General Surgery Residency

Our fully accredited, world-renowned residency program in general surgery provides rigorous training both in the clinical setting and in the research laboratory.

Our dedication to the education of our trainees draws on an unparalleled legacy of surgical leadership (Wangensteen, Lewis, Lillehei, Najarian, Cerra, Dunn, Goldberg, to name just a few of our standouts) and an unrelenting dedication to education and innovative patient care.

Our goal is to help prepare you for a skillful and intellectually satisfying practice, especially in academic surgery. With an unwavering commitment to excellence in research to advance medical knowledge, our department trains the surgeon-scientists of tomorrow to deliver cutting-edge, compassionate care to patients and their families.

Browse this section (including the tabs below) for details on all aspects of the general residency program.

Director's Message

brunsvoldWe have a rich history of training academic surgeons and this continues today. Inside these pages, you will find detailed information about our fully accredited program and the interview process. In this program, we are committed to the development of each resident intellectually and professionally. In addition to a program that affords early operative experience, we have a dedicated curriculum aimed at providing you with the tools to excel such that you are prepared for the next phase of your career. Our graduates are highly sought out upon completion of their residency training, and go on to the most prestigious fellowships in the country. We are extremely proud of our program and within these newly designed web pages, you will see why candidates seek our highly competitive residency positions.

We take seven categorical residents per year through The Match including six traditional and one designated rural resident, and routinely fill our program within the top 20 of our ranking. I would encourage you to spend some time looking through all the features of our program through the website and explore the details of the department through the other sections of our department website.

Now we have a new rural surgical training opportunity based at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, MN.  After completing the first three years in the Twin Cities, residents in the rural track will spend their fourth and fifth year in a structured environment focused on developing the clinical, surgical and health care management skills needed to practice in a rural environment.

Thank you for exploring our program and we hope you highly consider us as you prepare for the upcoming interview season. Further, if you have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact me, the Program Director, Dr. Melissa Brunsvold, or our Residency Program Administrator, Mrs. Jessica Andersen.

Melissa E. Brunsvold, MD, FACS
Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Associate Professor
Department of Surgery


We participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). You will need to submit your application documents electronically via your Dean's Office Workstation or, if you are a foreign medical graduate, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduation (ECFMG). The University of Minnesota accepts J-1 clinical visas in our training programs.

The required electronic application documents are as follows:

  • Common Application Form
  • Curriculum Vitae Report
  • Personal Statement
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Dean's Letter
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Photo (optional)
  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Transcripts
  • ECFMG Status Report (foreign medical graduates only)
  • ACLS/BLS certification prior to the start of our training program

Your completed electronic application must be available to us no later than November 1, 2019, for the 2020-2021 training year. The Department of Surgery will invite a limited number of applicants for interviews. We will contact you regarding the status of your application once all of your application documents have been received.

Our interview sessions will take place on:

  • October 8th (UMN Candidate Interview Day)
  • November 19th
  • November 26th
  • December 3th

Candidates applying for our rural track will have a second interview day in Duluth on November 20th, 27th or December 4th, 2019.

All of our PGY-1 categorical positions are filled through the National Resident Matching Program.

To apply to our General Surgery track the NRMP code is 1334440CO
To apply to our General Surgery/Rural track the NRMP code is 1334440C1
To apply to our General Surgery/Preliminary track the NRMP code is 1334440PO

We look forward to receiving your application documents electronically. If you have any questions, please call the Surgical Education Office at 612-626-2590.

For more information on ERAS, select Electronic Residency Application Service.


Invited candidates arrive on Monday afternoon/early evening in time to join the surgery residents for a casual reception at a local gathering spot that evening. Faculty are not present at this gathering, so this is a great opportunity for one-on-one engagement with current residents. Your spouse/significant other is welcome to join you.

Early Tuesday morning the candidates join the faculty, residents, fellows and medical students for our M&M and Grand Rounds conference. This session is followed by breakout sessions with the residents and short meetings to introduce you to our chair, Dr. Sayeed Ikramuddin.

We move on to provide an introductory overview of our program which is presented by the Program Director, Dr. Melissa Brunsvold, along other members of the education team.

The afternoon is comprised of a luncheon with faculty and residents, interviews and a tour of our facilities. We complete each interview day on time at 3:00 p.m.

Interview Location

University of Minnesota
Department of Surgery
516 Delaware Street SE
11th Floor, Phillips Wangensteen Building
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Jessica Andersen
Program Administrator


Our core curriculum lectures occur weekly as a part of our Tuesday morning education conferences from 8:45-9:45 am. Nurses at each site are encouraged to minimize all noncritical pages during this time.

The lectures follow a 2-year cycle of topics that encompass both basic science and clinical management of surgical diseases. Lecture topics are designed based on the Association of Program Directors in Surgery Curriculum objectives. The purpose of the curriculum is to highlight and reinforce the core concepts required for both the successful practice of surgery and successful board certification. Reading assignments are drawn from the ACS Surgery: Principles and Practice textbook, available online through the University of Minnesota Biomedical Library from any location.

