Medical Schools for Surgery

In 2018, there were a total of 1,432 general surgery positions offered in the NRMP match and a total of 2,563 applicants for those positions. Of those 2,563 applicants, 1,388 were US senior medical students. 73.5% of the positions were filled by US applicants, 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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140 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons students matriculated in 2018. The acceptance rate was 3.4%. 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.
[ Learn more about Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons ]

Match Day 2019 sent 10 Duke graduates into general surgery residency programs. 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.
[ Learn more about Duke School of Medicine ]
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. 56% of the entering class of 2019 is made up of women. As a top MD program, HMS is selective, with a median matriculant GPA of 3.9 and a median MCAT score of 519. Of all 2019 match participants, 9 matched with general surgery residencies. You can expect to choose from a myriad surgery electives as a student, from transplantation surgery to plastic and reconstructive surgery.
[ Learn more about Harvard Medical School ]

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 4.3% acceptance rate, the school admitted only 256 of 6,016 applicants. In 2018, 25 Hopkins MDs matched into various surgery residencies with 10 choosing general surgery.

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 small class size of 102, and the median undergraduate GPA and MCAT score of matriculated students was 3.92 and 520, respectively.  
[ Learn more about the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine ]

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. 
[ Learn more about Stanford School of Medicine ]

UCSF’s medical school 2019 match results included 8 matches into surgical residencies. With a median GPA of 3.8 and a 94th percentile MCAT score, UCSF received more than 7,800 applications for 155 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.
Learn more about UCSF School of Medicine ]

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 of 3.78 and an MCAT score in the 90.77th percentile, Michigan had 6 of its students match into general surgery 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.
[ Learn more about University of Michigan Medical School ]

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania saw 14 students match into residency programs in general and preliminary 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 3.89 and 521 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.
Learn more about Perelman ]
In the 2019 residency match, seven 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.
[ Learn more about Washington University School of Medicine ]


STUDY GUIDE: How to prep for the MCAT in 1 Month

Only have a month to prep? You can still earn the score you need by following this week-by-week plan.

STUDY GUIDE: How to prep for the MCAT in 2 months

Planning on taking the MCAT in two months? You’ll need to put aside a significant amount of study time each week.

STUDY GUIDE: How to prep for the MCAT in 3 months

Three months might seem like plenty of time, but you’ll still need to set aside many hours of study time each week.

STUDY GUIDE: How to prep for the MCAT in 6 months

Let’s take a look at how the next six months should shape up for you.

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