Location: Victoria General Hospital
1276 South Park Street
Suite 8 - 838
Halifax, NS
B3H 2Y9
Telephone: (902) 473-2670
Fax: (902) 473-4442

The Department provides basic instruction in those diseases which fall within the field of surgery. Opportunities are provided to students so that they may become familiar with patients having surgical diseases, their diagnosis, investigation, and treatment. Students may pursue elective or research studies if they so desire.

Course of Study

First and Second Year Medicine

Members of the Department of Surgery participate in the pre-clerkship curriculum in the following areas:

  1. As tutors in various units that make up the CBL and clinical skills curriculum.
  2. As preceptors for elective students in surgery.

The Clerkship

At the completion of the second year, the student enters an 88-week clerkship, of which nine weeks are spent in the Department of Surgery doing three rotations, each of three weeks.

General Surgery is a mandatory three week rotation. There are two selective rotations which are each three weeks long. They include: Cardiac Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Otolaryngology, Pediatric General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery and Urology.

During the three rotations the students will take emergency call in the hospitals.

Additional opportunities for the students exist in the form of electives in surgery under the supervision of an identified surgeon, either in Halifax or elsewhere.

Residency Training

Integrated University Residency Training Programs in the disciplines of General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiac Surgery, Pediatric General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, and Plastic Surgery are available in the department. The training programs in these disciplines are accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Participating hospitals include the QEII Health Sciences Centre, IWK Health Centre, and Saint John Regional Hospital.

General Surgery

The General Surgery Program is a five-year program. The program is designed so that its graduates are prepared to pursue community practice, or to compete for clinical and/or research fellowships. The first two years comprise the core program years and are divided into four week and eight week rotations. The final three years focus on mastery of general surgical knowledge and skills.

Cardiac Surgery

The Cardiac Surgery Program is an integrated six-year program that started CBD in 2019.  Rotations are designed to meet all Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada EPA's and have the ability for individual resident variability.  In addition, there is one year for academic enrichment.  For those considering an academic career, this can consist of a research year, which may lead to a MSc or PhD, while others may choose to develop an area of special clinical interest or expertise.


The Division of Neurosurgery is a six-year program providing complete general neurosurgical training, including multiple subspecialities which may be pursured further at fellowship level.  It incorporates core surgicial foundations training and at least 42 months of neurosurgery (including pediatric and community neurosurgery), as well as neuropathology, neuroradiology and other allied neuroscience fields.  An academic enrichment year may be used for research, including pursuit of a graduate degree, or for additional clinical training/electives to support the resident's career goals.

Orthopedic Surgery

The Division of Orthopedic Surgery conducts a five-year program. During the first year, residents rotate through such specialties as Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, ICU, Cardiac Surgery, and Vascular Surgery. Elective rotations are available during this period of time. The three core years of Orthopedic Surgery are designed for the resident to gain experience in Adult, Pediatric and Traumatic Orthopedic Surgery. Residents are encouraged to carry out a post training year as a Fellow at this or another centre.


The Division of Otolaryngology offers an integrated university resident training program, consisting of a five-year rotation meeting the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Residents are accepted into the program at the PGY1 level. Arrangements are made through the Department of Surgery to have two years of basic surgical training. From PGY3-PGY5, the residents are based at the QEII Health Sciences Centre and IWK Health Centre.

Plastic Surgery

The Division of Plastic Surgery provides a five-year mentorship-based residency training program, fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  Residents in their foundational phase of training complete 14 months of off-service rotations across the breadth of specialties that complement Plastic Surgery.  Following that, the core phase of training is dedicated to developing knowledge and skills in all domains of adult and pediatric Plastic Surgery including reconstruction and aesthetics.  The final phase of training involves a transition to practice which is designed to solidify the skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to be a competent Plastic Surgeon.  Ultimately, the program seeks to inspire compassionate and creative Plastic Surgeons - collaborators, innovators and leaders who strive for excellence while caring for our Atlantic Canadian community.

Pediatric General Surgery

The Division of Pediatric General Surgery offers a two year fellowship program, one of eight Royal College approved programs in Canada, to trainees who have completed training in General Surgery.

A formal academic program, in each specialty, with pathology seminars, grand rounds, basic science seminars, journal clubs, etc., functions throughout the year. The surgical divisions provide the funds for residents to travel to meetings to present their work. Funding is also provided for residents to attend two additional meetings during their period of training.

Continuing Medical Education

The Department sends its members to various centres throughout the Maritime provinces at the request of the Division, for meetings, conferences, etc. This is an important function in that it is now realized that continuing medical education is essential for the continuing competence of the graduate doctor.