Medical Students

Welcome! We're glad you're considering neurosurgery.

Third-year Medical Students

The Neurosurgery Clerkship for third-year U of M Medical School students includes the need to complete a case study via Qualtrics. A personal link will be sent to you when you have started your rotation.

Fourth-year Medical Students

Welcome to neurosurgery. We have planned a meaningful curriculum that promises to be both exciting and intellectually rewarding. The clerkship will give you an introduction to neurosurgery. In this rotation, you will expand your understanding of basic nervous system physiology and explore critical concepts in the pathophysiology of neurosurgical disorders. Didactic sessions will help familiarize you with current research about aspects of neurosurgical treatment.

Participating in both inpatient and outpatient care will help you integrate basic neuroscience knowledge, disease pathophysiology, and clinical practices. Finally, operating room experiences should increase your understanding of basic neurosurgical techniques and etiquette.

We look forward to working with you,

Cornelius Lam, MD, PhD
Clerkship Program Director
Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota
Chief of Neurosurgery, Minneapolis VA Medical Center

Clark Chen, MD, PhD
Professor, Lyle French Chair in Neurosurgery

Before Starting

Please complete/read these before starting the rotation:

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Our Mission

A central goal of the clerkship is to give students an introduction to neurosurgery as an academic and clinical discipline. The clerkship’s structure emphasizes a problem-based approach to learning using apprenticeship methods and small tutorial groups – balancing didactics and time for individual intellectual exploration. Specific tutorials are designed to illustrate critical concepts in neurosurgery. Students are asked to actively participate in clinical patient care as well as assist in the operating room. Students will also participate in integrative clinical conferences to understand first-hand how different specialties (e.g., neurology, radiation oncology, and neuroradiology) contribute to defining treatment strategies for patients.


NSU 7200 – Surgical Specialty: Neurosurgery

This two-week course gives students exposure to basic neurosurgical conditions that they may encounter in any medical field. It can be done at either University of Minnesota Medical Center or Hennepin Health (formerly Hennepin County Medical Center)

NSU 7500 – Neurosurgical Externship

Pre-requisite: NSU 7200. During this four-week externship, the student will act as a junior member of the house staff. Regular participation in ward rounds and outpatient clinics will provide the student with exposure to a variety of neurosurgical pathology. Can be done at either University of Minnesota Medical Center or Hennepin Health (formerly Hennepin County Medical Center)

Chair Session

Our Department Chair would like to speak to all fourth-year medical students during their rotation. If he is not present, a vice chair will perform that task. This is to ensure that the student has the optimal rotation experience during the clerkship. It is also an opportunity for the program to improve via immediate feedback and also to better address medical student needs.

Teaching Sessions

While not mandatory, we encourage clerkship participants to establish tutorials with as many attendings as possible. Please use discretion in terms of balancing operative/clinical learning with these tutorials (don’t let tutorials be disruptive if you’re in the middle of a great case). If there are multiple students in a single rotation, they should organize their time so that all students are present during the tutorial. Learn more about our attendings


Students are expected to participate in several conferences.


Students are expected to comply with call limitation requirements of the Medical School.


Students are expected to complete the Case Studies in Blackbag.

Learning More

Contact our Residency Coordinator at 612-624-0912.