General Surgery Limit on Number of Programs

Policy regarding the number of residency training programs that an applicant for board certification in general surgery may train at.

The ABS instituted in 2007 a new limit on the number of programs by which an applicant for general surgery certification may complete residency training.

Effective with residents graduating in the 2007-2008 academic year or thereafter, the 5 years of progressive general surgery residency training (PGY 1-5) must be accomplished at no more than 3 residency programs for an individual’s application for certification to be accepted.

How Programs are Counted

In applying this rule, the ABS considers only the 5 progressive clinical years that are to be counted as an applicant’s full residency training. For example, if a resident completes PGY-1 at one institution and then repeats PGY-1 at another institution, only one of these years will be counted toward the applicant’s required residency training and only one of these programs will be included in the three-program limit. The last 2 years of residency (PGY 4-5) must always be completed at the same institution.

If credit is granted by the ABS for prior training outside the U.S. or Canada, that credit will be counted as one institution.

Admissibility to Certification

When applying for certification, any individual who trained at more than one program must submit documentation of satisfactory completion for all years in prior programs from the appropriate program director.

Individuals who completed their 5 years of residency training at more than 3 programs will be required to repeat one or more of these years at a single institution to comply with the 3-program limit in order to be admissible to the certification process.

For questions regarding this policy, please contact the ABS coordinator.

Updated: February 2013

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