The standard required to pass the Diploma in Dermatopathology is that of a medical expert specialist offering a diagnostic opinion in dermatopathology to local and often more distant colleagues. Candidates for the examination will be expected to demonstrate considerable knowledge in all aspects of dermatopathology, at a standard beyond that required to pass the MRCPath examination (Histopathology).
The examination is held once a year in spring.
Candidates must hold a minimum of either the MRCPath in histopathology, or hold the certificate of competence of specialist training (CCST) in dermatology or be within a year of being eligible for the CCST in dermatology. Candidates from countries other than the UK must have an equivalent qualification or similar accreditation status.
Newly qualified candidates (with MRCPath and CCST in dermatology) to the examination will normally be expected to have undertaken a minimum of one years training at an accredited Royal College of Pathologists dermatopathology training centre and have studied the core curriculum. Experienced candidates may occasionally be permitted to sit the examination without completing the training programme at a training centre. This variance will be at the discretion of the Chair of Examiners in dermatopathology and Director of Studies at The Royal College of Pathologists.
The same standards will apply to both histopathologists and dermatologists in respect of their knowledge to pass the examination.
The content of the examination will include written, practical and oral components.
The written examination consists of two three-hour essay papers. Paper 1 comprises questions on basic principles and general aspects of dermatopathology. Paper 2 concentrates on more specific aspects of dermatopathology.
The practical examination is held over two days. On the afternoon of the first day, there is a three-hour microscopy session, comprising 20 histopathology sections to cover dermatopathology and other relevant aspects of histopathology that may become manifest within the skin.
On the morning of the second day, a two-hour microscopy session comprises six complex cases that test clinical knowledge and relevant specialised techniques in histopathology. The clinical component may include colour prints or patient examination. Particular emphasis will be placed in this part of the examination on clinicopathological correlation.
The oral examination is undertaken during the afternoon of the second day and is for 30 minutes.
Particular significance will be given in the marking of the examination to errors that could be of clinical consequence to the patient, in terms of either potential inappropriate management or an adverse clinical outcome.
Candidates who have unsuccessfully attempted the Diploma four times will not normally be permitted to re-enter the examination. Any case for readmission based on extenuating circumstances must be referred to College Council.