Location: Victoria General Hospital
1276 South Park Street
Suite 8 - 838
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3H 4R2
Telephone: (902) 473-7015
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, Saint John, New Brunswick.

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.


The Division of Neurosurgery provides for a year of basic training in the neurological sciences, and at least thirty-six months of clinical neurosurgery (including pediatric Neurosurgery) with progressive responsibility. A full education program in allied neurological science fields is a part of this program.

Cardiac Surgery

The cardiac surgery residency program is an integrated six year process which incorporates two years of core surgery, six months of general surgery, six months of adult cardiac surgery, six months of thoracic surgery, six months of pediatric cardiac surgery and 12 months of senior cardiac surgery resident. 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.

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 is similar in that the first two years are spent in general surgical rotations with particular reference to those subspecialties that are appropriate to plastic surgery. The two core years of Plastic Surgery are designed for the resident to gain experience in adult and pediatric traumatic and reconstructive surgery.

Pediatric General Surgery

The Division of Pediatric General Surgery offers a two year fellowship program, one of six 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.