Medical Student Ophthalmology Education

The UM Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences provides a unique educational experience for medical students that involves interaction with our patients, faculty, and house staff.

A physician specializing in ophthalmology helps provide medical and surgical care to patients. Ophthalmologists work to maintain and preserve vision for patients, as well as ensure patients maintain ocular health and comfort. There are many subspecialties available within ophthalmology including comprehensive, glaucoma, cornea, pediatrics and strabismus, retina, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, and ocular oncology.

During the 2 and 4-week courses offered, students will be assigned to our clinics and have time to observe in the operating room. Students will be taught clinical exam skills to allow for a more hands-on approach.  Didactic sessions incorporating lectures and case-based learning accompany the clinical rotations. Students will also be assigned to our consults team at the Main Hospital which will allow them to see consults through the emergency room and inpatient units.

Please direct any questions to Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator.

Courses Offered

2-week Exploration Electives

The 2-week Exploration Electives are offered and suggested prior to taking the 4-week clinical elective at the beginning of the Branches.

2-week Online Elective

The 2-week Online Elective is intended for those applying into Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, or Neurology as well as anyone wanting to better learn the fundamentals of Ophthalmology in preparation for residency training. This course is ONLY intended for students who have not and do not plan to take any additional ophthalmology courses.

4-week Clinical Elective

The 4-week Clinical Elective should be taken after a 2-week exploration elective (if you choose to do so) and before an Advanced Clinical and Research Course. Students spend a week in the Comprehensive Clinic, Consults at the Main Hospital, and two subspecialty clinics (along with OR time).

  • Branch students should take the course in March, April, or May, during their “Early” Branch phase.
  • OPHTH-8200: Clinical

Ophthy Advanced Clinical & Research Course

The Ophthy Advanced Clinical & Research Course is available for students committed to Ophthalmology that have already taken the traditional 4-week clinical elective. This course includes clinical and research components and students are asked to identify a mentor to work with.

Ophthy Research Electives

The Ophthy Research Electives can be valuable if your time and efforts are productive. Research electives are offered all periods at the Kellogg Eye Center.

Faculty Career Advisors

There is an entire team of ophthalmology faculty dedicated to supporting students through their medical school career, mentoring, and advising through the residency application process. UMMS students can contact Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator, to be paired with a faculty career advisor.

Visiting Student Information

Ophthalmology: OPHTH-8200 – Clinical

2022 Status Update: Electives offered in June, July, August, and September 2022. Applications accepted beginning March 2023.

  • 4-Week Clinical Electives at the Kellogg Eye Center are offered to medical students from other institutions.
  • Domestic students must apply through the AAMC – Visiting Student Learning Opportunities website. Please refer to the Visiting Students page on the U-M Medical School website for additional information.
    • Eligibility: Refer to U.S. Medical School Students section of the Visiting Students page on the U-M Medical School website
    • Applying: Visiting Student Program Application Requirements
    • URiM Visiting Student Scholarship:
      • The stipend is intended to provide support for visiting medical students who are underrepresented in medicine or from a diverse background who may not have been able to participate in a rotation at the Kellogg Eye Center due to financial limitations.
      • Please complete the URiM Visiting Student Scholarship Interest Form if interested in a $1,500 stipend while rotating at the Kellogg Eye Center in June, July, August, or September 2023.
    • Ophthalmology is participating in the 2022 Michigan Medicine Health Equity Visiting Clerkship, through The Office of Health Equity and Inclusion. Please visit their website for eligibility and application details.
  • International Students in their final year of medical school are eligible to complete a 4-week rotation in September, October, or November. Please contact Donna Donato, Global Ophthalmology Program Coordinator.

Please contact Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator, with any questions.


This list will be updated as opportunities are available. For additional information, please contact Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator.

Hope Clinic Volunteering

  • This volunteer experience provides medical students the opportunity to learn hands-on skills in ophthalmology that will allow them to work with Kellogg Eye Center faculty, residents, and staff to provide vital care to the uninsured and underserved in our community through the Hope Clinic.
  • Students begin by learning the following skills: completing a history, vision checking, pinhole visual acuity, lenometry and autorefraction, and how to properly document in patient charts.
  • Pending skill level/experience, students will then focus on a more advanced skill set: confrontation visual fields, ocular motility, and intraocular pressure.
  • Opportunity available to UMMS students.  Must be trained and assessed prior to volunteering.

