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NHG Pathology Residency Programme

Resident's Talk

“I chose pathology because it bridges scientific foundation of medicine to clinical applications."

Dr Nicholas Koh


The curriculum supported by TTSH Pathology department is designed to provide complete training in all major areas of anatomic pathology while remaining flexible enough to accommodate diverse career goals in clinical practice and academia.

Anatomic Pathology rotations are integrated throughout the 3-year basic curriculum
leading to the local conjoined Boards examination with the American Board of
Pathology. This
is followed by 2 additional years of advanced training, and an exit exam
leading to certification by the Singapore Accreditation Board as a specialist.

The Anatomic Pathology Residency Program aims to produce clinicians who are:

  1. Competent and safe to practise at consultant level as an Anatomic Pathologist i.e. being able to independently report routine Surgical Pathology, Cytopathology and Autopsy Pathology cases, as well as realise their own limitations and when to refer for further opinio
  2. Familiar with accessioning, processing, sectioning and staining of histology and cytology material, including special techniques such as histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, electron microscopy and molecular tests, so as to be able to interact appropriately with medical technologists over those aspects of the technical work for which they are responsible. This includes possessing sufficient knowledge of laboratory procedures to be able to troubleshoot problems including issues with fixation, artefacts, staining problems, etc., so as to ensure accurate and high quality material is available for the formulation of diagnostic opinions
  3. Skilled in management and communication in order to interact appropriately with medical, scientific, technical and clerical colleagues in the workplace, and eventually to function as a team leader, if assigned by Head of Department 
  4. Able to work well as part of a team in the delivery of appropriate aspects of healthcare services, including adaptability with administrative and management procedures needed to ensure prompt and clinically useful reporting of assigned cases as well as participation in multidisciplinary meetings
  5. Familiar with and are able to properly manage a laboratory in terms of laboratory safety, audit and overseeing accreditation with various professional bodies. This includes being adept with health and safety regulations governing the practice of Anatomic Pathology and its subspecialties, to ensure that the working environment is safe for both themselves and their colleagues
  6. Capable of understanding information technology sufficiently to use computers for producing pathology reports and laboratory statistics, to search databases, and to access e-mail and internet services
  7. Able to share their knowledge to help build a living, learning and teaching organization
  8. Experienced in performing research on surgical pathology and cytopathology material, as well as having participated in scholarly activity and able to critically appraise the medical literature
  9. Able to take personal responsibility for their own educational and professional activities
  10. Able to motivate themselves in acquiring new knowledge pertaining to the field of Anatomic Pathology.


The Anatomical Pathology Program includes 36 months of structured training in General Surgical Pathology including its subspecialties, Cytopathology and Autopsy / Forensic Pathology, as well as Laboratory Management. 

Training in the first 2 years will consist of:

  • General Surgical Pathology, for at least 12 months
  • Cytopathology, which is integrated with the General Surgical
    Pathology rotation, for at least an equivalent of 3 months of training
  • Autopsy / Forensic pathology for 3 months
  • Gynecology / Pediatric pathology for 4 months
  • Dermatopathology for 1 month

Training in the third year will be geared towards consolidation of knowledge and
experience acquired during the first 2 years. Depending on the timings of the
previous rotations and needs of the resident, training may be individualised at
the discretion of the Program Director. 

Advanced Elective Rotations and Research

Apart from accruing additional experience in General Surgical Pathology which is available throughout the year, concentrated subspecialty exposure for 1-3 months may be made available. Those interested in research may opt to participate in the NHG Clinician-Scientist Preparatory Program (CSPP).

Rotation Block


Independent Study

Residents are given 12 days of study leave per year by the Ministry of Health. This time may be used for activities such as updating of case logs, attending conferences, research activities, preparation for examination, etc. Residents should notify the leave dates in advance to the Program Director so as to facilitate departmental roster planning. 

Teaching Activities

Our teaching programme includes introductory lectures as well as systemic tutorials by faculty with subspecialty interests in various organ systems. This allows the resident to appreciate the breadth of diseases seen in Anatomic Pathology. However, following teaching sessions, the resident should continue reading on his/her own to gain additional knowledge.
There are also periodic journal clubs and case discussion tutorials to allow opportunities for problem-based learning. As some of our faculty have experience as national and overseas examiners, examination-based slide sets can be conducted in-house for additional learning.
Residents are highly encouraged to attend local and overseas workshops and conferences to further their medical knowledge.

Scholarly Activities:

The Program requirement is at least a poster presentation, publication or oral presentation at a conference, annually.

Quality activities

Residents are expected to participate in Departmental Quality activities and assist in identifying areas of improvement in terms of Quality-related issues.


Senior residents are encouraged to participate in the teaching of junior residents and medical officers, with seeking of active feedback to improve teaching performance. Residents who demonstrate aptitude and a keen interest in education are also encouraged to attend Faculty Development courses.