Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN)
Applying for Residency in Neurology, Child Neurology or NDD
1. Finding an ACGME-Accredited Neurology Residency Program
A list of all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited Residency Programs/Directors can be found using the following resources:
The American Medical Association Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access System (AMA-FREIDA). For more information, visit the AMA-FREIDA (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/education-careers/graduate-medical-education/freida-online.page) website.
The annual AMA Directory of Graduate Medical Education Programs (the "Green Book") is available at the student affairs office of each medical school. This publication provides additional information, including requirements for accreditation of residency programs and certification requirements for various specialties. It may also be ordered from the AMA at 800-621-8335.
2. Selecting a Program for Application
Seek counseling about programs from a wide variety of sources including:
- Neurology department chair
- Neurology faculty
- Neurology residents
- Recent graduates who are currently in programs elsewhere
Consider the following factors when selecting programs:
Academic environment: Education curriculum, conference schedule, research activity, facilities, faculty-to-resident ratios, and availability of neurology subspecialty expertise
Area of interest:
- Academic career: Look at university-based programs with a well-balanced faculty involved in full-time teaching and research commitments
- Subspecialty interest: Seek out programs with a well developed division in a specific area, in order to facilitate introduction to research and more specialized practice (e.g., movement disorders, cerebrovascular disease) and to determine which programs might offer a fellowship in that area after completion of residency
- General clinical neurology: Investigate the degree to which each program will allow you graded autonomy in managing patients in a resident's clinic and in evaluating newly presenting undiagnosed patients (e.g., is there a busy emergency department with many patients presenting with a wide spectrum of neurologic disease?)
Information: Request information about conference schedules and curriculum or ask about this during interviewing to ensure there is a well-designed program of didactic education.
Size of program: Patient-to-resident ratio: Ask about patient-to-resident ratio on the inpatient service, numbers of consults seen per month for the inpatient consult service, and numbers of patients seen on an outpatient basis to make sure that adequate exposure to a wide variety of patients is provided.
Location: If you want to go into clinical practice, remember that many residents go into practice where they trained. During the training process, you usually become familiar with employment opportunities and practicing neurologists and groups in the area
Selectivity/competitiveness of the program: Ask your medical school neurology department chair and other neurology faculty for assistance in estimating both the selectivity of training programs and applicant competitiveness.
Integration of prerequisite training: Adult Neurology programs require applicants to have completed an internship prior to initiating their training in neurology.
- Child Neurology programs offer three different prerequisite pathways:
- Pediatrics (>2 years) – Most common pathway; graduates of this pathway are board-eligible in Pediatrics and Adult Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology.
- Internal Medicine (1 year) and Pediatrics (1 year)
- Neuroscience research (1 year) and Pediatrics (1 year) – Neuroscience research pathway requires pre-approval.
Neurodevelopmental Disability programs require applicants to have completed two years of Pediatrics.
Some programs include the prerequisite training year(s) within their program (categorical programs), i.e. acceptance to the program ensures the prerequisite training and the adult neurology/ child neurology/ NDD training; other neurology programs (advanced programs) require that the applicant find a preliminary position independently through the NRMP Match.
Availability of Combination Programs (if applicable):
A limited number of combination programs are available in the following areas:
- Internal Medicine/Neurology (five-year program)
- Neurology/Diagnostic Radiology/Neuroradiology (seven-year program)
- Psychiatry/Neurology (five -year program)
These programs are listed on FREIDA. They do not participate in the National Examination for Medical Practitioners (NEMP) but rather in the NRMP.
Talk with each program to get an idea of scheduling. Most neurology programs interview in November and December. Some start the interview season earlier. Many programs also extend the interview season into the first half of January.
You'll be invited for interviews based on your submitted credentials, personal statement, and letters of reference. The interview and visit to each program is the best opportunity to gather more information. Prepare for interviews by reading about the programs and have a list of questions ready. Meeting with the house staff to get their candid impressions of the program is an important part of the interview process.
After interviews are complete, you must prepare and submit a ranking list of programs to the NRMP. This is typically submitted in February for the Match, which occurs in March.
4. Match Program: The Neurology Match
Adult Neurology, Child Neurology, and Neurodevelopmental Disability Programs utilize ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) for resident applications and the NRMP to match the residency positions. Contact ERAS and NRMP for more information about the match process.
Child Neurology - http://www.childneurologysociety.org/careers/training
Neurodevelopmental Disabilities - http://nddtraining.org/trainingpathway.html
NRMP - www.nrmp.org/