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The European College of Veterinary Pathologists (ECVP) was established in 1995 to advance veterinary pathology and promote high standards within the specialty in Europe. Specialisation by members of the veterinary profession results in more competent service to the public and to institutions and increases the prestige and usefulness of the profession. The ECVP represents an organised effort to establish criteria for training and experience to qualify as a specialist in veterinary pathology. The organisation encourages veterinarians entering veterinary pathology to acquire training and competence based on approved standards. Those who meet the standards of training and competence established by the College will be awarded a suitable certificate. A list of diplomates is maintained for guidance of institutions and the public.


A. To further scientific progress in veterinary pathology;

B. To establish standards of training, experience and examination for qualification as a specialist in veterinary pathology;

C. To further the recognition of such qualified specialists by suitable certification and other means.


Veterinary pathology is a discipline-oriented specialisation which focuses on the morphological recognition and functional interpretation of pathological conditions in animals, through analysis of the pathomorphological substrate in attempting to define specific pathological processes including aetiology and pathogenesis.
Membership includes veterinary pathologists with a wide variety of career pathways and employments such as in private pathology practice, general and specific diagnostic laboratories, academic and research institutes and industry. A veterinarian, who has satisfied the requirements as to character, training and experience and competence in veterinary pathology, including satisfactory completion of the certifying examination, is eligible for membership. Election of such candidates is accomplished by majority vote of the Council.
Any member who has retired from the practice or teaching of veterinary pathology may be designated a Retired Diplomate by the Council, at the member’s request. Retired members shall be exempt from the payment of dues and do not have the right to vote and hold office.
A person who has contributed in an extraordinary manner to the advancement of veterinary pathology may be elected as an Honorary Member of the College. Election is by a majority vote of the Council, confirmed by a majority vote of the membership of the College. Honorary members shall have all the privileges of membership except the right to vote or hold office and shall not be required to pay dues.

The certifying examination of the ECVP is held in February of each year.
Application forms are available from the Website and from the ecvpjf@liverpool.ac.uk“>ECVP Office.
Applications require the signature of a Diplomate of the ECVP or the ACVP who sponsors the candidate by certifying that training has been followed to permit sitting for the examination. For eligibility criteria to sit the exam see below ‘General requirements of certifying examination’.

An application is valid for only one year except for repeat candidates (see “Results of the Examination”). Persons with disabilities should mention this with their application including medical confirmation.

The signing sponsor should be the person most responsible for the candidate’s training. When this is not possible the applicant should provide an appropriate explanation to the Council. Completed application forms accompanied by proof of payment of the examination fee of 600 EURO must be received by the ECVP Office postmarked no later than August 1st preceding the year of examination. For any re-sit examination, a fee of 300 EURO applies. Candidates need to register for the re-sit examination no later than August 1st preceding the year of examination.

Eligibility to sit the examination is determined by the Council before October 1st, following recommendation by the Application Committee. Applicants are promptly notified by the ECVP Office as to acceptance. If the applicant’s credentials are not accepted, or if candidates withdraw from the examination prior to December 1st, fees are refunded, except for a 10 percent processing charge. No refunds are made after this date.

Candidates who intend to apply to sit the examination can submit a request for a “quick eligibility check” by the Applications Committee, by submitting the appropriate form sheet (http://www.ecvpath.org/exam_preparation.asp) to the ECVP Office. They will receive feedback from the Application Committee in due course.

An individual who has received an unfavourable ruling regarding qualifications to sit the examination may appeal against this decision. Such an appeal must be received in writing to the secretary within 30 days of the date of the letter informing the individual of the unfavourable decision.

The following general prerequisites must be met to the satisfaction of the Council before any candidate is eligible to sit the Board Examination in veterinary pathology. For more detailed information, see the Guidance Notes on Residency Training Programmes (www.ecvpath.org/residency-training/). An eligible candidate must:

A. have satisfactory standing in the profession;

B. be qualified to practice veterinary medicine in Europe, or present evidence of veterinary education and training which, in the judgement of the ECVP Council, is an equivalent qualification;

C. have completed at least 3 years, subsequent to graduation as a veterinarian, of supervised training in pathology acceptable to the Council (i.e. the 36 months of training need to be completed before February 1st of the year the candidate intends to sit the examination). Acceptable supervised training is that directed by a Diplomate of the ECVP or the ACVP, in an ECVP registered residency training centre; alternatively, training can be undergone outside Europe, under the supervision of a Diplomate of the ECVP or the ACVP in an established residency training programme.

