Royal College of Pathologists

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This article is about the British organisation. For other uses, see Royal College of Pathologists (disambiguation).

The Royal College of Pathologists, founded in 1962, was established to co-ordinate this development and maintain the internationally renowned standards and reputation of British pathology. Today the College advises on a vast range of issues relating to pathology. The College received its Royal Charter in 1970 and its Patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The College is a professional membership organisation committed to setting and maintaining professional standards and to promoting excellence in the practice of pathology. It is a registered charity and is not a trades union. Its 10,000 members work in hospital laboratories, universities and industry worldwide.

The College's mission is to promote excellence in the practice of pathology and to be responsible for maintaining standards through training, assessments, examinations and professional development, to the benefit of the public.

Pathologists study the causes of disease and the ways in which disease processes affect our bodies. Recognising the patterns that disease takes allows us to understand what's at the root of a problem, enabling accurate diagnosis. Following up this understanding helps treatments to be devised and preventative measures to be put in place.

Pathology is a relatively young science. The first pathologists dealt with all areas of the subject, but rapid advances quickly meant that pathologists too became specialists.


The following are disciplines of pathology for which the College has oversight:

Training and examinations[edit]

The College is responsible for oversight of postgraduate education and training in all branches of pathology in the UK.

The College has an active educational programme and sponsors workshops, lectures and courses.

The main method of assessment for UK pathology training is the Fellowship Examination of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath). This examination is taken in two parts and trainees are awarded Fellowship status of the Royal College of Pathologists upon successful completion of both parts. The FRCPath examination is an assessment of a candidate’s training programme, indicating fitness to practise, whilst at the same time signalling the entry into independent practice and the beginning of continuing professional development.

Fellowship may also be awarded on the basis of submitted published works. This, however, does not contribute to the award of the Certificate of Completion of Training and is not a mark of eligibility for appointment to a Consultant post or unsupervised practice.

Continued professional development[edit]

The College runs a national scheme for oversight of continued education of pathologists in clinical practice.


Membership in the College can be obtained by several routes, the most usual being via a postgraduate examination, indicated with the designation Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath).



  1. ^ Hurren, Elizabeth (May 2002). "Patients' rights: from Alder Hey to the Nuremberg Code". History & Policy. United Kingdom: History & Policy. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 

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