Application and Selection
Selection into the Surgical Education and Training (SET) Program in Neurosurgery is a competitive process which occurs annually.
The Selection Regulations establish the principles, terms and conditions of the selection process. The Selection Regulations available below are for the 2025 intake. These Selection Regulations may be changed from year to year and cannot be relied on for the intakes conducted in future years for the SET Program. Any regulations for the SET Program from any previous years are not applicable and cannot be relied on for meeting the SET Program requirements for the 2025 intake unless specifically stated in the Selection Regulations.
In the event of any inconsistency in the information on this webpage or from another source with the Selection Regulations, the Selection Regulations will prevail.
Full details can be found in the Selection Regulations available here
The Selection Regulations are designed to assist applicants with their application and most questions can be answered with reference to the Selection Regulations. Our team cannot provide career guidance on what applicants should or should not do in preparation for their application beyond the guidance provided in the Selection Regulations. Our team cannot score components of an application in advance of the selection process, however the Selection Regulations provide detailed guidance to enable applicants to make their own assessments prior to applying.
If an applicant has a question which is not addressed in the Selection Regulations, it must be submitted in writing to [email protected]. No advice will be given over the phone.
Step 1 - Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination
Registrations open at the date and time below and will close at 12 noon AEDT Monday, 11 December 2023. All applicants applying for selection in 2024 (for the 2025 intake) must sit the 2024 Examination and only that score will be used during the 2024 selection process. All applicants considering applying for selection in 2025 (for the 2026 intake) will be able to use their best score from the 2024 or 2025 Examination results and are therefore encouraged to considering registering for the Examination even if they are not intending to apply in 2024.
Registration Opens: 12 noon AEDT Monday, 20 November 2023
Registration Closes: 12 noon AEDT Monday, 11 December 2023
Examination Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Examination Results Released: Prior to 5pm AEDT Friday, 1 March 2024
To register using the link below, you will be taken to the login page for the NSA website and you will need to login. Your username will be your email address if you have previously applied for selection. You can use the forgot password link on the login page if you cannot recall the password you previously used. If you have not previously applied for selection, create an account here before registering for the Examination.
Register Here (Login required - see above)
Examination Information and Rules available here
Examination venues and times available here
The Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination is part of the selection process for the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery.
Commencing in 2024 (for the 2025 intake) applicants must have achieved the pass mark of 70% in the Examination at the time of application. As such, it will now become an eligibility requirement to apply rather than being sat during the selection process. The Minimum Standard (70%), weighting in selection (30%) and use as a short-listing tool during the selection process will continue.
Examination results will now be valid for 2 selection years commencing from the 2024 Examination. All applicants applying for selection in 2024 (for the 2025 intake) must sit the 2024 Examination and only that score will be used during the 2024 selection process.
For all subsequent years, applicants will have the choice whether they sit the current year Examination or rely on the previous year Examination score for selection purposes. If they choose to sit both years, their best score will be used.
For clarity, the Examination results that can be used as part of the selection process will be as follows:
- 2024 selection process (2025 intake): 2024 Examination results only
- 2025 selection process (2026 intake): 2024 or 2025 Examination results
- 2026 selection process (2027 intake): 2025 or 2026 Examination results
The Examination will be delivered in February each year (instead of March/April). The eligibility to register and present for the Examination is not the same as the eligibility to apply for the selection process. The Selection Regulations apply for the selection process, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to review the selection process eligibility requirements before deciding whether to register and present for the Examination.
The eligibility requirements for the Examination only are as follows:
- Applicants in Australia must have general (unconditional) registration with the Medical Board of Australia.
- Applicants in Aotearoa New Zealand must have general scope registration or restricted general scope registration in Neurosurgery in Aotearoa New Zealand with the Medical Council of New Zealand.
- Applicants must have completed a minimum 10 weeks’ full‐time equivalent dedicated neurosurgical experience in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand in the three years immediately prior to the closing date for registration for the Examination (11 December 2023).
- Applicants must pay the Examination fee of $AUD550 at the time of registration. This fee is non-refundable.
This means that potential applicants can apply for and present for the Examination but are not required to then proceed with an application for selection that year. This change is to benefit applicants as they can consider their score in the Examination when deciding whether to proceed with a selection application. This is important given that applicants have a maximum number of selection applications. This also avoids unnecessary applications and expenditure to applicants who do not achieve the pass mark in the Examination.
