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Pathology in Irish medical education
  1. Hilary Humphreys1,2,
  2. Niall Stevens1,
  3. Desmond Leddin3,
  4. Grace Callagy4,
  5. Louise Burke5,
  6. R William Watson6,
  7. Mary Toner7
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Microbiology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3 Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  4. 4 Department of Pathology, National University of Galway, Galway, Ireland
  5. 5 Department of Pathology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  6. 6 UCD School of Medicine, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  7. 7 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hilary Humphreys, Department of Clinical Microbiology, RCSI Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin D09 YD60, Ireland; hhumphreys{at}


Pathology is the study of disease and is an important component in medical education. However, with medical curriculum reform, its role and contribution to medical courses is under potential threat. We surveyed the status of pathology in all six Irish medical schools. Information was received from five direct undergraduate and four graduate entry programmes. Pathology was recognisable as a core subject in all but one of the medical schools, was generally taught in years two or three, and the greatest contact hours were for histopathology (44–102 hours). Lectures were the most common teaching modality, and all used single best or extended matching answer multiple-choice questions as part of assessments. Currently, pathology is very visible in Irish medical education but needs to remain relevant with the move to theme and case-based teaching. There is heavy reliance on lectures and on non-academic/full-time hospital staff to deliver teaching, which may not be sustainable.

  • pathology
  • medical education
  • staff
  • integrated teaching
  • lectures

Statistics from


  • Handling editor Tahir S Pillay.

  • Contributors HH drafted the questionnaire with NS and with DL, GC, LB, RWW and MT provided the data. HH drafted the manuscript which was reviewed and amended by all the authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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