Neurosurgery Residency

The UC San Diego Division of Neurosurgery selects two residents for training each year. The seven-year residency (including internship) provides comprehensive training in all aspects of modern neurosurgery including neurosurgical critical care, neurotrauma, neurovascular surgery, brain tumors, functional neurosurgery, epilepsy, pediatric neurosurgery, peripheral nerve, and spine/spinal instrumentation surgery. The program is academic in its orientation, with input from world-renowned basic science researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, the Scripps Research Institute, and the Salk Institute. The program is also designed to be flexible and strives to accommodate specialized research and/or clinical interests.

Program Structure

  • PGY-1: Six months Neurosurgery (University Hospital), three months Neuro critical care/neuroendovascular (University Hospital), one month of ENT and one month of surgical ICU 
  • PGY-2: Junior Neurosurgery Resident (University Hospital/Thornton and VA Hospital)
  • PGY-3: Junior Neurosurgery Resident (University Hospital/Thornton and VA Hospital)
  • PGY-4: Research/Elective
  • PGY-5: Research/Elective
  • PGY-6: Neurosurgery Senior Resident (University Hospital/Thornton Hospital/VA Chief)
  • PGY-7: Chief Resident Hillcrest/Chief Resident Thornton University Hospitals

During PGY-1, each intern spends 10 months on the neurosurgery service, where they learn to run the service and perform bedside procedures. For the remainder of the year, they spend time on the neurocritical care service. PGY-2 and PGY-3 concentrate on developing skills in basic neurosurgery and in neurosurgical critical care. Introduction to operative techniques commences with rotations on both the Tumor and Spine service, and these years provide dedicated study in fields within neurosurgery in order to allow the resident to develop mastery in these areas with undivided attention. This includes endovascular neurosurgery exposure, neuroradiology, and neuropathology as well as six months spent at the Children's Hospital on the Pediatric Neurosurgery Service.

PGY-4 and PGY-5 are dedicated to in-depth research and/or subspecialty residency training. The Senior Resident and Chief Resident years close the circle: with a maximum of opportunity and responsibility, these residents oversee the whole of neurosurgical care at both UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and the Jacobs Medical Center, as well as selected cases at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in La Jolla. In years past, residents have scored in the 80-90th percentiles on national neurosurgery board examinations and have far surpassed caseloads required by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

Applying for Neurosurgery Residency at UC San Diego: Only complete applications submitted through the ERAS system will be considered for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Interview dates

  • December 13, 2019
  • December 20, 2019
  • January 31, 2020

For information regarding the residency program, please email our Residency Coordinator Oksana Makodzeba at or call 619-543-1966.

Read the 2017/18 Surgery Annual Report

In this year's Annual Report, we share our vision for clinical care, research, and training, and the latest news from our 13 specialty divisions. From transformational clinical growth—which means healthier patients in our region—to extending our training capabilities by expanding the Center for the Future of Surgery; to exciting new research collaborations, in the last year, UC San Diego's Department of Surgery lived out its mission to do the very, very best for today's and tomorrow's patients.