Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Neurological Surgery

Education and Didactics

The residency training program in Neurological Surgery at Northwestern offers educational and didactic opportunities which are structured in both informal and formal settings. The clinic, the operating room, and our research laboratories provide a rich environment in which physicians and scientists exchange ideas about patient care and development of the latest and most innovative therapies.
A formal and weekly lecture series covers a number of important topics in preparation for the written boards. These focus on neuropathology, neuroradiology, neuroanatomy, neurology and neurosurgery. Whenever possible, clinical case vignettes are used in combination with basic science to enhance and deepen the understanding of a given subject. The residents are exposed to a breadth of clinical material, including specific month-long lecture series focusing on neuro-oncology, cerebrovascular disease, spinal disorders, pediatric neurosurgery, functional/epilepsy based neurosurgery, as well as disorders of the peripheral nerves. These lectures are further supplemented by robust multi-disciplinary weekly conferences which include:
Neurosurgery Grand Rounds
Neuro-Oncology/Tumor Board
Cerebrovascular Conference
Spine Conference
Attending Case Presentation Conference
Additional monthly departmental conferences include the Morbidity and Mortality Conference and a Journal Club. In addition, all of the residents participate in hospital sponsored Patient Safety and Medical Ethics Conference.

Training Program Overview


Twelve months are spent on various services to give interns a broad exposure to the building blocks of neurological surgery. These include a 6 month rotation in general surgery (including plastics, vascular, and cardiac), 3 months in basic neurosciences (neuroradiology, neuropathology, and neurology), and 3 months of neuro-ICU care. All rotations take place at NMH.

PGY 2-3

The following 24 months are spent in the capacity of a junior resident. Rotations focus on cerebrovascular neurosurgery, spine surgery, and neuro-oncologic surgery. Upon completion, the residents have a solid exposure to patient care and have developed appropriate surgical skills to assume the position of a senior resident.


The transition from a junior resident to a senior resident involves enhanced responsibility and independence. The residents rotate in block times to gain exposure in the following areas: pediatric neurosurgery at Lurie Children’s Hospital and significant exposure to functional and epilepsy neurosurgery at NMH.

PGY 5-6

These are protected and dedicated years of elective time. Our residents may choose to work in any of our NIH sponsored laboratories, perform an in-folded clinical fellowship, or pursue other academic endeavors. For example, we offer an elective rotation in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Catholic University in Rome, Italy. Other past residents have pursued programs such as an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern or a health policy research fellowship in Washington, DC.

Kellogg      Cat_U



The last year is spent as the Chief Resident. In this capacity, the Chief Resident is based at NMH and has full responsibility for running the neurosurgical service. Extensive experience is provided in the medical and surgical management of complex neurosurgical problems, including skull base tumors, aneurysms, and challenging spinal problems. Upon completion, the Chief Resident is fully prepared for a leadership position in neurological surgery at any major academic center in the United States.