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The Most IMG-Friendly Neurological Surgery Programs in the US

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by Monique Cloete in IMG, Residency

Are you wondering how IMG-friendly (or unfriendly) neurological surgery is as a US medical specialty? Do you want to know your chances of matching in this highly competitive field? Would you love to figure out what neurological surgery programs an IMG would stand the best chance?

This article will give you the most up-to-date information on IMG-friendly neurological surgery programs. Use this information to strategize on whether – and where – to apply to maximize your chances of matching as an IMG in neurological surgery.


  • Neurological surgery is among the least IMG-friendly US medical specialties.
  • Some neurological surgery programs have a large number of IMGs, including Iowa (29% IMGs) and Louisville (28% IMGs).
  • In addition, some programs favor US IMGs while others prefer non-US IMGs.
  • See the full list of searchable residency programs to strategize where IMGs have recently been the most welcome.
  • Be sure to bookmark this page – and sign up for the newsletter – to keep up with the latest residency and USMLE trends and maximize your chances of matching.

Table of Contents

What is an IMG Again?

Let’s start with some definitions.

IMG: International Medical Graduate
  • You attended a medical school outside of the United States and Canada
US- vs. Non-US IMGs

IMGs consist of two sub-groups:

  • US-IMGs: US Citizens or permanent residents who attended a “foreign” medical school. Example: someone born in the US but went to a Caribbean medical school (a non-US school).
  • Non-US IMGs: Non-US citizens or permanent residents who attended a “foreign” medical school. Example: someone born in South Korea, who does not have US citizenship or a green card, and who went to medical school in South Korea.
NRMP: “National Resident Matching Program®”
  • The organization that administers the “Match.” In the Match, the NRMP pairs residency applicants with a residency program.

Note that “International Medical Graduate” (IMG) refers to the medical school you attended. Thus, a foreign citizen who attends a US medical school is NOT an IMG. However, a US citizen attending a med school outside the US would be considered an IMG. (Technically, s/he would be a US IMG).

For more on how IMGs can attain residency in the US, see The IMG’s Guide to Obtaining Residency in the United States (2022).

Neurological Surgery is Not Very IMG-Friendly

Looking at the percentage of spots filled by IMGs in the 2022 Match, we can see neurological surgery was among the least IMG-friendly specialties. Several other medical specialties had higher IMG rates.

Similarly, the match rate for IMGs in neurological surgery is among the lowest of all the specialties in the 2022 Match:

Here are the same data represented in a table:

% Spots Filled by IMGs% Spots Filled by US IMGs% Spots Filled by non-US IMGsTotal Positions OfferedTotal # All Applicants
Child Neurology15%4%11%188182
Diagnostic Radiology8%2%6%1,1551,568
Emergency Medicine7%6%1%2,9212,813
Family Medicine21%13%8%4,9165,055
General Surgery9%3%5%1,6222,400
Internal Medicine36%9%25%9,80911,598
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics5%2%2%392458
Interventional Radiology2%0%2%169226
Neurological Surgery8%1%7%240379
Obstetrics and Gynecology5%2%3%1,5032,044
Orthopaedic Surgery2%1%1%8751,435
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation6%2%3%532725
Plastic Surgery6%1%4%194340
Radiation Oncology11%5%7%185162
Vascular Surgery7%0%7%84143

For more on the most IMG-friendly medical specialties, see this article.

The Most IMG-Friendly Neurological Surgery Residency Programs

While neurological surgery as a field is not very IMG-friendly, the same cannot be said for every neurological surgery residency program. For example, four neurological surgery residencies in the most recent GME census had IMG percentages of 10% or higher: Iowa (29%), Louisville (28%), Virginia (25%) and Louisiana State (21%). In addition, 21% of all neurological surgery residency programs filled 10% or more of their available positions with IMGs.

Here is a list of the most (and least) IMG-friendly neurological surgery programs. It includes data from the most recent National GME Census Survey. Percentages are of all residents in the program in 2020.

