So you are interested in doing an external rotation. Maybe you are looking for training in something your program doesn't have, or just trying to supplement with an outside perspective. Maybe you are interested in doing a fellowship at another institution and this is a way to meet people. Maybe you just want to get away from your program :-). All of these are valid reasons to do an external rotation and I personally think the experience is invaluable.

Bullet points of the information below:

  • There is no official list of external rotations, most everywhere/everyone will take you if they have space.

What You Should KnowEdit

Some things you should know: There really are no "official" external rotations at most institutions (some private labs do have some with applications and everything, more for CP specialties, ie molecular, micro, etc.). That being said, you can do an external rotation at almost any institution.

How Do You Get A SpotEdit

You just need to do a little research, either online or by word of mouth, on what programs you may want to visit or which attending you want to work with, then just email them. Having done several myself it was simple to set up. I just emailed the attending, said I was interested in spending some time with them, and asked when they had openings and what the process was. Everyone just sent me back the available time slots, some then said 'just pick one', some said 'just pick one and send me a CV for formality sake'...I did not have any 'application' process to go through (and I went to big name places). You can also ask your program director, other residents/fellows, or CAP Resident's Forum members for guidance. :-) So that's basically it. You just have to ask. Good luck.

Suggestions (ie What Should Be Obvious)Edit

  • I would send an email, not call. That way they can respond when it is convenient for them and you don't catch them off gaurd, or when they are really busy, or in a bad mood, etc.
  • Work Hard! This goes without saying if you are looking for a fellowship position, but also keep in mind pathology is a small world. You do not want to give yourself or your program a bad reputation.

External Rotation OpportunitiesEdit

Have you done an external elective? Please post a review here so other residents can easily find institutions at which to do external rotations.


  • Soft Tissue Pathology, Emory - Spent a month here with Dr. Weiss. It was an amazing experience. Everyone was very friendly and I saw about 300 or so soft tissue cases in that month. I applied for the fellowship and interviewed during my month at Emory. I was later accepted to both soft tissue and dermpath fellowships at Emory. Highly recommend this rotation. Jerad 04:28, January 25, 2011 (UTC)


  • Bone and Soft Tissue, Mass. General Hospital - I had an excellent experience here. Dr. Andrew Rosenberg is a great teacher and made me feel welcome. I suggest this place for anyone interested in BST or who doesn't get any/much at their program.


  • Surgical Pathology, The Methodist Hospital (Houston) - Trained here as a resident. We had many surg path rotators. Good volume of interesting cases. Daily afternoon teaching sessions with Dr. Jae Ro, and these were phenomenal. Dr. Ro is often in Korea from Jan through June, so make sure to ask if he will be there during your rotation. It is worth waiting for a time that he will be there. Jerad 04:28, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Dermatopathology, UT Houston - Outstanding rotation with Dr. Rapini. Spent two months on this service and it was so much fun. Rapini is a great guy and the cases are outstanding. Good clinical opportunities, as well, if desired. Jerad 04:28, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Dermatopathology, Baylor (Houston) - Excellent cases and very intensive clinical opportunities at the county hospital. Dr. Diwan is the program director; he is a funny, nice guy. Very energetic and likes to teach. Jerad 04:28, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Dermatopathology, UTMB (Galveston) - I really enjoyed this rotation with Dr. Sanchez and his two fellows. Very nice cases and you get to spend some time seeing patients in Dr. Sanchez's clinic. He is a good teacher and very nice to work with. Jerad 04:28, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Dermatopathology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) - See lots of melanomas on this rotation. Dr. Prieto is one of the best teachers for melanocytic lesions. Other faculty were also nice. I spent a lot of time looking at re-excision scars and lymph node dissections, though, so this was one downside of the rotation. Otherwise, things were good.
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