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Mayo Clinic Oral and Maxillofacial residents discussing a case

The overall length of training for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) Residency is 72 months (six years), based in Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. This includes two years of general surgery credit and two years of medical school and intermittent returns to the OMS service during those years.

The model of training is that of apprenticeship or preceptorship. You will spend time rotating with each of staff surgeons, one-on-one in clinic and in the operating room, initially as assistant and advancing in responsibility as you increase your knowledge and skills. 

To learn more, see the generic program roadmap.

Curriculum by year

Year one

The majority of this year (35 weeks) is spent focusing on oral and maxillofacial surgery, with a brief rotation with Orthodontics and intermittent medical school (basic doctoring). You will begin your medical school in earnest during the second half of the year. Minnesota dental licensure must be obtained during this year. You will be mentored by senior residents and the staff surgeons (known at Mayo Clinic as "consultants") as you learn to work in the hospital and in a complex health care environment.

Year two

The first half of the year is spent completing the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine Year 2 curriculum and passing Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The second half of the year is spent beginning the 3rd year medical school rotations. In addition, there are intermittent rotations back to OMS service for approximately 11 weeks (including protected boards study time).

Year three

You will complete your medical school rotations and USMLE Step 2 this year. We also incorporate shorter experiences on other services, such as oculoplastics, sleep medicine, and dermatologic surgery. Residents also usually use this year to participate in Mayo's week-long microvascular surgery training course. OMS time during this year is about 33 weeks.

Year four

This year is the first general surgery year and consists of:

  • Trauma service: 6 weeks
  • Plastic surgery: 7 weeks
  • General/endocrine surgery: 13 weeks
  • Anesthesia: 20 weeks
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery: 6 weeks

USMLE Step 3 must be completed by May 1. In addition, your application for Minnesota medical licensure must be completed by the end of this year.

Year five

This year is the second general surgery year and consists of:

  • General surgery: 13 weeks
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery: 39 weeks

This year also includes a six-week off-campus rotation in craniomaxillofacial trauma, permitting residents to bolster trauma experience, work with additional staff, and experience a different hospital environment. During this trauma rotation, housing and transportation are covered by Mayo Clinic. The fifth and sixth years are also the years when you will participate in a cleft trip abroad.

Year six

In the final year of training, residents spend all 12 months on the OMS service, assigned to various staff surgeons. You have increasing autonomy during this time in terms of surgical management of patients. You also have administrative responsibilities to help manage the various surgical services and the other residents on service. Teaching lower-level residents is also an important requirement and expectation for sixth-year residents.

Call frequency

Call duties vary during training and rotations. The OMS service always has one junior-level resident taking first call (out of hospital), one senior resident taking second call (out of hospital), and one staff surgeon covering the service.

Mayo Clinic and the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery fully support the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education Resident Review Committee work-hour restrictions. In addition, the OMS service has a dedicated call room where residents can rest as needed on nights and weekends.


Moonlighting is not permitted for oral and maxillofacial surgery residents per department and division policy. 

Resident scholarship program

Mayo Clinic OMS staff are engaged in a wide range of meaningful clinical research, and trainees participate in these studies or begin their own. All residents participate in at least one scholarly project during the OMS Residency, ranging from basic science research to more clinically oriented studies, including case reports, quality improvement, medical education research, or clinical trials. 

Residents often complete several scholarly projects during their training, resulting in publications and national or even international presentations. You are encouraged to submit papers and abstracts to scientific societies. Mayo Clinic provides travel, time off, and expense reimbursement for presentations and abstracts accepted at regional and national meetings. Travel, per diem costs, and registration are provided to most meetings where residents have their work accepted, and coverage is arranged so that vacation days need not be used.

Didactic training

OMS residents will enroll in school at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, studying with outstanding peers and learning from world-class clinicians, researchers, and teachers to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree.

In addition, residents will learn from each other as well as Mayo Clinic faculty during didactic conferences held two or three mornings each week. Conference topics cover the entire breadth of oral and maxillofacial surgery, and include, among others:

  • Orthognathic surgery
  • Temporomandibular disorders and TMJ surgery
  • Facial cosmetic surgery
  • Implantology
  • Craniofacial surgery
  • Craniomaxillofacial trauma
  • Surgical pathology and infections
  • Head and neck reconstruction
  • Histopathology
  • Anesthesia
  • Morbidity and mortality
  • Monthly journal reviews

In addition to didactic conferences, residents receive additional teaching with visiting professors, regular mock boards exams, cadaver labs, an in-house microsurgery course, and certification for BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS.

Teaching opportunities

Opportunities are available for you to teach rotating residents and medical students as well as lecture/moderate some of the morning conferences. 


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the program. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members on a regular basis and meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.

All OMS residents must take the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery In-Service Training Examination on a yearly basis. Threshold levels of performance are expected at each level of training; deficiencies are identified and corrective action plans developed to improve competencies as necessary.