Best Medical Schools for Neurosurgery

August 17

Table of Contents

Being a Neurosurgeon requires enormous knowledge, focus, dedication, and appropriate medical skills for success. It would be best if you thrived since it requires extensive training during residency and fellowship that would take years to complete. 

Your choice of medical school also matters, considering the demands of this medical specialization. Therefore, the medical school’s curriculum must reflect outstanding courses in Neurosurgery that will serve as a building block for the needed skill set and knowledge in this field. 

The article will give you a list of the best medical schools in Neurosurgery. It includes significant highlights of each medical school’s program for this specialization.

What is a Neurosurgeon?

Neurosurgery is a medical specialty concerned with diagnosing and treating neurological conditions and different injuries to the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, and other peripheral parts of the body. 

Neurosurgery is a top-paid and in-demand concentration in medicine. And it is also the most complex and challenging profession compared to other medical specializations. 

Various advanced subspecializations under Neurosurgery cater to unique and complex neurological conditions. It includes:
  • Vascular neurosurgery,
  • Stereotactic neurosurgery
  • Functional neurosurgery
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Oncological neurosurgery
  • Skull base surgery
  • Spinal neurosurgery
  • Peripheral nerve surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery

Doctors who specialize in Neurosurgery are called Neurosurgeons and are commonly known as brain surgeons too. To become one, you must undergo extensive training in medical school. 

You are required to finish a four-year pre-medical education at any university. Next is to take up a four-year medical degree in a medical school which allows you to become a Medical Doctor (M.D.).  

After which, you need to undergo a one-year internship in General Surgery and another five to seven years in a Neurosurgery Residency and Fellowship Program. Other Neurosurgeons prefer to further specialize in Neurology after completing their fellowship. 

Here are some of the neurological conditions that Neurosurgeons treat:

  • Brain Aneurysm
  • Brain Lymphoma
  • Brain Tumor
  • Carotid Artery Disease
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Concussions
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hemorrhage
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Tourette Syndrome

Below are the common surgical and procedure techniques that Neurosurgeons do:

  • Open Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Endoscopic Surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Radiosurgery
  • Endovascular Surgery
  • Chronic Pain Interventional Procedures

These medical specialists are also highly skilled and trained to operate various testing machines that will help them diagnose and treat neurological conditions. 

And these include CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, PET (positron emission tomography) scans, Magnetoencephalography (MEG), Electroencephalograms (EEG), and more.

How Much Do Neurosurgeons Earn?

A specialization in Neurosurgery is one of the highest-paid medical professions in medicine.

Given the complexity, long hours, and demanding work environment of Neurosurgeons, the career yields a high-paying opportunity for these medical doctors. 

The average earnings of Neurosurgeons significantly vary from one country to another. However, some countries offer a high salary range for these medical professionals because of their extensive training and expertise, which are highly needed in the field. 

Neurosurgeons in the US earn an average salary of USD 514,150, and the average entry-level salary ranges from USD 308,603 to USD 400,000

A senior-level Neurosurgeon can make an average income of USD 809,691 a year. 

The average salary for these medical specialists in the United Kingdom is around GBP 97,362. 

A junior-level Neurosurgeon has a median wage of GBP 50,000

Those with significant years of experience in the field can earn an average salary of GBP 288,000

In Canada, the average salary of a Neurosurgeon is CAD 502,223, and the entry-level salary is around CAD 301,443 to CAD 400,000

While those with more than eight years of experience as a Neurosurgeon can make an average annual income of CAD 790,907

Neurosurgeons based in India have a median yearly income of INR 2,631,021

And the average entry-level salary is INR 710,000

For a senior-level specialist, the average annual wage is INR 10,000,000

In Australia, the average income of Neurosurgeons is AUD 619,175 annually. 

While those with less than five years of experience can make around AUD 372,244 to AUD 400,000 on average. 

A Senior Neurosurgeon in Australia can receive an average salary of AUD 976,669 yearly. 

