Share on:


The program includes one year of general surgical training (PGY-1) and four years of specialty training in otolaryngology (PGY-2 through PGY-5).

Clinical Training

Your first year of training will focus on the fundamental principles of surgery, with an emphasis on the head and neck. You will gain experience in the preoperative and postoperative management of general surgery patients. Your schedule will include rotations in:

  • Critical care medicine
  • Emergency medicine
  • General surgery
  • Otolaryngology/Head and neck surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgical oncology

During the second year, you will assist chief residents and staff members in the operating room. You will be assigned as the first assistant to a staff member so you can learn the systems and procedures used to evaluate patients in a clinical setting.

You will receive comprehensive training in otorhinolaryngologic diagnostic procedures, perform most minor surgical procedures, and assist with major operations. You will be given the opportunity to develop and refine your clinical skills in medical history evaluation and head and neck examinations.

The PGY-2 residents receive supervised instruction in the performance and interpretation of audiograms, electronystagmography, and cochlear implantation. Residents also spend time in the Simulation Center reviewing procedural skills on endoscopic sinus surgery as well as microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy and in the anatomy laboratory reviewing surgical skills on head and neck procedures such as neck dissection, parotidectomy and regional anatomy important to head and neck surgery and also surgical skills pertaining to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

PGY-3 and PGY-4
During these two years, you will be designated as a senior resident or first assistant. You will take six rotations of three months each and will be assigned to one or two staff members during each rotation.

As you progress through the rotations, you will be increasingly responsible for the preoperative evaluation, preparation and postoperative follow-up of patients. Once you have demonstrated reasonable familiarity with various surgical techniques, you will be allowed to perform more complex portions of operations. By the end of each three-month rotation, you may be performing most operations with the staff member acting as an assistant or supervisor.

By the time you finish your rotations, you will have broad experience in the areas of:

  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • General otolaryngology
  • Head and neck surgery
  • Otology
  • Maxillofacial trauma
  • Pediatric otolaryngology

Finally, during PGY-3 and PGY-4, you will be encouraged to spend six months participating in a research project of some significance. Optionally, you can use this time to pursue an advanced degree.

During your final year, you may be designated as a chief resident associate with assigned patients. You will have full responsibility for the evaluation, diagnosis and therapeutic management of your patients. However, members of the staff will continue to be readily available for consultations.

Specific Opportunities

You are encouraged to participate in an annual departmental humanitarian mission to a developing country to perform cleft/craniofacial reconstructive surgery.

Didactic Training

Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs and one-on-one instruction are an integral part of Mayo Clinic's Otolaryngology Residency Program.

You will have weekly didactic educational sessions from September through June each year. This core curriculum covers a variety of adult and pediatric topics from five major areas:

  • General otolaryngology
  • Laryngology/Head and neck
  • Otology/Audiology
  • Pediatric otolaryngology
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Rhinology

These didactic presentations are made primarily by staff consultants and colleagues in pathology, medicine, plastic surgery, neurosurgery and pertinent basic science fields.

You will participate in a weekly clinical conference dealing with diagnostic problems, morbidity and mortality cases, and pathology. As a PGY-1 resident, you are welcome to attend this conference as your schedule permits. Attendance is required during PGY-2 through PGY-5.

You also will have the opportunity to take introductory and laboratory courses in:

  • Cardiac life support
  • Head and neck anatomy
  • Maxillofacial trauma
  • Microsurgery of the ear and temporal bone dissection
  • Principles of soft tissue surgery
  • Rhinologic surgery
  • Head and neck reconstructive surgery

You will be encouraged to complete the microvascular surgery course and participate in microvascular reconstructive cases.


Weekly Conferences:

  • Chief resident conference
  • Weekly resident presentation conference
  • Head and neck tumor board
  • Core curriculum (assigned readings and staff lectures)

Monthly Conferences:

  • Trauma management
  • Head and neck pathology
  • Mortality and morbidity
  • Journal club


  • Rhinofest-comprehensive functional and cosmetic nasal and paranasal sinus surgery (bi-annual)
  • Thyroplasty and voice disorders (bi-annual)
  • Head and neck anatomy (bi-annual)

Research Training

As an otolaryngology resident, will be required to engage in six months of basic science research between the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years.

Clinician Investigator Track

Mayo Clinic's Clinician-Investigator Training Program in otolaryngology enables you to complete all of the requirements for certification and obtain one and one-half years of fully funded research experience within six years.

To apply for the Clinician-Investigator Training Program, express your interest when you apply for the Otolaryngology Residency Program.

If you are successful in the otolaryngology matching program, you will receive more information about Mayo's research opportunities during additional interviews.

The following is a typical Clinician-Investigator Program rotation schedule:

Year Rotation
PGY-1 General surgical training
PGY-2 ORL/HNS* surgical second assistant
PGY-3/PGY-4** 18 months as ORL/HNS first assistant and 6 months laboratory research
PGY-5 Chief resident associate in ORL/HNS
PGY-6 12 months additional laboratory research

* Otolaryngology/head and neck surgery
** Components in PGY-3 & 4 can be arranged to meet your clinical, surgical and research needs.

Also see:

Call Frequency

Primary call for junior residents will occur on an average of every fifth night, averaged over a four-week period. This is at-home call, but call rooms are available at both hospitals on an assigned and reserved basis for otorhinolaryngology residents. At-home call for residents in the PGY-3 and PGY-4 will occur in such a manner to allow one in seven days, averaged over four weeks, free from all educational and patient care responsibilities.

Call responsibilities for residents in the PGY-5 year (Chief Resident Associate) will occur no more frequently than one out of four weeks, averaged over a four-week period.

Moonlighting Policy

Moonlighting is permitted for residents in years PGY-2 through PGY-5 with approval from the program director. Moonlighting must be scheduled so as not to overly fatigue residents or interfere with their educational responsibilities.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop your technical skills, your performance will be monitored carefully during the Otolaryngology Residency. You will be evaluated formally by your supervising faculty member after each clinical rotation and your competency in the six essential core competencies will be assessed.

In addition, you will regularly evaluate the faculty to ensure that your educational needs are being met. We incorporate 360 degree reviews to receive evaluations from staff and medical personnel in the clinic and operating rooms. Residents are required to take the American Board of Otolaryngology Training Examination during the PGY 2 through PGY-5 year of residency, and scores are monitored to identify deficiencies and proficiencies.

Teaching Opportunities

You are encouraged to participate in the ENT core lectures and small groups with first- and second-year students in Mayo Medical School.

Committee Assignments

A PGY-4 resident is recruited to sit on the departmental education committee. Additionally, residents may be nominated for positions on the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery committees if they have specific interest.

Scholarly Activities

You will be encouraged to present your clinical and basic science work at national meetings and to publish their work in prominent otolaryngology journals. You will receive reimbursement for expenses incurred for presentations and/or attendance at meetings.

  • ART151633