Thomas Jefferson University


The faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery offer comprehensive neurosurgical education, including clinical rotations for students still in medical school. The department offers a third-year selective rotation and a fourth-year sub-internship.  The sub-internship accepts applicants from any accredited medical school, including those outside of the United States.  Both courses provide a strong foundation in neurosurgery.   

The clerkship and associate program director, Dr. Stavropoula Tjoumakaris is the 2014 recipient of the Blockley-Osler/Dean’s Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching.  This prestigious award recognized Dr. Tjoumakaris for "greatness as a teacher" and an "exponent of modern medicine."   

Third Year Clerkship (NSRG 352)

Sydney Kimmel Medical College's curriculum requires twelve weeks of clinical surgical training.  NSRG 352, a three week rotation, fulfills one of two required selectives.  The rotation is designed to introduce the student to the field of neurosurgery and to provide a basic knowledge of the specialty. 

During this teaching block, the student is expected to assimilate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes concerning surgery that are expected of every physician. The students are assigned the responsibility of the preoperative evaluation of surgical patients and their postoperative care and participate in the surgical procedures performed on their assigned patients. Their work is closely supervised and evaluated, and they are encouraged to develop initiative and increasing responsibility. Students participate in patient rounds, conferences, and case presentations. Didactic material is presented by each of the participating hospitals and in a series of seminars at Jefferson.

Fourth Year Sub-Internship (NSRG 401)

The fourth-year rotation in neurosurgery, or the sub-internship, is a four-week course designed for students with a strong interest in neurosurgery.  The student will learn to diagnose and treat patients suffering from a wide variety of neurosurgical conditions encompassing oncologic, traumatic, vascular, spine and functional pathology.

At the start of the course, students are paired with a mentor - either a senior resident or an attending.  A weekly meeting with the student’s mentor is required, providing a venue to discuss both cases and the student's personal goals. 

The student will spend two weeks at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, which serves predominately spine and trauma patients, and two weeks at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, which serves predominately cerebrovascular and neuro-oncology patients.   

The student is responsible for covering some night call, where they are expected to provide preliminary admission H&Ps (except for patients being admitted an ICU) and routine consults.  These initial assessments are then reviewed by the resident assigned to the patient.  Other time will be spent in the operating room or managing patients on the floors under resident supervision.  Fourth year students are also expected to see patients in clinic once per week.  One clinic day will be spent with Dr. Ashwini Sharan, the residency program director. 

Students will be expected to attend all resident conferences during their four week rotation as well as deliver a eight to ten minute oral presentation on a research topic of their choosing, usually given during the final week.

Visiting Students

The department will accept applications from students from outside medical schools, both within the U.S. and internationally, for placement into the sub-internship, NSRG 401.  To apply, please contact Michelle Hoffman.  In your e-mail, include your first, second and third choice of dates, as well as a copy of your CV, as well as one letter of recommendation, preferably from a neurosurgeon. We kindly request as much notice as possible. 

Away students are accommodated in on-campus housing on a space available basis.  

Fourth Year Research Elective (NSRG 403)

Individual short-term projects are arranged for students interested in transmitter biochemistry, electrophysiology, bioengineering, spinal cord injury, cerebrovascular disease, molecular genetics, neurooncology or brain tumor research.

This course is offered only after prior consultation with the appropriate staff. Students can contact Dr. Tjoumakaris to discuss and propose research projects within the field of neurosurgery.  This course is open only to Jefferson students.  

Other Research Opportunities
for Medical Students

The department offers unfunded research positions to medical students interested in pursuing careers in neurosurgery. Students will work with faculty mentors on clinical research projects which may be tailored to the students’ individual interests. Students may also experience clinic and in-patient hospital care settings.