University of Toronto - Neurosurgery - Toronto


Program Director

Dr. Nir Lipsman


Program Coordinator

Ms. Sandi Amaral

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We are the largest neurosurgery program in North America with 31 faculty and 36 residents, providing optimal opportunities for education, collaboration, and establishing life-long connections with fellow trainees.

The program is conducted at 4 clinical sites each with its own case variety and unique operative and clinical opportunities that contribute to the overall development of our neurosurgical trainees:

  • Toronto Western Hospital – Major academic center with every subspecialty represented from neuro-oncology, spine, vascular, and functional neurosurgery and epilepsy.

  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: Canada’s largest and busiest trauma center, with expertise in vascular, skull base, oncology, and spine surgery.

  • St. Michael’s Hospital: Large urban neurosurgical unit and Level I trauma centre located in Toronto’s downtown core. Expertise in spine and brain trauma, skull base, oncology, and endovascular surgery.

  • Hospital for Sick Children: World-renowned centre of excellence for pediatric neurosurgery, with strong academic and clinical tradition.

Our globally recognized Surgeon-Scientist Program (SSP) allows our residents to undertake fully-funded research time to complete advanced Masters or Doctoral degrees during residency. Our residents routinely secure prestigious grants, conduct landmark, field-changing research, and win national and international awards.

Our neurosurgical case volumes are amongst the highest in North America, with over 6000 cases per year across all sites. Chief residents perform between 500-600 cases in their final year alone, ranking amongst the highest percentiles for chief year volumes in North America.

A highly focused formal curriculum feature faculty and resident driven lectures spanning the spectrum of clinical neurosurgery.

Excellent track record of graduates securing employment at distinguished Canadian and US institutions, and developing into leaders at their respective centers.

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  • Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, and ranks as one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. Containing an abundance of world-class and diverse culture, recreation, cuisine, and professional sports, it is a city unlike anywhere else in Canada and North America.

  • The Toronto Program is a close-knit group; loyal, collegial, supportive, and fun. We enjoy regular social activities, hosted by the Chair and other Toronto faculty, that provide a well-deserved respite from the daily stresses of clinical neurosurgery and a forum to relax and get to know one another.

  • We have regular invited lectureships from global leaders in neurosurgery as well as social events with internationally renowned leaders in neuroscience.

  • We are the only Canadian school invited to the annual Neurosurgery Softball Tournament in New York, where we play in Central Park and compete with neurosurgical programs across the US for softball supremacy.


Because Toronto is such a large program with so many residents, will I get the opportunity to operate?

Yes! Our city-wide case volume is by far the highest in Canada, and among the highest in North America, ensuring our trainees get ample operative time. Residents rotate in 4 different, and clinically busy, hospitals. At every site, the operative and training experience of our residents is prioritized, with residents in their chief year performing more cases as the primary surgeon than almost any other program in North America.

If I come to Toronto, does that mean I need to pursue a PhD during residency?

No. Although we offer the most diverse range of research opportunities anywhere in North America, not all residents choose to pursue an advanced research degree, or any research training, during residency. Some residents have, for example, chosen to use their research time as a clinical elective in order to do an in-folded fellowship in Toronto or elsewhere.

The rich research environment in Toronto often does attract individuals who have an interest in research and provides them with the support and resources to pursue a degree in any number of different fields. This has included 1- or 2-year Master’s degree in clinical epidemiology or computer engineering, as well as PhD in molecular biology.

Will I get lost in the program as one of many residents?

Despite being a large program, we pride ourselves on our ability to welcome residents into the Toronto family, as a tight-knit and supportive group. Our faculty place a strong emphasis on resident support, wellness, and feedback. This includes frequent meetings with the Program Director and site directors, regular mid- and end-of-rotation evaluations and feedback, regular ‘family meetings’ as a program, social events throughout the year, and informal meetings at every hospital and site. Our Residency Program Committee (RPC) includes both faculty and resident members, and we have established a formal mentorship program whereby all incoming residents are paired with a senior resident and faculty member in order to help transition into the program. Our faculty across all sites develop close connection with our residents by virtue of how much and how closely we work with them day-to-day. Our interactions and relationships are our strengths in Toronto, as we train the next generation of leaders in academic neurosurgery.

What are employment opportunities like after graduating from the Toronto program?

Our graduates are among the most highly sought-after applicants to positions across Canada and North America. The Toronto program has established, through our internationally-recognized faculty, a global network of connections to the premier neurosurgical centres of the world. This helps our graduates secure the most competitive fellowships and job opportunities across North America. Our graduates have obtained positions in among the most elite Canadian and American institutions.