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Surgical Residency Program

The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery's Surgical Residency Program offers extensive clinical training and research opportunities.

Explore This Residency

About the Program

The mission of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s General Surgical Residency Training Program in the Department of Surgery is to recruit the finest possible candidates and 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; a team approach to career development, mentorship 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 surgeon-scientists.

Video: Graduate Medical Education at Mass General

In this video, residents, fellows and program leaders at Mass General—including John Mullen, MD, director of the Surgical Residency Program—discuss learning experiences and training programs offered at the hospital.

Access to Clinical Excellence

The 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 the 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.

Academic Career Development—Fostering Future Leaders in Surgery

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. The Mass General Department of Surgery has one of the largest hospital-based surgical research programs in the country, with over 50 million in annual research expenditure. The breadth of our research program is highlighted in two research presentations.

Though a research sabbatical is not required, the majority of residents elect to spend two years away from their clinical training to conduct career development and in-depth 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.

We do not expect that all residents arrive at Mass General with a strong vision of their future clinical and academic goals. We know that their initial interests from their medical school time may evolve over the course of their residency training. As such, we have implemented a multidisciplinary and longitudinal approach to mentorship. The Department of Surgery's Chief Research Officer, Eric Liao, MD, PhD, works with each resident to assemble a team of mentors—clinical, academic and peer mentors that help each resident refine their career plans over time. Each resident will have a formal team of faculty and peer mentors, with an annual team career conference to review each resident’s career plan as it matures and comes into focus.

There is also robust programming for career development throughout the academic year, integrated into Surgical Grand Rounds, resident core didactics, journal clubs and seminars. The monthly Academic Career Development seminars teach core skills and competencies, with topics such as:

  • Manuscript preparation
  • Creating and maintaining a biosketch
  • Grant writing
  • Developing specific aims
  • Building mentor teams
  • Crafting a surgeon-scientist career

Our speakers are curated from the Mass General and national surgical community.

New in the 2021-22 academic year is a two-week Academic Career Development rotation for the PGY2 and PGY3 residents. During this protected time, the junior residents engage in a curriculum designed to

  • Build academic skills
  • Foster introductions with mentors and collaborators
  • Enable completion of manuscripts, clinical protocols and grant applications

The department leadership strongly believes in providing every resource and opportunity possible to enhance the career development of trainees into future leaders.

Though many residents select a research mentor within the Department of Surgery at Mass General, 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, and many others conduct 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. Perhaps it was Churchill who, in a report to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1948, summed up the philosophy of the Mass General framework and adapted to the needs and interests of the individual.

Message from the Program Director

As the program director of the Surgical Residency Program at Mass General, I am often asked the question by intern applicants during interview season: “What specific changes have you made as Program Director to the program in response to resident feedback to enhance the quality of surgical training of your residents?” The answer is simple – in response to resident pleas for more autonomy in the operating room, we deliberately set out to create a service which provides structured operative autonomy while at the same time preserves our commitment to excellent patient outcomes. This was not an easy lift. In academic surgery, we are by no means immune from societal and institutional pressures to operate faster, discharge sooner and achieve the best patient outcomes with top-box satisfaction scores, while at the same time being charged with the responsibility to train the next generation of surgeon-leaders.

Dr. Brandon Wojcik, one of the first trainees to rotate on this novel service, recently published our experience with this service in its pilot year in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. This publication garnered quite a bit of praise from surgical educators around the country, including a laudatory commentary by Dr. Dan Dent, the General Surgery Residency Program Director at the University of Texas, San Antonio and the immediate past-president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS). Our surgical residents truly make this service what it is, and we as faculty at Mass General, are humbled and honored each day to train some of the best and brightest young surgeons in the world.

John T. Mullen, MD
Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Massachusetts General Hospital


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.

Operative Experience

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 >

Simulation Program

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. During the 2016-17 academic year, we introduced a new robotic skills simulation curriculum.

View our simulation curriculum map >

How we teach resident skills >


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 Pathway

As 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


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:

Daily Schedule

  • 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

Resident Community

Mass General 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.

FAQs about our program

Supportive Community

Residents enjoy a resident vs. faculty softball game.
Residents enjoy a resident vs. faculty softball game.

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. Some among them include:

  • 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
  • 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

Meet our residents

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.

The Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) works closely with all departments, and residency and fellowship training programs to advance diversity, equity and inclusion for trainees and physicians at Mass General.

Welcome to Boston

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. Mass General helps residents alleviate the economic burden of living in Boston with a few programs like the Resident Stipend Pilot Program for economically disadvantaged residents and the Lease Guaranty Program. We are pleased to share these unique benefits with our residents.

