Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Anatomical Pathology

The Anatomic Pathology residency training at McMaster University is a five year training program that offers an intensive and integrated approach to prepare residents for careers in academic and/or clinical practice. The program is designed to fulfill the specialty requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, but is sufficiently flexible to be tailored to individual needs of each resident, which is one of the strengths of this program.

microscope and slide

Sir William Osler said “as is our pathology so is our practice; what the pathologist thinks today, the physician does tomorrow”. This still holds true, even more so with the changing practice of Anatomic Pathology. This is what the Anatomical Pathology program strives to achieve for each of their residents, during the training period- excellence to guide decisions for best patient care and management and to advance frontiers of patient care by integrating pathology with clinical specialties.

What Can This Program Offer You?

Anatomical Pathology program at McMaster strives to achieve excellence to guide decisions for best patient care and management and to advance frontiers of patient care by integrating pathology with clinical specialties.

Anatomical Pathology residency training at McMaster University is a five year training program that offers an intensive and integrated approach to prepare residents for careers in academic and/or clinical practice.

The program is designed to fulfill the specialty requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, but is sufficiently flexible to be tailored to individual needs of each resident, in particular during elective period to fulfill practice ready requirements of each resident based on their individual career goals and placement requirements.

Our residents will demonstrate exceptional interpersonal skills as members of the clinical care team.  They will also demonstrate academic excellence and research experience contributing to the specialty in evolving due to advance in technological complexity, expanding medical knowledge, and emerging technologies including an increased focus on personalized and precision medicine.  They will be active members as an integral and most important part of multidisciplinary patient diagnostic process, management and various targeted therapies.

Our program is designed to encourage a positive work environment and life balance including flexibility to allow the residents to participate in extracurricular activities.


Program Information

  • We are the only specialty that can make or confirm a diagnosis that is gold standard.
  • Pathologists are consultants to consultants.
  • Based on our histopathologic diagnosis clinicians will stage and manage the patient which will impact on their prognosis and survival.
  • Anatomical Pathology today is an integral and most important part of multidisciplinary patient diagnosis and management various targeted therapies.

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

The Anatomical pathology program is designed based on the Royal College Competency by design curriculum. It is composed of four stages: Transition to discipline, Foundations of discipline, Core of discipline and Transition to practice.  The residents are expected to achieve 31 entrustable professional activities (EPAs) that are key tasks of a discipline representing the framework for assessment.  The EPAs are linked to a specific stage of the competency continuum and the stages of training as follow.

  • Transition to discipline – 4 EPAs (2 blocks)
  • Foundation – 6 EPAs (11 blocks)
  • Core – 15 EPAs
  • Transition to Practise- 6 EPAs

First two stages of the CBD curriculum will be completed during the first year of training that is designed as follows:

  • Transition to Discipline :  Anatomical pathology with boot camp-two blocks
  • Foundation: Anatomical pathology (3 blocks),  Autopsy (1 block), Internal medicine (2 blocks), Surgical oncology (1 block), Pediatric oncology (1 block), Medical and Radiation oncology (2 blocks) and Radiology (1 block).

PGY 2-5 years (Core and Transition to practice) are dedicated to training in Anatomical Pathology with emphasis on surgical pathology, autopsy, cytopathology, forensic pathology, neuropathology, pediatric pathology, applied molecular pathology, research and electives in subspecialties.

The Program offers a wide variety of subspecialty elective rotations in integrated hematopathology, breast, gynecologic, renal/transplant, head & neck, soft tissue/bone, thoracic, gastrointestinal, dermatopathology, uropathology, ophthalmic pathology, research and community practice experience. Residents rotate through four teaching hospitals, each hospital having their own areas of subspeciality enabling trainees to see and learn from a large and diverse volume of surgical pathology cases with varying degrees of complexity.

Molecular pathology training curriculum includes introduction to molecular biology, genetics and genomics, cytogenetics, molecular cytogenetic testing, molecular malignant hematology and applied subspecialty molecular pathology instructions. Regional Molecular Anatomical Pathology/FISH Lab offers full access to the residents to learn about cancer genetics for diagnosis and personalized targeted therapies for patient management.

Research is mandatory and strongly supported by the Program. Residents are encouraged to be involved in research projects corresponding to their area of interest and level of training.  The Program offers conference travel fund and Resident Research Grant. There is a Research Coordinator who serves as an advisor for the research projects and supervises monthly Research in progress rounds .There is a biostatistician available for the resident research.

