The Department of Surgery is known for its supportive and collaborative culture, while exposing students to a diverse mix of patient disease. Third- and fourth-year medical students may experience surgery at highly specialized and highly sophisticated academic medical centers where they will see unusual cases and learn about cutting-edge technology and techniques. Alternatively, they may choose among several front-line community hospitals where they will experience outstanding community-based surgery and see more common surgical illnesses.

Clinical Partners

  • Tufts Medical Center
  • Lahey Clinic
  • Maine Medical Center
  • St Elizabeth’s Medical Center
  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital
  • Winchester Hospital
  • South Shore Hospital

Pre-Clinical Exposure to Surgery

The Department of Surgery faculty participates in the Selective program for first-year students. Through this program, pre-clinical students observe surgeons in the operating room and in other clinical activities one afternoon per week. The Department of Surgery also sponsors the Surgical Interest Group, a monthly dinner meeting open to all pre-clinical students potentially interested in a surgical career. Each of these sessions is hosted by a member of the faculty who is frequently accompanied by surgical residents. The faculty host gives a presentation regarding his/her area of surgical interest.

Third-Year Clerkships Electives

The eight-week core third-year surgical clerkship is devoted to the core specialties of general surgery, which include:

  • Thoracic
  • Colorectal
  • Vascular
  • Trauma Critical Care
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Plastic Reconstructive
  • Minimally Invasive Bariatric

During this clerkship the students are assigned to a surgical team. Third-year students evaluate assigned patients, assist in the operating room during their procedures, and participate in both inpatient rounds and outpatient office hours with their team of residents and attending surgeons. They attend all departmental didactic conferences. In addition, the Surgery Core Curriculum consists of 18 case studies designed for third-year students. The third-year students prepare for these case studies by reading assigned materials and discuss the cases in faculty-led seminars that take place throughout the rotation.

There is an additional four-week period allotted for surgical sub-specialties such as Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, Urology, and Ophthalmology. Students may devote the entire four-week period to a single subspecialty or may take two two-week mini-rotations. The content of these subspecialty rotations is determined by the responsible department.

Fourth-Year Electives

Fourth-year elective rotations are available at all of the clinical partner sites. In these fourth-year elective rotations, students participate at a more advanced level as acting interns on their chosen service. A wide variety of fourth-year electives are available for students planning surgical careers. Tufts Medical Center provides 1:1 mentorship in the fourth-year for students interested in a career in surgery.

Residencies Fellowships

Tufts Medical Center, Lahey Clinic, Maine Medical Center and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center each have fully accredited general surgical residency programs. Tufts Medical Center also offers advanced training programs in vascular surgery and cardiothoracic surgery, while Lahey Clinic offers advanced training in plastic surgery, hepatobiliary surgery, and colorectal surgery. Baystate Medical Center offers advanced training in minimally invasive surgery.


Clinical research opportunities are available at Tufts Medical Center, Lahey Clinic, Maine Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. Students interested in summer research experiences should contact a surgical faculty member in their area of interest around January 1st in order to optimize their chances for successful placement and funding. Clinical research electives can also be arranged by contacting the Chief of the relevant clinical team.

Benjamin Andrews Chair of Surgery

Surgery Clerkship Director:
Laurence H. Brinckerhoff, MD
Associate Professor