Each year of the program has a specific focus, with progressive more responsibility for patient management under the direct supervision of the faculty.



First year is divided into 6 months of general surgery and 6 months of neurosciences. During the 6 months of general surgery, the resident rotates through Trauma, ENT, Surgical ICU, and 3 general surgical services. The 6 months of neurosciences are spent rotating with the neurosurgery service. Each week, half a day is dedicated to Neuroradiology. On the other days, the resident focuses on the Neuroscience ICU learning to manage these complex patients. By the end of this year, the resident is expected to have gain the skills required to manage Neuroscience ICU patients as well as have gained basic surgical skills.



The residency’s second year is design to provide a broad exposure to neurosurgery. This year is spent at SUNY Upstate’s University Hospital managing adult and pediatric patients. Call is roughly every fourth night. During this time, the resident learns to manage neurosurgical emergencies, traumas, postoperative management as well as furthering their surgical skills and ICU management skills.



The third year of residency focuses on developing surgical skills. Six months are spent at University Hospital, Syracuse Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, or St. Joseph’s Hospital.



During the fourth and fifth years, the residents are expected to focus on basic neuroscience research. The goal is to further their understanding of the central nervous system. This is dedicated research time and efforts are made to minimize clinical responsibilities during this time. Each resident is expected to outline a project for this time and the results are presented yearly at the Neuroscience Research Day. Many research opportunities are available within the Department of Neurosurgery and in other departments through SUNY Upstate. Current research interests within the Department of Neurosurgery include CNS neoplasia, traumatic brain injury, spine trauma, function imaging, and stroke.


Three months of the fifth year are spent at Boston Children’s Hospital. This experience widens the resident’s exposure to pediatric neurosurgery and their perspective.



Clinical responsibility and surgical skills are advanced during the sixth year. The PGY-6 may rotate at University Hospital, Syracuse Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, or St. Joseph’s Hospital. The resident is given more responsibility and complex cases.



The Chief Year is spent at University Hospital managing the clinical service and advancing their skills in complex neurosurgical cases. The Chief is responsible for teaching the junior residents, managing the conference schedule for every Wednesday, and managing the care of the neurosurgical patients.



Every Wednesday there is a half-day dedicated to education. This starts with Grand Rounds which is done jointly with Neurology.


By the end of the Chief Resident year, the graduate will be fully competent to undertake independent neurosurgical practice. In order to complete the program, the resident must pass the Neurosurgery Written Board Examination sponsored by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. External link