General Pathology

Focus on the big picture

Choose a career in General Pathology and all the flexibility and opportunity to explore varied interests within Laboratory Medicine that affords.  Do not limit yourself to just one area of the fascinating world of Laboratory Medicine!

Join a robust General Pathology program in one Canada’s largest health care institutions.   The well structured teaching with honed clinical pathology courses, abundant cases and wide spectrum of expertise affords a rich learning environment.  Institutional centralization allows for a wide breadth of cases with great diversity.   Experiences in the world-leading IWK Health Centre and the state-of the-art Medical Examiner’s Office add to the calibre of the resident’s training.  The atmosphere is collegial with an emphasis on resident success.

What you'll learn

This residency program is for 5 year(s)

Program length of training exceeds the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.


The first year for General Pathology is a basic clinical year.  It consists mainly of a mixed clinical experience.  The purpose is to provide a background similar to that provided by the rotating internship in the past.  The year consists of thirteen-4-week rotations that may be in any of the hospitals listed under Dalhousie University.  Required content includes - Two (2) blocks in a surgical specialty relevant to pathology; Two (2) blocks in an adult medical specialty relevant to pathology; One (1) block in pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty; One(1) block in obstetrics and gynecology relevant to pathology; One (1) block in a oncologic specialty relevant to pathology; Six (6) blocks of further training as approved by the program director.


These years consist of:

  • 21 x 4 week blocks of combined Adult Surgical and Autopsy Pathology
  • 3 x 4 week blocks of Cytopathology (one 4 week block of senior Cytopathology for a total of four months)
  • 1 x 4 week block of Pediatric Pathology
  • 2 x 4-week blocks of Forensic Pathology
  • 2 x 6 week blocks in each Hematopathology, Medical Biochemistry and Medical Microbiology
  • 2 x 4-week blocks in community practice experience
  • 3 x 4-week blocks of electives (usually can be used as Pre-exam rotation, tailored to residents's needs)
  • 1 x 4-week block in Molecular Laboratory Medicine

Rotation sequences generally ensure ongoing contact with many of the different specialties throughout the four years.  This program combines the advantages of training at a tertiary care centre whilst emphasis is placed on the role of the general pathologist.  The community hospital rotation ensures that residents have an opportunity to put into practice, during their final year, those skills which they have learned.  A laboratory management course, given during the academic half-day provides the didactic information needed.  Various areas of laboratory management are emphasized during clinical laboratory rotations.


The Program requires the resident to put together a small project or a case presentation at the Department's Research Day or a CAP conference before completion of their training.  The Program would encourage residents to carry their work through to publication.  Research projects may be undertaken in either basic science or clinical science.

Program highlights

  • We enjoy a robust and active program. 
  • The program is very well organized. In recent years, the addition of both Clinical Pathology courses in Medical Microbiology and Medical Biochemistry have further strengthened the program’s organization allowing more functional and targeted teaching and contributed to our resident’s ongoing success.
  • The program currently has four residents.  It is largely based at one institution. (QEII HSC). This allows for close collegial interaction between staff pathologists and residents.
  • The quality of clinical material is sufficiently large that a resident can be exposed to adequate numbers of cases from practically every subspecialty area.
  • The medical staff functions very well as a team and is truly dedicated to teaching.
  • The Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s office is a state of the art facility staffed by highly trained Forensic Pathologists located just across the street from the provincial police services. This affords an unparalleled learning environment for our residents in forensic pathology. 
  • The Department of Pathology also sponsors other successful and strong residency programs in laboratory medicine including: Anatomic Pathology, Hematopathology, Medical Microbiology, and Transfusion Medicine. General pathology residents rotate through these departments and their success contributes to our success.
  • There is ready access to high quality digital cameras, other imaging equipment and computers.
  • Three months elective can be spent in any North American institution in a qualified program
  • Excellent community based rotation; with the majority of the residency training done in the Halifax area.
  • The current Departmental Head, Dr. Godfrey Heathcote provides direct support to the program and makes time to meet with the residents both as a group and on an individual level.
  • Our residency program is led by a well functioning Residency Program Committee.

Where you’ll learn

You’ll spend the majority of your time in Halifax, with most of your training taking place at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Some of your clinical internship training and at least two months of pathology training will take place at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Finally, to help you build your non-academic community experience, you’ll do one month of pathology training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI.

How to apply

Residents are selected through the Canadian Resident Matching Service. Detailed program selection criteria, application timelines, and up-to-date program information can be found at

Contact information


Program director: Dr Cheng Wang

Residency Program Coordinator: Kelly Leights

Phone: 902-473-7589