Dalhousie University - General Pathology - Halifax

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on September 27, 2021

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Cheng Wang
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 
5788 University Avenue 
Mackenzie Building
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 1V8

Program Contacts

Kelly Leights
Program Administrator

Important Information

Please note that there are four areas of subspecialty training in Laboratory Medicine offered by Dalhousie University.  General Pathology is one area of subspecialty in Laboratory Medicine.  The other three are Anatomical Pathology, Hematopathology, and Medical Microbiology. There are three (3) positions for 2022 in General Pathology allocated.  Candidates are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the differences between these subspecialties and apply specifically to those which interest them and this should be indicated in their personal letter.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)


You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of application.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

The Selection Committee requires three reference letters, and only three will be reviewed.

References should be from three academic physicians or scientists under whose supervision you have worked and who are able to attest to your professional and personal skills. 

Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your registrar.

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's office.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The personal letter should state why you are specifically interested and suitable to General Pathology, and should also include your current career plans. 250 words or less.

Optional - will be reviewed
Custom Résumé / CV 

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022



  • February 28, 2022
  • March 1, 2022
Interviews will be held Monday, February 28, and Tuesday, March 1,  2022.

An online interview with video is required. In special circumstances and at the discretion of the Program, interviews by telephone will be considered.  

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Interviews for General Pathology are conducted by members of a Selection Committee which usually includes a resident representative, the Program Director, and two other staff pathologists.

There will be two 20-25 minute interviews each with two members of the selection committee.  We reserve the right to adjust the interview process so as to be fair to all eligible applicants.  

Selection Criteria

  • A favorable academic record
  • It is strongly suggested that you have references from academic specialists in clinical or laboratory disciplines, under whose supervision you have worked and who can attest to your professional and personal qualities
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • An appreciation for the unique nature of General Pathology practice, preferably with prior exposure during an elective
  • A personal letter stating why you are specifically interested in General Pathology. Please include an outline of your future career plans

Program goals

The goal of our residency program is to train highly qualified MDs to become safe and competent General pathologists. Residents who have successfully completed their training will be ready for independent practice or for further subspecialty fellowship training in Canada and around the world. We strive to help the next generation of General pathologists become leaders in their field and advocate for excellence in diagnostic services and patient care.

Selection process goals

  • The goals of the selection process are to identify candidates with strong motivation,  proper experience/knowledge in any of the following areas: Anatomical pathology, Cytopathology, Autopsy pathology, Hematopathology, Medical Microbiology, and Clinical Biochemistry so that they will be comfortable in handling daily tasks and workloads required for general pathology residency training.
  • Our program and university value the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in residency education, and achieving a diverse and inclusive group of residents is a goal in our selection process
  • Preference will be given to candidates who are from the Maritime provinces and are willing to practice in the Maritime provinces after completion of their training

File review process

Review team composition : The application file review team generally consists of several staff pathologists/ laboratory scientists, chief and co-chief residents of the General Pathology Program

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 0 - 25 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Pathology, Autopsy and Laboratory Medicine experiences
Electives Pathology (anatomical pathology, cytopathology, and autopsy) and Laboratory Medicine related electives
Examinations We do not formally evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular We do not formally evaluate this file component
Leadership skills Evidence of leadership skills in undergraduate or graduate training
MSPRs Evidence of favorable performance in undergraduate training
Personal letters Interests in perusing a career in a community center by practicing Anatomical Pathology, Cytopathology, Clinical Pathology, or Autopsy.
Reference documents Appropriate knowledge base in Medicine and Pathology, Strong interpersonal skills
Research/Publications Not required but is an asset
Transcripts Evidence of favorable performance in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine related courses/exams

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Electives in any one of the following areas will be considered: Anatomical Pathology (Adults or Pediatrics), Autopsy Pathology (Adults, Pediatrics or Forensic), Cytopathology, Medical Microbiology, Hematopathology and Clinical Chemistry. For the 2022 Match, we do recognize that due to COVID-19 many elective opportunities were not possible or canceled, this will be taken into account when making decisions. If you had an elective opportunity canceled or made unavailable please address it in your personal letter.

Interview process

Interview format :

We routinely accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Evidence of previous collaboration in service, teaching or research activities
Collegiality Evidence of working efficiently as a team member
Communication skills Clarity of personal letters or CVs
Health advocacy We do not evaluate this interview component directly
Interest in the discipline Demonstrate proper understanding of the role that Pathologists can play in patient care
Interest in the program Understands the strengths of Dalhousie General Path Program
Leadership skills Knowledge of different Pathology service team compositions and/or workloads
Professionalism Proper dress code
Scholarly activities Able to name a few research topics related to Pathology or Laboratory Medicine

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

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 has further strengthened the program’s organization allowing more functional and targeted teaching and contributed to our resident’s ongoing success.
  • The program currently has six residents.  It is largely based at one institution. (QEII Health Science Center in Halifax). 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, and Medical Microbiology. General pathology residents rotate through these divisions and their success contributes to our success.
  • There is ready access to high-quality digital cameras, other imaging equipment, and computers.
  • Two to three electives can be spent in any North American institution in a qualified program
  • Excellent community-based rotations in a number of Maritime labs are an integral part of the training; with the majority of the residency training done in the Halifax area.
  • The current Departmental Head, Dr. Irene Sadek 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.
  • All of the past graduates of the General Pathology Program were happily recruited by various institutions after the successful completion of their training.  