Rotation-based Curriculum

On each rotation, trainees participate in a structured curriculum delivered administered via the Moodle2 platform. This curriculum attempts to complement the cases encountered in the operating room and clinic on that rotation while seeking to enhance resident learning. Each Moodle2 course is structured as follows:

  1. Orientation to the rotation
  2. Weekly bedside teaching rounds
  3. Electronically delivered lectures
  4. Assigned readings
  5. Weekly oral board format teaching sessions
  6. Mid-rotation evaluation
  7. Exit interview with mock oral board examination

On-call Schedule

Resident call schedules are stored electronically using the service which is accessible from any computer or mobile device. 

Operators at each site use this centralized schedule to build their site-specific call schedules.

Our schedules are fully compliant with the ACGME duty hour rules. Intern coverage at both University and Regions hospital take the form of night float rotations. The night float intern at each site provides coverage from Sunday evenings to Thursday evenings. For periods where the night float resident is off, coverage is split into twelve-hour shifts which are covered in a rotating fashion by the remainder of the interns rotating at that site.

Interns rotating at the VAMC and North Memorial take rotating long call only. You will on a Q4 basis stay in house until 8 pm at the VA and 10 pm at NMMC.

Specific details of our call schedule can be available upon request to Jessica Andersen at

Simulation Training

Surgical skills training curricula have been developed for residents which include both cognitive and psychomotor objectives. Simulation models include low fidelity and high fidelity systems. Residents are provided with both background reading and procedural videos to enhance the simulation time. Instructors include both junior and senior faculty members from the department.

At the conclusion of the yearly curricula, resident skills are assessed via OSATS (Objectives Structured Assessment of Technical Skills).  Communication skills and professionalism are assessed via an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).

Skill sessions occur in the Surgical Skills Lab, Simulation Perioperative Resource for Teaching and Learning (SimPORTAL), 5th floor of the Mayo Building, or in the Inter-Professional Education Resource Center (IERC), 2nd floor of the Phillips-Wangensteen Building.

Skill Topics

PGY-1 Resident (two-hour session blocks)

  • Critical Response (three sessions)
    • Responding to hypoxia/hypotension/glucose and electrolyte abnormalities
    • Responding to cardiac arrhythmias and VAD / pacer skills
    • Critical skills performance simulation
  • Surgical airway
  • Asepsis and skin preparation
  • Instrument handling and identification
  • Suturing
  • Knot tying
  • Unit Exam (OSATS)
  • ACS ultrasound course (two sessions)
  • Arterial line placement
  • Central line placement
  • Family Conference OSCE
  • Introduction to laparoscopic skills

PGY-2 and PGY-3 (two-hour session blocks)

  • Advanced knot tying
  • Hand sewn bowel anastomosis
  • Vascular anastomosis
  • Stapled anastomosis
  • Advanced anastomosis
  • Anastomosis OSATS

PGY-4 and PGY-5 (independent practice)

  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Skills (FLS)
  • Simpraxis
  • Robotics


The history of the University of Minnesota surgical resident research experience dates back to the early 1900’s. The program was developed to provide an intensive experience for trainees in both basic science and clinical research, thus fostering innovative thought. Further, the program aimed to advance the field of clinical surgery while establishing a foundation for academic surgical leaders of the future. From this program grew a vigorous and well-established surgical graduate research program that has produced over three hundred PhDs from the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Owen Wangensteen, the first Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota, received the first Ph.D. granted by the Department of Surgery. Subsequently, he developed and enriched the program, which produced a robust engagement of residents who went on to become great leaders throughout the country: over forty-five surgical chairmen, two hundred division directors, and a plethora of full-time professors in academic surgery. This legacy continues today.

Values of Research

As a critical part of academic surgical training, the University of Minnesota continues to be driven to deliver pioneering research. This commitment from the Department allows residents to participate in independent and supervised investigations at an entrance level, with valuable opportunities to participate in scientific discovery and/or clinical innovation. Our residents contribute to academic literature and present at the most prestigious national meetings. This research experience also provides a tremendous opportunity to establish a foundation for a career in academic surgery and to develop fundamental tools and relationships for fellowships in General Surgery.

Program Goals & Objectives

We expect all of our residents to participate in research activities. Most will spend one to two years in a basic science or clinical outcomes laboratory. Depending on circumstances such as numbers of clinical residents, some may complete their training without a designated laboratory experience. In no way does the diminish our mission of training academic surgical leaders. The overall goal of the program includes preparing University of Minnesota Department of Surgery trainees for careers in academic surgery.

Program FAQs

How many categorical positions are available?

There are 6 categorical positions and 1 rural categorical position available each year.

Do residents participate in research time?

After their third clinical year, many residents take time away from clinical training to develop academic skills. This is typically either a one-year or two-year period of dedicated research. We offer opportunities for residents to join funded labs and work on projects in basic and translational science or clinical-based research. You can refer to the individual resident biographies to see current research interests and publications of our laboratory residents.

Academic travel is supported for residents who have their work accepted at national meetings.

What international experience does the Surgery Residency offer?

