Frequently Asked Questions

Resident Life

Yes, despite the cost of living in LA, residents find plenty of affordable housing options that fit within their salary. In addition, the $10K yearly housing stipend helps cover the cost of rent.

The majority of residents live in the arts district or SouthPark area of downtown which is a 12-15 minute drive from the campus with morning traffic. Other popular areas include Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Santa Monica.

Absolutely. Interns from other subspecialties rotate through general surgery rotations their first year and form lasting friendships. Given the nature of multidisciplinary care of our patients, residents interact with residents in other programs during their training. There are over 70 accredited residency programs at USC. Other trainees are often spotted at our social gatherings.

It’s Los Angeles. The city offers just about anything you can imagine.


We take 7 categorical residents each year. We do not take preliminary residents.

In recent years we have had flexible research years for those who wanted to take time away from clinical duties which is the reason we have a variable number of graduates each year. We are now encouraging all our residents to take at least 1 year off for research after the PGY2 or PGY3 year. A description of our research program can be found here.

On average, our chiefs graduate with more than 1000 cases.

Residents in the program are evaluated in a variety of ways. All faculty complete an end-of rotation evaluation for each resident assessing each of the six competencies set forth by the ACGME. All evaluations are entered into an online platform (My Evaluations) and accessible to residents at any time. These evaluations are discussed bi-annually at the departmental Clinical Competency Committee and decisions regarding resident progression are made at that time. A summary evaluation based on feedback from all faculty members is then entered into the My Evaluations system and provided to residents. In addition, residents are required to have faculty assess them in regard to technical skills as well as clinical skills every 6 months. The technical and clinical skills evaluations are also used for the resident’s application to the American Board of Surgery.

Faculty in the program are evaluated by each resident at the end of every rotation. These evaluations are completed anonymously, compiled, and sent to each faculty member at the end of each academic year. In addition, faculty members are evaluated at the end of each teaching session (skills lab, core curriculum, etc.) and sent compiled individual teaching reports.

The program as a whole is also evaluated in a variety of ways. Every resident completes an annual program evaluation form at the end of each academic year. These evaluations are reviewed by program leadership and appropriate revisions are made. In addition, each individual program within the overall residency program (i.e. skills curriculum, core curriculum, wellness curriculum, etc.) is evaluated and revised on a yearly basis based on feedback from learners, focus groups, national guidelines and recommendations, ACGME mandates, and updated literature reviews.

All residents participate in a Resident-As-Teachers program. These sessions are designed to help residents recognize their role as teacher and role model and provide the tools and skills necessary to become effective teachers and leaders. Residents learn about the transition from medical school to residency, providing constructive feedback, dealing with difficult learners, microskills of teaching, teaching in the operating rooms, and surgical leadership.

While this varies rotation to rotation; the call schedule is no worse than once in every four days. There are services that have home call as well. The program closely monitors each resident’s duty hours to ensure compliance with ACGME requirements.

The Department of Surgery is committed to the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of all residents in the surgical education programs. Our wellness committee is comprised of both residents and faculty and works to support various wellness initiatives aimed at maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Each resident is given two wellness days off each year for personal use which can be used at any time. These days are free of any clinical duty and are in addition to the 4 weeks of paid vacation. We also recently implemented annual retreats for each class. These are weekend getaway trips organized by the residents and designed to allow all members of each class to be free of clinical duty.