4 Best Pathology Residency Programs (Key Info & Data)

Pathology is one of the lesser competitive specialties in the United States, with a match probability of 99% at a STEP 1 score above 240.

At an average of 4 years in residency length, it’s a shorter residency than the likes of general surgery (5 years), otolaryngology (5 years), and plastic surgery (6 years) too.

Doctors choosing pathology as a career can look forward to examining bodies and body tissues, helping perform lab tests, and guiding diagnosis.

With an average US annual salary of $290,000 for qualified pathologists, it’s by no means the highest paying medical specialty, but is undergoing excited changes in terms of tech and innovation.

The best pathology residency programs offer those interested in the field the greatest training possible.

This article takes a look at the top programs in the country, 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 pathology residency programs, make sure you take a look at our Best Residency Programs page to get all the critical info on other medical specialties.

1. University of Nebraska Medical Center

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$61,358

Ranking No. 6 for Primary Care and No. 54 for Research in the 2022 US News and World Report, UNMC is the best training destination for aspiring pathologists.

Their curriculum spans all major categories of anatomic and clinical pathology, giving new doctors space for a variety of career goals in private practice or otherwise. 

Should you be successful in matching, you’ll get both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology experience in the AP/CP Program, including didactic lectures in the morning.

New residents get hands-on experience in apheresis, taking calls, and other service obligations. They’re also involved in lecturing physician assistant students, and helping present publications at national meetings.

UNMC’s Anatomic Pathology Program allows sub-specialty sign-outs within the surgical pathology rotation. This helps post-grads keep track of cases, aiding in important research.

Surgical pathologists spend two weeks in each sub-specialty. This creates the ability to examine, dictate, get special stains and molecular tests, then see the results of cases.

In the Clinical Pathology Program, the scope of studies includes:

  • Molecular Pathology
  • Microbiology,
  • Molecular Immunohematology,
  • Coagulation,
  • Mycobacteriology
  • Mycology
  • Blood bank/transfusion medicine
  • Hematopathology
  • Molecular Diagnostics

Rotations cover subspecialties such as molecular diagnostics, pediatric pathology, neuropathology, and forensic pathology. Electives like transplant pathology and cytogenetics are also available.

The video below gives more info on UNMC’s unique pathology residency program…


2. University of Maryland Medical Center

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:5
PGY1 Annual Salary:$59,369

Ranking No. 29 in Research and No. 15 in Primary Care, is UMMS.

UMMC pathology works closely with the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Medical Examiner’s Office of the State. Similar to other path training, the University of Maryland offers a 4 year Anatomical and Clinical Pathology program, with the first years focused on key principles.

Rotations include hematopathology, molecular diagnostics, and neuropathology. PGY-2 & 3 undergo research for academic pathology and have the most flexibility when it comes to sub-specialties. See their Sample Rotation Schedule for more details.

ACGME-accredited fellowship positions are available in hematopathology and cytopathology.

After completing both AP and CP, or at least Anatomical Pathology, Forensic Pathology training is available via the program.


  • Name: University of Marlyland Pathology
  • Program Director: Dr Dean
  • Website: umc.edu/Pathology

3. University of Washington

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:8
PGY1 Annual Salary:N/A (see more on stipends & benefits here)

Ranking No. 9 in Research and No.1 in Primary Care, is UW.

UW Lab Medicine and Pathology head-up the Anatomical & Clinical Pathology Residency Program. Here future pathologists train at varying sites, including community hospitals, biotechnology labs, and academic medical centers. 

UW Lab medicine also presents a range of subspecialties for exploration.

The main paths of focus of the program include: 

  1. Anatomic Pathology – AP
  2. Clinical Pathology – CP
  3. Anatomic & Clinical Pathology – AP/CP
  4. Anatomic and Neurological Pathology – AP/NP

Both the AP and CP paths are two years each in core research and practice.

First-year AP training includes autopsy pathology and cytology. Training encompasses all systems in rotation and allows residents to investigate the anatomical disease process in relation to clinical findings.

Second-year AP training encourages more autonomy with the signing out of surgical specimens. Here there is expanded training in the diagnosis of diseases and specimens.

Year three offers the chance to do in-depth study or subspecialty training. 

PGY-2’s spend six months as an acting director of one or more lab areas, and the other six in elective studies for their discipline of choice. 

Rotation sites include; Seattle Children’s Hospital, King County Medical Examiner’s Office, Bloodworks Northwest, and more. 

You can check out profiles of their current residents here.


  • Name: UW Medicine Dept. of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology
  • Program Director: Mark Kilgore, MD
  • Website: dlmp.uw.edu

4. Emory University

Length of Accredited Training:4 years
Positions by Year:9
PGY1 Annual Salary:$62,108 (see more on stipends & benefits here)

Ranking No.22 in Research and No. 42 in Primary Care, is Emory.

Emory University Hospital’s pathology rotations are divided into Anatomic and Clinical pathways.

In the Clinical pathway, core rotations are divided as follows:

  • Transfusion Meidcine and Coagulation
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Hematopathology

Molecular Diagnostics is an additional rotation on this pathway also.

In the Anatomic pathway, the six subspecialties on their core surgical pathology rotation include: 

  • Breast pathology
  • Gynecology pathology
  • Gastrointestinal pathology
  • Lung pathology
  • Head and Neck pathology

Residents spend a month training in each subspecialty. This involves daily functions, providing support, and teaching.

Core autopsy covers locations at Emory University Hospital, Emory Midtown, and Grady Memorial Hospital.

Rotation sites include Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, and Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Pathology Resident profiles are visible here.


Pathology Residency Rankings

Ranking pathology residency programs based on prestige is a tricky task. The programs above, however, based on research, consistently show up among students and the Reddit community as some of the best. Outside of Doximity’s residency rankings, however, it’s a fairly subjective matter which is best.

To get more intrinsic data I recommend using Reddit’s Pathology Match spreadsheet. There are also useful links to the Discord communities for hopeful internal medicine residents there too.

How Do Pathology Residency Programs Work?

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

Pathology residency programs are medium in training length, averaging 4 years.

After residency common subspecialties (fellowships) pursued include breast pathology, dermatopathology, clinical pathology, and cytopathology.

How Many Pathology Residency Programs Are There?

There are over 142 pathology residency training programs in the US, with over 605 categorical positions (Source).

The examples provided in the programs above are considered the finest offered 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 Pathology 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, pathology residency program applications include the following:

  • A completed ERAS application
  • Personal statement/s
  • Supplemental statement/s (where requested)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • 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 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 good letters of recommendation.


  • https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/physician-pathology-salary

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