Step 2 – Registration for Selection
Registration Opens: 12 noon AEDT Tuesday, 9 January 2024
Registration Closes: 12 noon AEDT Wednesday, 31 January 2024
Anyone intending to apply for selection must register their intention to apply by the closing date above. At the time of registration, applicants must be able to meet all generic eligibility requirements available on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) website. A registration fee is payable to the RACS by any applicant who is not a current SET Trainee or RACS Fellow. All registrations are conducted online through the RACS website. The Neurosurgical Society of Australasia (NSA) is not involved in the registration process and any questions should be directed to the RACS.
Step 3 - Apply for Selection
Applications Open: 12 noon AEDT on Monday, 4 March 2024
Applications Close: 12 noon AEDT on Monday, 25 March 2024
Applications can only be submitted by applicants who have completed Step 1 and Step 2 using the neurosurgery online application form. Applications must be submitted prior to the advertised Closing Date for applications. No other form of application will be accepted. Once an application is submitted and scored, it cannot be changed. Applicants are responsible for ensuring their application is complete and correct at the time of submission. Applicants must pay a selection application fee prior to the advertised closing date for applications to be considered for selection. This fee is non-refundable . Failure to pay the selection application fee by the communicated due will result in the application being withdrawn.
Step 4 – Selection Process
The selection process uses four selection tools, each contributing the following weightings to the overall selection score out of 100:
- Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination 30%
- Structured Curriculum Vitae 10%
- Reference Report 30%
- Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview 30%
Structured Curriculum Vitae
The Structured Curriculum Vitae (the application submitted) was be scored in accordance with Section 8 of the Selection Regulations. Applicants must score the Minimum Standard of 50.00% (5.5 out of 11 points) for the Structured Curriculum Vitae to proceed further in the selection process.
Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination
The Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination is held prior to the opening of application for selection (see above at Step 1 for further details). Applicants must score the Minimum Standard of 70.00% (168 out of 240 marks) for the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination to be eligible to apply for the selection process. The Examination was scored in accordance with Section 9 of the Selection Regulations.
Applicants who satisfy the Minimum Standards for the Structured Curriculum Vitae and Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination will be ranked according to their combined score for the two selection tools with the selection tool weightings applied (which equates to a score out of 40 points). All other applicants will be deemed Unsuitable, will not be ranked, and will not proceed further in the selection process. The top 32 ranked applicants (and ties) will be shortlisted for the Reference Report. All other applicants will be deemed Unsuccessful and will not proceed further in the selection process.
The Reference Report will be prepared and scored in accordance with the Section 10 of the Selection Regulations. Applicants must score the Minimum Standard of 70% (49 out of 70 points) for the Reference Report to proceed further in the selection process.
Applicants who satisfy the Minimum Standard for the Reference Report will be ranked according to their combined score for the Structured Curriculum Vitae, Examination and Reference Report with the selection tool weightings applied (which equates to a score out of 70 points). All other applicants will be deemed Unsuitable, will not be ranked, and will not proceed further in the selection process.
A total of 24 applicants (and ties) will be shortlisted for the Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview (Interview). The Interview shortlisted spots will be allocated in order of overall ranking of suitable applicants.
Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview
Interview Date: Thursday, 27 June 2024
Release of scores for the Interview: Prior to 5pm AEST on Friday, 28 June 2024
Applicants shortlisted for the Interview will be advised of their Interview date and time at least 14 days prior to the Interview date.
Applicants must make themselves available at the scheduled Interview time. Applicants who do not participate in the Interview at the scheduled time will not be considered further in the selection process and their application will be withdrawn.
Each Interview will be approximately one hour in duration and consist of four scenario and experience-based sections, each with multiple questions designed to assess the suitability of the applicant.
Applicants must score the Minimum Standard of 50% (12 out of 24 points) for the Interview to proceed further in the selection process.
Step 5 – Final Ranking, Special Measures and Offers
Release of Offers: Prior to 5pm AEST on Friday, 28 June 2024
Applicants who satisfy the Minimum Standard in the Interview will be ranked according to their combined score for the Structured Curriculum Vitae, Examination, Reference Report and Interview with the selection tool weightings applied (which equates to a score out of 100 points). All other applicants will be deemed Unsuitable, will not be ranked and will not proceed further in the selection process.
Selection offers will be made applying the following process:
- the top ranked applicant from each Undersubscribed Home Region (if any) applying the Undersubscribed Home Regions special measures; and
- the top ranked Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicant (if any) applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait special measures; and
- the remaining in order of the overall ranking subject to the application of the Diversity and Gender Equity special measures if substantive gender equity would otherwise not be met for female applicants based on ranking alone.
Undersubscribed Home Regions for the 2025 intake (conducted during 2024) will be listed here on 27 March 2024.
Previous Selection Intakes
The download below shows the outcome of the last six selection processes.