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Neurological Surgery Residency

The residency program at UC Irvine's Department of Neurological Surgery is designed to provide experience in adult and pediatric neurosurgical practice. Practice settings include the university's medical center, health maintenance organizations and private practice sites.

Training takes place at UC Irvine Medical Center, San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland, Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach (VA) and CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange. These settings offer our residents exposure to a wide variety of patients with neurosurgical conditions.

In addition to these clinical rotations, our residents are trained in neuropathology and neuroradiology. Residents also undergo an extensive didactic program of core lectures, seminars and neurosurgery journal clubs, conferences and grand rounds as well as a full year of research activities that they select.

The residency program, which is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), was officially launched on July 1, 2008. The seven-year program generally accepts one new resident trainee each year.

Overview »

The first year (PGY-1) includes five months of surgical training tailored toward neurosurgical relevance; three-months rotation in neuro-critical care; one-month rotation in trauma and a three-months rotation in basic neuroscience. During the the next 6 years, residents receive a variety of required neurosurgical training that includes, for example:

  • PGY-2, 12 months neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center
  • PGY-3, 9 months neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center; 3 endovascular neurosurgery at UC Irvine Health Medical Center
  • PGY-4, 6 months pediatric neurosurgery at Childrens Hospital of Orange County; 2 months of stereotactic radiosurgery at San Antonio Regional Hospital; 1 month of neuro-oncology; and 3 months clinical neurosurgery at Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Long Beach
  • PGY-5, 12 months of research at UC Irvine Medical Center or 12 months of subspecialty electives  (skull base neurosurgery; epilepsy and functional neurosurgery; complex spine; endovascular neurosurgery; neuro-critical care) at UC Irvine Health Medical Center
  • PGY-6, Option 1:  3 months at Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Long Beach; an elective consisting of 4 month of interventional radiology, including endovascular surgery, and 2 months of multidisciplinary spine service, both at UC Irvine Medical Center; and 3 months as chief resident at UC Irvine Medical Center
  • PGY-6, Option 2: 3 months at Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Long Beach; 2 months of pediatric neurosurgery at Rady Children's Hospital (UCSD);  an elective consisting of 2 months of interventional radiology, including endovascular surgery or 2 months of multidisciplinary spine service; and 3 months as chief resident at UC Irvine Medical Center
  • PGY-7, 9 months as chief resident at UC Irvine Medical Center; 3 months of subspecialty elective

Beginning with the PGY-2-7 year, residents are expected to prepare and submit at least one manuscript annually for peer review publication.

They are expected to take the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) written examination for either practice or credit each year of training beginning with the PGY-1 year. The earliest year they can take the examination for credit is PGY-4. Residents must pass the ABNS exam by the completion of PGY-6 in order to progress to the final chief residency year.

Assuming these requirements are met and faculty evaluations are satisfactory, a resident will complete the entire program in 7 years.

Affiliated Hospitals »


CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County

CHOC is a 202-bed, not-for-profit pediatric hospital in Orange that offers a full spectrum of healthcare services including most specialties. CHOC has pediatric medical/surgical units, a pediatric intensive care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit, a cardiovascular intensive care unit, a neuroscience unit and an oncology intensive care unit. At present, it is the 15th busiest pediatric hospital in the United States.

San Antonio Regional

SARH is a 271-bed, not-for-profit, acute care hospital in Upland, where residents receive training in radiosurgery at the Southern California Gamma Knife Center.

Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center

The Tibor Rubin Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA) has 237 beds and is a comprehensive tertiary care center with the main medical center in Long Beach, two veteran community centers and five community clinics located in the neighboring regions. Already well established as a critical educational partner, the VA offers state-of the-art technology along with a strong commitment to high quality education and advanced research, providing diverse experiences in primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, spinal cord injury, geriatrics, and extended care. Some of the special programs include Cardiac Imaging Lab, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Preservation Amputation Care Treatment Program, Radiation Therapy Program, Spinal Cord Injury Unity, Women’s Health Program and Blind Rehabilitation Program.

Application Process »

Residency Match applications are processed online through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Applicants must register with both ERAS and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to participate in the services of each.

PGY-1 is a categorical year of training under the direction of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Resident Eligibility

Appointment to a UC Irvine training program is contingent upon verification of the following documentation:

  • Current dean's letter (within the past 12 months).
  • Three current letters of recommendation (within the past 12 months).
  • Proof of passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 (including scores).
  • Proof of passing USMLE Step 3 (as required by training program).
  • Proof of license status:
    • If applicable, copy of valid California medical license (original to be re-copied by residency/fellowship coordinator at orientation)
    • In accordance with the California Medical Practice Act, Chapter 2065, all trainees who have completed 24 months of postgraduate training in any medical specialty, in California, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, must be licensed
    • Graduates of U.S. medical schools who have 23 months or more of previous training in an ACGME program in another state in any discipline, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, have 12 months to be licensed in California
    • International medical graduates who have 24 months of postgraduate training in an ACGME program in another state in any discipline, regardless of whether or not academic credit was awarded, must be licensed in California prior to commencement of training, proof of valid DEA card (original to be re-copied by residency/fellowship coordinator at orientation)
  • Proof of most recent ACLS, BLS or PALS card. These certification cards must be issued by the American Heart Association (AHA).
  • Proof of current ECFMG certificate:
    1. International medical graduates must have a current ECFMG certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates® (ECFMG) and ECFMG-issued J-1 visa or provide proof of permanent residence status.
    2. International medical graduates must have a current Medical Board of California "Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter" (PTAL) (issued within the past 12 months) from the Medical Board of California.
  • Verification of employee health screening.
  • Verification of attendance at orientation.
  • Verification of background check.

For more information on matching, please visit the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS) website.

For more information on UC Irvine Graduate Medical Education Office, please visit the UC Irvine Graduate Medical Education (GME) website.

Meet our 2018-2019 Neurological Surgery residents ›

View our residency program alumni ›

For more information about the Department of Neurological Surgery's residency program, contact:

Cindy Wang
Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Neurological Surgery
University of California, Irvine Medical Center
200 South Manchester Ave. Suite 210
Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 456-3402
Fax: (714) 456-8212
Email: cindysw@uci.edu