Residency Program

Welcome to the UCSF Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program page. Our Department’s priorities are to provide the highest quality patient care, to deliver to our residents an unsurpassed education program, and to advance biomedical research in Otolaryngology.
In addition to the exceptional resources and opportunities afforded by 140 years of University of California tradition, students, residents, and fellows at the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery enjoy the guidance and expertise of our internationally renowned clinical and research faculty, as well as, opportunities to train using state-of-the-art facilities and technology. The department includes specialists in every subspecialty of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery including head and neck surgical oncology, laryngology, rhinology, otology, neurotology, skull base surgery, pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck endocrine surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, sleep surgery and audiology.

Program Details

The Robert A. Schindler Surgical Skills Classroom at Mission CenterThe residency program in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery is a five year program including one year of General Surgery training at UCSF which is supervised and scheduled by the Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Department. The Department is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and is nationally recognized as one of the premier centers for research and clinical care in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

The PGY-1 year

Rotations include Trauma Surgery, Intensive and Critical Care Medicine, Anesthesia and Peri-operative care, Emergency Medicine, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, General Surgery and several elective month-long rotations.

The PGY-2 year

This is the first year of dedicated Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery concentration. Rotations will include time at San Francisco General Hospital where outpatient clinical care and trauma management is emphasized. This rotation is an excellent opportunity for early specialty surgical experience. The UCSF Parnassus rotation is where surgery in the fields of otology/neurotology/skull base surgery, rhinology /sinus surgery/endoscopic skull base surgery, and sleep surgery is experienced. Starting February 2015, our new, state of the art UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco is where pediatric otolaryngology rotations take place. Outpatient specialty clinics, located at Mt. Zion, are introduced and in-patient consultation is common. Introduction to surgical assistance on oncologic resections and the care of surgical patients with multiple co-morbidities is the focus of the rotation at the Bakar Cancer Hospital at UCSF Mission Bay - a part of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. This brand new hospital is the only National Cancer Institute designated hospital in the Bay Area.

The PGY-3 year

Rotations at San Francisco General Hospital, the Veterans Administration Hospital, and another block at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. The department’s specialty laryngology practice with Dr. Mark Courey and our Facial Plastic Surgery Practice with Dr. P. Daniel Knott are located at the Mt. Zion campus. These fields are also emphasized during this rotation block. A special course in clinical research during protected time from clinical work in the PGY-3 year is the catalyst for a future research block in the PGY-4 year.


The PGY-4 year

Currently we offer four months of dedicated research, 4 months of early Chief level experience as the senior-most resident on the service at San Francisco General Hospital, and 4 months as the senior resident at the UCSF Parnassus practice (otology/neurotology, skull base surgery; rhinology/sinus surgery; sleep surgery).

The PGY-5 year

This final year includes supervisory, administrative, and leadership roles at UCSF Parnassus, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. The chief resident’s responsibilities include a busy surgical schedule, direct supervision of medical students and residents, as well as being in charge of the schedule for academic teaching and conferences. Although this is a rigorous year, and the learning curve is steep, the rewards are great. At the conclusion of the Chief Resident year, our graduates are prepared for an academic position or an independent practice in the community. Many of our residents choose to go on to advanced clinical or research fellowship training. Many of our program graduates have gone on to become chairmen, academic faculty, and clinical leaders throughout the United States.

Academic Program

Our top notch academic program consists of multiple conferences at all of our training sites through a structured didactic program of one hour of formal lecture and one to two hours of specialty lectures on Monday mornings. During this time, instruction is given in:

  • Audiology
  • Head and neck oncology and anatomic dissection
  • Endoscopic and external sinus surgery
  • Micro dissection and histology of the temporal bone
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Head and neck pathology

The department also holds daily rounds, weekly grand rounds, and weekly clinical walk rounds. Our residents also participate in the continuing education programs of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery including attendance at national and regional meetings. Other benefits for residents include a liberal resident travel program which helps to underwrite a significant portion of the travel costs of attending national meetings and an annual educational materials fund. Participation in the Academy’s Home Study Course is expected. Our residents are sent to the American Academy of Otolaryngologic Allergy (AAOA) Basic Course to receive high quality didactic education in this field.

Special Resident Only Courses Offerings

The courses above are accompanied by multiple dissection opportunities which are designed to enhance surgical skills. The Robert A. Schindler Surgical Skills classroom at Mission Center is dedicated to the full gamut of surgical education in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Our program is proud to annually offer our residents multiple dissection courses featuring the temporal bone; the sinuses; a facial plastic soft tissue course; as well as a microvascular anastomosis course.

It is the goal of the Department to provide our trainees with the very best educational opportunities in all aspects of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. It is the responsibility of the resident to take advantage of all of the resources that the department has to offer. It is also the goal of the Department to provide our graduates with all of the background necessary to pass the American Board of Otolaryngology Board Certification Examination. Our graduates have a test pass rate of over 98% on the first attempt over the past 20 years.