Cardiac Surgery Residency Program 

Contact: Dr. Robert James Cusimano
Residency Program Coordinator: Thanu Sabesan

200 Elizabeth Street
Toronto General Hospital, 
University Health Network
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C4 Canada

Tel: 416 340-4928
Fax: 416 340-3803

Application Form 
Selection Criteria 

Residency in cardiac surgery for Canadian / U.S. citizens may be entered via two routes: a 3-year program after completion of general surgery or a 6-year program beginning after medical school. Both streams qualify successful candidates to sit the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada fellowship examinations. For interested candidates who have completed the general surgery program, please click here for the application form for subspecialty training. For interested candidates interested in the 6-year program, you must follow the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) application process. 

Foreign applicants are invited to apply to the six year training program, by post only, and with written documentation of sponsorship from their University or government. Unfortunately, foreign applicants who do not have secured funding from their University or government cannot be considered for an interview at this time. 


The residency program is designed to fulfill the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for cardiac surgery. The program extends over a six year period as follows: 

PGY 1&2: The first two years are exposure to the basics of surgery and involve exposure to various disciplines. The two years are designed to prepare the resident for Part II of the MCCQE exams which occur 17 months after commencing the program. 

Following completion of the two years of core surgery, the candidate is prepared to successfully complete the Principles of Surgery exam early in year three of the program. 

The rotations in core surgery are designed to prepare the cardiac resident for training in subsequent years. Basic grounding in general surgery is offered and rotations through intensive care, emergency, related medical specialties, and other surgical subspecialties are offered. 

The resident will be interviewed by both the Director of Core Surgical Education and the Chair of the Division of Cardiac Surgery to construct a course for the individual resident to review progress during the course, and to obtain feedback from the resident. 

PGY 3 to 6: The period following core surgery is customized to strengthen the individual resident's aptitudes and interests. In keeping with the Royal College requirements the following rotations are required: 6 months of residency in related surgical specialty (general surgery or vascular surgery), 6 months as assistant resident in cardiac surgery, 6 months as a senior resident in thoracic surgery, general surgery or vascular surgery, 6 months as senior resident in paediatric cardiac surgery, 1 year as senior resident in adult cardiac surgery. 

In addition, one year is set aside for "academic enrichment". This year allows the candidate to develop a special interest and expertise in an area of interest. A specific area of interest in cardiac surgery or related specialties including echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, and the catheterization laboratory may be arranged. An extensive program in cardiac pacing, electrophysiology, and surgery for arrhythmias is available. Rotations will be arranged at any of the four cardiac units during the four year program. 



Research training is available for residents interested in an academic career. We strongly encourage residents to pursue an M.Sc. or enter the Surgeon Scientist Program, leading towards a Ph.D. 



During the two core years, residents are expected to be involved in the series of core lectures leading to successful completion of both the MCCQE Part II and POS exams. There is a mandatory weekly cardiac seminar series for all of the university trainees and a quarterly city-wide seminar series for all cardiac trainees and faculty. There are also Visiting Professorships during the academic year which include a lecture at the hospital rounds and an educational afternoon with the cardiac trainees. Education rounds, seminars, research rounds and combined rounds with cardiology at each of the four cardiac units are available. Active participation by the resident is required. 

Residents in their senior years are expected to attend both national and international meetings including preparation and presentation of presentations and publications.


Selection Criteria 

1. A superior academic record demonstrating special proficiency in subjects related to our specialty. 

2. Candidates should have a proven interest in our specialty, demonstrated by electives or other rotations in cardiothoracic surgery or related fields. 

3. Three references are required. Where possible, you are encouraged to obtain references from academic specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, attesting to your interest and proficiency in the specialty, as well as comments on exemplary interpersonal skills. 

4. Candidates with an interest and/or proven experience in research, either at the level of basic science or clinical research, are encouraged to apply. 


There are four cardiac units within the University of Toronto. In addition, there are extensive research facilities at all four of these hospitals: 

Hospital for Sick Children 
Toronto General Hospital 
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 
St. Michael's Hospital 

This also includes the Medical Sciences Building located on campus at the University of Toronto.