Training Future Leaders in Surgery

Our nationally recognized residency and fellowship programs prepare trainees for careers as leaders in each surgical subspecialty.

High clinical volume

#2 in NIH funding

Pioneers in
simulation training

Mentorship from
leading surgeons

Residency Programs

The Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offers residency training in general surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, urology, and vascular surgery. Our residents benefit from innovative simulation training, high clinical volume and multidisciplinary research programs.

General Surgery

The Washington University General Surgery Residency reshaped surgical training by introducing a skills and simulation lab more than 20 years ago, enabling trainees to learn hands-on technical skills outside of the operating room. The five-year residency, which began in 1919, has continued to serve as a national leader and remains one of the top surgical residency programs in the United States. The program offers Flexibility in Surgical Training (FIST) and Early Specialization Pathways (ESP) to allow residents to tailor their training to the specialty of their choice. FIST allows residents to customize up to 12 of their final 24 months of residency for early tracking into subspecialty tracks, while ESP provides a fast track to advanced fellowship training.

Plastic Surgery

The Washington University Plastic Surgery Residency was established in the early 20th century by Vilray Blair, MD, one of the founders of the plastic surgery specialty. The residency is a six-year integrated program, including four and a half years of plastic surgery training in breast, craniofacial, pediatrics, head/neck trauma, hand, microsurgery, cosmetic and peripheral nerve surgery. Washington University prepares trainees by teaching surgical skills, emphasizing research and cultivating leadership. Residents also complete rotations in all general surgery experiences required by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and subspecialty rotations in oculoplastics, surgical dermatology, orthopedic trauma and anesthesia.


The Washington University Urology Residency has a long and distinguished history in preparing graduates for successful careers in urologic surgery, dating to 1910. Today, urology residents are exposed to a volume and diversity of surgical cases that is among the highest in the nation for urologic residency programs. The program places major emphasis on technological innovation. Residents complete five years performing rotations at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the VA St. Louis Health Care System and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. In addition to upholding only the highest standards of education and training, this residency is centered on the values of teamwork, innovation, and the pursuit of excellence.

Vascular Surgery

Since graduating its first resident in 2017, the fully accredited Washington University Vascular Surgery Residency has continued to prepare trainees to excel in their field. The residency is a five-year program for medical school graduates who decide to focus exclusively on vascular surgery, endovascular surgery and the management of patients with vascular disease. Residents are provided with a wide range of training in the details of CT and MR imaging techniques, clinical experience in preoperative, operative, and postoperative care, and experience in both endovascular and open vascular procedures. The program also offers a vascular surgery fellowship for postgraduate trainees who decide to specialize in vascular surgery during their general surgery residency.

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Our fellows benefit from the high clinical volume of our surgical subspecialties. Fellows also gain valuable experience training residents and medical students as part of our intensive, highly competitive fellowship programs, preparing them for careers in academic surgery. The Department of Surgery offers over a dozen fellowships spanning our clinical
specialty areas.

  • Advanced Gastrointestinal/Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Breast Disease
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Surgical Critical Care
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Vascular Surgery

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Master of Population Health Sciences

The Master of Population Health Sciences (MPHS) degree program was established in 2010 by Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, an internationally recognized leader in cancer prevention and chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery.

The MPHS program is designed for:

  • Physicians
  • Residents
  • Fellows
  • Clinical doctorates and those with doctoral-level degrees
  • Medical and health sciences students

The program prepares its students for distinguished clinical research careers by accelerating and deepening their expertise in population health and clinical outcomes research.

Training Highlights

WISE Center

Residents develop surgical skills—including minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques—at the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE), a 4,000 square-foot educational space.

Medical Campus

Training takes place primarily on the Washington University Medical Campus. The medical campus includes Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Siteman Cancer Center.


The Department of Surgery is a national leader in NIH funding, with robust basic science, clinical, public health sciences and surgical education research.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our department is dedicated to improving the diversity of our specialty as well as to improving the health equity of the patients we serve.

Life in St. Louis

Our residents love St. Louis for the variety of activities, low cost of living, camaraderie of our training programs and so much more!

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