Urology focuses on the medical and surgical treatment of the male genitourinary system, female urinary tract and the adrenal gland. Urologists treat patients with kidney, ureter, bladder, prostate, urethra and male genital structure disorders and injuries. They use endoscopic, percutaneous and open surgery to treat congenital and acquired disorders of the reproductive and urinary systems and related structures. Excellent surgical skills, manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination are important in this specialty. (Source: AAMC Careers in Medicine)
The following information comes from AAMC Careers in Medicine, Characteristics of Entering Residents for U.S. M.D. Applicants, 2013-2014 AAMC:
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?
Urology interest group, take time to shadow a urologist to make sure this is a specialty you’re interested in. Get involved with research projects.
Q: Are research experiences important in your specialty?
Research is strongly encouraged and having publications can really strengthen your application.
Q: If so, do these need to be specialty specific research experiences?
Clinical projects with urologists are looked at favorably, however any research is better than no research.
Q: Does class rank matter?
Yes, doing well in the first two years in addition to a good Step 1 score is expected. Also strong grades in surgery and medicine clerkships and a high grade in your urology sub-internship are extremely helpful. AOA designation helps you match at top programs. 33.3 percent of applicants who match in urology are AOA members.
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?
A minimum of three.
Q: Is a letter from a chair required?
Yes, if your school has a urology department. If doing an away, you should get a letter from the chairperson of that department as well.
Q: Do all letters need to be written by members of this specialty?
Yes, it is recommended that your letters come from urologists, but letters from surgical specialties are also okay.
Q: Do any letters need to be written by external institutions?
You should get a letter from your away rotation and try for the chairperson of that department.
Q: Does your Step 2 CK score matter?
This is program dependent, and also depends on how you do on Step 1. A good Step 2 score can help outweigh a marginal Step 1 score, but doing poorly on Step 2 can severely damage your application even if you did well on Step 1.
Q: What electives would you recommend for someone who is interested in pursuing this specialty?
General surgery, Anesthesia, SICU, Nephrology, Radiology, Infectious Disease, Surgical sub specialties
Q: Should a student interested in this specialty do away rotations?
Yes, since urology residencies are smaller, most program directors are more prone to rank someone highly whom they’ve worked with and liked.
Q: If so, how many “aways” do you recommend and when should they be completed?
One to three away rotations should be completed by August of the application year in order to leave enough time to ask for letters of recommendation.
Q: Which month is recommended to take off to interview?
November and December. Most programs only offer two dates for interviews so you have limited options when picking interview dates.
Similar Specialties to Consider
Looking into the Future/Changes in Health Care
Miniaturization, optical technology and robotics constitute the future of surgery. The use of state of the art imaging that avoids radiation exposure has the potential to revolutionize diagnostics. There is even a real possibility of tiny nano-bots and nano-biotics coursing through the bloodstream to their targets. (Source: Venkatramani, 2015)
See the Career Essentials Pilot Page regarding specialty specific advice for more detailed information and resources.
Urology Residency Guide, from UrologyMatch.com
Venkatramani, Vivek. Urovision 2020: The future of urology. Indian J Urol. 2015 Apr-Jun; 31(2): 150–155.