Best Colleges for Surgeons: List of Top Medical Schools

Surgical programs at the country's top medical schools prepare students for careers as general surgeons or as surgeons in specialized fields. Learn the rankings, program details and other facts about some of the nation's leading colleges for surgeons.

School Overviews

Two of the best places to pursue surgical training in the U.S. are Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University. Both schools offer four years of medical education and clerkship as well as postgraduate residencies and fellowships. Students can seek training in several surgical specialties at both universities.

1. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

School Highlight: Ranked as the medical school with the top internal medicine program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The Johns Hopkins University General Surgery Training Program accepts only eight applicants each year. The first two years in the program are part of the Preliminary Surgery Program. Six applicants follow general surgery training while the other two train in integrated plastic surgery. Individuals in this program receive several years of research experience through the program. Beyond the four years of instruction, John Hopkins offers residency programs for postgraduate years 3-5 and fellowship rotations, which may include acute care, cardiothoracic, critical care, pediatric, plastic, transplantation and vascular surgeries. Hospital rotations for clerkships, residency and fellowships may be assigned to any of Johns Hopkins affiliated hospitals or medical centers, such as the University of Maryland Hospital, Union Memorial Hospital and Raymond M. Curtis Hand Rehabilitation Center, among others; the location depends upon the subspecialty assigned.

2. Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons ranks eighth on U.S. News & World Report's 2015 list of medical schools with the best internal medicine programs.

Students admitted into the surgical program may have the opportunity to research and study in 36 surgical specialties, including general surgery, various transplantation specialties, pediatric surgery and specific organ fields. Students rotate among seven affiliated hospitals and medical centers, such as Harlem Hospital, Stamford Hospital, Dartmouth Medical Center and Bassett Healthcare, a rural health center. Students can also gain experience working at Columbia University's teaching hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital. The M.D. program covers four years of study and practice, including a 5-week clinical clerkship in surgery, with six available subspecialties; this occurs during the third year.

Top Medical Schools with Surgical Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Emory University Surgical program features 12 specialties, including general and gastrointestinal surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, surgical oncology, trauma surgery, and transplantation Atlanta, GA
Harvard University Students can participate in surgical and anesthesia fellowships in Rwanda and Haiti Boston, MA
Northwestern University Students can practice their surgical and decision-making skills through the department's Center for Advanced Surgical Education Chicago, IL
University of Alabama-Birmingham Fellowship programs offered in orthopaedic, pediatric and abdominal transplant surgery, as well as surgical research Birmingham, AL
University of California-Los Angeles Fellowship programs offered in multi-organ transplant, plastic, vascular and cardiothoracic surgery Los Angeles, CA
University of Iowa UI Hospitals and Clinics is the only Level I trauma center in the state; burn treatment center and bariatric surgery center are nationally recognized for high-quality care Iowa City, IA
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Surgical department has a center devoted to the study of minimally invasive surgery Dallas, TX
University of Washington A primary research center sponsored by the surgery department is the Surgical Outcomes Resource Center (SORCE) Seattle, WA
Vanderbilt University 4th-year surgical residents can do an international residency in general, pediatric or pediatric neurosurgery at the Kijabe Hospital in Kenya Nashville, TN
Yale University Students can complete a surgical residency in cardiothoracic, dental, plastic or otolaryngology surgery New Haven, CT

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