Surgical Residency Program
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Surgical Residency Program offers extensive clinical training and research opportunities.
- Call 617-726-2800 for more information
- View frequently asked questions about our program
The Mass General Difference
The mission of the Massachusetts General Hospital General Surgical Residency Training Program is to recruit the finest possible candidates and to train them to become the next generation of leaders in academic surgery. We provide our residents unparalleled clinical and operative experiences; robust didactic, simulation and conference curricula; and limitless research opportunities. One of the oldest and most prestigious training programs in the country, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program continues to pride itself on the success of its graduates, many of whom are current department chairs, division chiefs and renowned surgical scientists.
Access to Clinical ExcellenceThe principal goal of the program is clinical excellence. We believe that exposure to a large, diverse patient population and a broad experience in complex open and minimally invasive surgeries are essential elements in the training of outstanding surgeons. Thus, the vast majority of our surgical training occurs at Mass General, consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Mass General provides approximately 10,000 surgical admissions and 20,000 operative procedures each year. This abundance of clinical material enables the surgical trainee to gain early experience in the operating room and to quickly develop independent responsibility in the perioperative care of a wide variety of complicated surgical patients. Graduating residents routinely perform between 1,000 and 1,200 major operations upon completion of the residency. The vast majority of residents go on to subspecialty fellowship training at the program of their choice, followed by careers in academic surgery. Recent graduates have matched in fellowships at Boston Children's Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco (Transplant Surgery), and New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center (Cardiac and Vascular Surgery) as well as various Mass General fellowship programs.
Fostering Future Leaders
Learn more about the Ferguson-Ottinger Fund
The Ferguson-Ottinger Fund for Surgical Residents at Mass General supports a visiting professorship, educational and networking opportunities for surgical residents.
A secondary goal of the program is to provide residents with the tools and mentorship necessary to foster their growth as future leaders in surgery. Though a research sabbatical is not required, the majority of residents elect to spend two years away from their clinical training to conduct research. The department is extremely supportive of this research experience — so much so that the department has six endowed fellowships, which guarantee salary support for all residents conducting research.
Though many residents select a research mentor within the Department of Surgery at Mass General, which is the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, all of our residents have tremendous flexibility and opportunity in choosing to work in the foremost laboratories in the country or to conduct less traditional projects for which funding might otherwise be unavailable. Many residents choose basic science research experiences, but many others conduct outcomes, health services and education research. Residents also enjoy the opportunity to attain an advanced degree, such as a PhD, MPH or MBA during this sabbatical.
Finally, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program serves as a major pillar of the Department of Surgery. It thrives on the mutual trust and respect the faculty and residents have for each other in the common quest—exceptional patient care. There is a tremendous esprit de corps among the residents, who owe a debt of gratitude to Edward D. Churchill, MD, former chief of surgery at Mass General, who first proposed the current "rectangular" system of resident training to supplant William Stewart Halsted’s long-standing pyramidal system. Perhaps it was Churchill who, in a report to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1948, summed up the philosophy of the Mass General Surgical Residency Program best: "Our whole program in graduate education ... is to keep the framework flexible and adapted to the needs and interests of the individual." More than 60 years later, we seek to accomplish this mission every day.
Mass General's Surgical Residency Program consists of five clinical years encompassing the broad range of surgery, and provides graded responsibility with adequate supervision at all levels. All residents complete the requirements for certification by the American Board of Surgery. Our graduates have been extraordinarily successful in obtaining premier fellowship positions.
The hybrid operating rooms in the new Lunder Building offer the next generation of innovative surgical care by providing imaging, surgery and image-guided surgery in the same room.
The Surgical Residency Program offers an unparalleled clinical experience for surgeons in training. Operative experience begins in the first year, with progressive advancement in complexity of cases with experience. Each graduating resident, over the course of the residency, averages approximately 1,200 major cases, with strong experience in complex major cases.
The vast majority of training takes place at Mass General, with the focus on the primary components of general surgery. Several months are spent on outside rotations at Newton-Wellesley and Salem Hospitals, offering residents exposure to community hospital practice, teaching independence and autonomy.
Current resident rotations (PDF)
As a leader in the world of medical simulation, Mass General has developed innovative uses of simulation for the education of residents. The simulation program uses a combination of wet lab, dry lab and in-situ simulation to educate residents and medical students. We are one of the main teaching hubs for the Advanced Trauma Operative Management course, the Advanced Trauma Life Support course, Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery and other programs sponsored by the American College of Surgery. We are actively engaged with industry to develop and test some of the newest simulation techniques and offer the opportunity for residents to not just learn but to also teach/develop such programs.
More than half of our residents elect to take time away from clinical training, usually two years, for research or to pursue advanced degrees. The department is extremely supportive of these electives, and helps each resident select an appropriate laboratory for this experience, be it at Mass General or elsewhere. The department has six endowed fellowships for support of resident research and guarantees salary support for any resident during this research experience. With this availability of funds, residents often have opportunities to work in the foremost laboratories in the country.
