Exams and Qualifications

FRCPath: Medical Microbiology

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The postgraduate qualification for international microbiologists applying for GMC registration is FRCPath. We’ve written an FRCPath Overview to help overseas Medical Microbiology doctors better understand this postgraduate qualification.

What is FRCPath?

FRCPath: Medical Microbiology

FRCPath Part 1: Medical Microbiology

  • Entry Requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Dates, Locations and Cost
  • Royal College Resources

FRCPath Part 2: Medical Microbiology

  • Entry Requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Dates, Locations and Cost
  • Royal College Resources

What is FRCPath?

FRCPath stands for: Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists

The Royal College of Pathologists are the professional body who conduct the FRCPath exams and, furthermore, who are responsible for the postgraduate training of pathologists in the UK.

The Royal College of Pathologists award the FRCPath postgraduate qualification to doctors who have successfully passed the FRCPath exams.

To register for licence to practise via the postgraduate route, the GMC require international medical microbiologists to hold the FRCPath qualification.


FRCPath: Medical Microbiology

Split into two parts, FRCPath Part 1 and FRCPath Part 2, the FRCPath exams test a trainee’s core knowledge in medical microbiology and the scientific basis of microbiology and infection.  


FRCPath Part 1: Medical Microbiology

Entry Requirements

Candidates wanting to sit the FRCPath Part 1 exam must have participated in a recognised training programme in microbiology for over 12 months. 

If you’re an overseas doctor, we recommend contacting the Royal College to check if your training programme is recognised prior to submitting your application.

Exam Structure

Designed to test a candidate’s core knowledge and understanding of the scientific basis of medical microbiology, virology and infectious diseases, Part 1 of the FRCPath exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions.

This is a three-hour exam, sat in one day.

Dates, Locations and Cost

Applicants are able to take the Part 1 exam in several locations worldwide. These include Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan and the UK.

Usually held in both Spring and Autumn each year, the FRCPath Part 1 costs £893 for candidates outside of the UK and Ireland.

For more details on the examination dates, click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

A full list of the FRCPath exam fees can be found here.

Royal College Resources


FRCPath Part 2: Medical Microbiology

Entry Requirements

To sit the FRCPath Part 2 exam, applicants must have passed Part 1. They must also have trained in a recognised training programme in microbiology for over two and a half years. 

Exam Structure

The Part 2 exam takes place across a two-day period. It consists of four papers involving both written and practical components.

Typically, papers 1 & 2 are taken on the first day of the exam and papers 3 & 4 are then taken on the second day. 

The written parts of the exam are designed to test a candidates overall knowledge and understanding across the curriculum, as well as critical appraisal. 

The practical and OSPE exams are designed to test a candidates overall competence in basic practical laboratory skills, interpretation of relevant clinical and laboratory data, management of infection, the ability to give appropriate clinical advice and in infection control practice. 

The details on all 4 of the papers are as follows:

Paper 1 

This is both an essay and short answer question paper which candidates are given 2.5 hours to complete.

The essay topics in this exam are focused on:

  • laboratory management issues
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • infection prevention
  • a combination of the above

The short-answer questions are focused on:

  • clinical scenarios
  • infection prevention topics
  • laboratory practice
  • laboratory safety

Paper 2 

This consists of both a critical appraisal of a journal article and a short-answer question paper. Similarly to paper 1, the short answer questions are focused on:

  • clinical scenarios
  • infection prevention topics
  • laboratory practice
  • laboratory safety

Candidates are also given 2.5 hours to complete paper 2. 

Paper 3 

Paper 3 involves complex clinical and laboratory scenarios in microbiology and infection prevention (‘long cases’), with candidates being given 3 hours to complete this.

The questions in this paper cover a similar range of topics to those previously mentioned in paper 2.

Paper 4

Finally, paper 4 comprises of 15 stations, each of 9 minutes’ duration, in an OSPE (objective structured pathology exam) format. 2 of the 15 stations are face- to-face and each are with a pair of examiners.

Candidates will have 3 hours to complete paper 4. 

Dates, Locations and Cost

All Diploma practical, Part 1 practical and Part 2 exams can only be taken in the UK. Currently, the Part 2 exam in is offered twice a year, once during Spring and once in the Autumn. 

For further details on the examination dates, click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

This exam costs £1,388. A full list of the FRCPath exam fees can be found here.

Royal College Resources


If you’re interested in working in the UK and would like to discuss the positions available in your specialty, and how we can assist you, please contact our team.