Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery »  Education & Training »  ACGME Thoracic Surgery Residency

ACGME Thoracic Surgery Residency Program

At the University of California, San Francisco, formal training in cardiothoracic surgery began in 1968.  Since then, our program has maintained full accreditation.  The program has a record of producing some of the most distinguished past and present leaders in Cardiothoracic Surgery, a goal that is implicit in our mission.   

Like other institutions, UCSF has seen a dramatic evolution in cardiovascular technologies over the past decade.  This has included advances in percutaneous and endovascular strategies for cardiovascular diseases, as well as in the surgical treatment of end stage heart failure.  In addition, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in the volume and complexity of General Thoracic Surgery, with advances both in minimally invasive surgical technology and in the array of surgical multi-modality approaches being developed by thoracic oncologists. In order to provide our resident trainees the best exposure to these new technologies, the UCSF faculty has extended the length of our program in order to provide meaningful exposure to these new clinical areas and to establish critical core competencies as our discipline expands.

Clinical Rotations

The Thoracic Surgery Residency Program in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of California San Francisco covers a three year clinical training period.

Year 1

SF/VAMC (6 month core rotation):

Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery service

UCSF (6 month core rotation):       

General Thoracic Surgery service

Year 2

*Elective *Elective

Year 3

UCSF (6 month core rotation): Adult/Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery service

UCSF (6 month core rotation):   Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery service



General Thoracic

1. Designed for residents in the Thoracic Pathway
2. Up to 18 consecutive months of General Thoracic Surgery


1. Up to 18 consecutive months of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
2. Accelerated sub-specialization

Transplant/Heart Failure

1. UNOS certification - heart and lungs
2. Devices, surgical reconstruction, cell therapy trials


1. Pioneering skill set
2. Integrated program with one of the most successful existing endovascular programs in the country

In the first year of training, the resident would be assigned to a VA core rotation, during which he/she will be primarily involved in adult cardiothoracic surgery for a six-month block.  The resident will then rotate to the general thoracic surgery core experience at Moffitt/Long hospital under the direction of Dr. David Jablons

The second year of the residency will contain elective rotations, depending on the resident's decision to enter the cardiac or thoracic pathway in the new ABTS requirements.  Those residents who elect the thoracic pathway will receive a minimum of six months of additional exposure to general thoracic surgery.  In addition, the resident may also elect to rotate on thoracic transplantation under the direction of Dr. Georg Wieselthaler where it is anticipated that they will easily qualify for UNOS certification.

Similarly, for those residents interested in future specialization in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, transplantation/heart failure and or endovascular therapies, three- to six-month blocks will be available in each of these fields.  The endovascular rotation will be new, and will be combined with vascular surgery and initially based at the San Francisco VA hospital. 

The final year of training will focus on core requirements in advanced adult cardiac surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery at Moffitt/Long, each block lasting 6 months. 

On all four rotations the Thoracic Surgery resident is the most senior trainee on the service implying that in addition to acquiring a knowledge base and technical skills on each rotation, the fellow will also acquire leadership, teaching and administration skills.

Residents are exposed to all areas of thoracic surgery including minimally invasive procedures, off pump CABG, aortic surgery, arrhythmia surgery, ventricular assist device, and heart & lung transplantation. In thoracic surgery, the residents experience complex airway disease, VATS procedure, minimally invasive surgery, airway reconstruction and complex esophageal procedures.

Application Process

Applicants for the program must have completed an ACGME residency in General Surgery or Vascular Surgery by the time they are to enter the program. Applicants must go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for the matching process.

Please see these websites for further information.

Applications for the program are accepted electronically through ERAS®. Applications are considered complete when the following documentation is received through ERAS:

We will not accept any additional supporting documents by mail.  Electronic submission of all application materials is due February 28.  Applications completed after that date may be considered only if there are interview spaces still available.In addition to the above, students and graduates of international medical schools must provide the following:

Interviews are held in March and April. Invited applicants will meet with cardiothoracic faculty and current residents. Tours will be given by residents and any questions you have about the program will be answered. If you would like further information about our program, please contact:

Catherine L. Cooper, B.A.
Residency Coordinator
University of California, San Francisco
500 Parnassus Avenue, Suite MUW-405
San Francisco, CA 94143-0118

(415) 353-8196