Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy Director Dr. Adam Beck teaches medical students about suturing at a vascular simulation activity.

Third- and fourth-year medical students are exposed to general surgery and the surgical subspecialties through our clerkship and acting internship programs. Our goal is to provide students an opportunity to become an integral part of a care team and to help them decide whether they want to pursue a surgical career, while acquiring core clinical knowledge around surgical-related diseases and surgical-related skills that are applicable to a number of disciplines.

Surgery Clerkships

The surgery clerkship is an eight-week rotation during the third year of medical school. Students spend four weeks on the general surgery service, two weeks on a specialty service, and two weeks on a sub-specialty service. During this rotation, two shifts of weekend call with the Acute Care /Trauma Surgery team is required.

This clerkship will teach students about the role of surgical teams in the care of a hospitalized patient. Students will develop an understanding of common surgical diseases and emphasis will be placed on learning manual skills such as suturing and knot tying.

At this point in medical education, learning about surgical diseases and the principles of surgical biology are essential. Therefore, medical students are expected to participate in the following:

  • Medical Student Lectures: These lectures are based on reading assignments in Essentials of General Surgery, 5th Edition, edited by Peter F. Lawrence.
  • Director Conferences
  • Surgical Grand Rounds

UAB School of Medicine students should consult the course catalog for more information.


Course Directors:

Richard Stahl, M.D.Stahl Richard General

Britney Corey, M.D.core web



Kalister “Kay” Banks

Acting Internships

To qualify for an acting internship, students must have successfully completed the core internal medicine and surgery clerkships. For more information, consult the UAB School of Medicine course catalog.

Visiting Students

For U.S.-based students interested in completing an away elective, please complete an application in the Visiting Student Application System (VSAS), the AAMC web-based application platform for visiting medical students. Each year, prospective visiting students may submit applications in VSAS on April 1, and each year, we will begin processing VSAS applications on May 1.

For international visiting students and students who attend an international medical school, please visit the International Medical Education website for information about the program. Find more information about applying through VSAS here.

UAB Visiting Elective Scholarship Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Visiting Elective Scholarship Program supports underrepresented minority individuals desiring a four-week visiting elective in general surgery at UAB. Scholarships are available in amounts up to $1,000 for students to use to cover tuition, travel, housing and living expenses associated with the visiting elective.

Individuals from underrepresented minority populations including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders are eligible for the program. Additionally, applicants must be:

  • Current students in good academic standing at a LCME-accredited medical school in the United States entering their fourth year of medical education
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents

Positions are available in mid-September through late-October.

Students interested in applying for a general surgery residency at UAB will have the opportunity to interview for residency during their visiting elective.

Application Process

Interested students are required to submit an application in the form of one PDF document via email to Kay Banks (kbanks@uabmc.edu), as well as an application through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program.

The application should include:

  • a one-page personal statement of interests and career goals
  • a minimum of one recommendation letter from a third-year clerkship faculty supervisor

Applications must be submitted by May 1 of the year an elective is desired. Applicants will be notified in early-mid July of the outcome of their application.

The Medical Student Clerkship Office in the UAB Department of Surgery will work with each recipient to identify a four-week period for the elective that fits the availability of the program.

Scholarship checks will be issued after the recipient has successfully completed the first two weeks of their visiting elective.


Surgery Research Opportunities

The UAB Department of Surgery is actively engaged in a variety of research areas and encourages medical students to enhance their training through research opportunities. Mentored research opportunities are available in basic science, translational, clinical, outcomes and education research.

The following faculty offer summer research opportunities in surgery and surgery-related fields for medical students. This is just a partial listing of active mentors. Many other surgeons will mentor a student if a mutual interest is identified as well. View the department’s research section to learn about ongoing projects and contact investigators to arrange a meeting to discuss available opportunities. If you need help identifying a potential mentor, please contact Kristi Herritz to discuss your interests.

Students participating in summer research in the Department of Surgery should apply for summer stipend funding through the MSSRP Common Application. To optimize the chance of funding, apply for:

  • Department of Surgery Summer Research Program (8-weeks),
  • Short Term Training in Health Professional Schools (NIH T35 - SRTP) and
  • all other programs relevant to your research project.

Basic Science and Translational Research Mentors

Health Services, Outcomes and Clinical Research Mentors

Education Research

Research Travel Reimbursement

Students are encouraged to submit an abstract of their research results to a regional or national meeting. UAB students under the mentorship of a faculty member in the Department of Surgery, who have a first-authored abstract accepted for oral or poster presentation at a regional or national meeting, are eligible for up to $1,000 in travel reimbursement from the Department of Surgery.

Prior-approval is required for travel. Complete this online form to request approval before registering for the meeting. Requests are typically reviewed within one week of submission. Please contact Kristi Herritz with any questions.

The following meetings are approved and other meetings will be considered:

  • Academic Surgical Congress
  • ACS Clinical Congress
  • American Surgical Association
  • Southern Surgical Association

Full policy details are available here.


Thanks to the generosity of two former faculty members, Robert J. Cerfolio, M.D., and Mary T. Hawn, M.D., the UAB Department of Surgery has established two outstanding medical student awards: the Robert J. Cerfolio Award for Outstanding Medical Student in General Surgery and the Mary T. Hawn Award for Outstanding Woman Medical Student.

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