Applicant FAQs

Joint Training Experience at BWH and MGH

What are the benefits of joint residency training at both BWH and MGH?

The BWH Pathology Residency Training Program, and the MGH Pathology Residency Training Program, are two outstanding - but historically separate - pathology residency programs, both located in Boston, Massachusetts and affiliated with Harvard Medical School. While the BWH and MGH pathology residencies have operated independently of one another for over 50 years, we have now come together to embark on a ground-breaking new era with the creation of a joint BWH-MGH residency training experience, beginning in July 2023.

Both programs have always aimed to innovate within our curriculums to ensure that our training is state-of-the-art, and both departments have provided exceptionally deep and far-ranging clinical and scientific opportunities, as well as the mentorship needed to prepare our graduates for success in a broad range of career paths. Together, we believe this new joint venture is an opportunity to harness the best aspects of both programs and departments for the benefit of our trainees. Our trainees will have an expanded cohort of potential clinical, educational and research mentors, and will be able to develop connections with a larger group of their own peers. In addition, rotating at both BWH and MGH will provide our residents with important perspectives on similarities and differences in all aspects of pathology practice and education at these two flagship academic medical centers. This exposure will give our graduates broad skill sets and the ability to work in diverse practice environments. As you learn about us, we think you will agree that there are many parallels between our departments, and that our differences in approach balanced with our similarities in resources and commitment to education will result in an exceptional training experience.

If it is a joint BWH-MGH residency training experience, why is the application process through BWH only?

The BWH and MGH programs together have applied to the ACGME to officially merge our programs into a single "Mass General Brigham Pathology Residency Program". While awaiting ACGME review of our application, we have decided to streamline the recruitment process for this fall. We believe the best way to mitigate the complexity of the experience for our applicants is to offer a single recruitment stream, and therefore we will direct all recruitment through the existing BWH pathway in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), while MGH will not participate separately in ERAS or NRMP this year. We anticipate recruiting up to 22 residents, equivalent to the sum of the average recruitment classes for BWH (11) and MGH (11) in past years. All residents who match via this BWH pathway for a July 2023 start will spend approximately half of their time at BWH and half of their time at MGH, with fully merged didactics and conferences at both.

What will the joint training experience at BWH and MGH look like?

Residents who enter in July 2023 will spend approximately half of their time at BWH and half of their time at MGH, with fully merged didactics and conferences at both. AP/CP residents will spend the first year entirely in AP rotations.

We have very carefully considered the best structure for this multi-hospital training, and have sought input from current residents, recently-graduated residents who entered multi-hospital fellowships, subspecialty faculty leaders and other combined BWH-MGH residency training programs. Based on all input, our goal is to assign residents to spend substantial blocks of time at each hospital, in order to have equivalent exposures at both departments to the majority of subspecialties throughout their core training (core = 24 months for AP or CP; 36 months for AP/CP). We will not expect residents to travel back and forth between the two hospitals within the same day, or even within the same month during their core training. We also plan to ensure that core rotations are organized in such a way that residents gain maximum exposure to their classmates.

Residents who are currently in the BWH and MGH programs (i.e., those who started before the incoming July 2023 class) will remain within their existing curriculum, with the added option to do rotations at the other hospital.

A critical component of the joint training experience will be shared didactics. Indeed, while working together to develop our future joint training experience, the value of a collective educational curriculum became so clear to us that we have initiated shared didactics this academic year (2022-2023), even though our joint clinical training experience will not start until the 2023-2024 academic year.

Residency Application Process

Who must apply through the matching program (NRMP)?

All applicants for PGY1 positions must apply through the NRMP, per the All In Policy.

What does it mean to apply to the AP track or the CP track? What if I am not sure yet?

Pathology residents can follow 4 tracks: Anatomic Pathology (AP, 3 years), Clinical Pathology (CP, 3 years), combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (AP/CP, 4 years) or combined Anatomic Pathology/Neuropathology (AP/NP, 4 years).

If you are interested in AP or AP/CP, please choose "Anatomic Pathology Only or Combined AP/CP|1265300C0 (Categorical)" in ERAS. You do not have to decide if you want to follow an AP or AP/CP track before you interview or even before you start residency; our program offers flexibility to make that decision during your PGY1 year.

If you are interested in AP/NP, please choose "Anatomic Pathology Only or Combined AP/CP|1265300C0 (Categorical)" in ERAS. You should state this AP/NP interest directly in your personal statement. Additionally, if you are selected for an interview, you will be contacted by a member our recruitment committee before the interview and you can indicate your interest in the AP/NP track at that time.

If you are interested in CP, please choose "Clinical Pathology (Laboratory Medicine) Only|1265300C1 (Categorical)".

If you don't know yet whether you would like to do AP, AP/CP or CP, it is OK to choose both "Anatomic Pathology Only or Combined AP/CP|1265300C0 (Categorical)" and "Clinical Pathology (Laboratory Medicine) Only | 1265300C1 (Categorical)" in ERAS. We strongly suggest speaking to an advisor or member of the pathology department at your medical school to learn more about these tracks. We are also happy to discuss these tracks in detail if you are selected for an interview.

What is the application deadline?

Our application deadline is October 31st for positions beginning the following July 1st. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible; for this season, residency applicants may begin submitting MyERAS applications to programs at 9 a.m. ET. on September 7, 2022.

My reference letters are over a year old - will that do?

No, reference letters should be dated within the past year.

International Medical Graduates

Are visas sponsored, if so, which ones?

J-1 visas are sponsored via ECFMG. In certain circumstances, H-1B visas will be sponsored or H-1B status will be extended by transferring the visa. To qualify for H-1B status to perform clinical medicine, it is necessary to have passed USMLE Steps 1, 2 and 3, hold a valid ECFMG certificate, and hold a full or limited Massachusetts Medical License. Graduates of U.S. and Canadian medical schools are exempt from the ECFMG requirement. Processing at the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS and local embassies varies and can take as long as six months. Applications for H-1B visas will be submitted as soon as possible in advance of commencing residency training in order to reduce the likelihood of delay in starting the program.

What visa documents are required for J-1: Exchange Visitor (Clinical)?

ECFMG is the sole sponsor of J-1 physicians in clinical training programs in the United States. Processing time for sponsorship applications is generally 4 to 5 months.  Foreign national physicians applying for ECFMG sponsorship must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid ECFMG certificate (note: graduates of LCME-accredited United States and Canadian medical schools are not required to be ECFMG certified, but must submit a certified, translated copy of their medical school diploma.)
  • Hold a contract or an official letter of offer for a position in an accredited training program that is affiliated with a medical school.
  • Provide a statement of need from the Ministry of Health of the country of nationality or last legal permanent residence. This statement must provide written assurance that the country needs specialists in the area in which the exchange visitor will receive training and that she/he will return to the country upon completion of training.
Do I need to have United States research/clinical experience?

No, but some clinical experience in the United States is very helpful for international medical graduates.

Which exams are required for licensure in Massachusetts?

Most physicians beginning residency training will obtain a Massachusetts Limited License. In order to qualify for the limited license, the applicant must have passed Parts I and II of the USMLE. Applicants on an H-1B visa (including Canadian medical school graduates) must also have passed USMLE Part III for the purpose of obtaining the visa. To qualify for a full Massachusetts license, physicians must also pass Part III of the USMLE and have completed at least two years of clinical training in the United States (eligibility requirements for a full Massachusetts license can be found on the Board of Registration in Medicine website).