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

General Pathology

The General Pathology residency training at McMaster University is a five year training program that offers an intensive and integrated approach to preparing 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 many strengths of this program.

Program Information

The McMaster University General Pathology residency Program is designed to produce strong clinical pathologists, who can perform, supervise and interpret specimens and slides. We strive to produce Pathologists who will be lifelong learners, able to respond to the increasing demands of our exciting, rapidly expanding medical specialty. The program is designed to meet the specifications of the Royal College as well as address the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists, commonly referred to as CanMEDS.

General Pathology

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.

Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME):

Physician training focuses on achievement outcomes and based on a frame of work competence (CanMEDS). The Competence Continuum divides residency training into four stages: Transition to discipline, Foundations of discipline, Core of discipline and, finally, Transition to practice.

The Royal College Competence Continuum Stages:

Transition to Discipline (TTD):

PGY1, two blocks of orientation rotation and the goal is to demonstrate readiness for General Pathology residency. This includes 4 EPAs to be assessed.

Foundations of Discipline (F)

PGY1, 11 blocks of training on relevant clinical rotations with exposure to the most common related pathology procedures such as; pathology specimens, bone marrow and fine needle aspirate. This stage includes 6 EPAs to be assessed.

Core of Discipline (C):

PGY2-4, At least 36 blocks rotations in Anatomical pathology and its affiliations’ such as cytopathology and forensic pathology, Hematological pathology including transfusion medicine and coagulation, Medical Microbiology and Medical Biochemistry. At the end of Core of Discipline stage the Royal College examination written part will be held in the spring and the practical will be in the fall.

Transition to practice (TTP):

PGY5, At least 11 blocks to do full daily workload cases and work independently during calls in anatomical pathology, hematological pathology, medical microbiology and medical biochemistry, developing and implementing plans in quality assurance and continuing professional development. This stage includes 4 EPAs to be assessed.


Academic Half Day

Half-days are scheduled throughout the year on Wednesday mornings, from 9 – 12 for the Anatomical Pathology content and from 1 – 3 pm for the General Pathology content. The format typically consists of a formal didactic presentation or case review by a faculty speaker in the first half, followed by assigned case presentations by residents in the second half. Several times throughout the year Evaluative Sciences/CanMEDS curriculum topics are presented in additional to the regular half-day curriculum.

Journal Club

Approximately six times per year, a resident organized journal club is conducted at academic half-day. These 1 hour sessions are led by an assigned resident, whose responsibilities include selecting an article on an appropriate topic and circulating it electronically amongst their peers, with an accompanying set of references and questions to be covered. The topics and articles selected are pertinent to current practice, with emphasis on certain clinical and radiological dilemmas that are encountered in everyday life (and while on call!). The discussions at journal club are often centered around the validity of the study in the context of evidence-based medicine, the conclusions of the study, and its relevance to the improvement of our practice. This resident journal club is designed to designed to improve the resident’s skills in critical appraisal.


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 Criteria

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

Selection is based upon the candidate’s:

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

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. with the addition of an Assessment Verification Period (AVP), required by CaRMS.

Students will have opportunities to participate in anatomic and clinical pathology. The anatomical pathology component includes autopsy pathology, cytopathology and surgical pathology. The clinical pathology includes clinical chemistry, hematology, microbiology and transfusion medicine. Students will have opportunities to participate in many different areas and understand the roles of Pathologists within clinical settings. This elective is structured to acquaint students with disease processes and to correlate the clinical and pathological abnormalities. Attendance in teaching rounds is encouraged. The number of students that can be accommodated is variable depending upon the space and staff availability. Elective can take place at HGH, MUMC, SJH, JHCC

McMaster Students:

To arrange an elective, submit your selections in your programs MedSIS application system.


Please follow the application guidelines outlined by McMaster Undergraduate Medical School.

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.

The General 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. Ipshita Kak

General Pathology Program Director (LOA until 2022)

Dr. Pooja Vasudev

Acting Program Director (for the CaRMS 2021-2022 cycle)

Gina Furlong

Senior Education Program Associate