Western University - Neurosurgery - London

2023 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on September 23, 2022

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Keith MacDougall
Clinical Neurological Sciences 
339 Windermere Rd. 
London, ON , Ontario, N6A 5A5
(519) 663-3696
(519) 663-3982
LHSC Website
Information - Neurosurgery at Residency at Western

Program Contacts

Ashley Shaw
Program Administrator
(519) 685-8500 ext. 36487

General Instructions

Program application language: English

All applications will be acknowledged.

Please direct questions regarding the Neurosurgery CaRMS application/interview process to: Ashley Shaw,



Supporting Documentation / Information

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Document must be notarized/certified
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

Proof of current citizenship or permanent resident status must be provided by submitting one of the following verifications to CaRMS by File Review Opening Date (January 10, 2023). (Photocopies acceptable). No other forms of verification are acceptable:

  1. Notarized photocopy of Birth Certificate issued by an authority in Canada with any photo ID, or
  2. Notarized photocopy of Canadian Passport, or
  3. Notarized photocopy of Canadian citizenship certificate, Record of Landing; or
  4. Notarized photocopy of Permanent Resident Card/Canadian Citizen Card – copies of both sides of card must be provided and legible.
Reference documents
Number requested: 3

3 letters of reference are required, preferably from physicians with whom the student has worked or who knows the student well and can speak to their interest and suitability in the Neurosurgery program. References due by the CaRMS reference letter deadline.

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Your medical school transcript can be submitted through one of the methods below:

  1. Obtain your medical transcript from your school and upload it directly to your CaRMS Online account. Follow your school’s policy regarding accessing or requesting your transcript;
  2. Ask your medical school to upload your medical transcript through their CaRMS Undergraduate Portal account; or
  3. International (IMGs) and United States (USMGs) medical graduates can transfer their transcript from their account.

Medical Student Performance Record 

For current year Canadian medical graduates (CMGs), there is no action required from you. Your medical school will automatically submit your MSPR to CaRMS on your behalf for you to assign.
If your MSPR is in a language other than the program language of English or French, you are required to have the document translated.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The candidate should provide a letter indicating the reasons for interest in neurosurgery, preferred career development (academic, private practice, etc) outside hobbies and interests.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 10, 2023

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 10, 2023

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 10, 2023

Applications are reviewed by the Neurosurgery Residency CaRMS Review Committee, alongside the Program Director. All applicant information including CV, references, education background, and extracurricular activities are reviewed in great detail prior to the interview selection process. Please ensure that all of the information is accurate and submitted by the CaRMS deadline. Items received after the deadline will not be reviewed.



  • February 21, 2023
Interviews for residency in Neurosurgery at Western will take place virtually on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023. A virtual "Neurosurgery Resident Meet & Greet" will be held for interview candidates only on Monday February 20th, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Interviews are scheduled on Tuesday February 21st, 2023. Interview day will begin with a "tour" of the program, where candidates will be invited to attend the Clinical Neurological Sciences Grand Rounds (virtually through Zoom videoconferencing). Attendance to Grand Rounds is not mandatory. For the virtual interview, all candidates are interviewed by 3 groups: two groups will be of neurosurgeons and nurse practioners (including the Program Director) and one group will include several of our current residency trainees, which gives the candidate the opportunity to discuss features of the program from the trainees' perspective.  Candidates will be in each virtual interview room with each interview group for 15 minutes, and will be prompted when the interview time is up for each group.

Selection Criteria

Program goals

The Neurosurgery Program at Western is designed to enable residents to achieve all of the relevant clinical and non-clinical skills related to the practice of adult neurosurgery, including the mastery of all CanMEDS competencies relevant to the practice of neurosurgery, and to prepare residents to successfully sit the Royal College Exam in Neurosurgery.

Our mission, based on the collaboration and dedication of our experts and partners, is to provide an outstanding training experience in neurological disorders, deliver world class care to patients and their families, and produce world class neuroscience research.   

Selection process goals

From the list of candidates, individuals who have a proven interest in neurosurgery as determined from their applications are preferred. Interest may be shown through: demonstrated strong academic performance; reference letters from physicians with whom the candidate has had clinical experiences; personal attestation shown in the form of an essay, discussing candidate's interest in neurosurgery (same as personal letter). Please note: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not require applicants to have completed electives.

Currently, the neurosurgery program accepts applicants through the Canadian Resident matching Service (CaRMS) and one IMG applicant through their sponsoring agency.