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Transition to Discipline (July of PGY1)

The first month of PGY1 is an Introductory Transition to Discipline curriculum that allows residents to obtain the Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) required by the Royal College Competence By Design training system. It is shared with AP residents and allows students to get to know faculty, other residents, and learn the basics of microscope function, slide scanning, grossing, and photography. The program is a mixture of didactic and hands-on activities. There is an end-of-rotation slide quiz and case presentation.

Foundations of Discipline (rest of PGY1)

There are 12 blocks in the remainder of PGY1, which allow residents to complete the EPAs in the Foundations stage of training:

  • Endocrinology and Metabolism (1 block)
  • Clinical Hematology (1 block)
  • Infectious Diseases(1 block)
  • General Surgery (1 block)
  • Radiation Oncology or Medical Oncology (1 block)
  • Gynecological Oncology (1 block)
  • Subspecialty Pediatrics (usually Peds GI) (1 block)
  • Selective (1 block - Can be one from Diagnostic Imaging, Dermatology, ENT, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine or Surgical Subspecialties)
  • Autopsy Pathology (1 block at the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service in Dartmouth)
  • Foundations of Hematopathology (1 block)
  • Foundations of Anatomical Pathology and Clinical Pathology (2 blocks)

PGY2 through PGY5 - Core, and Transition to Practice stages 

13 blocks of Junior AP/Autopsy

3 blocks of Senior AP/Autopsy

4 blocks of Cytopathology

2 blocks of Forensic Pathology (at the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service in Dartmouth)

1 block of Pediatric AP/Autopsy (at the IWK Health Center in Halifax)

7 blocks in Hematopathology (rotating through Bone Marrow, Transfusion and Coagulation, Peripheral Smears)

6 blocks of Clinical Chemistry

6 blocks of Medical Microbiology

1 block of Molecular Pathology

1 elective of Medical Liver, Kidney, and Lung biopsies

2 blocks of Community Rotation (generally at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI)

1 block of Pre Royal College Exam Anatomical Pathology

1 block of Pre Royal College Exam Clinical Pathology

3 blocks of Electives


Educational Program 

An academic half-day is held every Wednesday morning during which time, the residents are excused from all service responsibilities. This includes didactic and small group sessions plus teaching at the multi-head microscope. A series of GP-specific topics are presented on Monday noon sessions, which are mandatory for PGY3, 4, and 5. Additional divisional teaching rounds include autopsy, quality assurance, journal club, interesting cases, and gross-micro rounds. Several subspecialties provide regular teaching sessions at the multi-head microscope. In PGY4 or 5, each resident has access to $1000 to help fund a conference or review course.



The program requires each resident to engage in at least one well-designed research project.  Opportunities exist in both basic science and clinical realms. A resident research coordinator is in place to provide support and guidance.  The resident is expected to present his/her research at the annual Pathology Departmental Research Day, CAP, USCAP, or other appropriate conferences, and to attempt to publish the data.  Financial support is provided for PGY2 through PGY5 residents to attend a conference annually at which they are presenting a paper or poster ($1500).  Residents are required to present a poster or platform presentation at the annual Pathology Departmental research day in PGY2 through PGY4.


Teaching Opportunities

Residents are essential advocates and teachers for the medical students and residents rotating through pathology. They regularly teach their peers for a component of the academic half-day. Additional opportunities include medical school lab instruction and Radiology-Pathology correlation rounds. Senior residents will also play a greater role in evaluating junior residents in the CBD model of assessment/evaluation. 


In house exams

Every fall there is an in-house exam for PGY2-5 residents that includes all components (written, practical, oral) of the Royal College exam. A second oral and practical slide exam is provided every spring. All PGY2-4 residents write the annual RISE exam. It is optional for PGY5 residents.   

Training Sites


The affiliated hospitals are listed on Dalhousie University's overview page.  The main site of training are Halifax QEII Health Science Center with some time spent at the IWK Health Center, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service in Dartmouth,  the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown PEI, and the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.  

At the QEII hospital, the residents will have a microscope and a computer with access to the internet, hospital intranet, University Libraries, and Laboratory Information System. Residents have ready access to high-quality digital cameras with a dedicated computer and imaging software as well as a digital slide scanner.

All the laboratory medicine divisions and the QEII libraries contain up-to-date collections of printed and/or electronic textbooks and journals.   Many meeting rooms are available in the department of laboratory medicine, equipped with computers, projectors, teleconference devices, and, in some cases, microscopes with projection software for multidisciplinary rounds or conferences.  Similar equipment is also available at the University Department in Sir Charles Tupper Building.  There are an 18 head Olympus microscope and an 8 head Olympus microscope for teaching in the Anatomical Pathology Division. There is a 10 head Nikon teaching microscope that will attached imaging cameras in the Hematopathology Division.  All residents have access to reference managers and statistical software.  

NOTE: All residency programs are required to have 10% of their residency training outside of Halifax Regional Municipality as stipulated in the most recent Academic Funding Plan set out by the Department of Health and Wellness of Nova Scotia. Please be aware that if matched to Halifax, as part of your training you may be expected to complete rotations outside the central zone but within the maritime provinces.


Additional Information

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.  Situated in Halifax, residents of Dalhousie University benefit from the abundance of urban activities of a city with the added charm of the beautiful outdoors that the Maritimes has to offer.