Career Advising

Specialty Choice: Neurology


A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy. (Source: American Academy of Neurology)

Associated Societies

Quick Facts

The following information comes from the National Resident Matching Program's Charting Outcomes in the Match 2014 (PDF)  based on matched applicants in the United States.    

Advice for MS1 and MS2 Students

Q: What particular activities should first and second year students get involved with who are interested in pursuing this specialty?

Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN) and shadowing in the specialty.

Q: Are research experiences important in your specialty?

Yes, but not required.

Q: If so, do these need to be specialty specific research experiences?

Preferred, but not required.

Q: Does class rank matter?

Not particularly, but doing well in the first two years of medical school is always looked on favorably during residency interviews and prepares you to do well on your Step 1 exam. 12.8 percent of U.S. matched applicants are members of AOA.

Advice for MS3 and MS4 Students

Q: When should I ask for letters of recommendation (LORs)?

Ideally you should ask for letters in May but absolutely no later than July, allowing your letter writers adequate time to upload your letter prior to the ERAS application submission date of Sept. 15. Your personal statement and CV should be ready as well as many letter writers will request this in order to write you a strong letter.

Q: How many LORs do you need?


Q: Is a letter from a chair required?


Q: Do all letters need to be written by members of this specialty?

No, but generally at least two are from neurologists.

Q: Does your Step 2 CK score matter?

A high score makes you more competitive.

Q: What electives would you recommend for someone who is interested in pursuing this specialty?

Do your neurology elective early during fourth year. Cardiology, pulmonary, infectious disease, ophthalmology are good options.

Q: Should a student interested in this specialty do away rotations?

This is an individual decision based on goals.

Q: Which month is recommended to take off to interview?


Similar Specialties to Consider

Residency Programs

Available Fellowships

  • Autonomic Disorders
  • Behavioral Neurology/Neuropsychiatry
  • Child Neurology
  • Clinical Neurosphysiology
  • Complementary Medicine
  • Epilepsy
  • Geriatric Neurology
  • Headache Medicine
  • Interventional Neuroradiology
  • Movement Disorders
  • Neural repair and Rehabilitation
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neurointensive care
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Neuro-Opthalmology
  • Neuro-Otology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Pain Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Vascular Neurology (stroke)

Looking into the Future/Changes in Health Care

The field of neurology has grown at an astonishing rate since the founding of the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke in 1950. Neurology may shift its focus from being a consultation specialty to one of long-term primary care by a subspecialist.

Additional Information

See the Career Essentials Pilot Page regarding specialty specific advice for more detailed information and resources.

References (2005). SDN Physician Features: Neurology FAQ.

Last edited on 10/04/2016.