Residency Program

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The Division of Neurosurgery provides undergraduate and postgraduate training programs for the Faculty of Medicine of UBC.  The Neurosurgery Residency Training Program is fully accredited 6 year program accredited by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, provided to average of six to eight residents at different levels enrolled at any one time. The program is designed to use all affiliated facilities and staff personnel to assist the residents in their learning of clinical Neurosurgery. Resident rotations are based upon the Objectives of Training and Specialty Training Requirements in Neurosurgery. In addition to Clinical Neurosurgery, residents rotate on other related neuroscience services including: Neuropathology, Neurology, Neuroradiology and Neuroophthalmology.

Through Department of Surgery training program, neurosurgery has been guaranteed funding for 1 to 2 trainees per year. This allotment includes the core basic principles of surgery training, and all the rotations to the affiliated departments.

A one year accredited fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery  or funded fellowship in Stereotaxic & Functional Neurosurgery is available. Externally funded supernumerary positions on the adult service are considered. Postgraduate training leading to a Master’s degree in Surgical Education, Clinical Epidemiology and Basic Science Research are offered through the Department of Surgery. Assistance for arranging advanced post-graduate training may be provided for some such as a position of clinical fellow in neurosurgery, or in the Master of Science Program in Surgery.


  1. Two years of approved training in basic principles of surgery, which will include:
    • Foundational training in Critical Care Medicine, Trauma, Emergency medicine
    • Three blocks of Neurology
    • Nine blocks of Adult Neurosurgery (including three blocks on the combined neurosurgery & orthopedic spine service.
  2. Four years of additional training in neurosurgery with progressively increasing responsibility for patient care, including
  3. Training may also include
    • Further approved residency training in neurosurgery (including pediatric neurosurgery, spine or community neurosurgery)
    • Clinical or basic research
    • Other approved training or research relevant to the field of neurosurgery, desired by the resident and approved by the program.

To allow broad experience, several specific rotations may be arranged, such as:

  • Adult Neurosurgery may be done in a community private practice
  • Combined Neurosurgical and Orthopaedic Spine Program: (minimum of 9 blocks, with the option of an additional training as per the educational and career objectives of the individual resident.)
  • Neuro-ophthalmology(1-3 blocks optional)
  • One or more years of research in an approved neurosurgical or related laboratory.
  • An elective period of training which shall be approved by the Program Director and Head of Division.

As a resident progresses through the PGY 3 to 6 years, there is a gradual increase in responsibility as determined by the program objectives and the resident‘s capability. This responsibility is across all areas: Ward, Operating room, Emergency, Teaching and Administrative duties. The sequence of rotations is somewhat flexible and will be tailored to the residents needs, in particular as this relates to timing of electives, research, and community neurosurgery rotations. The Chief Resident is in charge of the day to day management of the neurosurgery patients, under the supervision of the attending staff. He/she also makes up the call schedule for each month as well as designating the cases to be presented at weekly Neurosurgery Correlative Rounds. A resident is expected to have passed their Principles of Surgery exam prior to promotion to the PGY 4 year.

View an Example of Rotations, Recommended Content and Elective Content of Training.

In summary

  • Surgical Foundations makes up the first two years of training.
  • The final four years consist of rotations in adult neurosurgery, the Combined Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Spine Program, and pediatric neurosurgery as well as clinical neurology, neuropathology and elective time.
  • In the rotation planning, at least twelve months will be served as chief resident.
  • The relative lengths of adult neurosurgery and spine rotations is flexible and can be adjusted based on the educational and career interests of each resident.
  • The Royal College ―Objectives of Training and Specialty Training Requirements in Neurosurgery‖ mandates at least 42 blocks of Clinical Neurosurgery.
  • The cumulative 48 blocks of adult general, spinal, and pediatric neurosurgery is recommended.