Learn more about financial support at Mass General


  • Vacation: Residents are provided four week-long blocks of vacation during the first year of residency and four weeks per year in the subsequent four years. Residents in years two through five, can take two two-week vacation blocks or an entire month. The program strives to accommodate the vacation requests of each resident
  • Insurance: Hospitalization and medical insurance is available through the hospital, as are disability insurance and malpractice insurance
  • Parking: Subsidized parking is available to house officers in the hospital's parking garages
  • Salary: PGY Salary (2021-2022)
    • PGY-1 $68,000
    • PGY-2 $70,500
    • PGY-3 $73,500
    • PGY-4 $76,500
    • PGY-5 $80,000
    • PGY-6 $83,500
    • PGY-7 $87,500
    • PGY-8 $91,500

Research Opportunities for Residents

The Mass General Surgical Residency Program offers many opportunities for developing surgeon-scientists. Mass General houses the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research expenditures in excess of 1 billion in 2020. The Department of Surgery has one of the largest surgical research programs in the world, with annual expenditure of over $55 million each year in the last five years. Research facilities at the main Mass General campus, the Simches Research Center and Charlestown Navy Yard, house state-of-the-art equipment as well as the most cutting-edge research technologies and groups in areas including:

  • Cancer biology
  • Developmental biology
  • Imaging sciences
  • Immunology
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cell biology

We aim to continue a rich tradition of surgeon-scientists leading research advances. The Department of Surgery is in a great position to make the next leap forward in many exciting areas of research and to launch first-in-human trials to solve many conditions that we treat with surgery or solve with tools outside of surgery. Research is the most patient-centered contribution we can make. As surgeons, we make a difference in the lives of our patients every day. When we make research advances, we impact the lives of patients we may never meet.

The Mass General Next-Gen PSTP Program

The Mass General Department of Surgery and Department of Medicine was awarded an R25 grant through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Fall 2019 to fund the Mass General Next-Gen PSTP program. This research mechanism’s mission is to train residents to be physician-scientists who can advance medical science in infectious diseases and immunology, from basic science to clinical investigation.

Learn more

Basic Science Group

In the Surgical Residency Program at Mass General, the Basic Science Resident Group supports the residents who will become the next generation of surgical scientists. Tasked with investigating the biological structure and function of surgical diseases, the Basic Science Resident Group fosters a tightly-knit community of trainees and faculty who are passionate about the biological sciences.

The group is led by Resident Director Richard Guyer, MD, PhD, and Faculty Director Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, both of whom provide group members ample opportunities for growth and mentorship. The group hosts regular meetings on the Mass General campus that provide trainees opportunities to present their work and receive constructive feedback in a collegial and supportive environment. These meetings also aim to connect trainees with mentors and inspire new collaborations.

Our Current Residents
  • Elizabeth Calle, MD, PhD
    • Research project: "Microenvironmental cues necessary to maintain airway structure and function for successful airway replacement and lung transplantation"
  • Avril Coley, MD
    • Research interest: Biology of colorectal cancer
  • Shannon Cramm, MD, 2020-21 Marshall K. Bartlett fellow
    • Research project: “Comparative effectiveness of WBC-driven vs mandatory course of postoperative antibiotics in children with complicated appendicitis”
  • David Cron, MD, MS
    • Research project: "Optimizing utilization of marginal donor livers for liver transplantation"
  • Claire de Crescenzo, MD
    • Research project: "Multi-disciplinary approach to study communication among patient, family and providers in the elective perioperative vascular surgery setting, and how it affects patient outcome and experience" 
  • Zachary Feldman, MD
    • Research project: "Mixed-methods analysis of the regionalization of complex aortic surgery"
  • Richard Guyer, MD, PhD, 2019-20 Marshall K. Bartlett fellow
    • Research project: “Transcription factors mediate postnatal neurogenesis from enteric glial cells”
  • Jasmine Khubchandani, MD, 2020-21 E.A. Codman fellow
    • Research project: "Preparing for broad dissemination of the PACTS curriculum: a mixed methods study to understand the facilitators and barriers"
  • Kate Krause, MD
    • Research project: “Characterization of spatial heterogeneity and tumor-immune interactions in mucosal melanoma”
  • Srihari Lella, MD
    • Research interest: Vascular surgery device innovation
  • Allison Letica-Kriegel, MD, 2020-21 Arthur W. Allen fellow and inaugural fellow of the MSKCC Surgical Quality and Safety Fellowship
    • Research project: In collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Gregory Leya, MD, MBA
    • Research projects: "The leadership of health care professionals: the role of medical workforce culture within increasingly corporate health care systems" and "Product versus process in shaping the future of surgical innovation"
  • Camille Mathey-Andrews, MD
    • Research project: "Characterizing intratumor heterogeneity in locally advanced esophageal adenocarcinoma"
  • Alyssa Mazurek, MD
    • Research project: "Looking backwards to move forward: longitudinal evaluation of the ACGME milestones to plan surgery faculty development"
  • Imani McElroy, MD, MPH, 2020-21 Robert Linton fellow
    • Research project: "The halo effect: an analysis of the financial impact of level 1 trauma centers on downstream hospital revenue"
  • Cynthia Miller, MD, 2020-21 Edward D. Churchill fellow
    • Research project: "Induction of heart allograft tolerance in cynomolgus macaques via en bloc thymus transplantation"
  • Jason Mitchell, MD
    • Research project: "Alx1 and environmental modifiers of facial clefts"
  • Jessica Mueller, MD
    • Research project: “Modifying the intestinal extracellular matrix to optimize enteric neuronal stem cell therapy for Hirschsprung disease”
  • Robert Sinyard, MD, MBA, 2020-21 V.H. Kazanjian fellow
    • Research project: “Timing for enterocutaneous fistula takedown and associated complications”
  • Brandon Sumpio, MD
    • Research interest: Vascular surgery
  • Harold Waller, MD, 2020-21 Venous and Lymphatic Medicine fellow
    • Research project: "The utility of thromboelastography (TEG) in predicting arterial thromboembolic events in revascularized trauma and vascular disease patients"
Basic Science Group Alumni

