Explore This Fellowship


The Complex Surgical Oncology Fellowship is an 18-month clinical oncology training program provided by Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).

The program employs an apprenticeship-style approach combined with an intensive multidisciplinary experience in the management of:

  • Breast
  • Cutaneous (melanoma)
  • Endocrine
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Pancreas
  • Soft tissue sarcoma malignancies

Program Objectives

  • To train surgical oncologists who become national leaders in cancer treatment and research
  • To emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care
  • To familiarize fellows with the full range of treatments currently available to combat individual malignancies, as well as all relevant investigational therapies
  • To teach fellows how to conduct cancer research, design and lead new treatment protocols and facilitate the transfer of new discoveries from the laboratory into clinical practice
  • To teach the critical importance of the role of the patient and family support during all phases of the treatment process
  • To facilitate the understanding of the social and economic aspects of cancer treatment in an environment that emphasizes the highest levels of compassion and ethics
  • To ensure that graduating fellows are well-equipped to successfully pass the written and oral board examinations in complex surgical oncology

Quick Facts

  • Rotations at Mass General, BWH and DFCI
  • One fellow per year
  • 18 months of clinical oncology training
  • 12 months of surgical oncology
  • One month of medical oncology
  • One month of radiation oncology
  • One month of pathology
  • Three months of electives
  • Six months of research training


The program employs an apprenticeship-style approach combined with an intensive multidisciplinary experience in the management of gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, pancreas, breast, endocrine, cutaneous (melanoma) and soft tissue sarcoma malignancies.

Additional experience in thoracic surgery, head and neck surgery, urologic oncology, gynecologic oncology and orthopedic oncology are available as electives. Fellows work directly with two to three faculty members at a time within a specific disease discipline. Dedicated time is allocated for the study of medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgical pathology. Additional non-surgical electives in palliative care and clinical research design are available.

The research portion of the fellowship program includes a minimum of six months of clinical, basic science or outcomes training under the direction of a senior research scientist at Harvard Medical School and its affiliate hospitals. The amount of time spent in this part of the fellowship will vary depending upon whether the trainee has already had formal research training. The timing of research electives is flexible to accommodate specific goals.

Fellowship Schedule

First Year

  • Six months of surgical oncology rotations at Mass General
  • Six months of surgical oncology rotations at BWH/DFCI

Second Year

  • Three months of required non-surgical rotations (medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology) at BWH/DFCI
  • Three months of clinical electives (any site)
  • Six or more months of research (any site)

How to Apply

For more information about applications and supporting documentation, please visit the Society of Surgical Oncology website.

We require the following documents to be available for download through ERAS for a complete application to be reviewed:

  • ABS in-training exam scores (on application)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Medical school transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Three-to-five letters of recommendation
  • USMLE transcript

Applicants must have completed a residency in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited general surgery program in the United States or Canada. Foreign students must have graduated from a medical school accredited by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Selection of Interview Candidates

Each application is reviewed in its entirety with an eye toward a combination of overall academic excellence, leadership ability, career development potential and personal character.

We interview approximately 20-30 candidates for the fellowship. Although we receive applications from many well-qualified candidates, it is not possible to interview all who apply. Those who are invited will be notified approximately one month prior to the date of the scheduled interview.

Interview Dates

The dates for the interview season are late summer/early autumn of the year prior to starting the fellowship. All interviews are conducted on a single day.

Interview Format

Interviews are conducted at BWH/DFCI during even-numbered years and at Mass General during odd-numbered years.

The interview day begins with a continental breakfast and introductory remarks by the program director. Following the introduction, each candidate will meet with faculty from BWH and Mass General. Current fellows will be on-hand throughout the day to visit informally with the candidates between interviews and to conduct hospital tours. The interview sessions conclude in the afternoon. A buffet lunch is provided.

For the purpose of making travel arrangements, applicants may anticipate being finished with all interviews and tour activities by 4:00 pm.