Neurology is a tough yet rewarding medical specialty, engrossed in complex anatomy and mysterious workings of the brain.
But it’s also not too competitive – the average Step 1 score is 232, and Step2CK 245 with a match rate of 97%.
With an average US base salary of $268,000, wherever neurology takes you (across a wide range of subspecialties) it’s highly likely you’ll be financially comfortable pursuing it as a career.
The best neurology residency programs offer those interested in the field the greatest training possible and boast some of the finest neurologists on earth as alumni.
This article takes a look at the top programs in the country (as ranked by the US News Best Grad Schools Report 2022), taking a deep dive into what’s offered by each and what you can expect if you’re lucky enough to match.
We’ve also included key info on facts/stats for each program (where publicized) too.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
Before you dive into our article on the best neurology residency programs, make sure you take a look at our Best Residency Programs page to get all the critical info on other specialties.
1. University of California – San Francisco
|Length of Accredited Training:||5|
|Positions By Year:||15 (total)|
|PGY1 Annual Salary:||$64,362|
The UCSF Neurology Residency Program currently has 11-12 training positions in Adult Neurology and 3 in Child Neurology each year. Residents train at the main academic hospitals for adult and pediatric care, at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and at the San Francisco VA Hospital.
The program primarily trains future academic neurology physicians. A study among alumni found that 20 years after their residency at UCSF, 75% of neurologists remained in full-time academic positions as investigators, clinical neurology subspecialists, or clinician-educators.
While rotating at each site, residents attend weekly adult and child neurology outpatient conferences. And every six weeks, residents have a clinic week block dedicated to continuity clinics, outpatient block didactics, selective clinics, and subspecialty clinics.
Residents of the Adult Neurology program can choose during the PGY-4 year between up to 6 months of electives or enter the Flexible Residency program. They learn to perform clinical or laboratory research and develop skills focused on public health or become clinician-educators.
Trainees in the Child Neurology program spend the first two years in Pediatrics, then a year in Adult Neurology, and finally two years fully within the Child Neurology department. Residents who participate in the Flexible Residency program spend more time in their PGY-5 year doing research or other academic work.
Check out the video below for more on UCSF’s Neuroscience offering…
- Name: University of California San Francisco
- Address: 505 Parnassus Avenue, Room M798, San Francisco, CA 94143
- Program Director: Dr. John Engstrom
- Contact: John.Engstrom@ucsf.edu
- Website: neuroresidency.ucsf.edu
2. Columbia University
|Length of Accredited Training:||4|
|Positions By Year:||10|
|PGY1 Annual Salary:||$73,489|
The Neurology Residency Program at Columbia has trained exceptional neurologists, clinical investigators, educators, and neuroscientists since 1948.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital is one of the nation’s largest hospitals and consistently ranks among America’s “Best Hospitals” in U.S. News & World Report. The Neurology Clinic receives a patient population mostly from Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx.
First-year residents spend eight weeks on the neurology service, with the consult team, in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, and in neuroradiology. They spend the rest of the year with the Columbia Internal Medicine Residency Program.
The experience gained during the PGY-2 year focuses on acquiring medical knowledge and clinical skills, including electroencephalography interpretation. Residents also begin to explore subspecialties and research interests.
PGY-3 residents have increased responsibility for the care of patients and independence in the assessment of neurological emergencies. They explore the subspecialties of neurology, mentor PGY-2 residents and medical students, and develop leadership initiatives.
Residents then consolidate their knowledge in the PGY-4 year in preparation for the board certification examination and the independent practice of neurology. While participating in research and education initiatives, they develop a career plan for fellowship training or clinical practice.
For more on Columbia’s neurology program, check out the following…
- Name: CUIMC/Neurological Institute of New York
- Address: 710 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032
- Program Director: Dr. Michelle Bell
- Contact: email@example.com
- Website: neurology.columbia.edu/adult-neurology-residency-program
3. Cornell University (Weill)
|Length of Accredited Training:||4|
|Positions By Year:||7-8|
|PGY1 Annual Salary:||$73,489|
The neurology residency program at Weill Cornell Medicine is a four-year categorical program offering an abundant and diverse patient population.
Thanks to an exclusive training partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the residents have access to complex neurological cases, dedicated mentorship, and abundant research opportunities.
The preliminary Medical Internship Year (PGY-1) is integrated with the neurology program and offers top-notch training in internal medicine. PGY-2 trainees are responsible for the overall functioning of the inpatient services in the neurology wards at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH). And from the PGY-2 year onwards, residents follow a group of outpatients in a weekly attending-supervised neurology clinic.