Summary Table: Average Salary Rate of Neurosurgeons in Different Countries


Average Salary Rate

United States

USD 514,150

United Kingdom

GBP 97,362


CAD 502,223


INR 2,631,021


AUD 619,175

What are the Best Medical Schools for Neurosurgery?

Choosing the best medical school is essential if you are an aspiring Neurosurgeon. These medical schools will help you prepare, equip you with the necessary knowledge, and develop your medical skills. 

The program of these medical schools significantly differs from one school to another. Each has a unique and highly competitive curriculum. 

To help you choose the best medical school for Neurosurgery, we have listed below the top educational institution for this specialization.

Harvard University 

Harvard University is a highly regarded university and one of the world’s most excellent centers for teaching, learning, and research. And with an innovative strategy with its system focused on real-world practice. 

The Harvard Medical School is one of the highest-ranked medical schools in the country. It is also at the forefront of clinical care and biomedical research, and they provide rigorous medical training. And they also give a wide range of collaborative residency and fellowship programs.

Why Study Neurosurgery at Harvard?

The Harvard Medical School Department of Neurosurgery  is dedicated to producing top-notch and highly competitive Neurosurgeons. The program is also grounded on research and clinical training with their partnered hospitals and other training health centers. 

It is also a combination of an exceptionally supportive and stimulating educational environment. And it supports concentrations in nursing, hematology, radiology, and other branches of medicine that are significant in Neurosurgery. 

The residents are exposed to complex clinical patients, so they gain mastery of their clinical and operative skills. Also, they will work closely with experienced and superior Neurosurgeons during their residency and fellowship training within the school’s affiliated hospitals, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s, and Massachusetts General Hospital

The Neurosurgery Program also emphasizes brain tumor, vascular, functional, pediatric, peripheral nerve, skull-base, spine, and more. And it also focuses on the nonsurgical management of spinal, functional, and pediatric diseases. 

The residents will be exposed to functional neurosurgery, deep brain stimulation, epilepsy surgery, and other areas of Neurosurgery during their rotations. 

Educational Institution

Harvard University

Neurosurgery Program/Institution Ranking:

Acceptance rate:


Tuition Fee:

USD 66,284

Average MCAT Score Requirement:

519 to 520 Points

Average GPA Score Requirement:


Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered:

Internal-Offered By Harvard Medical School (HMS)

Dean’s REACH Scholarship Award Program

General Restricted Scholarships

Resident Tutor Policy

MD-PhD Funding

Private Scholarships Coordination with Harvard Medical School (HMS)

Joseph Collins Foundation Scholarship

National Medical Fellowships (NMF)

F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Programs (AFHP SP)

Veterans Affairs Health Professions Scholarship Programs (VAHP SP)

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program

Loans (Institutional)

Harvard Medical School Revolving Loan (HMSRL)

HMS Wolfson Loan

Johns Hopkins University

John Hopkins University is considered the best in the US, with its consistent top-ranking status in national and international university rankings. It is also a first-class private research university for pre-med, science, engineering, and other educational programs. 

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is highly dedicated to its commitment to clinical research with outstanding productivity by residents in different specializations. It is also nationally recognized for its competitive and advanced medical programs.

Why Study Neurosurgery at John Hopkins?

The Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School comprises the latest innovations that feature state-of-the-art technology and equipment for this specialization. 

It also offers a wide range of clinical trials for various neurological disorders and conditions that helps in the development of every treatment, medication, and procedure in Neurosurgery. 

The program is a well-rounded curriculum that delivers hands-on experience and excellent research opportunities. It focuses on neurocritical care, cerebrovascular neurosurgery, spinal neurosurgery, neurosurgical oncology, peripheral nerve neurosurgery, stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, and pediatrics. 

Also, the residents will be highly supervised by world-renowned faculty and Neurosurgeons during their rotations. 

The students will be exposed to different neurosciences areas, including neurosurgery service, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, general surgery, pediatric surgery, and more.

During their residency, they will also get the chance to handle neurology in and outpatient services, consultation, and critical care unit services. They will also require to participate in laboratory and clinical research.