We encourage residents to seek out international opportunities and are actively developing an international rotation for residents during lab time. Current residents have spent time in Guatemala and Honduras.

What is the format of our call schedule?

The call schedules are fully compliant with the ACGME duty hour rules. PGY-1 coverage at both University and Regions hospital take the form of night float rotations. The night float PGY-1 provides coverage from Sunday evenings to Thursday evenings. For periods where the night float resident is off, coverage is split into twelve hour shifts which are covered in a rotating fashion by the remainder of the interns rotating at that site.

What is the vacation policy?

Residents are given three weeks of paid vacation, spread throughout the year as follows:

July - October: 1 week
November - February: 1 week
March - June: 1 week

In addition, all residents get 3 days off over the holidays:

December 24-26 or December 27-29 or December 30-January 1

Because PGY-1 residents start in June, they end in June (after a 52-week contract), but do not start again until July 1. Residents are paid during this break.

More information regarding our time away policy can be found online in the Resident Policy and Procedure Manual.

When is my first day on rotation?

Your first day on service will be June 23, 2020. Orientation takes place the week of June 15.

What do I need to do before residency starts?

  1. You must complete ACLS/BLS prior to starting internship.
  2. ATLS is provided by the department during orientation.
  3. Visit the GME website for orientation requirements. This site contains information on new resident/fellow on-line training modules, orientation materials and program requirements.
  4. In addition, you will need to complete HIPPA training. Step-by-step instructions can be found online at the Privacy and Security Project Web site. Follow the left navigation link entitled “University HIPAA Training.” 
  5. Department orientation begins the week of June 15, 2020. The purpose of our week-long G1 Orientation Program is to:
    • Truly welcome you and provide you with opportunities to know us and your peers.
    • Orient you to the Department’s vision, mission and values, and program.
    • Ensure your success on your first few weeks on the job.

During this week, you will hear from a variety of faculty and residents, experience a “day in the life of an intern,” practice critical response and team communication skills, become familiar with the G1-G2 Core Curriculum and engage in leadership development discussions. We will also assess your current level of technical skill via a short performance exam in our simulation skills lab. And what would any orientation be without a chance to meet some Chiefs, understand your administrative responsibilities, and master the computer systems?

Welcome aboard! We look forward to having you.

Do most residents rent or buy homes?

There are many, many options for renting in the Twin Cities, from downtown to uptown to the suburbs, and ranging from houses to high-rises! Popular neighborhoods for rentals include downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul, Dinkytown (Campus area in Minneapolis) or Uptown (Minneapolis). Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment ranges from around $600-$1000 depending on amenities and location.

Most residents buy homes within their first two years. There is a fairly even split between those who own homes versus condos, and between those who live in Minneapolis / Saint Paul proper versus the nearby suburbs.

Additional Resources:

When do I get my white coats, pager, rotation schedule, ID, etc.?
You will receive all of these materials at Orientation. Your pager will remain with you for the duration of your residency.

Should I get a parking permit?
Parking is provided free of charge to on-service residents at all sites and will be part of each hospital’s individual orientation. When you arrive for orientation on your first day, park in the Washington Avenue ramp and bring your parking card with you to be validated.

How do I set up my University of Minnesota email and Internet access?

First, check to make sure you are in the University of Minnesota system. You can do this by going to the U of MN-Twin Cities homepage at Click on Search icon.

Under Search for People, type in your name and click on Search. If you are not registered, you won’t be in the system. You should contact the Surgical Education Office at 612-626-2590 to make sure all of your paperwork is complete.

If you are registered, go to the website Enter your University of Minnesota ID number and birthday (you do not need to enter your Social Security number). You then need to setup your Internet Account Password.

To access your email account, go to:
(For example, if your email address is, your X500 ID is smith999.)
Enter your password.

What bank do you recommend using?

There are several banks and credit unions located in and around the Twin Cities. On campus, TCF Bank is the Official Bank and offers the convenience of two campus branch locations and the most on-campus ATMs. There is also a U.S. Bank located inside the Coffman Memorial Union and Wells Fargo ATMs inside Coffman and the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

Where can I join a good gym?

Residents have access to a variety of University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness resources.

Additional information to campus maps, event information and other resources can be found on the University's One Stop page.

Stipend & Benefits


Trainees are paid an annual stipend as stated in the Residency/Fellowship Agreement and in the program's Policy Manual. Trainees receive their stipend via a biweekly paycheck. Trainees are encouraged to use the direct deposit system, as physical checks have the potential of being lost or delayed in the mail. Paychecks are mailed or credited to bank accounts of those using the direct-deposit system on these payroll dates.


Benefits for medical residents and fellows are managed through the UMN Office of Student Health Benefits. View the OSHB Resident/Fellow Benefits site for comprehensive information about the resident/fellow benefit package, including medical, dental, disability, and life insurance.

Additional Perks

  • Lab Coats
  • Pagers
  • On-Site Parking at all hospitals
  • Hospital meal stipends
  • SCORE subscription
  • Loupes before PGY-3 year
  • ACS Resident membership