CESR Application Guidance: Neurosurgery

If you fail to include any of the following you will be unlikely to make a successful CESR application in Neurosurgery.

When applying please also see the SSG, JCST ‘guidance for applicants’ and the Neurosurgery curriculum.


  • The intercollegiate FRCS[1].

Skills and experience

  • At least six years of neurosurgery, together with exposure to neurology, intensive care, A&E medicine and an allied surgical specialty
  • A broad exposure to emergency and scheduled components of sub-specialties
  • A minimum of 1,200 cases in your logbook, across the full range of neurosurgery, with a satisfactory spread of cases between assisting and acting as primary surgeon
  • Evidence of competence in indicative procedures to the required levels. It is very important that your PBAs are as meaningful as possible and therefore they should show evidence of feedback and guidance. They should include comments from your assessors and, where appropriate, demonstrate reflection by you.
  • Block entries of ‘satisfactory’ are not acceptable
  • Microsurgical operating should include critical areas, with at least 30 cases performed as primary surgeon across the range

Papers and Presentations

  • Evidence of at least one peer-reviewed paper covering a laboratory experiment, a case series or systematic audit in addition to two verbal presentations (on different topics) given to national or international conferences


  • Leadership/Management in the NHS
  • Training the Trainers
  • Up-to-date ATLS or PALS


  • Completion of at least one full audit cycle as the principal auditor

Structured references

  • A minimum of six references, one of which is from your current clinical director

Guidance links

[1] As this is the equivalence route then it is possible that you can demonstrate this in other ways. The specialty specific guidance on the GMC’s and the JCST’s website give details. It is however, highly unlikely, that any combination of evidence other than the intercollegiate examination will show exact equivalence.