Medical Education

Quick Facts

We offer four courses to medical students:

  • A 2-week rotation for SMPH students
  • A 4-week rotation for SMPH students recommended for those interested in a dermatology career
  • A 4-week rotation for visiting students (Jul-Nov only)
  • A 2-week course focused on the basic science foundation of cutaneous diseases, which also includes a clinical component
  • A variable-length research elective

See below for information on all courses as well as enrollment/application instructions.

How to Enroll

SMPH students can enroll in courses through the student portal during the normal class selection period.

Visiting students will follow a different procedure outlined in the course description below.

Course Details

The courses offered by the Department of Dermatology allow students to evaluate a high volume of patients and practice pattern recognition to make accurate diagnoses. The practice of dermatology is exciting, challenging, and applicable to a wide variety of medical specialties. We expect that you will have an outstanding educational experience with us.

The two-week elective rotation

The two-week elective rotation introduces learners to a wide array of skin diseases. Basic and advanced concepts in the language of dermatology with emphasis on recognizing morphologic patterns and the proper descriptions of clinical findings are stressed. The pathophysiology of common skin diseases is covered. The student will be encouraged to develop a differential diagnosis and treatment plan for patients they encounter. Relevant laboratory studies and biopsy techniques will be reinforced. Hands-on experience with minor procedures is possible under close supervision.

The student completes the rotation with a better understanding of this specialty’s complexity, dermatology nomenclature and the basic groups of skin disease.

Enroll in this course through the student portal during the normal class selection period.

The four-week elective rotation

The four-week elective rotation builds upon these goals of the 2-week rotation with greater time to appreciate the subtleties of skin health, improve diagnostic skills and witness less common conditions encountered in the clinic. Students on this rotation often complete a special project or write-up in concert with faculty and/or a resident.

If you are considering a career in dermatology, please indicate this to the faculty. We welcome students at all levels of interest and wish to provide additional guidance to those seeking future training in this specialty.

Enroll in this course through the student portal during the normal class selection period.

Clinical rotation for visiting (non-SMPH) students

The Department of Dermatology is pleased to offer fourth-year electives in dermatology to visiting medical students during the months of July – November. Students find this a great opportunity to evaluate the program and many of our visiting students go on to become dermatology residents at the UW.

Due to high demand and limited availability, we ask that candidates interested in a visiting rotation email or fax a CV, cover letter and transcript to Jennifer Hanser ( or fax: 608-287-2676). Applications will be reviewed by our residency & education coordinators. Applicants invited to rotate must then submit an application through VSAS (external link).

Accepted students will be notified and should then arrange the rotation through the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Application instructions and eligibility requirements can be found at School of Medicine and Public Health – Visiting Students.

Two-week science of cutaneous diseases course

This course will introduce students to basic science principles of normal and abnormal cutaneous functioning, building on the principles introduced in the Phase 1 Invaders and Defense course. These core concepts will be applied though interactions with patients in the clinical setting. By the end of this course, students will be equipped with foundational basic science knowledge to diagnose and treat dermatologic diseases.

Enroll in this course through the student portal during the normal class selection period.

Variable-length clinical research elective

This two-to-eight week course focuses on the basic science foundation of cutaneous diseases and encourages students to investigate their own research interests while working alongside faculty in a clinical setting.

Students develop a course of study tailored to fit their accepted proposal and the recommendations of their supervising faculty mentor. Learners will then engage in clinical research though an apprentice-style learning experience with a physician-scientist mentor, with the goal of ultimately writing or contributing to a research proposal, analyzing data, conducting literature reviews, and communicating results of clinical research. The specific goals and outcomes depend on the plan laid out by the student and approved by their mentor.

Students earn between 2 and 8 credits depending on the duration of the study; students should expect to work up to 6 days per week, with a commitment of 40 to a maximum of 80 hours per week.

Enroll in this course through the student portal during the normal class selection period.

Primary Contact

Jennifer Hanser
Education Coordinator
Dept of Dermatology
1 S Park St, 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715
Fax: 608-287-2676

To Heal
To Educate
To Discover

Our Mission