Global Spine Diploma Program

Join the spine surgery elite. Boost your career.

The Global Spine Diploma (GSD) Program is the first globally developed, ultimate and systematic spine surgery training pathway for recently graduated orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. Internationally recognized experts certify your knowledge, ensuring your place among the next generation of leading spine surgeons worldwide.

Join the 12 month online program and benefit from the support of global leaders in spine surgery during the learning pathway.

Benefits of the Global Spine Diploma Program

Reasonable time effort

12-month online program with 3-5 hours spent learning a week.

2 cohorts a year (starting January and August)

Flexible self-directed online learning paired with lively small group discussions

Sophisticated syllabus

Based on a the AO Spine curriculum, written and taught by world-renowned surgeons.

Continuing medical education (CME) accreditation

The program is accredited by UEMS-EACCME®.

Cost for two semesters

  • CHF 100 application fee (nonrefundable)
  • CHF 2'500 total tuition fee for the 12-month program.

Coming soon in 2025

individual modules open for registration.

Global Spine Diploma Program: 5 Modules

There are five modules. Each consists of live online case presentations, plus online resources and forum discussions to be completed at your own pace. Assessment tasks for modules include a pre-module quiz, logbook, contribution to forum discussions, participation in live case presentation sessions, accessing online resources, and post-module feedback.

The Program Chairperson is Atiq Uz Zaman. Each regional learning group has a moderator who will organize the live case sessions and the weekly discussion

  • Trauma

    Week 1: Acute spinal trauma—initial management
    Week 2: Radiological assessment and injury classification systems
    Week 3: Upper cervical injuries
    Week 4: Lower cervical injuries
    Week 5: Thoracolumbar injuries
    Week 6: Osteoporotic and ankylotic fractures
    Week 7: Sacral and spinopelvic injuries
    Week 8: Outcomes and complications

  • Oncology and Infection

    Week 1: Assessment of the patient with a spinal tumor
    Week 2: Treatment planning
    Week 3: Surgical procedures—primary
    Week 4: Surgical procedures—metastatic
    Week 5: Assessing the patient with spinal infection
    Week 6: Postoperative infection
    Week 7: Pyogenic spondylodiscitis
    Week 8: Spinal tuberculosis

  • Cervical degeneration

    Week 1: Clinical and radiological assessment
    Week 2: Non-operative management
    Week 3: Cervical radiculopathy
    Week 4: Degenerative cervical myelopathy
    Week 5: Anterior surgery for DCM
    Week 6: Posterior surgery for DCM
    Week 7: Cervical rheumatoid disease
    Week 8: Outcomes and complications

  • Lumbar degeneration

    Week 1: Clinical and radiological assessment
    Week 2: Biopsychosocial model of pain
    Week 3: Non-operative treatment
    Week 4: Lumbar disc herniation
    Week 5: Degenerative spondylolisthesis
    Week 6: Lumbar stenosis
    Week 7: Lumbar fusion—open and MISS
    Week 8: Outcomes and complications

  • Adult/pediatric deformity

    Week 1: Adult deformity—assessment and treatment planning
    Week 2: Surgical procedures—choosing the approach: anterior, posterior, or both
    Week 3: Surgical procedures—augmentation and proximal junctional fixation
    Week 4: Outcomes and complications
    Week 5: Paediatric deformity—assessment and treatment planning
    Week 6: Surgical procedures—idiopathic scoliosis
    Week 7: Spondylolisthesis
    Week 8: Complications and outcomes

Download the brochure for more information

GSD Program brochure
  • Learn more about the AO Spine Curriculum and the pathology domains.
  • Understand the learning journey and content provided.
  • Learn how to apply for the program.
  • For additional information read the Terms and Conditions

Why should you join?

Join the first online program developed for the needs of international spine care.

Benefit from the experience and support of global leaders in spine surgery during the learning pathway.

Learn online at your own pace. Self-directed and in instructor-led sessions.

Be recognized as spine surgeon worldwide and positively impact your career.

Applications for the January 2025 cohort will open in September 2024.

Sign up here to receive information when the next cohort opens.

