Preceptorships and Shadowing

​Pr​​​ec​​eptorships for First and Second Year Students

A preceptorship is an elective mentored experience in which a practicing physician volunteers to give personal instruction, training, and supervision to a medical student during the first year or through the winter term of the second year of medical school. Preceptorships offer the preclinical student an opportunity to follow a patient over time, to get to know the particular clinical field and to experience a clinical setting. Students report that preceptorships can be an excellent way of preparing for board examinations and clinical training.


  • Students register themselves for preceptorships via MyUW. UWSOM does not waive late registration fees. 
  • Preceptorship courses are available for matriculated UWSOM medical students only.​


If you have questions or need more information, or if you are a physician who would like to become a preceptor, please contact the Curriculum Office.

Shadowing for First and Second Year Students

Shadowing is observing doctor-patient interactions and may lead to a preceptorship. Shadowing experiences offer the preclinical student an opportunity for career exploration, understanding the realities of medicine, and discovering likes and dislikes.


  • Shadowing is available for matriculated UWSOM medical students.
  • Students do not need clearance from the Student Affairs Office to request a shadowing experience.
  • Students who participate in shadowing experiences that are offered outside of Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM), Service Learning, TRUST, RUOP, Primary Care Practicum (PCP), and preceptorship courses must be approved; shadowing will be monitored and tracked by each Foundations campus.
  • Shadowing experiences in Seattle do not require approval.


  • Contact the departmental medical student program office to inquire about availability and connection with a faculty preceptor to determine mutual agreement on expectations, goals, frequency of shadowing, etc.
  • Shadowing experiences at Harborview Medical Center must be pre-approved by the medical director's office. Please contact the Curriculum Office for more information.
  • No registration is required.
  • Letters of good standing are not provided by Academic Affairs for shadowing experiences.