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General Surgery Residency Eligibility, Recruitment, and Selection Policy

Recruitment, selection, and appointment of residents is performed by general surgery faculty, the program director and associate directors and the department chair, under the oversight of the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) and the Office of Graduate Medical Education (OGME) in accordance with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and California Medical Board requirements. The application review process ensures fair and consistent consideration and decision-making for all applicants to the UCSF General Surgery Residency Training Program.

Applicants to other Department of Surgery training programs should consult with specific program pages for relevant policies. 


An applicant for the General Surgery Residency Training Program at UCSF must have:

  • A medical degree prior to residency program start date from one of the following:

    Medical schools in the United States and Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME); or

    Colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA); or

    Medical schools outside of the United States or Canada recognized by the California Medical Board (
  • A passing score on USMLE Step I and USMLE Step II (Clinical Knowledge) is required for all trainees applying to the General Surgery Residency Training Program. COMLEX exams will be accepted in lieu of USMLE exams for graduates of colleges of osteopathic medicine. This is a requirement specified by the Graduate Medical Education Office at UCSF for all training programs at UCSF. 
  • A passing score on USMLE Step II (CK) is required for all trainees beginning a UCSF GME program. To meet this requirement, applicants should have passed USMLE Step II (CK) prior to placement on UCSF rank order lists.  

Each applicant must submit a completed application through ERAS, including all the elements specified in the section entitled "How to Apply". Graduates of international medical schools must pay particular attention to the specific additional requirements. The application must be received by the deadline (November 1). In addition, applicable Medical Board of California licensing requirements must be met:

  • Graduates of US or Canadian medical schools with 0 - 36 months of ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited training: As required by the Medical Board of California, within 180 days of starting ACGME-accredited training in the state of California, the resident must obtain a postgraduate training license (PTL) from the Medical Board of California.
  • Graduates of US or Canadian medical schools with 37 months or more of ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited training: The California Medical Board requires all physicians to complete 36 months of either ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited program training in order to be eligible for a full medical license. Of the 36 months, 24 months must be completed in one program. If the trainee completed the 36 months of training and is immediately continuing in an ACGME-accredited program, the trainee has 90 days to obtain the full license. 
  • Graduates of medical schools outside of the United States or Canada: International medical graduates are only eligible for postgraduate training in California if they attended a medical school recognized on the World Directory of Medical Schools and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). In addition, they must meet the above requirements and have a valid Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate at the time of application. 

Non-U.S. citizens must possess a Permanent Resident Card, an appropriate educational visa, or DACA status prior to starting a postgraduate medical education program. UCSF sponsors J1 and H1B (including OPT) visas. H1B and OPT visas must be pre-approved by the UCSF Office of Graduate Medical Education.  

All prerequisite postgraduate clinical education required for transfer into the UCSF General Surgery Residency Training program must be completed in an ACGME-accredited residency or in Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)-accredited programs located in Canada. Verification of the applicant's level of competency using ACGME or CanMEDS milestones assessments from prior training programs are required. 

  • A physican who has completed a residency program that was not accredited by the ACGME or RCPSC may enter an ACGME-accredited residency program in the same specialty at the PGY1 level and, at the discretion of the program director at the ACGME-accredited program may be advanced to the PGY2 level based on ACGME milestones assessments at the ACGME-accredited program.  

Recruitment and Selection

The General Surgery Residency Training Program participates in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). We do not offer positions outside of the match except during Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), which takes place in March. As mentioned above, the responsibility for selecting qualified residents lies with the Program Director, Associate Program Directors, the Chair and the Faculty. 

We select eligible applicants on the basis of aptitude, preparedness, academic credentials, career goals synchronous with the focus of the UCSF General Surgery Program, potential for leadership and innovation and technical skill. We also evaluate characteristics such as motivation, integrity, professionalism, communication skills and breadth of interest. It is the policy of UCSF and its affiliated hospitals that programs do not discriminate against qualified applicants based upon gender, ethnicity, race, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, marital status, or veteran status.

The offer of a residency or fellowship position is not final until the UCSF Attestation Statement  has been completed by the applicant and reviewed by the program. The attestation form asks for information about matters that are relevant to liability, credentialing and licensure1 requirements such as malpractice claims, drug and alcohol abuse, disciplinary action, and criminal convictions or pending charges. All "yes" responses require a detailed explanation. After review, an offer of a contract may be revoked or the conditions of the offer revised. Discovery of untruthful or misleading answers on the attestation form may subject an applicant to withdrawal of an offer. Approved, GMEC: January 22, 2018

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