If you are planning a career in surgery you should:

  • Select an advisor who is on our surgery faculty. The Office of Student Affairs has a list of available department mentors. Kathryn Jansen (kjansen2@uw.edu can also assist in beginning the process.
  • Take a surgery elective during summer quarter of your 4th year.
  • Arrange for the Student Program Director, Dr. Roger Tatum to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of our Department Chairman, Dr. Carols Pellegrini. Please contact Kathryn Jansen for assistance.
  • Note: You must release to Dr. Tatum your Dean's file from A-300. Please arrange for this several days in advance of the appointment.
  • Read the online book So You Want to Be a Surgeon
  • Read the book Getting Into a Residency by Iserson
  • Refer to the list of UW grads (2011-2017)

How do I get a letter of recommendation from a surgery faculty member?

  • Start the process by late summer
  • Draft your personal statement
  • Draft your CV
  • Arrange for an appointment with the faculty member
  • Obtain and sign the ERAS form from Academic Affairs
  • Follow-up with the faculty member (check with their secretary every 10 days or so)
  • The letter and cover form are delivered to A-300 by the staff of the faculty member. While some faculty provide a copy for your surgery department file, it is optional.

Brief Q&A for students planning their 4th year:

I am planning to do a sub-i in July or August... would you recommend general surgery or would another service such as vascular or trauma be a good choice (I am thinking in terms of surgical faculty connections and letters)?
General surgery would certainly be good, but you could also do vascular surgery at the VA (4 weeks) or the vascular/thoracic rotation at HMC (4 weeks), each of which would give you what you primarily need (direct working contact with full-time faculty and a source for letters of rec)
Do you know if / how it is possible to set-up an ad-hoc sub-i if I don't receive one of the eValue spots?
We might be able to make some arrangements--and it would not necessarily need to be a true "sub-I."
Would you recommend for or against an away sub-i in Oct or Nov?
In general, I would recommend against--unless you have a specific reason, of which there are two: 1) need to be in a particular city, so trying to give yourself a particular advantage at one spot is important; or 2) need to show a program what you are capable of in spite of what looks like a weak record on paper (I have no idea if this applies to you or not, of course!)
When is the best time to take time off for surgery interviews?
January. You will also be doing some interviews in December, and likely late November too, but January is when you want to do the more important ones and therefore have the most flexibility.
Do you recommend any 'must do' rotations in preparation for a surgical internship?
My top recommendations, in descending order of importance, are: SICU, Gastroenterology, Radiology, Anesthesia (either 2 or 4 weeks)

Interested in a Surgical Residency at the University of Washington?

Please visit our
Residency Applicants' Website

Residency Selection Forum

Applying to Residency in
General Surgery

presentation on May 15, 2012.
Program Director: Roger Tatum, MD

Residency Application Workshop

Application & Personal Statements
presentation on July 19, 2011.
(recording cut a little short)
Program Director: Roger Tatum, MD

Residency Interview Forum

Surgery Residency Interview Tips
presentation on November 8, 2011.
Program Director: Roger Tatum, MD and current R1 participants