Pathologists are medical doctors who analyze human tissue for evidence of disease or infection and receive most of their training in a postmedical school residency. The best programs have extensive laboratories with top research-orientated faculty. While no ranking organization ranks pathology programs, a general agreement among the 2013 rankings by “U.S. News & World Report," QS Top Universities and Academic Ranking of World Universities for medical research or medicine, indicated the schools with the resources to support a top program. These programs provide the best cutting-edge programs in pathology.

Harvard University

The Department of Pathology of Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, reflects departments at four Boston-area teaching hospitals, besides faculty at other institutions like the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The faculty body numbers over 300 in anatomic, clinical and molecular pathology, in addition to hundreds more residents, fellows and Ph.D. graduate students at a department that provides cutting-edge diagnoses worldwide. Harvard Medical School ranked first according to “U.S. News & World Report," QS Top Universities and Academic Ranking of World Universities, demonstrating a commitment to medical research and excellence that is borne out with pathology research that annually exceeded $50 million in expenditures.

Johns Hopkins University

The pathology department of Johns Hopkins University Medical School at Baltimore includes over 1,400 staff, faculty and residents in Maryland, China, South Africa and Brazil. Recent pathology inroads included the use of antiretrovirals to treat infected HIV partners, reducing the transmission of the disease by 96 percent. Laboratory space includes the 23,000 square foot automated laboratory for chemistry and hematology testing. Pathology instruction includes medical school electives, Ph.D. graduate school programs, residencies in anatomic and clinical pathology and postdoctoral fellowships. The medical school ranked third according to “U.S. News & World Report," and fourth according to QS Top Universities and Academic Ranking of World Universities, with the pathology department ranking first in funding for 2012 according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

Stanford University

The Stanford University School of Medicine, Pathology Department, of California, offers residency training in anatomic, clinical and neuropathology with clinical fellowships, such as cytopathology and surgical pathology. In addition, the department offers graduate studies to various Ph.D. programs and postdoctoral fellowships. The department strengths include cancer biology, immunology and stem cell research with notable discoveries in the use of gene expression microarrays for a molecular taxonomy of human cancers. The medical school ranked second according to “U.S. News & World Report," fifth according to QS Top Universities and ninth by Academic Ranking of World Universities, all strong indicators of a university capable of offering the best in pathology training.

University of California at San Francisco

The Department of Pathology at the University of California at San Francisco sets the highest standards in research and education with operations housed at the university and principal hospitals within the area. Pathology training includes anatomic, clinical and neuropathology in a program that exceeds board certification requirements. In addition, subspecialty training, such as cytopathology and renal pathology is available. Besides residency training, the department also offers fellowships in such areas as molecular genetics pathology, plus medical school electives. The medical school ranked fourth according to “U.S. News & World Report," 12th according to QS Top Universities, and second by Academic Ranking of World Universities, providing solid evidence of the institution's commitment to research, such as the department's focus on lung pathology.

Related Articles