Residency Program

The Vanderbilt University Pathology Residency Training Program is accredited to offer four years of education and training in combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (APCP4), four years of education and training in combined Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology (APNP4), three years of education and training in Anatomic Pathology (AP3) or three years of training in Clinical Pathology (CP3).   Up to six months of a program can be dedicated to full time research, without affecting the length of training, as long as other requirements are met.  The program also encourages residents to participate in extended curricula to include research opportunities during residency in the Physician Scientist Track, where the trainee may engage in research under the mentorship of an established investigator.  Although trainees are encouraged to apply for funding for such experiences, departmental resources may be requested for research training.  Nearly all residents participate in smaller research projects during spare time during training.  Departmental research grants for such small projects with Department faculty are also available.

Educational Goals

The ultimate goal of the Residency Training Program in Pathology is to prepare graduate physicians from U.S. or Canadian medical or osteopathic schools accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges, or other medical graduates certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates for independent careers as pathologists certified by the American Board of Pathology, or for subsequent specialized training in one of the subdisciplines of Pathology.

In training for careers in Pathology, Residents develop knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with the six Core Competencies as set forward in the Outcome Project of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Specifically, residents completing training are expected to demonstrate:

Patient Care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health

Medical Knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement that involves investigation and evaluation of their own patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient care

Interpersonal and Communication Skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families, and other health professionals

Professionalism, as manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population

Systems-Based Practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value

In order to attain these Core Competencies, the Program has published this Program Statement for applicants, residents and faculty. The Program Statement sets forth Goals and Objectives in each rotation that address each of the Core Competencies, and describes the process by which progress of residents is to be evaluated.


The philosophy of the Program is to develop the skills of the Resident as a junior colleague through a series of graded responsibilities culminating in independent decision making.

Within the scope of the Program is the potential to train the Resident for a career in the community, in academic service, in government or in basic research.

Valuable learning is acknowledged to take place not only in interactions between the Staff and the Resident, but also in interactions among Residents.

Although it is acknowledged that the new Resident may not always have a clear career plan at the outset of training, frequent interviews with the Director will attempt to elicit a career plan so that educational resources can be reserved for the Resident as soon as possible.

Research Opportunities

VUMC is among the leading research institutions in the United States.  The Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology has a strong research faculty that is rapidly growing, with research and clinical faculty who are enthusiastically committed to mentoring interested residents.  In addition to developing clinical expertise, residents are strongly encouraged to pursue methods development research projects or clinical, translational or basic science research projects during their residency training.  Special funds are set aside to support resident research and attendance at national meetings.


Residents are strongly encouraged to pursue pathology practice and training intellectually, with curiosity and imagination, and, as appropriate, to submit manuscripts for publication during residency training.  Publishing is considered a valuable learning experience and an important part of the residency program, regardless of the eventual practice setting for the individual resident.  Publications may be related to methods development, clinical or basic research, or reviews.  Residents should identify an appropriate faculty research preceptor by the middle of the second year of training or request a meeting with the Program Director or the Chair for guidance.

Teaching Opportunities

Residents participate in many and varied teaching conferences conducted by the department, as one of the main goals of the program is to provide residents with skills in communication, public speaking, and teaching.  Residents are required to participate and present in many intradepartmental and interdepartmental conferences with faculty support and guidance.  Senior residents are also expected to serve as important teaching resources for junior residents in most of the program’s longitudinal rotations.  Residents who have a particular interest in medical school teaching can participate in small group microscopy and gross organ recital sessions with the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

 Additionally, participation in teaching the Vanderbilt Medical Technology Course and the Belmont Physical Therapy students' pathology course is encouraged.

  • The Pathology Residency Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center considers for training graduate physicians from US or Canadian medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), graduate physicians from US osteopathic schools accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and other non-US/Canadian medical graduates who are currently certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), or who have completed a Fifth Pathway program through an LCME-accredited medical school, or who otherwise hold and maintain a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the State of Tennessee.  Applicants anticipating graduation (generally before July 1 of the year in which training is to commence) from LCME-accredited US or Canadian medical schools or AOA-accredited US osteopathic schools will be considered eligible applicants.  No other anticipated credentials will be accepted.  When an applicant is considered eligible on the basis of anticipated graduation as specified above, proof of graduation must be provided before training may begin.  Failure to provide proof of graduation may result in withdrawal of offer of contract.