Global Surgery PathwayAs an international leader in surgery, Mass General has developed a Global Surgery Pathway for residents interested in pursuing work in developing countries. This pathway enables interested and qualified surgery residents to undertake tailor-made clinical, educational and research opportunities. Learn more about this program
A variety of educational conferences complement the clinical training program. Each service has a weekly morbidity and mortality conference, which all residents and staff attend. Surgical Grand Rounds take place on Thursday mornings. The remainder of Thursday morning is dedicated to the general surgery core curriculum for all surgical residents. Below is the list of conferences in all disciplines held by the listed day:
- Adrenal conference
- Trauma rounds
- Endocrine surgery conference
- Hepatobiliary conference
- Breast center didactic conference
- Gastrointestinal oncology multidisciplinary meeting
- Endocrine clinical research conference
- Gastrointestinal oncology conference
- Melanoma research conference
- Gastrointestinal rounds
- Gastrointestinal oncology multidisciplinary meeting
- Endocrine oncology conference
- Pancreas rounds
- Sarcoma rounds
- Breast tumor board
- Liver tumor clinic rounds
- Inflammatory bowel disease conference
Program Director, Surgical Residency Program
Associate Program Director, Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
Faculty by Division
- Burns Center
- Cardiac Surgery
- General and Gastrointestinal Surgery
- Pediatric Surgery
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Surgical Oncology
- Thoracic Surgery
- Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
- Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
- Voice Center
- Weight Center
Residency Program Faculty and Staff
Jennifer Doyle, MA
Director of Surgical Educatiion
Emil Petrusa, PhD
Education Research Specialist
Surgical Residency Program Manager
Who We Are
Massachusetts General Hospital recruits top candidates from around the world into our Surgical Residency Program. Our residents bring to the program diverse perspectives and backgrounds, enriching the program further and deepening the care experience that our patients receive.
Facts about our Residents
- About 70% of our current residents attended a medical school outside of Boston
- 89.2% of resident graduates from 2007-2013 have earned fellowship spots postgraduation
- Our current residents have published more than 150 publications during their residency
- About 20% of our residents have children
- Residents have visited as many as nine countries during residency
- Approximately 82% of our residents live in Boston near the hospital
- Learn more about the individuals in our program
While the program is rigorous, residents are able to maintain a balance with their personal lives and are part of a community that supports and encourages their development. There are a number of events throughout the year during which residents recognize each other’s work and accomplishments, welcome incoming residents and come to discuss a particularly extraordinary case; among them:
- Annual holiday party
- Santa Rounds: Every year the Mass General surgical interns participate in a long-standing tradition of admitting Mr. Santa Claus to Mass General. Learn more about this unusual patient
- Change Show: On the eve of the first day of the new academic year, we celebrate and review the year’s triumphs by showcasing videos created by each class. At this event we also welcome the incoming interns
Commitment to Diversity
The Department of Surgery is committed to recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds. We have a diversity committee of faculty, staff and residents that meets to discuss program development. We also work with the Mass General Multicultural Affairs Office, which connects students underrepresented in medicine to other students, faculty and staff who share their experience at Mass General. The department also encourages opportunities to engage in broader discussion on diversity and health care. In 2011, the Department of Surgery hosted the 21st annual meeting of The Society of Black Academic Surgeons, drawing more than 200 individuals to panels led by expert surgeons.
Welcome to Boston
The Charles River right outside of Mass General
A world-class city with a small-town feel, Boston is rich in history and culture and home to more than 50 colleges and universities. The city is known for its sports teams, as well as for its major cultural institutions like the Boston Ballet and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Numerous museums and galleries host weekly events, and a thriving local music scene coupled with an international array of restaurants makes Boston a vibrant city to call home.
Most area attractions are within walking distance or a short trip on public transportation. Mass General is located right near the city center, which is surrounded by a number of neighborhoods where our residents live. Some of the better-known areas include Harvard Square, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End and the North End.
Boston is also centrally located to major destinations in the Northeast. New York is just four hours away by bus. Train lines such as Amtrak and the MBTA local commuter rail make traveling in New England and along the coast easy. We are in close proximity to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and other major travel destinations. International flights are also available out of Boston's Logan International Airport, approximately a 15-minute cab ride away from the hospital.
Making the move to Boston is both exciting and challenging. Our Multicultural Affairs Office has a list of resources to help you find housing and furniture, and networks to connect to.
Residents are provided with two, five-day blocks of vacation during the first year of residency and one month per year in the subsequent four years. All one-month vacations are taken as a single block to prevent interference with the educational experience of rotations, to provide an adequate block of time off for the resident and to prevent the necessity of cross-coverage on services. The program strives to accommodate the vacation requests of each resident.
Hospitalization and medical insurance is available through the hospital, as are disability insurance and malpractice insurance.
Subsidized parking is available to house officers in the hospital's parking garages. There is no stipend for this.
Many of the residents in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Surgical Residency Program continue their education and training after graduation with additional fellowships and residencies.
View a list of recent alumni and their postgraduate positions
For more information on alumni relations, visit the Mass General Surgical Society.
Appointments to the first year of general surgical training are administered under the National Resident Matching Program. Application is made through the AAMC Electronic Residency Application Service, ERAS.
Required Application Materials
- 500-word personal statement
- Dean's letter
- Curriculum vitae
- Three (3) names of supporting references are required in the application form (requests for letters of recommendation is the responsibility of the applicant)
Additional application requirements and information (if applicable):
- Pass scores on USMLE Step 1 and both parts of Step 2 by matched date
- We sponsor H1-B and J-1 visas for categorical positions
- We sponsor only J-1 visas for preliminary positions
If you are a foreign medical graduate, visit the Foreign Medical Graduate page for additional information.
All candidates for positions in the categorical five-year program are required to be present at an interview given at the hospital each year. We require confirmation of intent to participate in the interview. A prior interview is not necessary, but students are welcome to visit the department when convenient to more fully familiarize themselves with the training program and hospital. Candidates for preliminary positions do not participate in the formal interview process. Selected applicants will be contacted to schedule an individual interview. We begin accepting applications through ERAS on September 1st of each year. Our application deadline is October 1st.
Surgical Residency ProgramBarbara Wolf, Program Manager
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes