In 2018, there were a total of 1,319 general surgery positions offered in the NRMP match and a total of 1,955 applicants for those positions. Of those 1,955 applicants, 1,157 were US senior medical students, of which 16% of allopathic US senior general surgery applicants did not match, making general surgery one of the most competitive specialties to match into. If you’ve always been interested in surgery, and want to enter a field with many specializations and challenges, you’ll want to spend some time looking up the best medical schools for surgery. While you won’t learn how to be a surgeon in medical school, you’ll be exposed to surgery in your clinical rotations. According to U.S. News & World Report, here are some of the best medical schools that will prepare you for a residency match in surgery.
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Medical students at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine don’t receive traditional grades; for their first two years they’re graded on a pass/fail system, and in their clerkship year they’re graded on a system of honors, high pass, pass, pass with remediation, or fail. Each student completes a mandatory six-week surgery clerkship, and they can choose to supplement this in their fourth year with one or more of 8 offered surgery electives. 17% of students matched for surgery specialties on Match Day 2019. Alix has a low acceptance rate of 2.1%, and the median undergraduate GPA and MCAT score of matriculated students was 3.91 and 520, respectively.
8. (tie) Stanford University
In 2019, 7 Stanford medical students matched to general surgery. During a mandatory 8-week surgery clerkship in students’ third year, they treat a variety of patients as full members of a surgical team. Interested students can also elect to participate in the advanced surgery clerkship/sub-internship in their fourth year of medical school. Stanford is one of the most competitive medical schools, with an acceptance rate of just 2.5%. The median undergraduate GPA of matriculated students in 2019 was 3.83, and the median MCAT score was 519.
8. (tie) Columbia University
140 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons students matriculated in 2019. The acceptance rate was 3.4%, and the median undergraduate GPA and MCAT score for matriculated students were 3.85 and 520, respectively. 4 students matched to general surgery and 8 to preliminary surgery on 2019 Match Day. In their general surgery clerkship, students assume care for patients before, during, and after surgery. In addition to their regular daytime learning, students participate in night calls, outpatient visits, emergency room consultations, and conferences.
In the 2018 residency match, six WashU students chose to pursue a residency in general surgery. Third-year students complete a 12-week required clerkship in surgery. Some of the fourth-year surgical electives available at the St. Louis, Missouri medical school include Organ Transplantation, Pediatric Surgery, and Plastic Reconstructive Surgery. The school consistently ranks at the top of many best-of lists, and has one of the highest median GPAs and MCAT scores, 3.91 and 521 (a 99th percentile score) for accepted students.
The third-year medical student surgery clerkship at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor gives students the surgical knowledge and clinical skills they’ll need as physicians, regardless of their ultimate choice in specialties. Medical students rotate on many services, including endocrine surgery, plastic surgery, trauma and burn surgery, surgical oncology, and more. With median GPA and MCAT score of 3.88 and 518, Michigan had 18 of its students match into general surgery or surgery-preliminary residency programs. Additionally, the Department of Surgery offers clinical electives and programs that prepare fourth-year medical students as they apply for residency. These opportunities build surgical expertise and leadership skills.
UCSF’s medical school 2018 match results included 15 matches into various surgical residencies, nine of which were into surgery and surgery-preliminary. With the median GPA and MCAT scores sitting at 3.85 and 517, UCSF received more than 7,700 applications for 149 seats. Most matriculants come from California residents and a significant percentage of the student body is made up of students underrepresented in medicine. As part of the surgery core clerkship program, students work both in the inpatient service and the outpatient clinic and follow-up on patients when they are admitted to the surgical service. Students take calls once a week and participate in team rounds, in clinics, and in the operating room. Students also do work-ups on patients who present with acute surgical illness.
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The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania saw 11 students match into residency programs in general surgery. To get into the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, you’ll need a high GPA and a 95th percentile or higher MCAT score—the medians at Perelman are 3.88 and 520 respectively. Students gain clinical experience in surgery through the General Surgery, Anesthesia, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic, and Otorhinolaryngology Junior Clerkships. During this 12-week course, students will receive 8-weeks of Surgery exposure, including four weeks of General Surgery and four weeks of Surgical Specialty (two weeks each), as well as one week of Orthopaedic Surgery.
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Consistently near the top of any best-of lists, Harvard Medical School’s class welcomes almost a quarter of its incoming class of 165 students from communities underrepresented in medicine. Nearly 60% of the entering class of 2018 is made up of women. As a top MD program, HMS is selective, with a median matriculant GPA of 3.92 and a median MCAT score of 519. Of all 2018 match participants, 16 chose surgery residencies, with 7 going into general surgery. You can expect to choose from a myriad surgery electives as a student, from transplantation surgery to plastic and reconstructive surgery.
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Match Day 2018 sent 9 Duke graduates into general surgery residency programs. With a median MCAT score of 519, that’s roughly in the 98th percentile, the MD program attracts competitive students from 37 states and receives more than 7,000 applications. Students follow an 8-week Clinical Core Clerkship in Surgery in their second year, which provides the framework for students to develop an understanding of surgery and develop a basic surgical skill set, as well as critical surgical thinking, and timely management of surgical problems.
In the Surgery Core Clerkship, Hopkins students rotate through four weeks of one general surgery service. The remaining four weeks consist of three to four one-week surgical subspecialties rotations. Students can choose from the following surgical subspecialties: cardiac, vascular, thoracic, transplant, plastics, neurosurgery and more. Students experience direct patient contact, operating room and bedside teaching, and service conferences. One of the most competitive MD programs in the United States with a median GPA of 3.92 and median MCAT of 520, the school admitted only 262 of 6,300 applicants. In 2018, 25 Hopkins MDs matched into various surgery residencies with 10 choosing general surgery.