ACGME residency program codeResidency program nameCityState% residents IMG (US + Non-US)% residents US-citizen IMGs% residents non-US-citizen IMGs% residents US MD graduates% residents US DO graduatesProgram consider applicants with J-1 visa?Program consider applicants with H-1B visa?Program consider applicants with F-1 Visa (OPT 1st year)?# of positions offered (2021 NRMP Main Match)# of positions (2021 NRMP Main Match)# of applications submitted to this program in 2021% of applicants interviewed by the program in 2020
1601811028University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics ProgramIowa CityIA29290710NoYesYes2227911.4
1602031031University of Louisville School of Medicine ProgramLouisvilleKY281414710YesNoNo2226919.7
1605121088University of Virginia Medical Center ProgramCharlottesvilleVA25025750YesYesNo3334215.4
1602113119Louisiana State University (Shreveport) ProgramShreveportLA21147717YesNoNo2220614.6
1603521058SUNY Upstate Medical University ProgramSyracuseNY1899739NoNoNo2226714.3
1602321034Johns Hopkins University ProgramBaltimoreMD17143830YesYesNo4432312.6
1603321106Rutgers Health/New Jersey Medical School ProgramNewarkNJ171165628YesNoNo3327315.7
1602121033Tulane University/Ochsner Clinic Foundation ProgramNew OrleansLA1688850Yes1124716.4
1603521050University at Buffalo ProgramBuffaloNY16115840YesNoNo3329814.5
1604831126University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ProgramHoustonTX15105850YesNoNo3332413.6
1602021030University of Kentucky College of Medicine ProgramLexingtonKY14140860YesNoNo2223814.6
1604121074Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University/TJUH ProgramPhiladelphiaPA14014860YesYesYes4435514.3
1604511079Medical University of South Carolina ProgramCharlestonSC1477807YesNoNo2229915.1
1602521039University of Michigan Health System ProgramAnn ArborMI1266890YesNoNo3334915.7
1601711027Indiana University School of Medicine ProgramIndianapolisIN1055890YesYesNo3329711.1
1603621060Duke University Hospital ProgramDurhamNC1055900YesNoNo333419.5
1604131076UPMC Medical Education ProgramPittsburghPA1073900YesYesYes4433912
1601621025University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago ProgramChicagoIL909910YesNoNo1132013.1
1601621026Loyola University Medical Center ProgramMaywoodIL990910YesNoNo2228714.3
1602721044University of Mississippi Medical Center ProgramJacksonMS990829YesNoNo2218417.7
1603521051Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine ProgramBronxNY909910YesYesYes2226714
1602621043Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (Rochester) ProgramRochesterMN844920YesYesYes4432621.3
1603521052New York Presbyterian Hospital (Cornell Campus) ProgramNew YorkNY80892022324
1602321035University of Maryland ProgramBaltimoreMD707930YesNoNo2232115.5
1603021111University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine ProgramOmahaNE770930YesYesNo2222815.6
1603511055New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia Campus) ProgramNew YorkNY770930YesNoNo3330722.2
1603521053Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ProgramNew YorkNY770930YesYesYes2233815.8
1605121089Virginia Commonwealth University Health System ProgramRichmondVA707930YesNoNo2224613.7
1605421090University of Washington ProgramSeattleWA707930YesYesYes3334620.2
1605621092University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics ProgramMadisonWI707930YesNoNo2232114.2
1604121110Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center ProgramHersheyPA606896YesNoNo3332217.9
1604931086University of Utah Health ProgramSalt Lake CityUT606940YesNoNo3331711.8
1601621022McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University ProgramChicagoIL550950YesYesYes3334011.7
1603521054NYU Grossman School of Medicine ProgramNew YorkNY550950YesYesNo3334314.1
1603822066Cleveland Clinic Foundation ProgramClevelandOH550950YesYesYes3333613.2
1604021070Oregon Health & Science University ProgramPortlandOR505950YesYesYes3333614.8
1604721081Vanderbilt University Medical Center ProgramNashvilleTN505950YesNoYes3336012.7
1600121003University of Alabama Medical Center ProgramBirminghamAL0001000YesYesNo3327811.4
1601621099University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria ProgramPeoriaIL0001000NoNoNo2222212.2
1601921029University of Kansas School of Medicine ProgramKansas CityKS0001000YesNoNo2225816.9
1602121032Louisiana State University ProgramNew OrleansLA0YesNoNo2227112.9