Educational Institution

Johns Hopkins University

Neurosurgery Program/Institution Ranking:

Acceptance rate:


Tuition Fee:

USD 59,700

Average MCAT Score Requirement:

521 Points

Average GPA Score Requirement:


Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered:

Student Loans

Federal Direct Loans - Unsubsidized

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

School of Medicine University Loans

Financial Literacy Resources

Direct Loan Consolidation


Federal Student Aid Information

NSLDS for Students

Student Loans Office at Johns Hopkins

Budgeting - AAMC’s First for Medical Education Fact Sheets

AAMC Education Debt Manager for Matriculating Students

Budgeting Worksheet for Students

AmeriCorps Program

Central Scholarship Bureau

Heartland ECSI

Some Outside Scholarships

American Medical Association (AMA)

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Baltimore City Medical Society Foundation

Chinese American Physicians Society

Cook/Rutledge Fellowship Program

Dr. Frank and Florence Marino Scholarship Fund

Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program


Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships

Howard G. Lapsley Memorial Scholarship Fund for Medical Education

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Academic Scholarship Program

Joanna F. Reed Memorial Scholarship

Joseph Collins Foundation

Kaiser Permanente Medical Student Scholarships

Maryland Graduate and Professional Scholarship

National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program

P.E.O. Foundation Scholar Award

Worcester District Medical Society

Duke University

Duke University is a well-respected institution with integrity, accountability, and excellent education. The university also offers interdisciplinary programs with limitless growth opportunities.

Duke’s School of Medicine is the leading university for cancer care, stroke research, and other neurosurgical specializations. It is also recognized for its medical programs that offer the most advanced medical curriculum. The faculty is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists and experts.

Why Study Neurosurgery at Duke University?

The department offers a seven-year program in Neurosurgery. Duke Med’s medical program for this specialization is unique and centers on versatility, mentorship, and an intensive teaching environment. 

It has several divisions in Neurosurgery, including cerebrovascular and skull base division, brain and spine metastasis, functional division, global neurosurgery, neurology division, neuro innovations program, pediatrics division, spine division, and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

The department is also one of the leading clinical training in Neurosurgery with vast academic and surgical firsthand training opportunities. It focuses on developing its resident’s leadership, reliability, and professionalism. 

The program is actively involved in clinical research and trials in various areas such as the spine, vascular system, brain aneurysms, brain tumors, neurological disorders, epilepsy, pediatric neurological conditions, brain injuries, and more. 

The residents will also experience using the most advanced imaging technology of Duke Med’s Neurosurgery laboratories for more in-depth surgical training.

Educational Institution

Duke University

Neurosurgery Program/Institution Ranking:

Acceptance rate:


Tuition Fee:

USD 46,843

Average MCAT Score Requirement:

519 Points

Average GPA Score Requirement:


Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered:

Internal Scholarships

Barr-Spach Medicine and Engineering Scholarship

Basic Science Research Track Scholarship for MHS Degree

Donald B. Hackel Fellowship in Cardiovascular Pathology

Dr. Bernard J. Carroll Research Scholarship in Psychiatry

Duke CTSA Pre-Doctoral Scholarship

Duke Global Health Institute

Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) Clinical Research and Innovation Scholarship

Duke Physician Scientist  Institutional Award (BWF) Research Fellowship for Medical Students

Duke-Singapore Student Scholar Fellowship

Eugene A. Stead Student Research Scholarships

Eva J. Salber Award

Gynecologic Cancer Research Fellowship

Margolis Scholars in Medicine

Michael R. Nathan Memorial Fund Award

Pointdexter Award

R. Randall Bollinger Surgical Scholarship

Snyderman/Moore Scholars in Health Care

Some External Scholarships

American Society of Hematology - Physician-Scientist Career Development Award

The Fogarty Global Health Fellowship

Gertrude B. Elion Award

Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS)

National Institute of Health (NIH) Medical Scholars Program

Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation

University of California - San Francisco

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is committed to delivering cutting-edge educational practices in academic and research programs. The programs are comprehensive, with rigorous training opportunities. 

