Pathology is the branch of medicine that uses the examination of tissues, organs, bodily fluids and autopsies for diagnostic and forensic purposes. Pathologists also provide blood and blood components, like stem cells, for treatment. Pathology training is typically 3 to 4 years (depending on the program) and most residents will receive training in both anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP). From there, Pathology also has a diverse amount of subspecialty options to delve into. While Pathology is a relatively small specialty, it is not considered one of the more competitive specialties, especially for residency candidates truly interested in Pathology. It is suggested that applicants applying to Pathology residency programs should try to do a few away rotations in Pathology and research. In 2018, there were 163 residency programs offered with a total of 601 positions, and about 30 went unfilled. Many medical schools send just one, or often no seniors, into pathology residencies. Only 237 US seniors applied in 2018, but some medical schools’ seniors tend to follow this path more frequently. Here are notable medical schools for pathology.
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The Houston, Texas medical school is made up of 85% Texas residents, and underrepresented minority groups in medicine make up 21 percent of the Baylor medical students. Baylor offers medical students several pathology electives, including Pediatric Pathology, Anatomical Pathology, Hematopathology, Forensic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Molecular Genetic Pathology. In 2018, four Baylor seniors found their match with pathology residency programs.
Accepted students to Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, had a median GPA of 3.7 and a median MCAT score of 514. In 2018, 4 Emory seniors matched into pathology. The pathology rotation at Emory is a four-week rotation, divided into blocks that cover each of the major aspects of pathology. Students get hands-on experience in gross examination and dissection of surgical specimens, microscopic study of tissue and formulation of pathologic diagnoses.
In 2019, 1 Harvard Medical School senior matched into a pathology residency. Students in the medical school have the option of a month-long elective in general pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, designed to increase understanding of clinicopathologic correlations, pathophysiological mechanisms, and the interrelationships of diseased organs in systemic disorders. Students have the opportunity to participate in all activities of a hospital pathology department, including participation in/performance of autopsies, diagnostic surgical pathology and cytology, and attendance at departmental conferences. Students prepare and present a case-based topic of their choice at the end of their rotation. Harvard Medical School, located in Boston’s medical research hub, is surprisingly small. With a class size of 165, the MD program is highly competitive, with a median matriculant GPA of 3.9 and a median MCAT score of 519 in 2019.
The Chicago-based medical school admits a class of 161, with a median GPA of 3.91 and a median MCAT score of 520. The Department of Pathology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine offers a four-week pathology rotation for M3 and M4 medical students. The goal of the rotation is to provide a thorough understanding of the pathology of a wide variety of diseases, the natural history of the diseases and the normal anatomy and histology of the human organism. The rotation provides a comprehensive understanding of all facets of surgical pathology by exposing the students to state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques that range from standard procedures to advanced molecular approaches. It’s a valuable introduction to the field of diagnostic pathology for medical students going into pathology and non-pathology careers. In 2019, four Northwestern seniors matched into pathology residency programs.
In 2018, two Stanford seniors matched into pathology. The Department of Pathology at Stanford offers a 12-month fellowship for up to two medical students between their pre-clinical and clinical years or after their first clinical year of medical school. The goal of the program is to offer fellows a broad exposure to the practice of pathology in an academic medical center. A key feature of the program is flexibility to accommodate the individual interests of each student; however, the typical program consists of six months of research and six months of clinical service. One of the clinical months is elective. This month may be used to explore an area of subspecialty interest. Possible areas of elective study in anatomic pathology include dermatopathology, neuropathology, renal pathology, lymph node pathology, forensic pathology or cytology.
Students applying to this selective medical school will likely need to be well in the 90th percentile band to be a competitive candidate. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA offers medical students an Off-Campus Pathology Clerkship, an elective opportunity for students to explore Pathology outside the traditional Pathology elective format. Students will learn diagnostic pathology skills pertinent to their field of interest in general or sub-specialty fields of Anatomic Pathology. There is also an opportunity to explore Surgical & Autopsy Pathology where students will complete one autopsy and work-up surgical/cytology specimens. In 2019, one DGSOM senior matched into a pathology residency program.
Two UCSF seniors found pathology residencies in 2018. The Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine provide 2-4 week medical students electives in surgical and autopsy pathology and hematology at Moffitt-Long Hospital, and in general laboratory medicine and microbiology at San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center. During these rotations, students are an integral part of the daily work with hands-on exposure to the various aspects of pathology and/or laboratory medicine. In addition, a one year research fellowship is available with advance arrangement. UCSF’s entering class’s median undergraduate GPA sits at 3.8 and the average MCAT score percentile for students entering in 2019 was 94. It routinely receives more than 7,700 applications and has an especially great track record of admitting students traditionally underrepresented in medicine.
With more than 180 medical students, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is the only comprehensive academic health sciences center in Colorado and the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region. During the pathology elective, a student rotates through Anatomic Pathology (AP) services (surgical, cytology, autopsy, pediatric). Subspecialty rotations can be arranged later on. The incoming class in 2018 had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.76 and an average MCAT score of 511. Six CU seniors matched into pathology residencies in 2019.
The Department of Pathology & Immunology at WashU offers the following electives for medical students in their third or fourth year: Autopsy Pathology, Dermatopathology, Diagnostic Hematopathology, Molecular Pathology, Surgical Pathology, and more. In 2018, two WashU seniors found their match with pathology residency programs.
Weill Cornell receives approximately 6,000 applications for 106 positions in the entering class and grants interviews to 700-750 applicants for the M.D. program, and around 70 for the M.D.-Ph.D. program. The New York City-based school’s matriculants boast very high median GPAs and MCAT scores—3.88 and 518 respectively. In 2019, two of the school’s seniors matched into pathology residencies, The pathology elective at Weill Cornell provides exposure to the wide range of clinical services and research activities of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Students can rotate through both anatomic and clinical pathology. The specific rotations in this elective will be customized to meet the career goals of the individual student. Areas that can be covered in Anatomic pathology include autopsy, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, genitourinary, hematopathology, pulmonary, head and neck/endocrine, neuropathology, cytopathology, etc. Students have the opportunity to attend departmental conferences and lectures and participate in sign out sessions.