Best College for Dermatology – Top 12

Looking for the best college for dermatology? Here are the 12 top-ranked options in the United States for top tier education.

This is it. You’re finally in your fourth year as a medical student, and it’s time to start applying to dermatology residency programs. For years during your clinical rotations in medical school, you’ve been dreaming of the day you’d start your dermatology program. But where will that program be, exactly?

With dermatology residency programs all over the country, it can be difficult to figure out your top choices. In the end, you need to prioritize the best fit for you. Do you want a dermatology program with many research opportunities? Are you interested in cosmetic dermatology? How about pediatric dermatology?

Whatever your preferences are, you need to collect as much information as possible before you make your list of residency programs. After all, your dermatology residence will take at least a few years to complete. To start off your search or even confirm preferences you already have, here’s an overview of the 12 best dermatology schools in the nation:

Top 12 Best Colleges for Dermatology

Stanford University

It’s no surprise that Stanford University made this list, seeing as it consistently ranks in the top 5 colleges in the nation by U.S. News. The Department of Dermatology at Stanford University is renowned for the quality of education and caliber of research. Faculty in Stanford’s Department of Dermatology have national recognition for both their teaching and clinical expertise, as stated on the department website.

If you’re looking for a residency program led by a powerhouse of leadership, clinical experience, and research accolades, Stanford University Department of Dermatology is the program for you. Their current faculty includes chairs of the School of Medicine Faculty Senate, the President of the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. These instructors have expertise in specific areas of study in dermatology. As a resident, you’d can work alongside the best in the field and become an expert in whatever subset of dermatology interests you. 

With its wide-reaching reputation and connections in healthcare, Stanford offers clinical rotations in general dermatology as well as dermatology subspecialties. These subspecialities include skin cancer, nail disorders, pediatric dermatology, autoimmune skin diseases, skin allergies, genital dermatology, blistering disease, and more. Any medical students interested in dermatopathology and related subspecialties would graduate from this program with considerable experience and expertise in the field.

image of stanford university
Photo by Emily Karakis on Unsplash

University of Pennsylvia

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania has no shortage of exceptional doctors and instructors. While it isn’t the oldest medical school in the country, the University of Pennsylvania does claim the nation’s first Department of Dermatology dating back to 1874 (according to the department website).

Evidently, this residency program offers over a century of experience in clinical care, research, and education. As a resident, you would receive excellent training from faculty that hold nationally recognized positions. This residency program also offers top-tier research facilities where you can investigate dermatological diseases ranging from autoimmune skin diseases to skin cancer.

As far as rotations, members of UPenn’s Dermatology Residency Training Program will have access to clinics in general dermatology, cutaneous lymphoma, contact dermatitis connective tissue disease, bullous disease, pigmented lesions, cosmetics, psoriasis, and more. Whatever subfield of dermatology you may be interested in, this residency will cover it.

University of Michigan

Just like the rest of the residency programs in this list, the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan has a lot to offer. However, it is the only dermatology program on this list that can be found in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This program invests heavily in research around dermatology treatments and fosters a collaborative learning environment.

In their mission statement, the University of Michigan’s Department of Dermatology also states their commitment to “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” In any clinical setting, it is important to prioritize these principles to ensure that all patients are receiving the same quality of care. If you are hoping to be matched with a residency program that actively promotes this goal, the University of Michigan is worth considering.

Aside from promoting equitable care, the University of Michigan Department of Dermatology continuously raises the bar in dermatological research. Their recent publications center around mechanisms behind and therapy for skin cancer. So while this three-year training program sets the bar with research, they also ensure that their residents “gain exposure to diverse clinical settings, philosophies, and patient populations” (as stated by the Program Director).

best college for dermatology
Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

University of Pittsburgh

If you’re a fan of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you’re in luck. Besides being the home of the Pirates, they are also home of one of the top 15 medical schools for primary care and research in the country (according to U.S. News). Their Department of Dermatology highlights dermatological research, education in treatment of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes, and an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion in healthcare.

