Core Curriculum

  • Weekly, Tuesday mornings for 90 minutes
  • Resident and faculty lead sessions
  • Interactive and case based

The Core Curriculum in General Surgery is designed to provide residents with a strong knowledge base in the fundamentals of diagnosis and treatment of surgical diseases by providing a framework in which to build their skills in lifetime learning in general surgery.  The Surgical Council on Residency Education (SCORE) Portal for general surgery is the backbone of the medical knowledge required of those in general surgery residency and thus is the resource provided to our residents. 

The weekly 90 minute Core Course covers subject areas based on the SCORE general surgery curriculum and is designed to allow residents preparation through the SCORE Portal prior to these weekly interactive teaching sessions.  It consists of four components:  (1) Pre-class and post-class quizzes, (2) Recommended textbook chapter and journal article readings, and (3) In-class sessions featuring a variety of teaching formats including didactic lecture, oral board questioning, case-based clinical reasoning, and team-based learning.  The OpenEdX platform houses all relevant curricular material for Core Course.  The attendings are selected by the residents as exemplary educators and teach on a voluntary basis. 

Surgical Skills Curriculum

  • Weekly simulation-based skills sessions on Tuesday mornings
  • Protected time from clinical duties
  • Faculty and educational fellows lead sessions
  • PGY based curriculum

Skills acquisition and refinement are an important area of surgical education that is formalized in a separate curriculum alongside the core course of Stanford Surgery's educational program. The Goodman Surgical Education Center and the Anatomy Bio-Skills Laboratory house the skills and simulation program, and are accredited by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I Educational Institute. The skills curriculum is based on the ACS/APDS (Association of Program Directors in Surgery) Surgery Skills Curriculum for Residents.

Skills modules are PGY level-specific with faculty oversight. The curriculum is constantly expanding and evolving with resident feedback, but the following provides a summary of some of the sessions dedicated to each resident level.  

  PGY1 PGY2 PGY3 PGY 4/5
Clinical Skills:

Common wards calls

Radiology primer

Informed consent

ICU primer (pressors, vent management)

Pediatric consult calls  Surgical oncology primer

Mock orals

Technical Skills:

Knot tying/suturing

Chest tube placement

Central line placement


Upper and lower endoscopy

Airway management

Ultrasound (ACS certification)

Advanced laparoscopy

Hand-sewn bowel anastomosis

Vascular anastomosis

Robotic training

FLS testing

Advanced laparoscopy

Operative Procedures (cadaver labs):

Open inguinal hernia

Laparoscopic appendectomy

Sentinel node biopsy

Laparoscopic hernia

Lap/open cholecystectomy


Flaps and skin grafts

Colon resection


Vascular exposure

Laparoscopic Nissen

Lap/open bile duct exploration

Bariatric procedures

Non-technical Skills:

Operative time-out

Patient hand-off

Trauma team training

Communication in code scenarios

Laparoscopic trouble-shooting


Inter-professional communication

Residents as Educators

Each module consists of a short didactic overview, proctored hands-on skills and simulation time, and assessment. The Goodman Surgical Education Center is available to all surgery residents by key card entry at any time, and is located directly above the operating rooms in the main hospital. Modules are available, with prior coordination of the Goodman Surgical Simulation Program Manager, for individual practice and review. Modules involve models, virtual reality, training simulators, cadavers, and pig labs.

The skills curriculum also includes a variety of certification programs, including the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program. The Goodman Surgical Education Center is an FLS testing site, and each PGY-4 General Surgery Resident will take the FLS exam at the completion of their Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) rotation. PGY 2 residents have the opportunity to complete the ACS-accredited Basic and Focused Ultrasound Courses, and PGY 3 residents complete the Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET) course.