File review process

Review team composition : All applications are reviewed by the Program Director. Due to time constraints, we are not able to offer all candidates interviews. Candidates will meet with 3 interview panels: One comprised of 4-5 neurosurgeons and nurse practitioner(s), one comprised of the Program Director and 3-4 faculty members, and one comprised of 4-5 residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50
We receive 20-40 applications per year.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Evidence of appropriate medical training.
Electives We do not consider elective choice as a screening measure for an interview.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Evidence of a well-rounded individual.
Leadership skills Evidence of successful leadership.
MSPRs Ensuring no “red flags” such as failures, academic sanctions, etc.
Personal letters Ability to express reason for interest in Neurosurgery and display excellent command of the English language.
Reference documents Evidence from referees that this individual would be a good fit for a Neurosurgical program.
Research/Publications Evidence of an interest in academic pursuits.
Transcripts Ensuring no “red flags” such as failures, academic sanctions, etc.

Elective criteria

Due to the pandemic and its restrictions, the Neurosurgery Residency Training program at Western will not use electives as a screening measure.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :

We may accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure, or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Evidence when answering questions of abilities to work effectively in a team setting.
Collegiality Evaluated based on behaviour witnessed on the interview day.
Communication skills Ability to clearly answer questions and to effectively convey interest in the program.
Health advocacy Ability to advocate for patient's interests and demonstrates commitment to patients/community.
Interest in the discipline As expressed verbally and by electives completed.
Interest in the program We inquire as to what draws applicants to apply to our program.
Leadership skills Evidence to take initiative in clinical setting and candidate demonstrates leadership skills.
Professionalism Evidence of ability to maintain a professional demeanor at all times, including conflicts.
Scholarly activities Evidence of interest in research, education or pursuit of scholarship.

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

The Neurosurgery Residency Program at Western University prides itself on the strengths of training highly competent, technically skilled neurosurgeons. This is accomplished through our high case volume and independence-oriented training. Particular clinical strengths of the program include vascular and endovascular therapy as well as functional, stereotactic and epilepsy surgery.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 6 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Neurosurgery is that specialty which concerns itself with the study, diagnosis, and surgical treatment of abnormalities and diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system.

Residency Training Program Start Date - All programs at Western commence on July 1, 2023.  Residents are strongly encouraged to attend a one-day Orientation in London, Ontario.  Date TBD.




Sites in which this training may be taken










Trauma Surgery

Orthopedic Spine Surgery

ICU/Critical Care Medicine

Neuro ICU

Consult Medicine


Plastic Surgery


47 blocks






3 blocks

1 block

3 blocks

1 block

1 block

3 blocks

1 block

1 block

1 block

1 block

1 block

University and Victoria Hospitals (At least 6 blocks must be at VH), and Windsor Regional Hospital.

UH: Adult neurosurgery

VH: Pediatric neurosurgery, neurotrauma

WRH: Community neurosurgery


University and Victoria Hospitals

University and Victoria Hospitals

University Hospital

Victoria Hospital

Victoria Hospital

University and Victoria Hospitals

University and Victoria Hospitals

University and Victoria Hospitals

University and St. Joseph's/Victoria Hospital

St. Joseph's Health Care

Toronto General Hospital



c)   Elective Content of Training




Sites in which this training may be taken

Elective / Research

13 blocks



Training Sites


London Health Sciences Centre - Victoria Hospital & University Hospital

Children's Hospital of Western Ontario

Robarts Research Institute

Windsor Regional Hospital

Toronto General Hospital


The Division of Neurosurgery at the Western University consists of twelve consultant neurosurgeons, with clinical and academic interests encompassing the full scope of neurosurgery. The clinical case load is one of the largest in Canada (in excess of 1600 operative cases per year). Areas of particular expertise include neurovascular and endovascular surgery, epilepsy and functional neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and complex spinal disorders.

The Neurosurgical training program takes place at the London Health Sciences Centre, consisting of two campuses. Adult Neurosurgery occurs at the University Campus which is attached to the University of Western Ontario Medical School and the Robarts Research Institute. Pediatric Neurosurgery takes place at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario which is part of the Victoria Campus. The regional trauma centre is also part of the Victoria Campus. 

Additional Information

Prospective applicants wishing to be in touch with a resident in the Program may contact:

PGY5 Brendan Santyr,

PGY1 Rana Moshref,

PGY1 Dickson Wong,




1. Do you review late applications?

No, we do not consider late applications, nor late submissions of files.

2. Will interviews be virtual? Where will they take place?

All CaRMS interviews across Canada will be virtual for the foreseeable future. Our program uses Western University approved Zoom Video Communications for interviews.

3. May I participate in an observership prior to applying or interviewing? 

Yes, London Health Sciences Centre has approved observership opportunities since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in an observership opportunity, please contact our Program Administrator Ashley Shaw (

4. How many resident positions do you take each year?

We accept two CaRMS applicants and one IMG applicant each year into our program.