How to be a Dermatologist in Singapore

I have previously written about why I chose to specialize in the dermatology. In this post, I would share more about the training required to become a dermatologist in Singapore. The information presented in this post is accurate as of 2023/2024, but may change in the future.

In Singapore, dermatology is only available as a medical senior residency. Interested applicants have to first complete a three-year junior residency in internal medicine at one of the 3 healthcare clusters (Singhealth, NUHS, or NHG). The training program varies between the different healthcare clusters, but in general, residents will be rotated through different core postings (e.g. cardiology, neurology, respiratory medicine and critical care, general medicine, emergency medicine) and elective postings (e.g. rheumatology, infectious diseases, dermatology). Junior residents must pass the MRCP (UK) exam to graduate and progress to senior residency training.

Matching into Dermatology

Dermatology is a popular senior residency program and is a national program hosted by the National Healthcare Group (NHG). Regardless of their initial healthcare cluster affiliation, applicants apply to the same program and undergo the same selection process and subsequently the same training program. This differs from many other medical senior residencies, which are usually available separately in different healthcare clusters. Applicants have to submit a standardized portfolio showcasing their academic performance, research contributions, and other administrative/educational accomplishments. Applicants are shortlisted based on their portfolios, and shortlisted applicants undergo an MMI-style interview with the faculty. In the last few years, 6-8 residents across the country are matched to the program every year.

The Dermatology Senior Residency

Successful applicants embark on a rewarding 3.5-year training journey as Senior Residents. During this 3.5 years, residents receive comprehensive training in various areas, including medical dermatology, dermatologic surgery, dermatopathology, and venereology. Training is mostly conducted at the National Skin Centre, with residents spending 18 months there. Residents are also rotated to external institutions to gain exposure to conditions not commonly encountered in an outpatient centre (e.g. Singapore General Hospital, which hosts Singapore’s only Burns centre, where patients with severe drug reactions such as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis are managed). For a well rounded training as a medical specialist, residents will also do 6 months of General Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.

Residents will work in both outpatient and inpatient settings under the supervision of attending dermatologists. They will also regularly participate in academic activities such as journal clubs, clinical-pathological conferences, and grand ward rounds. To ensure clinical competencies are met, residents are assessed with work based evaluations at regular intervals; and there are clinical viva examinations annually to test residents’ clinical knowledge. Along the way, residents will also have to pass the MRCP Specialist Certification Exam (SCE) in Dermatology. At the end of the 3.5 years, residents will then undergo the board certification exam to finally become an accredited dermatologist in Singapore.


It takes 6 and a half years of training to become a board-certified dermatologist in Singapore. This is after 4-6 years of medical school, and 1 year of house officership (or intern year). While the training is long and demanding, it ultimately leads to a rewarding career, especially if you are passionate about Dermatology.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *