Medical Student Education

From pre-med shadowing opportunities to skilled technical training for branch students, find out what the Department of Surgery offers to students beginning their medical careers.

Surgical Trainees
Students working on training exercise
Students in OR listening to instructor

Training Future Leaders in Surgery

Medical student education is a top priority for the Department of Surgery. The goals of our program are to:

  • Ensure that all students obtain fundamental knowledge in the surgical sciences.
  • Provide exposure to surgical specialties.
  • Mentor students interested in a career in surgery.

As a medical student, you'll learn from surgery faculty throughout all four years of school, including as instructors, administrators, counselors, and research mentors.  

M2 Clerkship

Your training ground is the University of Michigan Medical Center or the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. As an M2, you'll learn:

  • How to perform a thorough, focused history and physical examination on patients with acute and chronic surgical problems.
  • The indications for and limitations of surgical treatment.
  • How to master routine pre- and post-operative care and the resuscitation and evaluation of the hypovolemic or traumatized patient.
  • How to develop an awareness for the potential post-operative complications of surgical therapy.
  • Surgical technical skills.

Medical students participate in the pre-, intra-, and post-operative care of multiple patients, and assume on-call responsibilities.

Branch Rotations & Residency Preparation

Department of Surgery clinical electives and programs will help prepare branch medical students as they apply for residency.

These opportunities build your surgical expertise and your leadership skills as you prepare for the next step in your training:

  • Visiting Students (VSAS)We offer clinical electives to visiting medical students to rotate on the University of Michigan Medical School’s branch-year surgery electives. We coordinate electives in general, vascular, plastic, and cardiac surgery. Please apply through the AAMC VSAS process.
  • Surgery Leadership Weekend: This program, held in May each year, teaches surgical leadership skills and reviews what you need to know about the surgical residency application process. All U-M medical students going into surgery and select external students are eligible to attend. External student applications are solicited in February and March through emails to clerkship directors and medical school deans.
  • Boot Camp: Branch-year students going into surgery are expected to rotate on the surgery boot camp course, currently held during Period 10 (February-March). This course — one of the first of its kind and now a national model — simulates intern duties for senior students planning a career in surgery. It includes didactic and hands-on training, including surgical anatomy on cadavers and a mock paging program. It also offers a chance to improve procedural skills in the U-M Clinical Simulation Center.


SCRUBS, a medical student surgery interest group, aims to train a highly diverse group of the most promising undergraduate and medical students to become the future leaders of surgery through research, teaching, mentorship and shadowing opportunities.

This program offers a core curriculum as well as a practice-based program that provides hands-on research and leadership training. Opportunities include shadowing, faculty dinners, mentorships, technical skills development, research and clinical programs, and participation in the Association of Women Surgeons and Women in Surgery activities.

Contact Us

Karla Robinson

Surgery Education Facilitator, Undergraduate

Medical Student Program Coordinator