Department of Neurological Surgery

Residency Education


Our mission is to train competent, compassionate, proficient, and expert neurosurgeons capable of independently pursuing the neurosurgical career of their choice.

Additional Objectives

  • Each graduating resident becomes an expert in at least one subspecialty discipline of Neurosurgery

  • Residents strongly consider applying their expertise to teaching, research, academic, and/or a subspecialty career upon completion of the program.

  • Residents maintain and enjoy a personal life.

Resident Training Program

The Resident Training Program is seven years in length (including the PGY-1 year). Each year the Department of Neurological Surgery matches with three residents from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). We feel very strongly about the ethics of the Matching Program and do not, in any way, attempt to recruit residency applicants outside of the Matching Program. i

PGY-1: Residents rotate for four months on Neurosurgery, three months on Neurology, two months on Neurointensive Care, one month on Trauma, one month on Emergency Medicine, and one month on General Surgery.

PGY-2: Resident spends four months on each of the Vanderbilt Adult Services of Spine, Tumor, and Vascular/Functional.

PGY-3: Residents spend four months on the Pediatric Neurosurgery Service at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, four months at the Veterans Administration Hospital, and four months floating on the Adult Neurosurgery VUMC Service.

PGY-4/PGY-5: Residents spend individually-tailored time doing basic or clinical research. Further clinical training rotations or “Infolded Fellowships”, in an area of interest to the resident, may also be arranged during this period.

PGY-6/PGY-7: Residents rotate on the three Vanderbilt Adult Services as Senior and Chief residents, respectively.

There is a gradual assumption of increasing responsibility and authority during the 7 years of Residency with a strong emphasis on hands-on training. This is supplemented by conferences and didactic teaching. Residents must pass the Primary Examination of the American Boards of Neurological Surgeons prior to becoming Chief Resident. Graduates from our program are well placed to pursue successful careers in academic or private practice and ultimately become leaders in Neurological Surgery.

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