Resources for Residents

Residents may have decided to specialize in oncology or may be undecided and exploring career options. Wherever you are in the process, ASCO is dedicated to supporting your educational needs. By specializing in oncology, you will enter into a rapidly growing field that offers extensive opportunities in research and interdisciplinary care. Oncologists can choose to work in private practice, academia, industry, or government.

ASCO offers residents free membership and access to numerous educational and training resources, such as the ASCO University Tumor Boards and the ASCO Journal Club.

Finding an Oncology Training Program

ASCO maintains a searchable list of all oncology training programs. Information on many programs can also be found on the AMA's FREIDA website.

Applying to Oncology Training Programs

Each of the oncology specialty areas has a different application process and timeline. A few specialties do share the commonality of using ERAS and participating in the NRMP matches. However, each process is overseen and/or administered in some way by a separate entity.

Get more information about your discipline's subspeciality:

Medical Oncology

Most medical oncology training takes place in combined hematology/oncology training programs. These three-year programs focus on solid tumors, malignant hematology and benign hematology. Completing a combined hematology/oncology training program positions you to take both the medical oncology and hematology board examinations. 
ASCO plays an active role in the application process through:

Since 2006, oncology and hematology (combined and single-focus programs) have utilized the ERAS system for fellowship applications and the Match for fellowship placement.

The application process runs from July of your PGY 2, when ERAS opens for residents to begin working on their applications. Residents can submit applications starting in November. Programs begin receiving applications on December 1. The process concludes the following June, with the MSMP Match for Fellowships beginning the following July. Fellowship programs generally accept applications through January and conduct interviews from February-April. Exact dates vary from program to program

Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology residencies are five years long. Some institutions devote the first year to general medicine. Others ask that the resident apply to a separate internship at this time. Radiation oncology residencies participate in a formal Match program.

For more information about radiation oncology residencies or to search a list of programs, please see the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology.

Gynecologic Oncology

Fellowship training in gynecologic oncology is accredited by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). All fellowship programs require a minimum of three years of training. Approved fellowship programs cover the following curricula: pathology; physiology & patho-physiology; carcinogenesis, invasion and metastasis; genetics; statistics and experimental design; tumor immunology; chemotherapy; pharmacology; radiation therapy; organ-specific diseases and therapeutic options; surgical procedures; and palliative care.

Upon graduation from fellowship, fellows are eligible to sit for both the required oral and written exams. Completing these exams leads to fellows’ certification in gynecologic oncology.

Since 2006, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) has sponsored the fellowship match on behalf of participating ABOG-approved gynecologic oncology programs. The match is conducted by the NRMP Specialty Matching Services. Fellowship applications are accepted through the ERAS system.

Fellowship Program Application Timeline:

  • Application Submission: Fellowship applicants may begin applying to gynecologic oncology programs via the ERAS system beginning December 1. Applications are accepted until May 31.
  • Fellowship Interview: Conducted between June and September.
  • Match: Conducted in November.
  • Training Begins: July

For more information, visit the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's website.

Urologic Oncology

Urologic oncology fellowships are officially certified by the Society for Urologic Oncology (SUO). However, these fellowships do not lead to a separate board exam.

The goal of advanced training in urologic oncology is to build on the knowledge, skills, and expertise acquired during a urology residency program.

The fellow should develop exemplary skills in:

  • The planning of multidisciplinary approaches to patient care.
  • Basic and clinical scientific research methodologies.

The SUO accredits two-year fellowships in urologic oncology. Fellows must devote 12 months of their fellowship to clinical work.

Most graduates of formal urologic oncology training find positions within a private practice setting, where over 40% of the practice is related to cancer. For more information about urologic oncology or to find information on fellowships, please visit the Society for Urologic Oncology.

Surgical Oncology

Surgical oncology fellowships are reviewed and approved by the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO). Surgical oncology fellowship programs strive to expand the basic surgical knowledge and experience obtained during residency. The goal is to develop skilled surgeon-investigators who will become recognized experts in the field of surgical oncology. Physicians who are interested in fellowship training in surgical oncology can participate in the Match program. The match program is conducted in the fall.

Surgical oncology fellowship interviews are typically held in late summer and early fall. For more information about surgical oncology fellowships, or to obtain a list of programs, please visit the SSO.

General Information

If you've made the decision to pursue oncology in any specialty area, it is advised that you:

  • Find a mentor.
  • Take advantage of any oncology rotations or research experiences that may be available during your residency.
  • Participate in a research endeavor during medical school or residency—when reviewing applications, fellowship program directors often look for candidates who have this experience.

Program directors look for candidates who have shown:

  • Some degree of academic pursuit, whether you seek an academic career or a career in practice.
  • A true interest or drive in a particular area.
  • A tendency to pursue excellence in all areas.

It is not necessary to become a "junior oncologist" during your residency training. Use this time to master the specialty area and then use the fellowship to develop your skills as an oncologist.

Additional Resources

  • The ASCO Annual Meeting: Held annually in June, the Meeting attracts more than 35,000 attendees. Considered the premier educational and scientific event in the oncology community, the meeting represents the blend of science and patient care inherent to oncology. Visit ASCO's Virtual Meeting for links to sessions from this and other thematic meetings (e.g., GU Cancers/GI Cancers/Survivorship).
  • The Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations: This award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation provides financial support for residents from underrepresented populations to attend ASCO’s Annual Meeting.
  • Achieving Career Success in Oncology: This ASCO guide discusses many of the early career decisions oncologists will face. It also provides career development advice as well as strategies for success. Young oncologists can use this information when deciding between academia, community practice, pharmaceutical industry, or federal government.

Please email ASCO Professional Development staff for more information about participating in ASCO or attending ASCO meetings.


Random Quote

"ASCO is leading the move to a new data-driven era of discovery in clinical oncology."
Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO
ASCO President, 2014-15