The Global Spine Diploma Program Committee

The Global Diploma Program is driven, written, and taught by world-renowned surgeons and tailored to surgeons’ needs. With their vast experience, local and international faculty members give mentoring support throughout the program’s duration. All of the over 60 online faculty moderators based worldwide have undergone a dedicated faculty training program with the AO Education Institute.

Atiq Uz-Zaman

Atiq Uz Zaman

Lahore, Pakistan

Bryan Ashman

Canberra, Australia

Jeremy Reynolds

Oxford, United Kingdom

Evan Davies

Southampton, England

Karsten Wiechert

Karsten Wiechert

Munich, Germany

Luiz Gustavo da Rocha

Curitiba, Brazil

The Global Spine Diploma Community

Global Diploma

Enhance your expertise in spine surgery by joining our Global Spine Diploma Community. Learn from world-renowned faculty, celebrate the achievements of recent graduates, and stay updated with the latest news and advancements in the field.

Ready to elevate your career? Visit our community site for more information. Your journey to excellence starts here.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • 1. What is the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    The Global Spine Diploma Program is the first globally developed, systematic online training for spine surgery, creating a new worldwide standard.

    It helps orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons take their knowledge and skills across multiple spinal pathologies to a new level.

    A syllabus describing the curriculum content, educational methods, and resources was developed to achieve defined learning objectives.

  • 2. How can I benefit from the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    The training program is offered online. Therefore, participants benefit from efficient, flexible online learning in small groups.

    • The training is based on a thorough curriculum, written and taught by world-renowned surgeons.
    • Training program participants gain profound knowledge in spine surgery.
    • Participants gain access to a global spine network and learn from the best.
  • 3. What is the duration of the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    In total, the training program is 12 months in length, with two semesters; participants are allocated to one of two streams (see diagram below). The program consists of five modules, each covering eight weeks. Registration for single modules is not currently available.

  • 4. What is the expected weekly time investment?

    You can expect to invest 3–5 hours per week during the two semesters.

  • 5 Who can register

    The program is available to AO Spine members and surgeons who have recently graduated from an orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery training program.

    Important: Members of the AO Spine Faculty Management task force, AO Spine Training Program Committee members, the exam committee members, or surgeons who have been involved in the part I and/or part II exam preparation are ineligible for the Global Spine Diploma Program.

  • 6. How can I apply for the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    Applicants for the training program must apply via the AO Spine website and provide the following information by e-mail:

    • A curriculum vitae (CV) demonstrating practice experience in spinal surgery
    • A certificate confirming recent graduation from an orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery training program

    Only AO Spine members are eligible to register.

    Applications will be assessed by the director of the Training Program Committee and AO Spine staff during the application period. For the application process, candidates must pay a non-refundable administrative fee of CHF 100.

    Eligible candidates will be notified and invited to register by paying the non refundable tuition fee for their first semester.

  • 7. What are the application criteria?

    To initiate the eligibility verification, you must be an AO Spine member and provide your CV and a confirmation of training completion as orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon to the Global Spine Diploma Program director.

  • 8. What is the language requirement?

    If English is not your first language, it is essential that your English language skills are good enough for you to understand, speak, and present throughout the duration of the intensive and challenging training program.

  • 9. Will I need to apply for visa?

    No. Since the training program will be offered online, no travel is required.

    Depending on your decision for the additionally offered, mandatory elective modules, you may need to apply for visa; for example, if you participate in an on-site AO Spine course.

  • 10. How much does the training program cost?

    The non refundable administrative fee is CHF 100; it is due during the application process. The overall tuition fee is CHF 2,500 which can be paid in two separate installments prior to the commencement of each semester.

    The tuition fee includes access to all learning materials and virtual discussions provided through the learning management system throughout the duration of the program.

    Additional costs apply for the mandatory elective modules. These are not included in the price and must be considered in addition to the registration fee.

  • 11. Can I pay the registration fee in installments?

    No. Payment is required upon registration for each semester.

  • 12. What is the refund and cancellation policy?

    For detailed cancellation and refund policies, please read the Terms and Conditions.

