Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo





Smithsonian National Zoological Park


Washington, D.C.

Pathology Environment


Qualification Required

Fourth Year Veterinary Students at accredited institution, in good standing

Discipline/Field of Study


Length of Externship

6 week duration

Time of Year




Housing Provided

No (Housing will run $0 to $1,600 per month.)

Description of Externship

The National Zoo offers externships in Zoo Animal Pathology in the Dept of Wildlife Health Sciences pathology division. Externships of a minimum of six weeks in length are typical (although rare, in some circumstances four weeks will be considered). Rotations are aimed at providing experience in clinical and anatomic pathology in a zoological setting. This program is intended for students in their fourth year of veterinary school. Although there is much interaction with the clinical veterinarians, this position is not intended to provide hands-on experience in clinical medicine.

Successful candidates will be given the opportunity to perform complete post-mortem examinations of a wide variety of zoo animals and wildlife. Students will learn how to perform a thorough gross necropsy and choose ancillary diagnostic tests relevant to diseases seen. Review of histopathology will be done with a board certified pathologist. Participation in the weekly pathology rounds and attendance at clinical rounds is expected.

As a part of their experience, the trainee will have an opportunity to complete a research project relating to pathology zoo animals and/or wildlife during the externship. The findings from the project will be presented to pathology and clinical staff at the end of the externship, and ideally have potential for professional manuscripts and or presentation.

Application Requirements

Applicant must provide documentation of rabies prophylaxis and a negative TB test within six months of your starting date. Selectees must provide evidence of personal health insurance coverage, as the Smithsonian does not provide insurance for academic appointments. Upon selection for externship, a background investigation will be required prior to start date of appointment. Selectees must also provide documentation of rabies vaccination or titer, and negative TB test.

Application Information - please supply the following:

  • Cover letter explaining your interests in zoological and wildlife pathology
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of reference
  • A list of three possible tenure slots, in order of preference
  • Academic transcript from an accredited veterinary school


Tim Walsh, DVM DACVP, Supervisory Pathologist
Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park
Department of Pathology
P.O. Box 37012 MRC 5501
Washington, DC 20560
202.633.4267 | 202.633.8717 (fax)