D. If either the supervisor is not a Diplomate or the programme does not train veterinary pathologists as one of its primary functions, then 5 years of training in pathology are required. One of these 5 years must be spent in training under the supervision of an ECVP or ACVP Diplomate in an ECVP registered residency training centre or, if the training is undergone outside Europe, under the supervision of a Diplomate in an established residency training programme.

E. have published at least TWO original papers in internationally recognised journals in the field of veterinary pathology (candidates do not need to be first authors of the publications).

F. have registered with the ECVP as a trainee within 12 months of starting his/her residency/postgraduate training in veterinary pathology.


1. Definition: A Veterinary Pathology Training Programme allows graduate veterinarians to acquire in-depth knowledge of veterinary pathology and its supporting disciplines under the supervision and guidance of a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathologists (Residency), or in selected Alternative Training Programmes.

2. Objectives of a Veterinary Pathology Training Programme

A. To promote aptitude and proficiency in veterinary pathology.
B. To instruct graduate veterinarians in the science and practice of veterinary pathology and its supporting disciplines.
C. To provide graduate veterinarians with the opportunity to pursue career goals in teaching, research, or diagnostic practice.
D. To advance veterinary pathology through promotion of research and publications.

Training in veterinary pathology leading to eligibility to sit the ECVP certifying examination must be undertaken in an ECVP registered residency training centre or in an established residency training centre outside Europe and must be under the supervision of a Diplomate of the ECVP or ACVP. For eligibility to sit the exam, a candidate must be officially registered as a trainee with the ECVP council within 12 months of starting his/her postgraduate training in veterinary pathology. Registration of the trainee with the ECVP council is the responsibility of the programme director. The Council will accept the trainee after consultation with the Education Committee. Some training centres are recognised under the condition that they co-train with other ECVP recognised residency training centres to provide a training fulfilling all requirements of the ECVP. Programme directors of those training centres must provide a training plan for their trainees upon registration.

The ECVP – as part of its annual report to the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) – is required to provide the EBVS with the number of registered trainees and future candidates for the ECVP certifying examination. Registered trainees/candidates, however, are under no obligation to sit the qualifying examination.

Registration as trainee with the ECVP is of benefit, since candidates
1) will be on an email list that alerts of any upcoming training events, such as the ECVP/ESVP Summer Schools in Veterinary Pathology and other preparation possibilities for the exam by providing information on local, regional, national and international educational events taking place for examination candidates;
2) will be allowed to attend the annual ECVP/ESVP Summer School in Veterinary Pathology at a reduced rate.

The candidate’s goal should be to acquire knowledge sufficient to assume responsibility for the broad spectrum of problems encountered by veterinary pathologists. Following the requirements of the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) the ECVP maintains a list of recognised residency training centres in Europe. These centres provide training in veterinary pathology that fulfils the requirements of the ECVP for eligibility to sit the ECVP certifying examination. The ECVP recognises that training also occurs effectively in other settings but believes that this needs to be complemented by training in an ECVP recognised residency training centre. Co-training by several institutions is an option to complement and broaden training and to prepare for the ECVP certifying examination.
In addition to academic studies calculated to provide adequate insight into basic principles of pathology, the candidate must show examples of practical experience in performing his/her professional duties. These should include the application of all standard methods and procedures of pathology to any given case, with a view to demonstrating the nature of the disease process, or to making a diagnosis, or both. While the pathologist need not be a technician in the performance of laboratory procedures, thorough familiarity with the uses, limitations, and application of such tests and the ability to supervise their performance and interpretation are required.
The certificate of membership of the College is granted only after the applicant has completed a period of training and has demonstrated, by thorough formal examination, the ability to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of a veterinary pathologist. The standards that must be met are no less strict than those for graduation from a veterinary school, and the study and training are no less arduous.

The examination is designed to test candidates’ (a) understanding of the broad principles of pathology, (b) ability to practice competently veterinary pathology and (c) ability to synthesise data and observations in problem solving.
The format of the examination includes five parts. Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 are taken by all candidates. In part 5 there is an element of choice.
1. General Pathology
This part of the examination tests the understanding of basic mechanisms of diseases including the principles of cell and molecular pathology.
2. Gross Pathology
Evaluation of a defined number of gross pathology specimens that may include fresh and fixed material, or colour transparencies. Required answers include a short description, a morphologic and an etiologic diagnosis, or appropriate differential diagnosis. The examination may include post mortem examinations.
3. Histopathology
Evaluation of a defined number of histopathology slides. Required answers include a complete description, a morphologic and an etiologic diagnosis, or appropriate differential diagnosis with suggestions for additional diagnostic procedures.
The histopathology part will include evaluation of electron microscopic pictures and cytology specimens (one or two of each).
Each of these three parts is assembled to achieve a balance between species, cell or organ system, disease process and type of question.
4. Comprehensive Pathology
This part of the examination tests the ability to approach and solve a problem in the field. Required are the creation of a hypothesis, the selection of data from a set provided, the evaluation, and the final diagnosis and synopsis.
5. Veterinary Pathology
The College recognises the variable career pathways and employment opportunities for veterinary pathologists and so the fifth part of the examination, on veterinary pathology, can be taken in several different options.
Candidates have to chose, in advance, one of the major items (A-D) and one of the minor items (a-g), which has not been chosen under major items:
Major items:

