Best Dermatology Schools

Updated on January 3, 2024

Dermatology is a competitive and highly sought-after medical specialty focusing on conditions related to skin, hair, and nails. Getting into a top dermatology residency program is difficult, with acceptance rates around just 1-3% at the best schools. Factors like research experience, grades, test scores, interviews, volunteer work, and letters of recommendation all play an important role in determining which applicants match into top programs.

When evaluating dermatology schools, key factors to consider include residency program size and location, board exam pass rates, research output, and reputation among academic dermatologists. The following rankings highlight 10 of the top U.S. dermatology residency programs based on these and other factors.

University of California, San Francisco

Location: San Francisco, CA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Tuition: $24,516 (in-state), $53,400 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $392,000

Website: https://dermatology.ucsf.edu/residency

UC San Francisco tops the list with an excellent national reputation and one of the largest dermatology residency programs. Over 400 research projects are underway within the UCSF Department of Dermatology, providing ample opportunities for residents. UCSF dermatology ranks #5 in research output nationally.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Rating: 9.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Avg SAT Score: 1510

Tuition: $65,250

Avg Salary: $401,000

Website: https://medicine.yale.edu/derm/education/residency/

The Yale Dermatology residency is small and ultra-competitive, accepting just 2 or 3 residents per year. Residents split time at multiple excellent training sites and have access to Yale’s world-class medical researchers across departments. Over 95% of graduates enter private practice or academia.

Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

Rating: 9.1/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $65,659

Avg Salary: $392,000

Website: https://dermatology.duke.edu/education-and-training/residency/program

Duke dermatology consistently ranks among the top 5 for research output nationally. The program is fairly large with 11 residents per year. Residents have access to excellent faculty, facilities, and research infrastructure through Duke’s medical school and hospital network.

University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Rating: 9.0/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $62,041

Avg Salary: $391,000

Website: https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/find-a-program-or-service/dermatology/education-and-training/residency-program

Penn dermatology residents rotate through several excellent training hospitals in the University of Pennsylvania Health System. They have access to hundreds of renowned dermatology specialists and researchers, as well as a very large patient population. Penn ranks among the top 10 for both research output and NIH funding.

Washington University

Location: St. Louis, MO

Rating: 8.8/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Avg SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $65,850

Avg Salary: $391,000

Website: https://dermatology.wustl.edu/education/residency-program/

The Washington University dermatology program is mid-sized with 6 residents per year. The program benefits from a strong internal ranking (#9 NIH funding), plus residents get broad exposure to complex cases at Barnes-Jewish Hospital during their PGY-1 preliminary year.

University of Michigan

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Rating: 8.7/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Avg SAT Score: 1460

Tuition: $55,146 (in-state), $63,974 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $391,000

Website: https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/dermatology/education/residency-program

Michigan dermatology residents have access to excellent research and training opportunities within the UM health system, including Michigan Medicine’s new $215 million outpatient facility. Residents also complete rotations in specialty areas like pediatric derm, dermatologic surgery, pathology and immunodermatology.

Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD

Rating: 8.6/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Avg SAT Score: 1540

Tuition: $55,350

Avg Salary: $392,000

Website: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/dermatology/education/residency/index.html

The Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology gets very high marks for its small, personalized residency training. With only 4 residents per year, there is tight integration between residents and faculty. Residents also complete rotations in dermatopathology, immunology, allergy, and general pathology.

University of Texas Southwestern

Location: Dallas, TX

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $22,512 (in-state), $47,314 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $401,000

Website: https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/education/medical-school/departments/dermatology/residency/index.html

UT Southwestern dermatology residency has an impressive program size with 9 residents per year. The Parkland and Zale Lipshy hospitals provide broad exposure to complex cases. UT Southwestern also garners more NIH funding for skin disease research than any other U.S. public medical school.

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA

Rating: 8.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Avg SAT Score: 1540

Tuition: $63,649

Avg Salary: $401,000

Website: https://dermatology.stanford.edu/education/residency.html

The Stanford dermatology residency stands out for its small size (4 residents per year), focus on medical dermatology, and intellectual approach to complex cases. Residents benefit from Stanford’s standing as a world leader in biomedical research across many disciplines. Graduates pursue both academia and private practice.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Location: Boston, MA

Rating: 8.2/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $23,400 (Harvard Medical School)

Avg Salary: $391,000

Website: https://www.massgeneral.org/dermatology/education

As a Harvard Medical School affiliate, Mass General offers superb faculty, facilities and research opportunities for dermatology residents. The schedule incorporates more didactic teaching than most programs. Graduates have a strong track record in securing competitive fellowships and academic faculty positions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best dermatology schools?

Based on factors like reputation, research output, program size, and board pass rates, the top dermatology residency programs are University of California-San Francisco, Yale University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University-St. Louis.

How competitive is it to get into a top dermatology residency?

Extremely competitive. Even at mid-tier programs, dermatology has an acceptance rate around just 1-3%. Applicants need near perfect grades, test scores, strong research backgrounds, excellent interview skills and glowing recommendation letters to match into a top 10 dermatology residency.

What is the average dermatologist salary after residency?

The median salary for dermatologists is around $392,000 per year. But compensation can vary significantly based on factors like geographic location, hours worked, types of procedures performed, and solo vs group practice models. Academic dermatologists earn less on average than private practice dermatologists.

Should I do research to get into dermatology residency?

Yes, a strong research background boosts your chances substantially when applying to competitive dermatology residency programs. Experience publishing studies in medical journals or presenting at conferences demonstrates your commitment to academic dermatology. Letters of recommendation from research mentors also help.

How many dermatology residency applications should I submit?

Most sources recommend submitting between 30-80 applications to maximize your chances of matching into a dermatology residency, even if you have very strong application credentials. Given the extremely low match rate, applying broadly helps protect against having one bad interview day torpedo your chances.

Is dermatology residency worth it?

The long hours, intense stress, and years of lost income during residency and fellowship can definitely test one’s enthusiasm for dermatology. But most dermatologists feel the hard work is worth it over the long run given positive factors like the interesting disorders seen, mix of medicine/surgery, control over schedules in private practice, above-average pay, and intellectual stimulation from teaching opportunities.

What is the lifestyle like as a dermatologist?

Most dermatologists enjoy flexibility in their work schedules, limited after-hours or on-call duties, a mix of office and procedure-based work, the ability to tailor their practices based on personal interests, sufficient income to enjoy life outside of work, opportunities to engage in research/academics, and sufficient patient interaction but less than primary care fields. These advantages do need to be balanced against the long road (10+ years) required to start practicing as a board-certified dermatologist.

Should I specialize if going into dermatology?

Many dermatologists today complete extra fellowship training in areas like dermatopathology, pediatric dermatology, dermatologic (Mohs) surgery, laser medicine, cosmetic dermatology, or immunodermatology to distinguish themselves. However, most new dermatologists in private practice start out offering general medical/surgical dermatology services until their careers progress. Academic dermatologists increasingly focus their work in niche areas as federal research funding becomes tighter.

How can I maximize my chances of matching into dermatology?

Keys include attaining excellent grades (top quartile or higher), scoring very high on Steps 1/2 CK of the USMLE exams, developing a strong pedigree in dermatology research (publications, presentations, mentors), making connections in the field through networking and mentors, shining during dermatology sub-internships/away rotations, acing your dermatology residency interviews, and submitting enough applications (30+ minimum) to mitigate risks from poorly matching your interests/values to particular programs.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.