Doctorate of Dermatology Program

The Program’s Response to COVID:
In an effort to abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, the International Graduate Training Program in Dermatology has adopted a hybrid curriculum during the 2020-2021 academic year, including in-person and remote clinical and academic experiences. We plan to maintain this hybrid curriculum until given further instructions by institutional leadership. Our administrative team, in partnership with the Boston University International Students and Scholars Office, will continue to support international trainees with visa sponsorship while following local and federal protocols concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program Description

The Doctorate of Dermatology program is designed for medical graduates seeking advanced training in dermatology, are based on U.S. graduate medical training methods, encompassing didactic lectures, seminars, conferences, direct patient contact, and in the case of the Doctorate degree, a thesis requirement. All clinical sessions are under direct faculty supervision, and trainees are given increased responsibility as their training progresses. Intensive teaching in dermatopathology is an integral and continuous part of all programs. Much of it takes place at this multi-head microscope.

Program Details

Trainees are initially enrolled in the Master of Science Program only.  Those interested in continuing their training beyond the Masters, may apply for the for the Doctorate of Dermatology Program for an additional two years of training.  Acceptance into the Doctorate program is contingent upon successful completion of the Masters Program, meeting the minimum score requirement on the ABD In-service Exam, and identification of a suitable mentor and project. We do not offer this program independent of the master’s program. 

Graduation Requirements

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

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.

Toward the end of the second academic year, students also have to pass an Final Oral 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.

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.


Doctorate applications are handled internally, once the student’s Master’s degree experience is evaluated by faculty. 


Trainees are enrolled as special students at the Boston University School of Medicine and are covered by the School’s malpractice and health insurance policies. The University will process your I-20 for a F-1 visa after receipt of your confirmation, deposit, and paperwork.

Instruction of trainees in the Department of Dermatology is yearlong from July 1 through June 30.  Three weeks of vacation per year is customary.

All full-time degree programs are tuition-bearing. The tuition fee set by Boston University School of Medicine currently stands at USD $60,864 per year.


For further information please contact:

Tara Cusack

Training Programs Manager
Department of Dermatology
Boston University School of Medicine
609 Albany Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02118 USA

Telephone: 617.358.9728
Fax: 617.358.9709