A) Large and Small Domestic Animals

B) Laboratory Animals and Toxicological Pathology

C) Poultry and Large Animals

D)  Fish and Exotic

Minor items:
a) Small domestic animals (dog, cat)
b) Large domestic animals (horse, pig, cattle, sheep, goat)
c) Exotic animals (cage birds, zoo animals, wildlife)
d) Poultry (industrially kept birds)
e) Laboratory animals (mouse, rat, non-human primate, dog, rabbit, guinea pig and other species used for biomedical research and drug safety assessment)
f) Toxicological pathology
g) Fish
This part of the examination tests the competence of the candidate in diagnostic veterinary pathology in the chosen interest fields including the ability to critically read the associated literature.
Pass-fail lines for the examination are determined prior to the examination. For each part a grade of 60 percent or more is a passing mark.

The examination will be held every year at one central location in Europe and will be taken in the English language.

Withdrawal, illness
Withdrawal prior to the examination or failure to appear for the examination will not constitute an attempt to sit all or any part(s) of the exam, but will count as one of the years for which repeat candidates are eligible to pass any previously failed part(s). A candidate’s illness during preparation for, or during the actual examination, will not be considered a valid reason to waive the rules of the College. In the event a candidate starts, but is unable to complete the examination, results will be determined for all sections for which the candidate is scheduled, regardless of the number of sections completed.

Results of examination
Candidates are required to satisfactorily complete all parts of the certification examination. Successful candidates are certified as a “Veterinary Pathologist”. All certified persons are designated as Diplomates of the European College of Veterinary Pathologists (DiplECVP). They are also allowed to use the title of “European Veterinary Specialist in Pathology” from the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS; http://www.ebvs.org/).

A candidate who takes the examination and passes two, three or four parts, retains credit for the parts passed for the next four years, provided a mark of more than 30% has been attained in the failed parts. Two additional attempts to pass the failed parts are permitted within these four years. Candidates who wish to retake the part(s) failed must complete the relevant application form and it must be received by the ECVP Office, postmarked no later than August 1st of the year preceding the year in which they wish to retake the examination accompanied by a fee of 300 EURO.

Candidates who do not pass the failed parts within the four successive years as described above must reapply as new candidates and retake all parts (see “Application for Certification” section for date, fee and instructions. A new application form is required).

Candidates who attempt all parts of the examination and who fail four or five parts must re-apply as new candidates and must retake all parts of the examination. All such candidates must submit a new application form (for date, fee and instructions see “Application for Examination” section).

A candidate who fails a certifying examination may request that the marks of the parts failed be retotalled to verify the accuracy of the results reported. The verification process is not intended to evaluate the content or interpretation of the examination or candidate responses but to determine that the scores are correctly totalled. Such requests must be received in writing, accompanied by a fee of 100 EURO, within 30 days of the date of mailing of the results of the examination to the candidate.

The European College of Veterinary Pathologists was established on September 28th 1995 in Edinburgh with the objectives of furthering progress in the science and practice of veterinary pathology and of establishing standards of training experience which merit recognition of qualified specialists in that field.
The candidates are accepted into the organisation on the basis of exacting professional requirements which fit him/her for a highly specialised service. The European College of Veterinary Pathologists realises, too, that in identifying an individual as meeting these requirements it stakes its reputation on his/her conscientious rendering of such service and on the commitment of its Diplomates to their own Continuing Professional Development to maintain the College’s high standards.

The European College of Veterinary Pathologists maintains a CPD policy and re-registration process in accordance with the requirements of the European board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS). Members of the ECVP are asked to keep their own personal records of CPD. It is also required that the member spends more or equal than 50 % of the official working time (i.e. more than 800 hours a year working in their specialisation. Re-registration is required every five years and is based on a credit point system. (see Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Re-registration).


Last Updated: February 10th, 2015