Dermatology Schools and Residency Programs: How to Choose

Aspiring dermatologists in medical schools learn how to diagnose and treat disorders of the skin, hair and nails. Like all other doctors, they must pass medical school and undergo a residency.

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Aspiring dermatologists need to complete medical school through a program that is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the only nationally recognized accrediting body for medical education programs that result in the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.

Top Medical Schools

As of 2016, these are the top ten medical schools in the country for research, according to U.S. News & World Report:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2015-2016)*
Harvard University Boston, MA 4-year, Private $55,850
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private $52,491
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private $48,750
University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public $32,751 in-state, $44,996 out-of-state
University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private $52,210
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, Private $58,460
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private $55,418
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private $53,575
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public $33,519 in-state, $63,954 out-of-state
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private $55,680

Source: * U.S. News & World Report

School Selection Criteria

When choosing a medical school, prospective dermatologists should keep these considerations in mind:

  • Students should investigate a prospective program to ensure that a clinical rotation in dermatology is offered and, if so, they should determine whether it is a requirement or an elective.
  • Students may want to explore research opportunities at different medical schools, which may provide another way to gain more in-depth experience in the field.
  • When narrowing down their choices, students may want to research the percentage of students who pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination, which is required to practice medicine in the U.S., as well as what percentage of students place in a residency.
  • Students who wish to study a specific area of dermatology, such as pediatric dermatology or cosmetic dermatology, should seek out a program that offers that specialty.

Medical Schools

The first two years of medical school introduce students to the basic science of dermatology, such as the anatomy of skin and hair. The next two years, referred to as the clinical years, involve a rotation within the dermatology specialty that allows students to gain practical experience in the field.

Dermatology Residency Programs

The first year - known as PGY-1 - will consist of broad-based clinical training. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the years that follow PGY-1 should primarily focus on treating outpatients and inpatients, which includes participation in conferences, consultations and rounds ( A residency must last at least three years in order for a resident to be able to take the certifying examination of the American Board of Dermatologists.

Aspiring dermatologists should seek out well-respected medical schools that offer strong academic offerings in the field of dermatology.

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