Training in neuropathology

Doctors don’t tend to come across diagnostic neuropathology during Core Medical or Surgical Training, but discover it later in their careers – when they’re some way through histopathology training or training in neurology or neurosurgery.

Because of this, there are a number of routes in – the RCPath part 1 histopathology training programme, two routes via neurosurgery training, and a route that involves speciality training in neurology.

What are the entry requirements?

To enter training to become a neuropathologist, you’ll need to complete one of the following options:

  • two years specialty in Histopathology and the FRCPath Part 1 examination in Histopathology
  • two years of Core Medical Training and (at least) one year of specialty training in Neurology and membership of the Royal College of Physicians
  • the initial phase of run-through training in Neurosurgery and membership of the Royal College of Surgeons
  • one year of specialty training in Neurosurgery at ST3 and membership of the Royal College of Surgeons.

How long will it take?

After the above training, specialty training in diagnostic neuropathology takes a minimum of four years if you’re training full-time. There might be opportunities to extend your training, by undertaking research or out-of-programme training.

What will my training cover?

You’ll carry out your specialty training in diagnostic neuropathology while working in a training post at an approved training centre, under supervision of an experienced consultant neuropathologist.  

Training is structured as a five-step process, which reflects the diagnostic process. The steps are:

  • understand the clinical problem
  • conduct the gross (macroscopic) examination
  • conduct microscopic examination
  • interpret the pathological changes
  • demonstrate competence.

Your knowledge, skills and behaviours will be assessed at each stage via workplace-based assessments.  

After completing the Part 1 FRCPath examination, you’ll build on your knowledge and experience of neuropathological autopsies and intra-operative biopsies, and receive training in writing neuropathology reports and presenting complex cases at multi-disciplinary meetings.

Find out more about specialty training in neuropathology.  

What exams will I need to take?

To complete your training, you’ll be required to pass the following.

  • Histopathology Stage A examination – this will test your competency and aptitude for further training in the specialty and is normally taken in the first year of Histopathology training.
  • FRCPath Part 1 in Histopathology – this aims to determine whether you have successfully acquired a core body of knowledge that will underpin your ability to practise in Histopathology.
  • FRCPath Part 2 in Neuropathology – this is designed to test your practical skills and understanding, and show that you can apply your expertise appropriately and safely.

For further information about the format of exams, visit our exams pages.