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December 22, 1978

What About Fellowships?

Author Affiliations

Associate Director Division of Educational Standards and Evaluation

JAMA. 1978;240(26):2877. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290260081010

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The annual Medical Education Number of JAMA customarily makes only a passing reference to basic science fellowships and clinical fellowships in summarizing teaching responsibilities of faculties. Persons seeking clinical fellowships find that published data are almost nonexistent. No specific accrediting mechanism exists.

Fellowships, subspecialty training, and residencies are not easily distinguishable by definition. A time-honored statement used by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association was:

A fellowship is a form of apprenticeship which in some cases is indistinguishable from a residency although it usually offers a greater opportunity for teaching, the study of basic sciences, and research. Ordinarily, a fellowship is a university rather than a hospital appointment.

Fellowships vary in length, but they are usually of one or two years' duration. At one time, the Council on Medical Education evaluated graduate training programs under a listing of "Residencies and Fellowships," but in 1959 the term