Anatomical Pathology

About the specialty

Anatomical Pathology (AP) incorporates histology (tissue), cytology (cells), and forensic (autopsy) pathology and covers the full range of organ system specialties. Individuals can specialise in one area or have a broad interest in several areas. AP is laboratory based, includes a significant amount of microscopic work, is largely within usual working hours, and does not involve regular after hours or weekend work. In recent years AP has moved from being purely diagnostic to assuming an important role in the management of many cancers, and in conjunction with Molecular Pathology is becoming an exciting area with huge potential for research in cancer genetics.

Training opportunities with the CDHB

Christchurch Hospital has seven AP training posts with vacancies variable depending on the training stage of the incumbent registrars. Trainees are supported by 21 consultant pathologists with expertise in all sub-specialty areas of histology and cytology.


Anatomical Pathologists train through the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA).

Entry requirements

  • Completion of Post Graduate Years 1 and 2 as a minimum; preference will be given to candidates with additional relevant clinical experience and/or those who have completed the RCPA's Basic Pathological Sciences examination.
  • All of our posts are recognised as training positions by the RCPA.
  • The College is not involved in selecting applicants.

Application Dates for RCPA Training

Applications can be made at any time during the year but the number of vacancies each year will depend on examination results, which are normally available by September.

Training duration

  •  5-years (FTE) with the RCPA, with time in at least two laboratories.

Interested in finding out more?

For an opportunity to observe within this department at the CDHB or talk about this career pathway, please contact:

Dr Heather Smith
Director of Training 

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