CNS :: EDUCATION :: Neurosurgery Residency

The Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Western Ontario consists of nine consultant neurosurgeons, with clinical and academic interests encompassing the full scope of neurosurgery. The clinical caseload is one of the largest in Canada with an excess of 1600 operative cases per year.

A well-founded subspecialty organization within the Division has provided excellent training for the residents in all aspects of neurosurgery. Areas of particular interest include neurovascular and endovascular surgery, epilepsy and functional neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and complex spinal disorders. The neurosurgery program is the only one in Canada with a 100% success rate among its Canadian trainees.


Neurosurgery is a six-year program starting at the PGY1 level. The PGY1 and PGY2 years are regarded as core surgical training years and include six months of neurosurgery, three months of pediatric neurosurgery, three months of internal medicine, two months of general surgery, two months of ICU, one month of emergency medicine, one month of anesthesia, one month of pediatric critical care and five months of other surgical rotations, which usually includes two months on the trauma service. Rotations in orthopedics (spine) and plastic surgery are encouraged during this period. The PGY4 year includes six months of neuropathology, three months of pediatric neurosurgery and three months of neurosurgery. The PGY5 year includes nine months of research and three months of neurosurgery. The PGY6 year includes nine months of neurosurgery and three months of neurology. There is a 12-month “senior” year beginning in the last quarter of the PGY5 year.


Nicole Farrell
Post-Graduate Education
London Health Sciences Centre, University Hospital
339 Windermere Road, Rm. B7-005
London, ON N6A 5A5
tel: (519) 663-3696
fax:(519) 663-3982

Dr. David Steven
Program Director, Neurosurgery


Large, broad clinical experience
Flexibility to explore academic interests
Close academic association with Neurology
Caliber of teaching faculty
Flexibility of rotation structure
Support and flexibility for residents to pursue research in and outside of London
Support for residents to attend courses and conferences


London Health Sciences Centre- Victoria Campus & University Campus
Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario
Robarts Research Institute

The Neurosurgical training program takes place at the London Health Sciences Centre, consisting of two campuses. Adult neurosurgery occurs at University Hospital, which is attached to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, and the Robarts Research Institute. Pediatric neurosurgery takes place at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, Victoria Hospital. The regional trauma centre is also part of Victoria Hospital.


PGY-1 and 2
The proposed rotations for the first 24 months included:

Neurosurgery - nine months (to include three months adult neurosurgery in the PGY-1 and PGY-2 years and three months neuropaediatrics in the PGY-2 year)

ICU - three months (to include two months adult ICU and one month pediatric critical care in the PGY-2 year)

General Surgery - two months mandatory

Non-neurosurgical Surgery - five months (plastic surgery is strongly recommended; optional rotations include ortho/spine, neuro-otolaryngology and vascular surgery)

Emergency - one month mandatory

Internal Medicine- three months (Infectious disease is mandatory, cardiology is strongly recommended and chest/respiratory are optional)

Anesthesia - one month mandatory

In this first 24 months, the elective portion of one month can be added to by removing time from the nine months of neurosurgery, if individuals feel that additional elective time is required in order to achieve the objectives of the first 24 months, e.g., such as in psychiatry, general practice, pediatrics, obstetrics, etc.

PGY- 3-6

At the termination of training, the resident will have completed a minimum of three years of neurosurgery, three months neuropathology, and three months of neurology. Many trainees will undertake a three-month rotation of neuroradiology.


The residents are encouraged to undertake definite periods of research (in the PGY-3 to 6 years, amounting to a minimum of 6-12 months) which will provide them with, at a minimum, an introduction to the scientific discipline underlying research, but with the encouragement to go on to postgraduate degrees in neuroscience. The resident is encouraged to follow his or her own interest in this regard and hence, such training may be attained within the resources of the division (adult models of ischemia, various aspects of brain tumors, and epilepsy), within the university basic neuroscience departments, the Robarts’ Research Institute or at another academic institution.


Seminars in basic neuroscience occur on a bi-weekly basis, being provided for the residents within the Divisions of Neurology and Neurosurgery. Guest research and neuroscientific seminars are held throughout the year through the two programs "Perspectives in Neuroscience" and the "London Neurosciences Association". These latter seminars would amount to approximately 20 - 30 per year. Other seminars in basic and clinical neuroscience are provided on an ad hoc basis through the various rounds within the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, the Journal Club, and through resident requests.


From the list of candidates, individuals are selected who have shown primary interest in neurosurgery as determined from their applications. Primary interest may be proven through: taking an elective rotation in neurosurgery; reference letters from neurosurgeons with whom the candidate has had elective experiences; personal attestation can be shown in the form of an essay, discussing the candidate’s primary interest in neurosurgery (same as personal letter).


Currently, the neurosurgery program only accepts applicants through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

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