Best Surgical Internships for Undergraduates

Summer break isn’t just a time to relax or rest on your laurels. It’s an opportunity to gain valuable experience in your desired profession. This allows you to stand out among the many other pre-med students, especially when it’s time to get into medical school and beyond. 

Whether it’s making connections or getting hands-on experience, summer internships are worth considering.

This guide will cover the best surgical internships available for undergraduates across the US.

Best Surgical Internships for Undergraduates

FSIE Undergraduate Surgical Internship 

Portland-based FSIE is hosting a six-week intensive program to help students gain experience in general surgery. The internship focuses on curriculum-building activities to build your resume.

In particular, you’ll have the opportunity to shadow doctors and nurses in the clinic and operating room. Interns receive the fundamentals of surgical procedures and skills in the research laboratory. 

During the program, you’ll shadow physicians within your specialty. Surgeons allow you to follow a single patient throughout their surgical process. This includes the initial consultation, testing, surgery, and post-operations. 

According to FSIE, many of their students have presented their research findings at national meetings. You’ll lead authorship for scientific manuscripts published in various peer-reviewed journals. 

The deadline for applications is December 1st.


Heersink School of Medicine – Surgery Undergraduate Research Experience 

The Heersink School of Medicine offers an internship to encourage undergraduates to pursue a career in surgery. 

This 8-week program involves clinical shadowing, so you’ll be able to see the life of a surgeon and other medical practitioners. You’ll also gain invaluable experience from seminars and workshops. 

The program accepts ten students and generally runs from June to August in the summer. 

Applicants must have at least a 3.2 GPA, be a U.S. citizen, be a sophomore or junior, and have a strong interest in medicine. 

If you’re interested in exploring a career in surgery, this program can help you decide whether medicine is the career path you want to be in. 


Houston Methodist Leading Medicine – The Rosenberg Summer Surgical Fellowship 

The Houston Methodist Hospital offers the Rosenberg Summer Surgical Fellowship for undergrad students. This is a 10-week mentorship program sponsored by Wade Rosenberg, MD. It’ll cover General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Urology, and Cardiovascular Surgery. 

The mentorship program allows you to shadow surgeons and attend grand rounds. Also, you’ll attend didactic lectures and seminars geared towards career development. At the end of the surgical internship, students will present the work they’ve done throughout the summer. 

If you’re curious about a specific surgical field, this is an excellent opportunity to get behind the scenes of what the surgeon does daily. 


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences – Surgical Internship

Unlike the other programs, this is a semester-long internship for four pre-med students. Interns receive valuable exposure to what it’s like in the operating room. 

You would observe and work directly with surgeons to learn about the medical pathologies and procedures. 

This internship covers a wide array of medical specialties: 

  • Cardiothoracic surgery 
  • General surgery
  • Foot and ankle surgery
  • Pediatric orthopedic surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Vascular surgery
  • Pediatric general surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery. 

Students are required to shadow surgeons for at least 4 hours a week. Over the semester, that amounts to 150 to 200 hours per week. Interns must write three peer-reviewed case studies, one of which will be presented at the end of the program. 

There are also interactive roundtable discussions and surgical workshops for students to attend. 


Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Summer Research Intern Program 

Based in Chicago, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital is hosting their summer intern program for undergrad students. This 8-week-long program runs from June to August and requires 15 to 20 hours per week. 

If you’re someone interested in clinical research for orthopedics and sports medicine, this program is for you. Interns will be exposed to real-world situations like shadowing clinicians and observing surgeries. 

The program comes with weekly research meetings, training, and exposure to research projects. Some research topics include fracture management, pediatric bone health, scoliosis, concussion, and more. 


International Medical Aid Pre-Med Internships

Unlike the other internships, International Medical Aid offers surgical internships abroad. The internship allows students to visit areas like East Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. These areas urgently need health care assistance, where they can volunteer to help patients. 

By choosing surgery as an area of interest, you’ll shadow a surgeon and observe them while standing just a few feet away. This is the time for you to ask a lot of questions and cultivate relationships that can serve you in the future. For example, you can meet professionals that can write you a letter of recommendation. 

The typical day consists of spending six to eight hours in the hospital, and free time can be spent on local excursions. You have the option to work in the hospital on weekends or enjoy treks around your area. 

When accepted, the program will cover: 

  • 24/7 U.S. and local country support 
  • Medical school admissions support 
  • Orientation and training 
  • Gated housing and 24/7 security 
  • Travel, Health, and accident insurance 
  • Placement related transportation 
  • Chef-prepared meals 
  • Hospital fees 
  • Communication
  • Program debriefing 


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