1602313129Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health ProgramBethesdaMD0YesYesNo112498.6
1602500133Spectrum Health/Michigan State University ProgramGrand RapidsMI0YesNoYes11222
1602500134Ascension Providence/MSUCHM ProgramSouthfieldMI0002971YesNoNo221879.5
1602500136Beaumont Health (Royal Oak and Dearborn) ProgramRoyal OakMI0YesYesYes1120010.8
1602511040Henry Ford Hospital ProgramDetroitMI0001000YesYesNo2226317.4
1602621042University of Minnesota ProgramMinneapolisMN0YesNoNo2228911.7
1602811046Washington University/B-JH/SLCH Consortium ProgramSt LouisMO0001000Yes44334
1602821045University of Missouri-Columbia ProgramColumbiaMO0YesNoNo1118017.5
1602821047St Louis University School of Medicine ProgramSt LouisMO0YesNoNo2209.8
1603221048Dartmouth-Hitchcock/Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital ProgramLebanonNH0YesNoYes1127611.9
1603400001University of New Mexico School of Medicine ProgramAlbuquerqueNM0
1603500134Stony Brook Medicine ProgramStony BrookNY0YesNoNo112316.8
1603511057University of Rochester ProgramRochesterNY0001000YesNoNo2229310.9
1603521049Albany Medical Center ProgramAlbanyNY0001000YesNoNo2226213.9
1603521108Westchester Medical Center ProgramValhallaNY0YesYesNo2223716.9
1603531130Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell ProgramManhassetNY0001000YesYesYes2227911.8
1603600062Carolinas Medical Center ProgramCharlotteNC0YesYesNo112947.3
1603611059University of North Carolina Hospitals ProgramChapel HillNC0001000YesNoNo2234114.7
1603611061Wake Forest University School of Medicine ProgramWinston-SalemNC0001000YesNoNo2232314.4
1603821064University of Cincinnati Medical Center/College of Medicine ProgramCincinnatiOH0001000YesNoNo222958.9
1603821065Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center ProgramClevelandOH0001000YesYesNo113369.6
1603821067Ohio State University Hospital ProgramColumbusOH0001000NoNoNo3333316.3
1603921068University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center ProgramOklahoma CityOK0YesYesYes2222011.2
1604100135Geisinger Health System ProgramDanvillePA0YesNoNo1123414
1604100136Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine ProgramPhiladelphiaPA0NoNoNo111338.8
1604121073Temple University Hospital ProgramPhiladelphiaPA0YesYesNo1129412.3
1604121075University of Pennsylvania Health System ProgramPhiladelphiaPA000100033323
1604131116Allegheny Health Network Medical Education Consortium (AGH) ProgramPittsburghPA000937YesNoNo2228215.3
1604321103Brown University ProgramProvidenceRI0001000NoYesNo2230511.5
1604721080University of Tennessee ProgramMemphisTN0001000YesNoNo332916.3
1604800001University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School ProgramAustinTX0YesNoNo110
1604800127Texas A&M College of Medicine-Scott and White Medical Center ProgramTempleTX0YesYesYes1122514.2
1604812123Methodist Hospital (Houston) ProgramHoustonTX0001000YesNoNo2230212.2
1604821083University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals ProgramGalvestonTX0YesNoNo2220914.7
1604821084Baylor College of Medicine ProgramHoustonTX0001000YesNoNo4434815.7
1604821085University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Joe and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine ProgramSan AntonioTX0008812YesNoNo1125514.8
1605021101University of Vermont Medical Center ProgramBurlingtonVT0YesNoNo1124713.2
1605100091Inova Fairfax Medical Campus ProgramFalls ChurchVA0YesYesNo1122810.7
1605100092Carilion Clinic-Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine ProgramRoanokeVA0YesNoNo1122722.1
1605511091West Virginia University ProgramMorgantownWV0YesNoNo1122217

Concluding Thoughts

Neurological surgery is among the least IMG-friendly of fields. Some neurological surgery residency programs fill a moderate proportion of their available positions with IMGs. Therefore, for the top of the top applicants, there are still places for IMGs.

Are you despairing at your chances of matching into neurological surgery as an IMG? Then, check out Never Forget, where you can learn how to master – not memorize – for the impressive USMLE scores to match at your dream residency. And if you’re looking for a residency advisor, look at our residency advisory services.

1 Comment
  1. Ebrahim says:

    I am neurosurgical surgery graduated in Iran.I want to ask you about the correct way.alternative pathway with clinical fellowships to be board eligible or try to match residency?

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.