically valid and ethically responsible way in a compassionate training environment

Clinical Genetics at NHGRI

  • NHGRI investigators harness genomic technologies to diagnose and treat both rare and common diseases.

  • The Reverse Phenotyping Core transforms the practice of medicine through its genome-first approach.

  • The Undiagnosed Diseases Program helps complex patients through their diagnostic journeys.

Elective Aims

  • Become familiar with fundamental concepts in clinical genetics

  • Learn about genomic sequencing and management of genetic disorders

  • Participate in supervised clinical, laboratory, bioinformatics, or library research projects

How to Apply

Applications MUST be submitted a minimum of three months in advance of the proposed elective rotation start date via the online application form

Applicants must be enrolled in an ACGME-accredited residency in the U.S. at the time of the proposed elective.



Eligibility Criteria (PDF) 

The CEP welcomes applications from qualified allopathic or osteopathic medical students enrolled in Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or American Osteopathic Association (AOA) accredited medical schools, and from dental students enrolled in Commission on Dental Association) accredited dental schools. International medical or dental students with a meaningful track record of scholarly activity, especially clinical or transitional research published in reputable journals, or active engagement in mentored laboratory research, are welcomed to apply.

The CEP is not optimally suited for students who intend to enter community-based clinical practice, or (for international students) as an introduction to the health care system or practice of clinical medicine in the United States. International students should also note that CEP is not designed as a vehicle to enhance competitiveness for acceptance into US specialty or subspecialty graduate medical education training programs ("residencies or fellowships").

The CEP does not accept medical or dental school graduates for observational experiences, clinical rotations or advanced graduate medical education training in a specialty or subspecialty of medicine or dentistry. Again, residents or clinical fellows currently enrolled in ACGME-accredited graduate medical education training programs in the United States may apply for short-term elective rotations at the NIH Clinical Center through the REP.

3-Month Mentored Specialty/ Subspecialty Clinical Research Rotations

The following programs are open to applicants attending US Medical Schools accredited by the LCME or the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation of the AOA. Prior to applying, contact the CEP coordinator to confirm availability. At the rotation coordinator's discretion, the rotation may be shortened to 2 months.

Eligibility: Combined Program Students (i.e., MD/PhD, DO/PhD)

The following programs do not accept students in July: Critical Care Medicine, Medical Genetics, Medical Oncology, Pathology, Pediatric Oncology, Rheumatology and Surgical Oncology.

The following programs are restricted to students attending accredited institutions: Addiction Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Internal Medicine Consult Service, Medical Oncology, Pain and Palliative Care, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology and Urologic Oncology.

Accredited Institutions:

The NIH Clinical Electives Program does not offer housing or travel subsidies.


Chris Ours, M.D.
NHGRI, Clinical Elective Program, Co-Director
Resident Elective Program, Co-Director

Oleg Shchelochkov, M.D.
NHGRI, Medical Genetics Fellowship, Director
Resident Elective Program, Co-Director
Clinical Elective Program, Co-Director

Last updated: March 8, 2024