Their three-year residency program is highly selective with only six slots for residents per year. During their time in this graduate program, residents will experience clinical rotations in general dermatology clinics, adult inpatient consult services, pediatric clinics, cutaneous oncology clinics, and a number of specialties within the field of dermatology. These specialties include dermatopathology, surgery, immunobullous (blistering disorders), psoriasis, and more. 

Aside from residency rotations, medical students who are interested in fellowship programs at the University of Pittsburgh can pursue Cosmetic Dermatology, Dermatopathology, and Oncology programs. Instructors throughout the residency program are accomplished in many subtopics across dermatology, so they will be exposed to research alongside clinical experience.

University of California, San Francisco

Now, for one of our West Coast options. The University of California, San Francisco is a public research university with a dermatology clinic at Mount Zion campus. Their accredited three-year residency program entails years of experience with clinical rotations and classroom instruction with dermatological instructors and clinicians. Medical students also have the opportunity to pursue a four-year track with an emphasis in dermatological research, earning their PhD alongside their MD.

The UCSF dermatological residency program utilized their Mt. Zion clinic for rotations. There, they gain general dermatology experience along with experience in subspecialities like pediatric dermatology, psoriasis and phototherapy, hair nail disease, skin of color, skin cancer, and autoimmune disease (as state in the residency and rotation official site).

Spending months at a time in rotations focusing on pediatric dermatology and other subfields allows residents to build expertise in these more niche fields while still gaining general dermatology experience. However, UCSF is a research-heavy school. That means that any residents that find their passion in any of those dermatology specialties will also have opportunities to pursue research in those subfields to guide their career further.

New York University

While NYU may be known for its Performing Arts programs, the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology deserves an equal amount of adoration. Located in New York City, the NYU Department of Dermatology includes an impressive faculty with peer-reviewed publications and leadership positions.

As previously mentioned, many graduate programs in the field of dermatology also state that they are committed to diversity and inclusion in healthcare. The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology delivers on their promise to this mission with diversity and inclusion initiatives alongside funds allocated specifically to medical student from underrepresented groups in healthcare. If you are from a historically underrepresented group or simply value this mission in a residency program, make note of NYU.

As far as residency training, NYU’s Dermatology Residency is a three-year program that includes clinical rotations in skin cancer, contact dermatitis, pediatric dermatology, bullous disease, photomedicine, leg ulcers, and much more. These subfield rotations within the Dermatology Residency depends on the hospitals the residents will be working at. There are several campuses a resident could be assigned to, offering different opportunities within the field of dermatology.

Yale University 

Yet another big player in the world of academia made this list. Yale University’s Department of Dermatology goes far beyond basic science research with numerous findings in clinical research. This Dermatology Residency Programs is fantastic opportunity for residents to receive professional mentorship, clinical experience, and world-class education from clinician educators. 

As far as clinical rotations, the Yale Dermatology Program includes general dermatology, specialty clinics, dermatologic surgery and laser clinics, phototherapy centers, oncology units, pediatric dermatology, and Intensive Care Units. Specialty clinics include cutaneous lymphoma, skin of color, transplant dermatology, wound and ulcer care, contact dermatitis, and much more.

Leadership within this residency programs includes dermatology researchers with experience in onco-dermatology and other fields. If you’re currently a medical student who is passionate about dermatology and would enjoy a well-funded, research-backed residency program, Yale is a great place to apply.

Thomas Jefferson University

At Thomas Jefferson University, the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology offers world-class education and research facilities that are constantly pursuing new therapies and treatments for dermatological conditions. Medical students who love Pennsylvania almost as much as they love dermatology should look into Thomas Jefferson while applying to residencies.

Their three-year residency program has four slots for medical students ready to tackle clinical dermatology, cutaneous surgery, dermatopathology, clinical pharmacology, cutaneous immunology, oncology, pediatric dermatology, and cutaneous biology. Thanks to their dedication to patient care and research, the Thomas Jefferson Residency Program for Dermatology encourages its members to participate in research during their time in the program.

So if you’re just as passionate about clinical trials as you are about clinical experience, Thomas Jefferson University may be a good fit for you. 

