A surgeon is a type of doctor who specializes in evaluating and treating conditions that may require surgery, aka physically changing the human body. Surgeries can be done to diagnose or treat disease or injury. Surgeons lead a team of other doctors and nurses in the operating room to make sure that a procedure goes as smoothly and successfully as possible. A 2022 study on American physicians found that surgery was among the top three specialties.
There are two main types of surgery that a surgeon may perform. These include open surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Open surgery will require a cut into the body, while minimally invasive surgery uses smaller entry points to make any necessary repairs and take tissue samples.
Most common surgery specialities include:
- General surgeon
- Colon and rectal surgeon
- Obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN)
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
- Orthopedic surgeon
Most common reasons of why someone may need a surgeon:
- Learn more about a condition to get an accurate diagnosis
- Get a tissue sample from a suspicious area
- Repair or remove diseased tissue or organs
- Take out an obstruction
- Move body parts back to the right position
- Redirect blood vessels
- Transplant organs
- Put mechanical or electronic devices inside the body
- Plastic surgery: changing your appearance
It’s important to note that becoming a surgeon, like many other types of doctors, has a very intense career path that will require 4 years of medical school and up to 5 years in surgical residencies.
Top Medical Schools for Surgeons
Check out these top medical schools if you’re getting ready to enter the medical field!
Johns Hopkins Medical School
Johns Hopkins Medical School is ranked as one of the best in America, being first established in 1893. The school is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital and other medical center partnerships. A notable alumni from the school is Mark M. Ravitch, who served as an army major that led a team of surgeons at a hospital in France during World War II.
Bachelor of Science degrees offered:
- Major in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology: 4 years
- Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience: 4 years
Case Western University
Every year up to 20 well-qualified high school seniors who plan to pursue careers in medicine will be offered spots in the Pre-Professional Scholars Program in Medicine at Case Western University. Pre-Professional Scholars will receive a conditional commitment of admission to the University Program of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine that will be honored as successful progress toward the bachelor’s degree.
The Pre-Professional Scholars Program in Medicine requires eight years, with four years of successful undergraduate study leading to the bachelor’s degree followed by four years in the University Program of the School of Medicine. Pre-Professional Scholars in Medicine who complete their undergraduate degree requirements in fewer than four years will get to share other experiences intended to enhance their professional and personal development.
Pre-Professional Scholars in Medicine can choose from any of the degree and major programs offered at the university, but still must complete courses in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics/statistics, and behavioral sciences. Progress is reviewed with students at intervals held throughout the program.
Harvard Medical School
Harvard is one of the most prestigious universities in the entire country, so be prepared for a bit of competitiveness to say the least! Harvard has consistently taken the top spot in many academic rankings including the Best Medical Schools conducted by U.S. news. Harvard Medical School is known for maintaining sophisticated facilities that produce doctors that will go on to take care of patients all across the country.
A notable alumni who came from Harvard Medical School is Louis Tompkins Wright. Wright was the first African-American surgeon who worked in a New York City hospital. Wright was a famous medical researcher, and had dreams of establishing racial equality at some point in the medical sector in America.
Marshall University has a BS/MD program set up for students that will allow them to complete both the Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine program in an accelerated seven year program.
Admission requirements to keep in mind:
- Applicants must be West Virginia residents. Residency status will be determined by the Marshall University residency guidelines.
- You MUST be a US citizen or have a permanent resident visa at the time of application.
- Minimum composite ACT of 30 or an SAT composite equivalent 1390 minimum from a single test date, and a minimum ACT math score of 27 (SAT equivalent 630 minimum), from the same test date as the qualifying composite score. The program will not accept “super scoring” or any form of combining parts of ACT/SAT scores from different tests.
- Applicants must have a minimum unweighted high school grade point average of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale at the end of their junior year of high school. The applicant must maintain academic success through their high school graduation.
- Students must declare a biology major.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
If you are planning a career in any one of these areas, the New Jersey Institute of Technology offers you two possible tracks: a highly competitive accelerated program through which you earn both the bachelor's and the doctoral degree in just seven years, or a four-year, pre-professional bachelor's degree followed by application to a medical school.
You will get the opportunity to work with an advisor who will help you manage a program of different courses that include:
- Biological sciences
Students also have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects in collaboration with other schools such as the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School or the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.
If you have done well enough in high school, you may be eligible to apply for an accelerated pre-health program at NJIT. Three years of study will be at NJIT, where you must fulfill all University and Honors College requirements. The rest of the program’s years will be spent at the professional school. Students who are admitted to the Honors College will not always be admitted to the accelerated programs. Applicants should take the time and get prepared to provide evidence that they have gained insight/knowledge into the profession of surgery through volunteer or research positions and special programs either inside the classroom or out.
All applicants will be interviewed and accepted by both the Albert Dorman Honors College and the medical school. All of the final admission decisions will be made by these schools. Honors Scholars who pursue the four-year pre-medical program may earn a degree in any department. With the help of an advisor you will apply to professional school at the appropriate time during your studies.
Stanford University was founded in 1885 in Stanford, California. Stanford is another one of the most prestigious schools in the entire country, and earned the 1st place ranking on the “Best Colleges for Veterans” research conducted in 2020. Stanford is also placed at number five in “Best Value Schools.”
Admission to the MD program at Stanford is competitive, but if you have what it takes then you’ll be an addition to a fantastic growing family of doctors! Stanford wants students to go out into the real world one day and transform the fields of medicine and biomedical sciences.
Lori Arviso Alvord is a notable alumni of Stanford University. Alvord became famous for being the first Diné woman who passed the board as a certified surgeon, and she even wrote an autobiography entitled “The Scalpel and The Silver Bear.” In 2013 she was also nominated for U.S. surgeon general.
Master’s Programs offered at Stanford (On-campus):
- Master of Science in Medicine: 2 years
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: 30 months completion
Ph.D. Programs offered at Stanford (On-campus):
- Bioengineering Doctoral Program: 5 years
- Biosciences Doctoral Program: 5 years
Check out a couple of these schools today and begin your path to entering the medical field!