American Society of Hematology

Choosing Hematology as a Medical Student

Choose Hematology and Achieve Your Career Goals

Which specialty should I choose? What type of work do I want to do? Where do I want to work? You may often ask yourself these questions as your medical school training progresses.

Choosing a medical specialty is one of the most important decisions you will make as a medical student. While there are many options to consider when determining your career path, a career in hematology can satisfy any interest - whether in patient care, research, or academia - and any desired work setting, such as a hospital-based practice, academic medical center, corporate, or government environment.

As a medical student, ASH can help provide you with valuable resources such as career-enhancement and training awards that will be critical to your training and leadership development in hematology.

Choose ASH

ASH also offers a complimentary student membership for Medical Students, Graduate Students, and Residents. Visit the membership section of the site to learn how to sign up to take advantage of these free benefits or contact us at

What is Hematology?

Hematology is the study of blood, blood forming tissues and organs, and blood disorders. Hematologists specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of blood disorders.

What Do Hematologists Do?

Did you ever think that you could use zebrafish to help discover new treatments for cancer or create artificial red blood cells to combat the rising need for blood transfusions? How about performing a stem cell transplant to treat otherwise incurable genetic and autoimmune diseases? You can do all of this and more as a hematologist.

Hematologists research, diagnose, and treat various blood disorders, including anemia, blood clots, bleeding disorders, and blood cancers. Because blood runs through every organ and tissue in the body, hematology has an enormous ripple effect extending to all fields of medicine. Modern advances made by hematologists have help millions of people around the world, not only with blood disorders but also with heart disease, stroke, and scores of inherited diseases. Learn more about some of the groundbreaking advancements made in modern hematology over the past 50 years.  

Why I Chose Hematology

Find inspiration from the hematologists below and others as they remember the moment that they decided to pursue hematology:

  • Gary Schiller, MD, University of California - Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
    Medical School: University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
    Area of Expertise: Bone marrow and stem cell transplant
    "…When it finally came time to make a decision, Internal Medicine - specifically hematology - seemed the best fit. The prospect of developing pathophysiologic models for blood diseases was energizing to me and promised life-long learning."
  • Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
    Medical School: University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
    Area of Expertise: Venous thrombosis
    "Over the course of a two-year research fellowship it became clear to me that I had found a home and a passion for research in vascular disease and thrombosis."
  • Read additional stories of how prominent leaders in the field chose hematology.

Hematology Education and Training

The educational path for a hematologist includes:

  • Four years of medical school
  • Three years of residency to train in a specialized area, such as internal medicine or pediatrics, and learn elements of patient care
  • Two to four years of fellowship for further training in a subspecialty such as hematology or hematology/oncology

Learn more about hematology education and training:

ASH Career-Development and Training Awards and Grants

Each year, ASH awards more than $4 million in educational grants to benefit young scientists. Medical students are eligible for the following ASH awards and programs:

ASH Abstract Achievement Awards
This award category provides monetary support to select trainees with high-achieving abstracts accepted for the ASH annual meeting.

Minority Medical Student Award Program
This award provides minority students from the United States and Canada in their early medical school years with monetary support to explore careers in hematology research.

Minority Resident Hematology Award Program
This award provides support for underrepresented minority resident physicians in an internal medicine, pathology, or pediatric residency program in the United States or Canada to conduct hematology focused research.

HONORS (Hematology Opportunities for the Next-Generation of Research Scientists) Award (formerly the Trainee Research Award)
This award contributes to the development of the next generation of hematologists by supporting talented medical students and residents as they conduct hematology research.

Physician-Scientist Career Development Award
This award is a new opportunity for medical students to gain experience in research by immersing themselves in a yearlong laboratory, translational, or clinical investigation under the mentorship of an ASH member.

Learn more about the Society's career-enhancement and training awards.

ASH North American Undergraduate Student Benefit Program

The ASH North American Undergraduate Student Benefit Program allows undergraduate students interested in hematology but not yet eligible for Associate membership to participate in ASH earlier in their training.

Social Media

Follow ASH on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about hematology as well as to follow breaking hematology and oncology news, get ASH meeting information, learn about award and grant opportunities, and read Society newsletters and publications.

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