University of California, Irvine

With an impressive amount of research publications, the University of California, Irvine offers a world-class education through their Dermatology Residency Program. Their Department of Dermatology in the UCI School of Medicine proudly hosts a faculty with extensive research and clinical experience.

The best dermatology schools have the best faculty, and UC Irvine is no exception. Backed by their faculty mentors, residents in this three-year program will rotate through general dermatology, dermatologic surgery, pediatric dermatology, and specialties like gynecologic dermatology, melanoma, hair disorders, birthmarks, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

If any of these specialties sound like a good fit for you, explore the UCI Residency Program. With the moderate weather of Orange County and sunny San Diego not far away, this residency would be much warmer than others on this list.

University of Central Florida

While the University of Central Florida’s three-year residency program in dermatology is relatively new, they are known as one of the “nation’s top ranked schools for students matching into dermatology residencies” (as cited by UCF). To address this need for more high-caliber dermatology residencies, the University of Central Florida worked in conjunction with the Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee to create this new program.

This three-year residency in the field of dermatology will be directed by Stephen K. Richardson, who has over 10 years of teaching experience with medical students. An alum of Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Dermatology Residency and Fellowship programs, the leadership alone is enough to prove the prowess of UCF’s residency program.

With their current faculty in the College of Medicine, there’s no doubt that the UCF Dermatology Residency will mirror the clinical expertise and research opportunities that other programs on this list promise.

Harvard University

Dermatology residents at Harvard University will find themselves working at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other reputable healthcare facilities. As one of the best schools in the nation for undergraduate degrees, it’s not a surprise that Harvard University is also able to deliver quality in their dermatology residency.

Throughout these programs, residents will work in skin disease for adults and children, dermatologic surgery, dermatological surgery (including cosmetic), and dermatopathology. Much like other residency programs on this list, Harvard’s Dermatology Residency Program offers rotations in subspecialty clinics like rheumatology-dermatology, laser medicine, oncodermatology, leprosy, vascular anomalies, and teledermatology.

As you might expect, Harvard also offers a wide range of research opportunities in the field of dermatology. Besides being one of the best dermatology schools in the nation, Harvard has high-quality laboratories in both basic science and clinical research.

Members of Harvard’s residency in dermatology will rotate around a variety of clinical settings, gaining exposure to not only specialized fields of dermatology but a wide array of patients and populations. With their School of Medicine being dedicated to equitable healthcare, these clinical opportunities ensure that graduates of Harvard’s Dermatology Residency Program will equitably work with patients of different backgrounds and identities.

Medical students who want a world-class education in dermatology as well as access to top-notch faculty and hospitals should apply to Harvard’s Dermatology Residency Training Program.

Baylor University

Representing Texas on this list is Baylor University’s Dermatology Residency Program. As a private university, Baylor is a smaller school with only three or four spots for dermatology residents every year. Much like the other 11 selective residency programs on this list, Baylor accepts the best of the best. Medical students who enter Baylor’s Dermatology Residency Program leave after ranking in the top 5% of their board exams.

This level of academic prowess is cultivated through a three-year training program with clinics in Harris County, large hospitals like the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, and more. Rotations within Baylor’s program include dermatologic surgery, pediatric dermatology, cosmetic and laser dermatology, and dermatopathology.

As a well-funded institution, Baylor University also provides its residents with a variety of clinical research opportunities within the Department of Dermatology. While residents will largely be focusing on their clinical rotations, they also have access to world-renowned faculty that can guide them through classroom instruction and clinical research.

In Summary: Top 12 Best Colleges for Dermatology

Whether you’re a third- or fourth-year medical student, it’s time to start thinking about dermatology residency programs. These are some of the most selective residency programs in the country, so you need all the information you can get to be a successful applicant.

While each of the residency programs are considered highly competitive and have much to offer, at the end of the day it’s up to you to determine what will be a good match. Aside from the fact that the residency program has to rank you as well, you need to find the program that has everything you’re looking for.

If you want a program that has been around for over a century and has a long history of dermatology, there’s a school for that. If you want a newer program with access to large hospitals and diverse populations, there’s a school for that, too. You’ve got a lot of skin in the game, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to set up your career as a dermatologist.


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