Background The transition from medical student to surgery internship can be stressful. The goal of this project was to design, implement, and evaluate a 1-month long elective course that would meet the majority of the American College of Surgeons Graduate Medical Education Committee prerequisites for graduate surgical education Methods The major elements of the curriculum included faculty- and resident-facilitated case-based sessions and cadaver dissections. In addition, the students participated in skills laboratory experiences, Intensive Care Unit rounds, and mock interviews and clinical pages. The students took a knowledge pretest and post-test that was compared with the performance of 8 surgical interns on the same examination. Results The highest rated elements of the course were those that provided hands-on experience or practical knowledge. The post-test knowledge examination scores were significantly higher than pretest scores and surgical intern scores. Conclusions It was possible to develop a 1-month senior medical student elective course that provided students with the essential prerequisites believed to be essential for all surgical interns. © 2004 Excerpta Medica, Inc. All rights reserved.