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Academic Resources

The Department of Surgery at McMaster University is internationally renowned for its research collaborations and innovations that are transforming surgery and medical training, establishing new frontiers in medicine and expanding the boundaries of surgical expertise.

Each of our Royal College accredited surgical programs focus on educating and training surgeons in an environment of cutting edge technology and emerging methodologies. We welcome learners at all levels:


  • Definition of surgical residency: Training that is recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and leads to a Board examination.
  • Definition of a fellowship: Training that is post-residency or post-certification but does not lead to a Board examination. Applicants must meet the requirements of the licensing authority — The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - as well as the program's own admission criteria and funding must be obtained by the candidate through outside agencies/departmental funding, etc.
  • In addition to the affiliated teaching hospitals in this region, McMaster University has wide access to an extensive number of additional training sites, including rural and community settings in both northern and southern Ontario. This spectrum of resources, along with the size of the programs at McMaster, allow programs to tailor your residency program to meet your needs.
  • Browse the postgraduate surgery program listings 


With 12 different postgraduate surgery programs, the Department of Surgery is bound to have an elective for you. Students and clinical clerks can sign on for either block or horizontal electives in any year of training. We encourage first year students to consider a few weeks of a horizontal elective as a way to explore different surgical careers. Browse through the undergraduate medical education pages, download our undergraduate surgery electives brochure PDF and check out the program descriptions. Contact Joanne Winch ( to make your arrangements. We hope to see you soon.

Physician Assistants

The first 20 students began the full two-year program in September 2008. The program was taught using McMaster's internationally-renowned small group, problem-based-learning approach, which focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, initiative and promotion of lifelong learning. In addition, physician assistants rotate through our surgical programs at the same level as our clinical clerks.

"Our mission is to educate energetic, innovative, committed and caring people to become role models in this new profession," said Dr. John Cunnington, director of the McMaster Physician Assistant Education program. For more information visit our Physician Assistant Program in Surgery page.

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