Training Goals & Objectives

The neurosurgery program at The University of Chicago is geared towards training men and women who wish to enter a career in academic neurosurgery. Our goal is to educate a group of physician-scientists who will advance the future of academic neurosurgery and make a lasting contribution to the care of neurosurgical patients. Accordingly, the program offers the opportunity to obtain both outstanding clinical and basic science research experience in an academic medical center located in one of the great American cities.

The residency training program at the University of Chicago is structured into a seven-year curriculum. The training provides progressive increase in skills and responsibility until the resident is ready to become an independent fully trained neurosurgeon.

Residency Goals

The first year includes rotations on neurosurgery, neurosurgical intensive care, as well as surgical specialties and anesthesia.

Goal: To acquire a basic knowledge and skills set in surgical, subspecialty, neurological, and basic neurosurgical information and be able to apply this to manage patients with common neurosurgical, intensive care, and emergency medical disorders.

The second year is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of patient care on the adult neurosurgery service. Ample opportunity is present to assist and perform operative procedures commensurate with the resident's level of expertise. The Junior resident will be split between six months of neurosurgery training at the UCMC and six months of training at the NorthShore University Health System Evanston Campus. Time at the UCMC will be spent on the Adult Neurosurgery Service as the Junior resident providing care to the adult cranial and spine patients under the supervision of the Adult Service Chief Resident and the Spine Service Senior Resident. The junior neurosurgery resident at the NorthShore University HealthSystem (NSUHS) Evanston Campus for six months will broaden his/her familiarity with the care of neurosurgical patients through day to day involvement with general neurosurgical inpatients at the hospital under senior resident and faculty supervision.

Goal: To understand and be able to apply basic neurosurgical knowledge, surgical techniques, professionalism and communications skills to the care and management of neurosurgical patients.

The third year is spent between the pediatric neurosurgical service and a variety of other required rotations. The year is comprised of a six month rotation as a mid-level resident on the Pediatric Neurosurgery Service at The Comer Children's Hospital of the University of Chicago. Emphasis is on the care of pediatric neurosurgical problems in all its areas: tumor, vascular, spine, spina bifida and congenital anomalies, hydrocephalus, trauma, and pediatric epilepsy. PGY-3 also includes an adult vascular/endovascular rotation, and additional rotation in neuropathology.

Goals: To identify common pediatric neurosurgical illnesses and understand how to diagnose and manage these conditions. To increase understanding and basic skill in the diagnosis and management of neurovascular disorders.

The fourth year resident spends six months on an adult neurosurgery/spine emphasis rotation at UCMC, and the other six months at NorthShore Health System Evanston campus.

Goal: Achieving competence and a degree of independent performance of common spine surgical procedures, progress in diagnostic skills and judgment in spinal neurosurgery. Progress in surgical and general clinical skill in general adult neurosurgical practice, with emphasis on spine and adult trauma.

The fifth and sixth years are defined as elective or research experiences. The Neurosurgery section uses a broad definition of generation of knowledge to allow residents to pursue activity that could include clinical research, or advanced clinical training on an infolded fellowship. These activities will be supervised by an appropriate mentor as well as a member of the Neurosurgical faculty. Currently, 20 months of research can be expected with the rest of PGY5/6 being clinical duties.


1. To conduct basic, translational or clinical research in neurosurgery or a related field and/or to gain advanced experience in clinically-related subspecialty fields of Neurosurgery.

2. To contribute new knowledge to the field of Neurosurgery or related Neurosciences.

3. To engage in elective and other specialty clinical experiences.

The final year is spent as chief resident on both the adult and pediatric services. This year provides extensive experience in the operative management of neurosurgical patients, as well as the responsibility for the day-to-day running of the clinical services. During this time, the chief resident will be exposed to increasing complexities of intracranial neurosurgical procedures. In addition to operative management the chief resident on the service will be responsible for the supervision and training of the junior residents on the service, as well as interaction with the neuro-intensive care staff and the endovascular neuro-intentional staff. The resident will learn to perform and master an ever more complicated series of adult and pediatric neurosurgical operations.


1. To become technically competent at completing simple neurosurgical operations, develop the knowledge base required for the conduct of such procedures, and to demonstrate more advanced professionalism, interpersonal and communicating skills and practice-based learning and systems-based practice.

2. To become competent to perform neurosurgical operations independently and to enter neurosurgical practice.

3. To assume a senior level of responsibility on the adult neurosurgery ward, with an emphasis on advanced spinal operations.