Many of the program’s alumni have gone on to launch basic science laboratories in their careers. This success is a direct result of the research opportunities that were made available to these once-residents. Alumni with active basic science research programs include:

  • Andrew Adams, MD, PhD, Transplant Surgery, Emory University
  • Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, Surgical Oncology, Mass General
  • Elliot Chaikof, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center
  • Derek Erstad, MD, Surgical Oncology Fellowship, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Cristina Ferrone, MD, General and Gastrointestinal Surgery, Mass General
  • Allan Goldstein, MD, Pediatric Surgery, Mass General
  • William Kitchens, MD, PhD, Transplant Surgery, Emory University
  • Derek Klarin, MD, Vascular Surgery Fellowship, University of Florida
  • Shaun Kunisaki, MD, Pediatric Surgery, University of Michigan
  • John LaMattina, MD, Transplant Surgery, University of Maryland
  • Joren Madsen, MD, DPhil, Transplant Center, Mass General
  • Harald Ott, MD, Thoracic Surgery, Mass General
  • Charles Rickert, MD, PhD, Transplant Surgery Fellowship, University of California, San Francisco
  • Parsia Vagefi, MD, Transplant Surgery, UT-Southwestern Medical Center

To learn more about the Basic Science Resident Group in Mass General’s Surgical Residency Program, please contact Dr. Boland at 617-724-9913.

Transplantation Sciences

The neighborhoods around the hospital are a hub of biomedical and technological innovation. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Boston receives a significant amount of the annual NIH grant funding. Additionally, the city is home to nearly 100 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. Although residents often pursue opportunities in laboratories within the Department of Surgery, they are free to explore any group within the hospital that matches their interests. Coupled with full departmental support, access to these amazing possibilities makes Mass General an ideal training program for future leaders of academic surgery.

Applying for NIH and Foundation Funding

The Department of Surgery will support residents who pursue basic science efforts and additionally, all residents are strongly encouraged to apply for NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowships during their third year of training. Applications for support from other agencies – including the American College of Surgeons, American Cancer Society, Society of University Surgeons, and the American Heart Association – are also encouraged. Writing these grant applications is a valuable intellectual exercise, and successfully obtaining funding establishes a track record that is critically important when applying for future awards such as the NIH’s Research Project Grant Program and Career Development Awards.

Research Funding Opportunities

Below are additional links and resources for existing residents seeking information on research funding opportunities and deadlines.

Surgical Societies
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Other Sponsors
Grant Writing Tips

Our Alumni

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.

How to Apply

Appointments to the first year of general surgical training are administered under the National Resident Matching Program. The Mass General Surgery Residency Program is committed to increasing the diversity within the program. We encourage all individuals to apply, especially those who are underrepresented in medicine. We review all applications holistically, and standardized test scores are a nominal consideration in our selection process. This is especially true this year due to the unique circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. 

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)

For the 2022 cycle, our program will require all applicants to complete a supplemental application, offered through the AAMC Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) as well as the MyERAS application. This additional information will help us learn more about your unique medical education journey (i.e., your work, volunteer and research experiences) and help us better identify applicants who fit our program’s environment and mission. This supplemental ERAS application will be delivered on a survey platform outside the MyERAS application and must be completed between September 1-30, 2021.

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.

2021-2022 Interview Dates for Categorical & Preliminary Positions

Interviews held during the 2021-22 interview season will be conducted via Zoom. All applications must be submitted by October 1, 2021.

Invitations to interview for categorical positions will be sent out on October 21, 2021. We will conduct Zoom interviews on the following dates:

  • Friday, November 19, 2021
  • Friday, December 10, 2021
  • Friday, January 7, 2022

Invitations to interview for preliminary positions will be sent out in January 2022 with interviews held in early February 2022.

Diversity in the Department

Mass General Department of Surgery staff explain what diversity means to them and the important role it plays in their lives as clinicians, researchers, educators and students. At Mass General, we believe that because of diversity we excel; through inclusion we respect; focused on equity we serve, heal, educate and innovate.

Divisional Research Presentations

In a Surgical Grand Rounds, various groups in the Department of Surgery presented on research efforts and initiatives.

Contact Us

If you would like to request additional information about the Surgical Residency Program, please use the following contact information.