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Histopathology training

Histopathology training

Information about histopathology training can be found by speaking to your nearest Pathology Ambassador, trainees at your local histopathology department or

Where you will train

This varies depending upon your Deanery – often you will have a mixture of district general hospital (DGH) and teaching hospital placements (which is useful as the type of specimens they each receive differs). Check with local trainees where you might be placed.

How you will be taught

  • ST1 block teaching: at the beginning of the first year of training (ST1) all histopathology trainees undergo a 1 week training course in Bristol (really useful and lots of fun). There are then further 1 week blocks of teaching within ST1, which take place locally.
  • 1:1 training with a consultant: consultants will supervise your cut-up, review your cases with you on a double-headed microscope and check your reports. This is a real plus of histopathology training making it akin to an apprenticeship.
  • Local teaching e.g. black box sessions (where interesting cases are discussed), journal clubs, slide collections such as The Leeds Virtual Pathology Project.
  • National courses run by pathological organisations e.g.

  • Textbooks.

How you will be assessed

  • Usually trainees will spend a number of weeks attached to a certain specialty (e.g. uropathology) before rotating to another. The RCPath curriculum offers guidance about the material that should be covered and the number of cases that you should view within each stage of training.
  • Assessment includes workplace-based assessments, placement feedback and the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).
  • Examinations include:

    • Stage A (OSPE, station-based exam)
    • FRCPath Part I (written exam)
    • FRCPath Part II (practical and written components)
    • Optional exams: examination in autopsy, examination in gynaecological cytology (cervical cytopathology).

Choices you can make

Histopathology training lasts approximately 5 years. About 2 years into training, trainees can choose to:

  • Subspecialise into:

    • Forensic pathology
    • Paediatric pathology
    • Neuropathology
  • Stop undertaking:

    • post mortems or continue with training in post mortems and take the examination in autopsy
    • gynaecological cytology (cervical cytopathology) or continue with training in gynaecological cytology and take the examination in gynaecological cytology
  • Take an optional research module