The Department of Surgery is nearly unique in the diversity of its educational opportunities for students. 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. In addition, the breadth of surgical experience- neonatal surgery, heart transplantation, robotic minimally-invasive surgery, care of the most severely injured patients, advanced cancer surgeries- is a remarkable attribute of theĀ  University Department of Surgery.

The Department of Surgery faculty participates in the Selective program for first and second-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.

The eight-week core third-year surgical clerkship is devoted entirely to General Surgery. 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 elective rotations are available at all of the affiliated sites. In these fourth-year elective rotations, students participate at a more advanced level in critical care units or as acting interns on their chosen service. A wide variety of fourth-year electives are available for students planning surgical careers.