5 Best Dermatology Residency Programs (Key Info & Data)

Dermatology is a hugely popular medical specialty, not just for its “lifestyle friendly” fit, but also probably because of its $358,000 average US salary.

Focused on skin, nails, hair, and other cosmetic issues, it’s also an important one.

The best dermatology residency programs offer those interested in the specialty the greatest training possible in the field and boast some of the finest dermatologists on earth as alumni. But they are competitive; as evidenced by a limited number of residency spots (approx 400).

This article takes a look at the top 6 programs in the country (as ranked by the US News Best Grad Schools Report 2022), taking a deep dive into what’s offered by each and what you can expect if you’re lucky enough to match.

We’ve also included key info on facts/stats for each program (where publicized) too.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Before you dive into our article on the best dermatology residency programs, make sure you take a look at our Best Residency Programs page to get all the critical info on other specialty programs.

1. Stanford University

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:9/6/10
PGY1 Annual Salary:

Stanford Dermatology ranks first in the nation for NIH funding and has the largest full-time faculty of any department in the field. The Stanford Dermatology Residency Program teaches a strong foundation in medical, pediatric, surgical, procedural, and cosmetic dermatology. 

On Tuesday mornings, residents attend clinical and pharmacology lectures structured around pathology-based themes. Pharmacology core lectures are taught in a case-based approach. In addition, the curriculum includes specialized lectures covering pediatric dermatology, basic science and translational medicine, and dermatology surgery didactics.

The 2+1 Track in Basic Science Investigation is designed for trainees interested in laboratory investigation. During the last year (PGY-4), postdoctoral laboratory work replaces most of the clinical training.

Residents seeking more exposure to education or clinical research can enter the Clinical Scholars Track. Academic leadership skills are developed through formal training courses, attending national dermatology retreats, and completing a mentored project. Participating in this track involves time spent in addition to the requirements of the clinical residency.

The residency program allows residents one month to complete a clinical elective during their training. Unique opportunities may be available outside of Stanford. Some residents have even completed electives abroad, in Taiwan and Botswana. And instead of a clinical elective, residents may choose to dedicate a month of their training to a research experience.

To find out more about Stanford’s residency experiences, check out the video below…


  • Name: Stanford University
  • Location: Stanford, CA 94305
  • Program director: Kristin Nord
  • Contact: 650-721-7193/kathrina@stanford.edu
  • Website: med.stanford.edu/dermatology

2. Yale University

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:5
PGY1 Annual Salary:

The Dermatology Residency Program of the Yale School of Medicine is designed to prepare physicians for careers in academic dermatology. As such, the program emphasizes elements of dermatology relevant to a career as a clinician educator, clinical scholar, or physician-scientist.

The 3-year program at Yale-New Haven Hospital is accredited by the ACGME and provides a comprehensive training experience in the clinical practice of dermatology. It offers a special training track in investigative dermatology funded by the NIH. A combined 2+2 Clinical Training and Research Track is also available.

Each year, the program receives over 500 applications. And around 40 candidates are invited to interview for the 4 to 5 positions to be filled annually.

Related: Dermatology: Why Is It So Competitive?

The residents have rotations in general dermatology clinics, specialty clinics, surgery and laser clinics, as well as dermatopathology and phototherapy. Second and third-year residents can design their own on-site or off-site one-month electives. The department has made a special arrangement for residents to spend a funded elective in London.

Take a closer look at Yale’s dermatology program in the video below…


  • Name: Yale University
  • Location: New Haven, CT 06520
  • Program director: Michael Girardi
  • Contact: (203) 785-4092/lisa.rao@yale.edu
  • Website: medicine.yale.edu/dermatology

3. University of Pittsburgh

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:5
PGY1 Annual Salary:

Pitt’s Dermatology Residency Program offers access to abundant clinical resources in all areas of dermatology throughout the University Health Centers and other institutions affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh.

The didactic portion of the resident’s learning is composed of lectures and conferences scheduled every Wednesday morning. Core competencies such as patient care, professionalism, and communication skills are integrated into the educational material taught and each of the clinical rotations.

Residents perform one research project each year under the supervision of a faculty mentor. And each resident must complete a manuscript report for peer-review publication to satisfy the graduation requirements for each year of residency.