  • 13. What is the deferral policy?

    For the detailed deferral policy, please read the Terms and Conditions.

  • 14. Are scholarships available?

    We do not currently offer scholarships for the 2023 and 2024 programs.

    We encourage you to stay tuned and keep an eye on our website and social media channels, as we aim to offer scholarships in the future.

  • 15. How will I know if I have been accepted for the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    Applications will be assessed by the director and AO Spine project manager of the Global Spine Diploma Program Committee within a given period after the application has been submitted.

  • 16. Where does the Global Spine Diploma Program take place?

    The Global Spine Diploma Program is an online program administered through our learning management system. The mandatory live activities will be offered online and dates will be announced at the beginning of the program.

    Should you choose to participate in an on-site AO Spine course, you will need to travel to the event location.

  • 17. What is the format of the Global Spine Diploma Program?

    The training content contains one module per pathology. Each module has a duration of eight weeks.

    Within each module, learning assets such as journal articles, book chapters, and teaching videos are offered. Furthermore, mandatory online events such as webinars and case discussions are organized. On a weekly basis, you will have the opportunity to discuss questions with your assigned peers and faculty members.

    In addition, during each module, each participant will be expected to prepare and present a case for a peer assessment.

    To finalize the module, a formative assessment will be conducted at the end of each module.

    The program covers the following spinal pathologies: trauma, cervical degeneration, lumbar degeneration, adult and pediatric deformity, oncology and infection.

  • 18. Will I receive continuing medical education (CME) points for this program?

    An application will be made to the UEMS-EACCME® for CME accreditation of this online program.

    The CME points will be provided at the end of the program.

  • 19. How long can I access each module’s training materials?

    All training material will be accessible for the duration of the program. Once you have completed all five training modules, you will lose access to the training system.

  • 20. How were the faculty members chosen?

    Faculty members have completed an application process and were chosen according to the defined prerequisites, including expertise in the field and completion of an AO Spine fellowship, locally allocated to the participant cohort group.

  • 21. Who are the faculty members?

    Faculty members are AO Spine fellowship alumni who are well-known in their fields of expertise.

  • 22. Where are the faculty members from?

    We assign faculty members from the same region/ country where the participants are from in order to support live discussions. This allows participants to easily reach their assigned faculty member(s).

    Webinar presenters are global experts on the assigned topics.

  • 23. What is the role of the faculty members?

    They will:

    • Introduce participants to the module content.
    • Lay out the expectations for each module.
    • Be your first point of contact for content-related questions during each module.
    • Moderate case discussions.
    • Lead and steer the weekly case discussions.
  • 24. What are the criteria to receive the Global Spine Diploma?

    You must participate in a minimum of 70 percent of the training program activities in order to be eligible to receive the Global Spine Diploma.

  • 25. Is there a pass/fail grading system for the diploma?

    No, there is not a pass or fail grading system, but a minimum requirement to participate in the assignments during the two semesters.

  • 26. Is it mandatory to obtain the Global Spine Diploma to become faculty at AO Spine educational events?

    No, the Global Spine Diploma is not mandatory to be eligible as AO Spine faculty.

  • 27. When will I receive my Global Spine Diploma?

    You will receive the diploma once you have fulfilled the criteria, finished all training program modules, and completed the second semester.

  • 28. How long is the Global Spine Diploma valid?

    The Global Spine Diploma is valid for a period of five years after the date of issue.

  • 29. What are the technical requirements?

    You will need an AO Spine member profile and a stable internet connection to access our learning management system and the learning assets.

  • 30. Will I need special software to access the program?

    The learning management system is a password-secured, web-based platform. You can access it from your mobile phone, tablet, and personal computer (PC). No additional software is needed.

  • 31. Who do I contact if I have content-related questions?

    We will allocate faculty members per module and learning group. These faculty members will be available to answer any content-related questions.

  • 32. Who do I contact if I have problems with the learning management system, or if I have technology-related questions?

    If you have any questions, please contact AO Spine via e-mail at:

We are happy to answer your questions and provide you with additional information.

Contact us at

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