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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. USMLE II is not required for application, but a passing score on USMLE Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills must be documented prior to entering the training 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.

All 2020-2021 interviews will be scheduled virtually and conducted via Zoom. Our virtual interview process will include a virtual social event with current residents Friday evening and faculty interviews on Saturday.

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 on several weekends in December or January and are a two-day process, typically Friday and Saturday.

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.

Travel and Hotel Information

We recommend flying into Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) airport. It takes about 20-30 minutes to drive from RDU to Duke University Hospital. 

Durham also has an Amtrak station if you prefer the train. The train station is located in downtown Durham, a little over two miles from Duke University Hospital.

Many hotels are located near Duke University Hospital and some offer special rates for Duke. See nearby hotels.

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