"The official name for this specialty is Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. This specialty involves both the medical and surgical care of all structures related to the head and neck (basically, above the clavicles and excluding the brain and eye). … Although most physicians and patients still refer to these surgeons simply as ‘ENTs,’ this specialty is, in reality, so much more than ears, noses, and throats. Otolaryngologists are also experts in the management of head and neck tumors (e.g., thyroid and salivary gland), chronic pediatric infections (tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, and tympanostomy tube placement), facial trauma and cosmetic deformities, and diseases of the airway and phonation (laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy, palate surgery for snoring and sleep apnea), and assessing and treating hearing loss in adults and children."
— Freeman, B. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty. 3rd Ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill: New York. p.340.
- What advice would you offer first- and second-year students who are interested in pursuing your specialty?
Since otolaryngology is a competitive residency, high scores on USMLE Step 1 are favorable. Start preparing early in your medical school career by studying hard and doing well the first two years of medical school.
- How important is a research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?
Research experience, including presentations and publications are looked upon very favorably. Otolaryngology research is ideal, but any research is good. Start as early as possible.
- What M4 electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?Neuroradiology and radiation oncology.
- Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?
- If your specialty recommends doing away rotations, how many "aways" do you recommend?
The number of away rotations is usually one or two.
- If away rotations are necessary, when should they be completed?
August through October.
- Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?
December or January.
- Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?
No, but at least two of the three required letters should be from otolaryngologists.
- If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?
There is no one specialty that is valued higher than another, but any mentor who knows you well can write a letter.
- Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?
No, but the more well-known the person, the better the letter.
- Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?
Yes. Every student should have a letter from the chair, and they should also consider one from the residency program director.
- ENT Specialty Session - Winter / Residency Application Information
During the winter of the M3 year, students should attend specialty sessions sponsored by the ENT department to more about the specialty and meet attendings and residents in the field.
- Neuroradiology or radiology
- Radiation oncology
- Infectious disease
Request an ENT Adviser
Contact our ENT Advising Coordinator:
For More Information
Department of Otolaryngology
Feinberg School of Medicine
676 N. St. Clair St., Suite 1325
Chicago, IL 60611