Basic Requirements Needed to Practice Urology

Male kidneys, illustration

Urology is the study of the anatomy, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of genitourinary disorders.

The genitourinary system includes disorders, cancers, benign tumors, deformities, and injuries of the kidney, ureters, bladder, prostate, urethra, and male and female urology and sexual disorders. If you are having problems with any of these body systems or areas of the body, you may need to see a urologist, meaning a medical specialist with urology training.

Training Requirements

There are two main requirements involved in urology training. Urology training requires satisfying the following requirements:

  1. Graduation from a medical school approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or a school of osteopathy approved by the American Osteopathic Association;
  2. Five years of clinical postgraduate education is required, including 1 to 2 years in general surgery, followed by 3 to 4 years in a urology residency program.

Passing the Boards

Urologists who have successfully satisfied these requirements are then eligible to take an examination that officially certifies them in urology. Approved by the American Board of Urology, it is a written exam taken at the end of residency. Receiving board certification provides extra assurance that your urologist has attained a high level of training.

Knowing that your urologist is board certified should give you an extra sense of security that he or she has mastered the study of urology. If you learn that your urologist trained several years ago and is still not board certified you may want to ask why.


Urologists often specialize within urology, for example, focusing on men's urology, oncology, laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery, pediatric urology, or other areas. For example, if you have a child with a urologic problem, you will want to find a urologist whose practice focuses exclusively on pediatric urology.

Subspecialty Fellowships

Fellowships are available that enable urologists to specialize within urology. Areas of specialization include:

  • Andrology -- study of the male reproductive system or problems of the male reproductive system and urological problems unique to men.
  • Endourology/laparoscopic surgery - minimally invasive surgery
  • Female Urology -- study of disorders specific to the female urologic tract and sexual health
  • Oncology (Urologic Oncology) -- study of urologic cancers, notably kidney, bladder, prostate, and testicular cancers
  • Pediatric -- study of urologic disorders in kids, including abnormalities of the urinary tract, tumors (both benign and cancerous in children), disorders of urogenital development
  • Transplant -- the study of kidney transplantation
  • Trauma and reconstruction -- involves diagnosis and treatment of patients with trauma to the genitourinary tract and reconstruction and repair of injuries.
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Article Sources

  • Urology fellowship guide.
  • What is urology? American Urological Association.