Exams and Qualifications

FRCPath Medical Microbiology

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 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 Medical Microbiology Part 1

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 and costs, click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

Royal College Resources

FRCPath Medical Microbiology: Part 2

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

From August 2021, the FRCPath Part 2 exam in Medical Microbiology has been revised. The format has now been reduced from four papers to two papers.

Paper 1 is a written exam and will consist of five complex clinical and laboratory scenarios in microbiology and infection prevention; each scenario requires assimilation of clinical history or an infection prevention narrative, critical interpretation of laboratory results and will, typically, comprise 7-10 questions.
In addition to the above, there will also be ten short-answer questions (SAQs). Each SAQ will, typically, comprise 4-5 questions relating to a topic. SAQs will focus on a clinical scenario, infection prevention topic, laboratory practice point, and/or laboratory safety.

Paper 2 is an Objective structured pathology examination (OSPE). This will comprise 15 stations, each of 9 minutes duration (plus a
variable number of rest stations). Topics will usually include laboratory practice, clinical infection scenarios, infection prevention, data interpretation and research methods. At least two of the 15 stations will be in a face-to-face spoken format and will include an assessment of candidates’ communication ability.

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 and costs, click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

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.