    All applications for PGY1 positions must be received through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and must include proof of current eligibility as an applicant, a personal statement, USMLE Step 1 score or COMLEX Step 1 score, no fewer than two letters of recommendation and a separate Dean’s letter (Medical Student Performance Evaluation MSPE). Effective for the class entering on July 1, 2013 and later, all applicants are required to register and seek positions through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), and to abide by the rules of that program.  Applications for positions beyond the PGY1 year will be considered only from eligible applicants who demonstrate previous training in a pathology residency program accredited at the time of the previous training by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  Applications for positions beyond the PGY1 year must provide from previous program director(s) competency-based assessment of the applicant’s graduate medical educational experiences, and full disclosure of performance in previous pathology rotations.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to release the previous program director(s) from all liability for disclosure of this information.

    Final offer of a contract by Vanderbilt University Medical Center is also dependent upon the performance of a criminal background check, for which permission must be given by the trainee.

    Residents are selected from among eligible applicants on the basis of their preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, integrity and motivation for a career in pathology.  The program does not discriminate in its selection with regard to sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation.

  • Residency candidates with exceptional achievements and commitment to a career in scientific investigation are offered specialized opportunities for research career development, utilizing resources derived both from the department and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  The goal of the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology is to seamlessly integrate residency, fellowship and postdoctoral research training to prepare the trainee to become an  independently funded investigator in the shortest possible time after the commencement of training.  

    The Physician Scientist Track in Pathology achieves its desired outcomes by providing trainees with three important advantages:

    First, because of our size and flexibility, the Vanderbilt Pathology Residency can offer trainees specialized programs other than the traditional four-year combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology training program (APCP4).  Three-year programs in Anatomic Pathology (AP3) or Clinical Pathology (CP3), ideally suited to specialized academic practice, provide trainees with exposure to their chosen disciplines beyond that which is possible within the context of the APCP4 program, while still being able to provide up to six months of research training as a part of the three-year program.  In addition, trainees in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology may elect to extend their research training with postdoctoral research experiences, either following residency training, or by incorporating an extended research experience during the residency years.  In either case, trainees are encouraged to find an optimal research home either in the department or in any other department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Each curriculum is tailored to fit the trainee’s career development goals.

    Second, the Pathology Department offers participating trainees financial support for extended research experiences in any department at VanderbiltUniversity Medical Center.  Trainees receive salary and fringe benefits plus an allotment for supplies.  Salary support for the first research year is guaranteed for trainees in good standing in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology.  Departmental funds are intended as a bridge to obtaining funding for postdoctoral training from one of the many training programs at VanderbiltUniversity Medical Center, or independent funding from private foundations or the National Institutes of Health. The guaranteed departmental funding facilitates entry of the trainee into the most appropriate research laboratory regardless of the immediate availability of funds to support an additional trainee in the laboratory.

    Third, the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology provides exemplary mentoring and career development guidance to the trainee from many investigators both in the Department of Pathology and in other departments at VanderbiltUniversity Medical Center. In addition to activities in the Department of Pathology, trainees in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology also participate in joint scientific, mentoring, and social activities with participants in the physician scientist tracks of other Vanderbilt departments.   The track provides continuity in mentoring and career development between the MD/PhD program of the student years and programs such as the Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development program for junior faculty.

    Residency candidates interested in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology are encouraged to inquire further at the time of initial residency application.

  • Residents are eligible for health benefits, dental insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, personal spending accounts, short-term and long-term disability, a retirement plan, professional liability insurance, support services and vacation and sick leave. Hospital benefits additionally include malpractice insurance and state licensure waiver. Additionally, the department provides to residents the use of a pager, use of a microscope, $1,000.00 annual professional fund, and support to attend one national meeting per year for presentation of research.

    House Staff Stipends for 2024 - 2025 are:

    PGY LevelStipendMonthly Stipend