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Neurological Surgery

Pathway Directors

Kenneth Liebman, M.D. Office #
kliebman@gnineuro.org (215) 427-5446
Katie Tilbury ktilbury@gnineuro.org


Drexel Fourth Year Discipline Based Pathway System

Pathway Director's Advice On Commonly Asked Questions

How important is it for a student to have completed some type of research to match in this specialty? When should the research be done? Does it have to be specialty specific?

Since this is such a highly competitive specialty, students invited for interview have similar academic records. Thus anything that can be done to differentiate you is highly recommended. Research is one of those methods. Research is preferable in one of the clinical or basic neurosciences. The later however is more time-intensive. The Drexel Department of Neurobiology (Dr Itzhak Fischer) is an excellent resource as is the Center for Neurosciences Research at Allegheny General Hospital (Dr Kevin Kelly) for basic neurosciences research. Clinical research is generally limited to case studies or other similar activities.

Most importantly, if research is listed in CV then be prepared to discuss in detail at time of interview.

Are research opportunities available in your department?

Yes. Clinical and basic research opportunities are available at AGH.

  • Dr Kevin Kelly, Center for Neurosciences Research- (412) 359-3467
  • Dr Jack Wilberger, Chairman Dept Neurosurgery- (412) 359-4764

Are shadowing opportunities available?

Yes. Shadowing is encouraged.

  • Dr Kevin Kelly, Center for Neurosciences Research- (412) 359-3467
  • Dr Jack Wilberger, Chairman Dept Neurosurgery- (412) 359-4764

Are away rotations essential to a successful match in your specialty?

Away rotations can be helpful in giving a student an opportunity to see how a program really functions. They may be a double-edged sword when it comes to "auditioning" for the program. If your academic record and CV is strong enough you will likely get an interview and equal consideration compared to other applicants in most programs. If your academic record/CV are not strong, the "audition" might be helpful.

Any other advice you wish to share?

Neurosurgery is a very rewarding field; however the residency is a long, hard road. Carefully consider how this might fit into your anticipated professional lifestyle.

It is important to get advice on picking programs for these rotations. Many students chose the "top" programs in an effort to get a good letter of recommendation from the Chairman. Unfortunately many times there is little contact with the Chairman and this is obvious in the cursory letters of "support" which end up being written.

Go to the Drexel Careers Development Center for information on residency planning, match results, FREIDA (lists of residency training programs across the country) and more.

Drexel and Clinical Site Residency Programs

Allegheny General Hospital

Drexel Medical Student Interest Group

Neurosurgery Interest Group: NA

Specialty Description

A neurological surgeon provides the operative and non-operative management (i.e., prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, critical care, and rehabilitation) of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their supporting structures and vascular supply; the evaluation and treatment of pathological processes which modify function or activity of the nervous system; and the operative and non-operative management of pain. A neurological surgeon treats disorders of the nervous system; disorders of the brain, meninges, skull, and their blood supply, including the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries; disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord, meninges, and vertebral column, including those which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation; and disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves throughout their distribution. (Adapted from the American Board of Medical Specialties' "Guide to Physician Specialties" and the Pathway Evaluation Program for Medical Professionals' "Specialty Profiles," 2003.)

Time Requirement

6 years, including a preliminary 1 year of training


National Organizations

The national specialty organizations can provide medical students with excellent resources as well as updates on current activities within the field, conferences, and on-going research opportunities and research funding.


Residency Application and Match Info*

  National Statistic DUCoM
Average Application Count by Specialty (2017)** 66.8 54
Mean Number of programs ranked in matched specialty (2014-2016)*** 15 14
Application Services ERAS  
Matching Program

Drexel Match Data -- 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018

*The number of applications and programs ranked will vary based on many factors. Students should seek advice from their Pathway Advisor and/or their Student Affairs Career Advisor in conjunction with the data above.
**Data drawn from ERAS data
*** Data drawn from NRMP Characterstics of Matched Seniors

AAMC - Careers in Medicine

General Information:Careers in Medicine
(Log in for more helpful data to include: Personal Characteristics / Match data / Residency Requirements / Workforce Statistics / Compensation)

Specialty Specific Opportunities

For external research, volunteering, educational, and other opportunities check the Career Advising Website pages on Research and Community, Educational, and Externship Opportunities. Most of these opportunities are summer programs however some are available throughout the year.