Overview of the Specialty

Neurosurgery is a medical discipline specializing in the operative and nonoperative management, prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems including their supporting structures and vascular supply and the operative and nonoperative management of pain. As such, neurosurgery encompasses the modern treatment of disorders of the brain, meninges, skull and their blood supply including the extra cranial, carotid and vertebral arteries; disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord, meninges and spine; disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distributions; and disorders of the autonomic nervous system.

At a Glance


  • 7 years of residency
  • Categorical and advanced positions available

These are minimum requirements. Some programs may have longer residencies.


Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology2 years
Functional1 year
Pediatric1 year
Cerebrovascular1 or 2 years
Spine1 year
Skull Base1 year
Neuro-oncology2 years
Epilepsy1 year
Radiosurgery1 year


Median, Academic Salary$580,000
Median, Clinical Salary$710,000

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges

Training Requirements

Training consists of a minimum of six years of postgraduate education which includes a minimum of one year of training in an ACGME-accredited program in general surgery or at least one year of a program accredited for the acquisition of fundamental clinical skills, which must include at least six months of structured educational experience in surgery other than neurosurgery. There were 105 neurosurgery residency training programs accredited by the ACGME for 2014/15 that offered 210 positions.

Matching Program Information and Match Statistics

Neurosurgery residency training programs participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Match results and competitiveness information for neurosurgery residency training positions are summarized in the U.S. Match Statistics table below.

US Match Statistics





# Categorical/ Advanced positions available for U.S. Seniors210206204196
% U.S. Seniors matched*81%82%84%90%
# Unfilled Categorical/ Advanced Positions2012
# Unmatched U.S. seniors41383517

Source: NRMP Match results for U.S. seniors applying in a single specialty. *Competitiveness is based upon the percentage of U.S. Seniors who ranked each specialty as their only choice.

WUSM Match Statistics

For a list of WUSM match statistics for the past several years, please visit Search for WUSM Statistics. (password protected)

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Subspecialty/Fellowship Training

Subspecialty/fellowship training following completion of neurosurgery residency training program is available in endovascular surgical neuroradiology. Detailed information about the scope of these subspecialty training programs, number of positions offered, and length of training is available at the FREIDA website.

Visit AMA website »
Visit FREIDA website »

Career Information

FREIDA physician workforce information for each specialty includes statistical information on the number of positions/programs for residency training, resident work hours, resident work environment and compensation, employment status upon completion of program and work environment for those entering practice in each specialty.

Washington University Resources

Faculty Contacts

Dave Limbrick, MD454-4630
Gavin Dunn, MD747-6141
W. Zack Ray, MD747-6145
Greg Zipfel, MD747-6141

National Organizations