NVDC Anatomic Pathology Residency Program

The anatomic residency program is a three year course of study in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center (NVDC) focused on preparing for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) board certification examination. This position is classified as a lecturer position and will incorporate additional coursework that can be incorporated towards a Master’s degree. There is an option for a combined residency and Ph.D. for interested applicants. This position carries an annual salary of $55,000 to $59,000, and renewal is based on annual assessments of progress.

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About the diagnostic laboratory

The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center is located in Lincoln, Nebraska and is part of the University of Nebraska system. It is a unit in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

We have five full time diagnostic pathologists and a case load comprised predominately of food animals and domestic animals, although wildlife and exotic species are a small component. We are a fully AAVLD accredited laboratory and are part of the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine (PPVM), a 2+2 veterinary educational program. We are a level 1 member of the USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network. The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center receives cases from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is closed on weekends. 

Many of our faculty participate in teaching in the PPVM. Due to the faculty-to-resident ratio, there is extensive one-on-one time with the faculty, which includes board preparation courses.

The USDA has continued to recognize the critical public health need for veterinary diagnostics. Recognizing the importance of these positions to food animal agriculture and rural food animal practice, numerous veterinary shortages in this area have been approved and funded in Nebraska as part of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment program (VMLRP).  The NVDC is also committed to ensuring faculty, residents, and staff have access to cutting edge diagnostic technologies to advance their work, which includes significant investments in digital pathology, next generation sequencing, and mass spectrometry.

Diagnostic service

Diagnostic service is the primary duty of the position, and all unoccupied time should be spent in this pursuit. During the first year, the resident will work under the direct supervision of a pathologist. The pathologist will assign necropsy and biopsy cases to the resident, and all cases will be approved by the pathologist before being finalized and sent to the client. Additional case research and occasional department case presentations may occur as a teaching exercise. As a general goal, three or more biopsy cases per day will be assigned during the first six months of the program. Five or more biopsy cases per day will be assigned during the second six months of the program. Biopsies have a 24 hour turnaround time unless additional processing or special staining is required. Necropsies should be completed within 2-5 days, depending on the depth and complexity of the workup.

During the second year, the resident will be assigned diagnostic service approximately four days per month. On these days, a pathologist will be co-assigned to supervise cases. The resident will be responsible for case write-up (necropsies and biopsies), but all gross necropsies and histology slides must be reviewed with the supervising pathologist before case completion. Overly complex or legal cases should be referred to the supervising pathologist.

At least two years of residency training is needed prior to the resident working independently. Once this time is reached and pending approval of the pathologists, the resident will be the primary person responsible for diagnostic casework on days they are assigned. Pathologists will be available to assist with cases, as needed.

Publication in peer-reviewed journals and poster presentations at national conferences are strongly encouraged, with departmental support for publication costs and travel to one national conference/year.


During all years of the program, the resident will be enrolled as a graduate student. An application for UNL’s graduate school is required prior to initiating coursework.

Example Course Summary
Semester 1:
Special Topics: Diagnostic Pathology VBMS 996 ___Credits
Biochemistry or Statistics Biochem 831/Stat 801 ___Credits
Departmental Seminar VBMS 909 1 Credit
Wednesday Slide Conference VBMS 975 1 Credit
Diagnostic Technique VBMS 901 1 credit
Semester 2:
Special Topics: Diagnostic Pathology VBMS 996 ___Credits
Biochemistry or Statistics Biochem 832/Stat 802 ___Credits
Departmental Seminar VBMS 909 1 Credit
Wednesday Slide Conference VBMS 975 1 Credit
Diagnostic Technique VBMS 901 1 credit
Semester 3+
Special Topics: Diagnostic Pathology VBMS 996 3+ Credits
Research Problems VBMS 998 6 Credits
Wednesday Slide Conference VBMS 975 1+ Credit
Diagnostic Technique VBMS 901 1+ Credit
**Master’s thesis** VBMS 899 1-6 Credits
Electives for semester 3+ (in lieu of Research Problems)
Topics in Immunology VBMS 910 3 Credits
Special Topics: Electron Microscopy VBMS 998 1 Credit


  1. Required coursework and credit hour requirements will vary depending on the program pursued.
  2. Special Topics: Diagnostic Pathology is the course name for necropsy and biopsy diagnostic service.
  3. Diagnostic Technique is the journal and textbook reading seminar for ACVP preparation.
  4. Dissertation credits are given for preparation of yearly case reports and thesis manuscript. One case report is expected each year during the residency.
  5. Some veterinary school credits may be transferrable towards a Master’s degree which will decrease the total number of credit hours required.

ACVP preparation seminars

Each Wednesday, there is a seminar called “Wednesday Slide Conference.” For this seminar, the resident must review four unknown slide cases prior to a discussion with the faculty pathologists. During these seminars the resident reviews the slide with the pathologists, gives an oral description, and comes up with differential diagnosis. A written description of the slides should be prepared and turned in for assessment.

During the first year of the residency, there will be a weekly gross pathology review. During this review, there will be a PowerPoint presentation of gross pathology images in which the resident will work on proper formulation of morphological diagnoses, identification of etiologies, and pathogenesis of lesions. For additional gross pathology review, it is recommended to sit in on the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine (PPVM) systemic pathology course and attend external rounds and training opportunities. Attendance of the C. L. Davis Gross Pathology conference before ACVP certification examination is also strongly encouraged.

There will be a journal review with Dr. Mary Drozd to facilitate preparation for the Veterinary Pathology subsection of the ACVP certification examination. Before meeting, the resident should read the current issues from Veterinary Pathology and the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, and pertinent articles should be cataloged with summaries of key points and potential test material. Additional journal reading suggestions also may be given. Starting the second year, in addition to journal review there will be a monthly meeting with Dr. Drozd to review material relevant for ACVP certification examination. This will include a review of the current general pathology textbook and recommended reading list, interesting clinical cases, and exam practice.


Each year of the program will have a required teaching component where the resident serves as a teaching assistant for the Clinical Pathology course (VMED 584) taught remotely by Iowa State University. Additional lecture opportunities for the second year systemic pathology course are available, if the resident has interest in developing additional teaching expertise.

Contact us

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this program.

Email Dr. Drozd