The Resident Continuity Clinic allows residents to develop their expertise with relative autonomy. Residents formulate differential diagnoses and evaluate treatment options for their patients. They are then able to follow their patient’s progress.

The residents in the program practice in different general dermatology clinics to build an exhaustive knowledge of medical dermatology. From the traditional university-based clinic to private practice offices, they’re exposed to a variety of treatment strategies in the practice of dermatology.

You can find out more about this program in the video below…


4. University of California Irvine

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:5/5/5
PGY1 Annual Salary:

The Department of Dermatology at UCI School of Medicine offers a three-year ACGME accredited residency program designed to help residents become experts in medical and surgical dermatology. The program has 15 residents. Five positions are offered in each year’s match cycle, starting at the PGY-2 year.

The residents rotate through the dermatopathology service at UCI Medical Center during all three years of training. This includes a 10-week dedicated block of inpatient consults in the PGY-3 year. Residents also complete pediatric dermatology rotation blocks at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County during the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years.

A structured didactic program encompasses all areas of basic science and clinical education for which residents are examined by the American Board of Dermatology. Every Friday morning, residents attend lectures, conferences, and journal clubs.

Check out the video below for more on UCI’s derm program…


5. University of Michigan

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:5/5/5
PGY1 Annual Salary:

The University of Michigan Dermatology Residency is a traditional three-year training program giving its residents exposure to diverse clinical settings, philosophies, and patient populations. Established in 1913, it’s one of the oldest programs in the nation.

Residents have eight hours of protected didactic time each week. That’s the most of any U.S. program. The didactic curriculum is comprehensive and rigorous to prepare residents for the practice of dermatology and board exams. Practice management discussions and conferences cover the administrative, ethical, and legal aspects of modern medicine.

Rotating through various services and clinics, residents at Michigan spend most of their time in general and complex dermatology. The two main clinical sites are the Taubman Clinic, on the main medical campus, and the Domino’s Farms Clinic, on the north side of Ann Harbor.

Residents are encouraged to participate in clinical research projects, collaborating with faculty. Third-year residents can choose to dedicate half a day per week to serve as sub-investigators on sponsored clinical research trials where they learn how to use various clinical research tools.

PGY-4 residents have one month of elective time that they can use for additional training in procedural dermatopathology. They can also pursue research projects, write papers, or spend time in other services at the hospital.


How Do Dermatology Residency Programs Work?

Training in dermatology involves completing four years of graduate medical education first before moving on to dedicated residency programs.

Dermatology programs are short in training length, averaging 3 years.

The specialty is one of the more competitive in the US. The average USMLE Step 1 score of individuals matching into the specialty is 248, while the average USMLE Step 2CK score is 256.

After residency common subspecialties (fellowships) pursued include dermatological immunology, dermatopathology and pediatric dermatology.

How Many Dermatology Residency Programs Are There?

There are over 150 dermatology residency training programs accredited by the American Board of Dermatology.

The examples above are considered the finest offered among those programs in the US and are ranked on criteria via peer assessment, residency director assessment, student selectivity, the mean MCAT score for the institution, the mean GPA of its matriculants, faculty resources, research activity and more.

The exact methodology is detailed in the U.S. News Best Medical Schools Rankings pages

How to Get Accepted Into a Top Dermatology Residency Program

Gaining admission into the top residency programs involves submitting a competitive application via ERAS, The Electronic Residency Application Service.

This is a centralized online application service that you’ll need to use in order to “match” into the programs above.

Most programs begin reading applications over the first couple of weeks of autumn/fall and invite applicants to interview in the weeks following.

Generally, dermatology residency program applications include the following:

  • A completed ERAS application
  • Personal statement/s
  • Supplemental statement/s (where requested)
  • Letters of recommendation from dermatologists (usually following the SLOR format)
  • A full, official medical school transcript
  • Your USMLE Step 1/COMLEX transcripts
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Selection criteria are specific for each program but commonly applicants are scored on a combination of grades, clinical and research experiences, special interests, and anything else surgical departments/programs find relevant.

To be competitive, and stand a chance at matching into the best programs, you’re going to need great Step 1 and Step 2 scores, research experience, impressive extracurriculars, and a solid letter of recommendation.


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