Residency Curriculum

Anatomic & Clinical Pathology Curriculum

The main goal of the University of Virginia Anatomic & Clinical Pathology residency program is to prepare competent and confident anatomic and clinical pathologists. By assuming primary responsibility for their cases from beginning to end and being involved in nearly every educational aspect of their cases, our residents become more confident in their abilities and are fully prepared to enter clinical practice upon graduation.

Under the tutelage of world-renowned faculty who author and edit several of the most widely utilized pathology reference texts and journals, residents gross specimens and dictate final diagnoses, order stains, and present at interdisciplinary conferences. In their final year of training, residents sign out frozen section specimens, assist with challenging consult cases from around the country, and act as laboratory directors at a state hospital.

The majority of our graduates pursue fellowship training, with most eventually entering private practice. Our fellowships offered at the University of Virginia include Cytopathology, Dermatopathology, Gynecologic Pathology, Hematopathology, Neuropathology, Transfusion Medicine, and Clinical Chemistry. For an up-to-date listing of where our previous residents have trained and practiced, please refer to our Graduate Placements.

The Department of Pathology offers several different tracks for residency. Please contact the program for availability on tracks other than AP/CP.

  • Anatomic & Clinical Pathology (4 years)
  • Anatomic Pathology only (3 years)
  • Clinical Pathology only (3 years)
  • Anatomic & Neuropathology (4 years)

On average, five applicants are accepted into the residency program each year. Currently the department is comprised of 21 residents, 13 fellows, 29 graduate students and 6 postdoctoral fellows. Interested candidates should refer to the website for application information and an overview of the program. Please direct additional questions to the medical education coordinator (Tonya Test) or the program director (Dr. Kristen Atkins).

special-stainThe curriculum at the University of Virginia emphasizes anatomic pathology during the first and third years of training, which allows residents to focus on clinical rotations during their second year. The second year also provides added flexibility for residents to pursue research activities, attend national conferences and solidify the vast amount of knowledge from first year. Fourth year integrates both anatomic and clinical pathology; residents are able to select rotations that will best prepare them for board examinations and clinical practice. This curriculum has proven to be highly successful, with an AP/CP board pass rate of 100% over the past three years.


The AP/CP residency program adheres to the guidelines of the American Board of Pathology and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Residents in three-year AP-only or CP-only programs receive the same basic training in anatomic or clinical pathology as the AP/CP residents, but with greater exposure to basic science or clinical research.

In order to ease the transition into residency, first year residents have one month of “AP Bootcamp” (no sit-ups required). This is followed by shared responsibilities with another first year resident on surgical pathology and autopsy. The paired residents complete the duties of one resident, thus reducing the workload until they become more confident in their abilities. Upper level residents and pathologist’s assistants are also assigned supervisory roles during this period to ensure that first year residents receive proper education and support.

First year residents have two clinical pathology rotations (hematopathology and transfusion medicine).  All first year residents complete 2 weeks of both cytopathology and dermatopathology. Neuropathology is integrated within the autopsy rotation as well as the lecture series. The remainder of the year is divided between surgical pathology and autopsy pathology.

The second year starts with a summer lecture series of introductory topics in laboratory medicine. The PGY4 residents teach by doing the Friday CP call conference and giving 20 minute educational presentations. PGY2’s rotate through the core Lab Medicine divisions throughout the year. For more detailed descriptions of the rotations, please refer to clinical rotations.

  • To prepare competent and confident anatomic and clinical pathologists
  • To prepare our residents to successfully pass their Anatomic & Clinical Pathology Boards
  • To endow our residents with the managerial and quality improvement skills to run a laboratory
  • To educate residents on how to read literature critically and incorporate best practices into their clinical care
  • To expose our residents to the practice of clinically relevant scientific inquiry
  • To train residents to effectively communicate results and diagnoses to colleagues and patients
  • To prepare our residents to effectively educate trainees, colleagues, and the community on issues relevant to their practice