Admissions and Graduation Requirements


Boston University Department of Dermatology offers Master of Science, and Doctor of Science degrees in Dermatology after successful completion of 2, and 4 years, respectively, of full-time study and training. The application deadline for programs starting July 1 is December 15.

We seek the following criteria from our candidates:

  • a medical degree (M.D. or equivalent) from an accredited university
  • a year of internship and one or more years of experience in the practice of medicine (preferably dermatology)
  • proficiency in English (TOEFL score of 575 for the paper-based test, 232 for the computer-based test, and 90 for the internet-based test; or an IELTS score of 7).

The Diploma is equivalent to the first year of the Master’s degree, and the Master degree is equivalent to the first 2 years of the 4 year Doctorate degree. Admission to the 4-year Doctorate program may be granted after successful completion of the Masters program, achieving a minimum score of the 50th percentile on the ABD Inservice Exam (more on the exam below), and identification of a suitable mentor and project.

Graduation Requirements

Trainees have primary patient responsibilities and receive hands-on training in all dermatologic procedures under direct faculty supervision.
Trainees have primary patient responsibilities and receive hands-on training in all dermatologic procedures under direct faculty supervision.

Coursework and Clinic Performance

Evaluation of the students’ performance is based on attendance, exams, written assignments, and faculty evaluations. In clinic, students work under the direct supervision of a faculty member at all times. The faculty member is responsible for assessing in an ongoing manner the students’ history- taking and physical examination skills, background medical and dermatologic knowledge, ability to construct a differential diagnosis, logical approach to patient management, medical judgment, knowledge of therapies including both efficacy and potential side effects, ability to communicate appropriately with referring physicians and other professional colleagues, and consideration and compassion in the care of individual patients.

International trainees document patient encounters in electronic medical records.
International trainees document patient encounters in electronic medical records.

ABD Inservice Exam

Each February, trainees are required to take the In-Training Examination of the American Board of Dermatology (ABD), a standardized centrally-graded four-hour examination administered to all dermatology residents in the United States at their training program sites. This comprehensive examination probes knowledge of all aspects of dermatology and includes interpretation of clinical photographs and dermatopathology slides as well as assessment of cognitive knowledge. Trainees in the program are required to score at or above the 15th percentile in order to graduate.

609 Albany Street, the home of the dermatology department. Most of the didactic sessions take place in this building. It also houses the administrative offices and a large space for the international trainees with a desk for each trainee and computers.

Oral Exam

Toward the end of the second academic year, students also have to pass an oral final examination that will test all aspects of dermatology. An external examiner can be invited to participate in this oral examination. Passing this oral exam is also a graduation requirement. Students who are not found satisfactory in their coursework will not be allowed to sit for the final examination.

Doctoral Thesis

Trainees in the Doctorate Program, in addition to the requirements for the Masters, must complete a written thesis and successfully defend that thesis to his/her dissertation committee prior to graduation. The thesis committee must consist of at least four persons expert in the subject matter, one of whom is the thesis supervisor who has worked closely with the student for at least one year and at least one of whom may be appointed from outside the Department of Dermatology.

Preparation and defense of the thesis occupies a substantial portion of the last two years of study. In some instances, granting of the degree is delayed beyond the expected date of graduation, pending modification to the written thesis and/or additional meetings with the thesis committee. In order to receive the Doctorate degree, the student must satisfactorily complete all course work, as outlined above, and the thesis itself.