How to Apply

The general surgery residency program is a seven-year program that includes a two-year surgical research fellowship. Our ACGME approval allows us to accept seven PGY-1 positions per year.

We accept applications through the electronic systems ERAS or ECFMG. Foreign medical graduates must hold a valid, current ECFMG certificate and be eligible to obtain a North Carolina medical license.

General surgery residency applicants must have taken and passed the first two parts of the appropriate medical licensure examination (USMLE) to be eligible for entry to any program. A USMLE Step II Score is required for application to the program. This applies to all graduate medical trainees, regardless of country of origin.

Please be advised that you must take and pass Part III prior to being promoted to the PGY-2 level.

Application Requirements

  • ERAS or ECFMG application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • USMLE parts I and II
  • Dean’s letter
  • Medical school transcript
  • ECFMG certificate (foreign medical graduates only)

Applications through ERAS and ECFMG are accepted from September 1 through November 15 each year.

Selective Service System Registration

  • All male applicants (as determined by gender assigned at birth for purposes of this requirement) who are US citizens or immigrants must have registered with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday, or arrival date into the USA.  Individuals are eligible to register until the age of 26.  Failure to register is a violation of federal law, and can face significant penalties, including loss of eligibility for citizenship for immigrants.  Individuals who have not registered are not eligible for a variety of benefits including federal student aid, federal job training, and any job in the Executive Branch of the government (e.g. VA, Medicare, federal prisons), and are not allowed to work in federal facilities even as a resident or fellow.
  • Most Duke GME programs require rotations at federal facilities such as VA hospitals or prisons.  All trainees in those programs must be eligible to work at those facilities.  All applicants should ensure that they have registered for the Selective Service System if appropriate.  If they have not registered, they should discuss this with their potential program director. Additional details can be found at

Criteria for Selection of Residents

Interviews are offered to the top students based on evaluations of application materials, research experience, extracurricular activities, personal qualities, preparedness, communication skills, and educational accomplishments.

Important intangibles that are fundamental to selection include leadership, work ethic, professionalism, and enthusiasm.

We participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).


Interviews are by invitation only. Nearly 1,000 applications are received annually, but interviews are extended to no more than 100 individuals. Invitations are sent to prospective participants through ERAS/ECFMG, along with a scheduled date.

If an applicant is assigned an interview date that presents a conflict, we should be notified immediately so we can schedule an alternate date.

Interviews are held in November, December, or January. 

During the interview, each candidate meets with four or five faculty members from the general, pediatric, and cardiovascular and thoracic surgery divisions. Applicants also spend a considerable amount of time with the current residents.

A final ranked list is created at a meeting of the entire general and cardiovascular and thoracic faculty after all applicants have been interviewed.

Contact Us

For more information about applying to the General Surgery Residency Program, contact:

Tammy Watson

For more information about the General Surgery Research Fellowship, contact: 

Jennie Phillips