International Scholars Program

The Wills Eye experience touches every corner of the globe. We are excited to share our world class eye hospital with you through our expert physicians teaching overseas, physicians from around the globe visiting the Wills Eye Hospital, and our web-based educational resources


Become a Wills International Scholar

Please note that there is a $1,500 application fee.
The Wills International Scholars program offers international medical graduates a structured opportunity to observe clinical ophthalmology and eye blindness under the guidance of Wills Eye experts. Only doctors of medicine  are currently accepted for the program (e.g., MD, MBBS, MB, BMBS or equivalent).

These observer-ships are generally one month in length during the academic year (generally unavailable in July and August). This experience does not involve direct patient care or contact. Scholars are invited to attend Wills Eye lectures and presentations as well as other educational opportunities during their stay. Please take a moment to review the International Scholars Program Application RequirementsEach applicant will also be required to submit a Volunteer/International Visitor immunization Documentation form.

As a Wills International Scholar, physicians may concentrate on one ophthalmic specialty or rotate through the following sub-specialties: Cornea, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics, and Retina.


1. Ophthalmologist or ophthalmologists in resident/fellowship training (Only doctors of medicine are currently accepted for the program, e.g., MD. MBBS, MB, BMBS or equivalent).

2. Must speak English.

3. Be in good standing at current school/institution.

4. Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

All application materials must be sent electronically and must be submitted at least four months prior to desired start date. All documents must be official copies in English. Mailed paper forms and documents are not accepted.

The fee for the International Scholar Program is $1.500/first month and $200 each additional month, excluding all costs (travel, food, lodging, insurance, visa, etc) which are the responsibility of the applicant.



To apply for a B-1 visa contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

1. Review and choose a service(s). For service descriptions click here. NOTE: If you are interested in ocular oncology, please contact the Ocular Oncology Service directly. For all other services, continue this application process.

2. Please select a minimum of two possible dates and/or services for your visit. Examples: (a) January 2023. Cornea Service or January 2023, Glaucoma Service: (b) January 2023, Pediatric Service or March 2023, Pediatric Service. Please be aware that scholars are not accepted in July or August. Dates will not be reserved for an observer prior/during the application process.

3. Submit the following documents in English via email (mailed paper forms and documents are not accepted) at one time to the Wills International Coordinator:

  • A cover letter detailing desired rotation(s) and a minimum of two preferred time periods/clinics.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • A signed letter of reference from your chief of service including documentation of good standing (or additional verification from institution).
  • ECFMG certificate (if available).
  • Proof of English Proficiency (TOEFL Or IELTS Scores must be taken within last two years. Minimum TOEFL Score: 79: Minimum IELTS Score: 6.5)
  • Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

If you are accepted as a scholar, you will need to determine which non-immigrant status is most appropriate for your visit to the U.S. You may contact the nearest U.S. consulate to find this information. You are responsible for the arrangement and any costs of a visa. If a visa is required, a copy of your visa must be submitted prior to the start of your scholar program. You also will need to submit a Wills Eye Immunization Record Form completed and signed by your physician. Please submit the form with supporting documentation (i.e. lab test results, vaccination records) in English. Keep in mind the required IGRA blood test must be done within 3 months of your observership start date.

If you wish to have a longer stay or be involved in direct patient care and/or research, you may wish to apply for a fellowship with your specialty of interest.

Wills Eye Hospital
840 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Dalena Nguyen