The PGY-3 year focuses on outpatient neurology. The consult services at NYPH and MSKCC expose the residents to a broad range of neurologic diagnoses, including neurologic emergencies. The fourth-year neurology residents function as ward chiefs and assume broad responsibility for patient care in each hospital’s clinical service. In addition, the PGY-4 year provides in-depth training in pediatric neurology.
Residents explore the subspecialties of neurology with electives in EEG, EMG, and subspecialty clinics. NewYork-Presbyterian’s subspecialty centers offer rotations in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, the Neuromuscular Clinic, and the Stroke Clinic, among others.
Take a look at the video below to learn more about Weill’s program…
- Name: Weill Cornell Medicine Neurology
- Address: 525 E. 68th St., PO Box 117, New York, NY 10065
- Program Director: Janice Void
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: neurology.weill.cornell.edu/residency
4. Johns Hopkins University
|Length of Accredited Training:||3|
|Positions By Year:||N/A|
|PGY1 Annual Salary:||$65,000 (estimated figure)|
The Neurology Residency at Johns Hopkins is a three-year program preparing neurologists for a career in academic medicine. Residents are exposed to several distinct inpatient services, consultative services, and outpatient settings at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
The first year (PGY-2) gives residents a comprehensive exposure to clinical neurology, including inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and management. Residents then assume a leadership role in both the Neurology Consultation Service and the Adult Inpatient Neurology Services during the PGY-3 year. They also spend one month in the Outpatient Pediatric Neurology Clinics.
Third-year residents (PGY-4) take a leadership role in Bayview’s inpatient service, which is devoted to neurologic intensive care. Senior residents also complete subspecialty requirements and elective clinical or research rotations.
Participation in clinical or basic neuroscience research is an integral part of the program. As such, residents can use their elective time to pursue clinical and laboratory research. Senior residents are expected to present their research at a special Grand Rounds.
See the video below for more on John Hopkins Neurology Residency Program…
- Name: Johns Hopkins University
- Address: Adult and Pediatric Neurology Residency Programs, (t) 667-306-6328
- Program Director: Dr. Rafael Llinas
- Contact: email@example.com
- Website: hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_residency
5. New York University (Grossman)
|Length of Accredited Training:||3|
|Positions By Year:||11 (total)|
|PGY1 Annual Salary:||$70,000|
NYU Langone’s adult neurology residency program comprises two different tracks. The Manhattan track provides residents with a well-rounded education, and the Brooklyn track focuses on acute neurology and community health in the ambulatory care setting.
After completing a preliminary medicine internship, 11 new residents are accepted each year into the 3-year accredited neurology residency program in Manhattan. Residents then rotate through NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, and outpatient clinics in Manhattan.
Each first-year resident receives immediate feedback on performing a full neurological examination during the initial months of residency. The Basics of Neurology Boot Camp, occurring during the summer months, addresses common issues in inpatient neurological consultation. Residents also participate in simulation sessions and workshops.
The education track provides additional time for residents interested in teaching. Students participate, with faculty guidance, in refining the medical student and residency didactic curriculums.
- Name: NYU Langone
- Program Director: Arielle M. Kurzweil
- Contact: 212-263-7744
- Website: med.nyu.edu/neurology/residency-training
How Do Neurology Residency Programs Work?
Training in neurology involves completing four years of graduate medical education first before moving on to dedicated residency programs.
Neurology programs are medium in training length, averaging 3-5 years.
After residency common subspecialties (fellowships) pursued include brain injury medicine, child neurology, vascular neurology and pain medicine.
How Many Neurology Residency Programs Are There?
There are over 169 neurology residency training programs according to the AMA.
The examples above are considered the finest offered among those programs in the US and are ranked on criteria via peer assessment, residency director assessment, student selectivity, the mean MCAT score for the institution, the mean GPA of its matriculants, faculty resources, research activity and more.
The exact methodology is detailed in the U.S. News Best Medical Schools Rankings pages
How to Get Accepted Into a Top Neurology Residency Program
Gaining admission into the top residency programs involves submitting a competitive application via ERAS, The Electronic Residency Application Service.
This is a centralized online application service that you’ll need to use in order to “match” into the programs above.
Most programs begin reading applications over the first couple of weeks of autumn/fall and invite applicants to interview in the weeks following.
Generally, psychiatry residency program applications include the following:
- A completed ERAS application
- Personal statement/s
- Supplemental statement/s (where requested)
- Letters of recommendation
- A full, official medical school transcript
- Your USMLE Step 1/COMLEX transcripts
- Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
Selection criteria are specific for each program but commonly applicants are scored on a combination of grades, clinical and research experiences, special interests, and anything else surgical departments/programs find relevant.
To be competitive, and stand a chance at matching into the best programs, you’re going to need great Step 1 and Step 2 scores, research experience, impressive extracurriculars, and a solid letter of recommendation.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.