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Cardiothoracic Surgery: Suggested Electives for Preparation

Students interested in cardiothoracic surgery should take electives that prepare them for the highly competitive application process as well as a lifelong career in the field. Given the small number of spots available and the rigorous training required, programs are looking for applicants which show a strong commitment to a career in cardiothoracic surgery. Such commitment can primarily be demonstrated through excelling in cardiothoracic surgery electives and research. Students interested in cardiothoracic surgery are encouraged to seek career mentoring early for guidance in selecting fourth-year rotations and to facilitate involvement in research.


Highly Recommended Electives

  • 1-2 months of adult cardiac surgery at Methodist
  • 1 month of adult thoracic surgery at University
  • 1 month of congenital cardiothoracic surgery at Riley

Suggested Electives

  • Critical care
  • Cardiology
  • Pulmonology
  • Vascular surgery
  • General surgery

Additional Information

Research experience, either in basic science or clinical/translational, is highly recommended. Publications, abstracts, and podium presentations at professional society meetings are impactful ways to differentiate oneself and demonstrate a commitment to scholarly activity. Students may be interested in completing away rotations, although this is not required. Students may wish to complete an away rotation if they are interested in: training in a particular region of the country (East/West coasts), training at a top-tier program or obtaining more in-depth knowledge about the culture of a particular program.