Anatomical Pathology division has four large Hamilton Hospitals (McMaster University Medical Centre, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, Hamilton General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital). It is the part of Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program (HRLMP) run by two organizations (Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Health) and having all anatomical pathology subspecialties. HRLMP is tertiary center providing consultation service for Brant (LHIN 4) and Waterloo/Wellington (LHIN3) with 14 pathology consultation groups reviewing Cancer Centre consultation cases. Pathology diagnostics includes pathohistologic interpretation in conjunction with ancillary tests (immunohistochemistry, molecular diagnostics and electron microscopy) fully provided by HRLMP

The Program offers newly renovated resident rooms with upgraded microscopes, digital cameras, voice recognition system for dictation and up to date books, slide scanner, grossing equipment , conference rooms with microscopes, digital cameras and modern audiovisual equipment.


Please review the training objectives listed on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada web site for specialty certification in anatomical pathology.


Residents enjoy protected time for educational events such as weekly academic half days, Lab Management and QA Seminars, Histology/Autopsy Course for PGY1 and PGY2 year, AP Grand Rounds with guest speakers, slide sessions and lectures by international guest speakers, Electron Microscopy Rounds, Cytology Rounds, Research in Progress Rounds/journal club, forensic pathology refresher lectures and MOCK exams for senior residents, The content covers not only special areas in anatomic pathology, but also aspects of laboratory management, quality assurance, biomedical ethics, and evidence-based journal clubs. There are numerous ongoing clinico-pathologic rounds at all four hospital sites and residents participate , present cases at these multidisciplinary rounds and learn to communicate and collaborate with clinical colleagues at all times and also learn how to integrate diagnoses with patient outcome and management. Residents also attend seminars organized at different teaching sites as well as by the Postgraduate Education office.

Candidates with Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency must apply to the Laboratory Medicine Program through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Basic eligibility criteria for the program can be viewed at the CaRMs website:


Selection is based upon the candidate’s:

  • academic record
  • research experience
  • references
  • a demonstrated interest in laboratory medicine as a career

it may be advantageous, but not mandatory, for applicants to have previous experience or to have taken an elective in pathology.

Given the large number of applicants each year, we are not able to offer an interview to all candidates. Personal interviews are offered to candidates based on the criteria listed above and are mandatory for admission to the program.

International Medical Graduates accepted into the program will have access to the same opportunities, training and experience as Canadian Medical Graduates.


Students will have opportunities to participate in surgical pathology including both anatomical pathology and wide range of subspecialty areas (e.g. cytopathology, pediatric, neuropathology, forensic, gynecological, breast, uropathology, medical kidney/transplant pathology, GI/hepatobilary, head & neck, lung, orthopedic, molecular and ophthalmic pathology). In addition, students can have exposure in adult and pediatric autopsies as well as in intraoperative consultation (frozen section). The student will have the opportunity to participate in all steps of the diagnostic pathology processes and better understand the roles of Anatomical Pathologists within clinical settings. This elective is structured to acquaint students with disease processes by the study of surgical pathology and autopsy material and to correlate the clinical and pathological abnormalities. Attendance in teaching and clinico-pathological rounds is encouraged. The number of students which can be accommodated is variable depending upon the space and staff availability. Elective can take place at four Hamilton teaching hospital sites (McMaster Medical Centre, St. Joseph’s, Hamilton General Hospital and Juravinski Hospital). Student’s interest in particular pathology subspecialty will be considered when the student is scheduled at the different anatomical pathology sites.


To arrange and elective Please contact Gina Furlong, Postgraduate Education Coordinator,


Please follow the application guidelines outlined by McMaster Undergraduate Medical School Visiting electives

If you are interested in an elective in Pathology as part of your postgraduate training you must first ensure that this meets your program requirements and our McMaster Postgraduate Office requirements. Postgraduate electives

The Anatomical Pathology Residency Program accepts elective requests from residents currently enrolled in postgraduate training programs outside of McMaster University. If you are interested in arranging an elective in Anatomical Pathology please email  Please ensure you include information on the specific rotation, dates and site you are interested in.

Program Contacts

Dr. S. Popovic

Anatomical Pathology Program Director

Gina Furlong

Senior Education Program Associate