Health Equity Ophthalmology Summer Program

    • This program is intended for medical students passionate in the areas of diversity, health equity and creating equal opportunities for patients, faculty and staff, regardless of their race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight or veteran status.
    • Program Outline: Participants will be exposed to the field of Ophthalmology to:
      • Address inequities and disparities in eye care
      • Understand benefits of increasing diversity among the Ophthalmology physician workforce
      • Become familiar with skills/techniques to provide primary eye care to patients
      • Gain mentorship and guidance to be a competitive applicant to Ophthalmology residencies
      • Engage and practice how to be a clinical student while strengthening fund of ophthalmology knowledge
    • Curriculum includes a research project focused on inequities in eye care, clinical and surgical exposure, and participation in weekly Grand Rounds and department conferences. Participants are expected to present research on a national level (i.e.: NMA, Rabb Venable, ARVO, etc.) & are highly encouraged to submit for publication.
    • Who Should Apply:
      • M1s, from any U.S. medical school
      • Students with a 4-8-week summer break, between M1 and M2 year.
      • Time commitment is approximately 40 hours per week and program start/end dates are coordinated around participant’s school schedule.
      • Students interested in health equity, specifically within Ophthalmology
      • A stipend will be provided
    • Applications:
      • Applications are now being accepted for summer 2023.
      • Application deadline: Monday, January 16, 2023, at 5pm EST.
      • Submit your application
    • Application Components:
      • One letter of recommendation (written by an ophthalmologist, physician from another specialty, or professor)
      • Curriculum vitae
      • Personal statement outlining the following (400-word count maximum):
      • What motivated you to apply for this opportunity?
      • Explain why you are a good candidate for this opportunity. Feel free to draw from life experiences, past research experience, and prior diversity, equity, and inclusion participation.
      • State general research interests to allow the review committee to assist in the mentor pairing process.

Michigan Ophthalmology Pipeline program (MOP)

  • The mission of the Michigan Ophthalmology Pipeline program is to inspire and support Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) and/or medical students from diverse backgrounds to prepare a competitive residency application and introduce Ophthalmology as a specialty early in their medical education through an innovative longitudinal pipeline mentorship program between medical students, Ophthalmology residents and KEC faculty. In addition, students will have assistance finding research opportunities with faculty to build their CV/residency application.

Related Publication: Michigan Ophthalmology Pipeline: Exploring a Mentorship Model to Increase Diversity in Ophthalmology

Shadowing Opportunities

  • Undergraduate, pre-medical & medical students are welcome to shadow an ophthalmologist at the Kellogg Eye Center.
  • Kellogg Eye Center does not currently have a university-sponsored program in place allowing minors to shadow an ophthalmologist.
  • HIPAA, Code of Conduct, Immunization Record, Visiting Observer Request Form must be on file prior to the student shadowing.
  • Shadow experiences must be coordinated by Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator.

Research Volunteering

  • There are volunteer research opportunities available for medical students at the Kellogg Eye Center. To find a research project of interest to you, please review the information in the Research section of this website. Students are welcome to email the Principal Investigator (PI) directly regarding research opportunities in their lab. When emailing a PI, please include your CV, why you’re interested in their project(s), and any prior experience or skills. Medical students must notify Laura Gwyn, Medical Student Clerkship Coordinator, prior to beginning any research project. Students may need to meet with KEC’s Research Compliance Specialist if the project involves human subjects or their data. Some students may be required to complete the onboarding process through Michigan Medicine Volunteer Services.

Leadership Team

Ariane Kaplan, MD

Medical Student Clerkship Director
[email protected]

Tatiana Deveney, MD

Associate Medical Student Clerkship Director
[email protected]

Adam Jacobson, MD

Associate Medical Student Clerkship Director
[email protected]

Laura Gwyn, AAS, C-TAGME

Education Programs Manager
[email protected]


Ophth8202 Advanced Clinical Research
Ophth8399 Online Ophthy Basics
Ophth 8440 Research