The UCSF Medical School offers aspiring medical specialists the most advanced techniques in teaching, residency, and fellowship programs. It also gives importance to systematic clinical rotations to establish a good training ground for its residents. rotations to establish a good training ground for its residents.

Why Study Neurosurgery at the University of California?

The Department of Neurological Surgery at USCF Weill Institute for Neurosciences has one of the best residency and training programs for Neurosurgery.

It is also affiliated with top hospitals in the country, including Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), the first hospital to receive a certification for acute care of traumatic brain injury management. 

It offers fellowship training in a variety of Neurosurgery subspecializations, including cerebrovascular disorders,neuro-oncology, neurotrauma, functional neurosurgery, pediatric neurosurgery, spine, and translational brain tumor research. 

Residents are exposed to many surgical cases that concern aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cavernous malformations, bypasses carotid endarterectomy, and other neurological cases. 

They will also receive training in the surgical and medical management of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and advanced techniques used in microsurgery, utero surgery, endoscopic surgery, and more. 

The rotations include outpatient clinics wherein the residents can conduct preoperative evaluations and postoperative patient management. They are also required to attend case conferences, teaching sessions, research studies, and more that concern neurosurgery cases.

Educational Institution

University of California - San Francisco

Neurosurgery Program/Institution Ranking:

Acceptance rate:

2.6 %

Tuition Fee:

USD 55,036

Average MCAT Score Requirement:

518 Points

Average GPA Score Requirement:


Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered:

University Grants & Scholarships

Need-Based Grants

UCSF Scholarships

Regents Scholarships

Professional School Scholarships and Other Campus Scholarships

Outside Scholarships

Service Scholarships

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP)

Indian Health Service Scholarship Program

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program 

Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Programs



Air Force HPSP

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Common Outside Scholarships

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing

The Delta Dental Award

The Kaiser Permanente Scholarship

The Kaiser Permanente Deloras Jones RN Scholarships

The Santa Barbara Scholarship Program


Federal Student Loans

Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Campus-Based Loans

University Loan

Health Professions Student Loan

Loan for Disadvantaged Students

Nursing Student Loan

California DREAM Loan

Primary Care Loan

Private Education Loan

CA Medical Association Foundation (CMAF) Loan for Medical Students

Emergency Loan

Columbia University

Columbia University has a solid educational system and a highly diverse environment. It gives importance to research-based programs and a wide range of exposure to different studies intended to widen the student’s academic horizon. 

The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is one of the nation’s premier medical schools that is recognized for its standardized medical degrees. And it provides excellent training and in-depth exposure to patient care, medical research, and professional development programs.

Why Study Neurosurgery at Columbia University?

The Department of Neurological Surgery offers unparalleled residency and fellowship training programs for aspiring Neurosurgeons. It covers various medical conditions, including brain and spinal cord tumors, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis, vascular disorders, spina bifida, and more. 

The program focuses on innovative drug delivery and other therapeutic strategies. Residents will be involved in outpatient clinic consultations and pre-operative and post-operative evaluations. 

Also, the program is integrated with other branches of medicine, including neuro-anesthesia, emergency medicine, and different significant specializations related to Neurosurgery. 

The residents are allowed to participate in all aspects of diagnostic and interventional care for neuroscience patients. They will also be exposed to patients with brain and spine tumors, cerebrovascular disease, pediatric neurological disorders, epilepsy, and more. 

And they will be guided and work hand-in-hand with highly skilled Neurosurgeons during their clinical rotations. The program highlights its research training for optimum academic development.

Educational Institution

Columbia University

Neurosurgery Program/Institution Ranking:

Acceptance rate:


Tuition Fee:

USD 111,516 (For Residents)

USD 152,697 (For Non-Residents)

Average MCAT Score Requirement:

512 to 528 Points

Average GPA Score Requirement:


Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered:

Summary Table: Best Medical Schools for Neurosurgery

Additional Reading – Best Medical Schools:

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