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Dermatology Specialty at a Glance

Students interested in a career in dermatology should understand that dermatologic disease is often tied to systemic issues. Electives in general medicine teach important components of comprehensive patient care.

Match Statistics

Step 2 median score: 257
25th percentile USMLE Step 2 CK: 249.0
75th percentile USMLE Step 2 CK: 264.0

  • Why should a student choose dermatology?

    Dermatology is a primarily outpatient specialty that attracts students who are visual learners, thrive in a fast-paced environment, enjoy taking care of a wide range of ages and have an interest in complex medical dermatology with some exposure to minor procedures such as skin cancer surgery and lasers.

  • Are there things students should be doing in Phase 1 (year 1 and 2) to prepare?

    Exploring dermatology through shadowing opportunities and pursuing research opportunities with dermatology faculty can be helpful.

  • What electives are recommended for students pursuing dermatology?

    Highly recommended electives:

    • One to two dermatology electives

    • Involvement in dermatology project

    • Attendance at grand rounds and didactics is encouraged

    • Research strengthens an application. Research can be case reports or longitudinal studies. One to two publications is a good goal.

    Suggested electives:

    • Allergy

    • Infectious disease

    • Rheumatology

    • Sub-internship in medicine or pediatrics

    • Student with an interest in research could take a dermatology research elective

    • Students with a pathology interest could take a dermatopathology elective

    • Surgery electives are generally unnecessary

  • What sub-Is are recommended for students pursuing dermatology?

    It is recommended to do medicine or pediatrics sub-Is.

  • Is an away rotation recommended for dermatology?

    Yes, one to two away electives are recommended for this specialty.

  • How important is research? Does it have to be specific to dermatology?

    For this specialty, research is important. Ideally it would be in the field of dermatology, but if not, it is important to emphasize skills gained from any research experience on your applications.

  • How long is dermatology residency training?

    There is one year of medicine, pediatrics or surgery as a preliminary year followed by three years of dermatology residency.

  • Are there any dermatology specific recommendations regarding letters of recommendation?

    The most important consideration is picking a person to write the letter who really knows you. This often happens after working on a project with a faculty member or spending an extended period of time with them in a clinical setting.

  • What are some useful resources for students considering dermatology?

    Engaging in the dermatology student interest group can be helpful to guide you through the process and expose you to opportunities in the Department of Dermatology at IU School of Medicine.

    Students can explore student opportunities through the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) or Society of Pediatric Dermatology including travel grants to meetings. The AAD also has a great online basic curriculum for students to learn dermatology before and during their rotations.

  • How does career mentoring at the IU School of Medicine work in dermatology?

    Email Grayce Beach, the Department of Dermatology's administrative assistant, to be paired with a faculty or resident.