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4-Year Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Programs FAQs

Starting with the 2020 certification requirements for Gynecologic Oncology (GO), the ABOG will not longer have different standards for 3-year and 4-year fellowship graduates. All fellows applying for the 2020 GO Certifying Examination will be required to have completed at least 36 months of training in an accredited fellowship program. Those 36 months must meet the ACGME Program Requirements and the ABOG eligibility requirements. In some cases, fellows will meet these requirements during or at the end of the last year of fellowship training in a 4-year program.


The change in policy will apply beginning with fellows graduating in June 2020.

The ACGME Program Requirements in GO do not recognize or require the additional training after 36 months. The additional 12 months are considered unaccredited training. There are no longer subspecialty standards or requirements for the education, training, or outcomes of this additional training.

Some programs may offer or require four years of GO fellowship training, but the ACGME and ABOG do not have accreditation or certification standards or requirements for the additional 12 months of training. Starting in the 2019-2020 AY, all GO fellows will have the same ABOG eligibility requirements.

The eligibility requirements will be outlined in the 2020 Bulletin for Certification in GO. It will state:

The duration of training is a minimum of 36 months, and rotations must be in a minimum of one-month blocks. A program must ensure the training for each fellow is allocated as follows:

-- 24 months of clinical training

-- 12 months of protected research

  • Conduct research leading to a thesis meeting ABOG certification requirements
  • Research time must be scheduled in blocks of not less than one-month duration and while in a research block, no more than 10% (four hours) of the fellow's time in any week may be spent in clinical duties
  • Complete written thesis and present work before GO Division and Program Director by completion of fellowship

Yes. There is no need to change any fellowship program, and it is not the intent of ABOG policy to mandate programs to move to a 3-year duration. Some GO fellowship programs offer or require additional time for their fellowships for clinical, research, or other educational opportunities (e.g., MPH degree). These programs offer an additional unaccredited year of fellowship in research or clinical electives as a 4-year fellowship. All ACGME and ABOG educational requirements and required experiences must be completed within the three ACGME-accredited years.

All fellows are expected to meet these core GO curriculum requirements within the 36 months of ACGME-accredited training. These experiences and rotations cannot be met during any unaccredited month, but may be enhanced during the unaccredited months. These requirements are as follows:

  • Fellows must be instructed in the following clinical areas: General, Colorectal, Vascular, Urologic Surgery, Medical Oncology, and Radiotherapy.
  • Fellows must receive experience in the management of gynecologic cancer and its complications to include minimally invasive approaches.
  • Fellows must be provided formal instruction in the methods and techniques of radiation therapy as well as a full understanding of the principles of radiobiology and radiation physics.
  • Fellows must be provided the opportunity to acquire basic and clinical knowledge of the indications for chemotherapy as well as practical experience in the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs and care of complications.
  • Fellows must receive palliative and critical care experiences.

The additional 12 months of rotations must be in monthly rotations of 1 to 12 months in any length in any of the F1 to F4 years. There must be a clear delineation in block diagrams and communication to fellows whether each month is an accredited or unaccredited month during training.

During the additional 12 months of training, the fellows must be designated as inactive on unaccredited rotations. In the ACGME Accreditation Data System (ADS), the program must change an active fellow's status to "In Program but Doing Research/Other Training". During unaccredited months, programs will not be asked to complete Milestones evaluations, and fellows will not be asked to evaluate the fellowship in the ACGME Resident Survey. Please email fellowship@abog.org to notify ABOG when fellows will be participating in unaccredited months.

Within the 36 accredited months, programs must clearly display and communicate to fellows how the rotations qualify the fellow for eligibility for ABOG certification.

Fellowship program directors must complete the ACGME-required Final Evaluation verifying that the fellow has demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to enter autonomous practice in GO. This final evaluation must be completed at the end of the 36 months of accredited fellowship training.

Fellowship program directors must complete the ABOG attestation of completion of 36 months of fellowship training when the fellow meets the ABOG requirements for certification, including completion of the research for a thesis and presentation of the thesis to their GO Division.

The ACGME program requirements and ABOG certification requirements expect that all fellows must complete a minimum of 12 months of research, complete an acceptable thesis, and present the work on the thesis to the GO Division by the end of the 36 months of accredited training. Three- and 4-year fellows should be expected to meet these requirements whether the fellowship ends at 36 months or 48 months.

Fellows may choose to submit a different thesis for their GO Certifying Examination if additional or different work is completed in the additional 12 months of fellowship.

Fellows may be designated in their programs as an F1 to F4 according to local standards of an individual program. Portions or an entire year may be designated an unaccredited. Determination of fellows' promotion dates and salaries in a local institutional issue.

For ABOG tracking and reporting, fellows should be designated only as an F1 (1-12 months, F2 (12-24 months), or F3 (25-36 months) following completion of accredited months of training. Fellows may be promoted in months other than July according to clinical competency and individual schedules.

ABOG subspecialty diplomas only display the date of certification. The displays of all fellows' certification will not change.

Yes. The additional year will be added to the eligibility period for candidates to achieve OB GYN specialty and GO subspecialty certification as needed.

No. All required education must be completed within the accredited 36 months. The additional 12 months of experience may be required or offered by a program, but all the required ACGME and ABOG GO experiences must be completed during the accredited months.

Some programs encourage additional clinical experiences during an additional unaccredited year. However, such expectations are beyond the required experiences. These additional clinical experience cannot be entered in Case Log in the month performed or in other months' or years' experience.

If you have questions not answered here, please send an email to fellowship@abog.org. We'll be happy to assist you!