OFO No: 221207





Other names for Pathologist:

  • Clinical Cytopathologist
  • Forensic Biologist
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Forensic Toxicologist
  • Immunologist

What is a Pathologist?

A Pathologist is a specialist medical job.

A Pathologist works in laboratory. The perform tests on samples of tissue, blood and body secretions to determine illness or disease. These samples can be from live people.

In South Africa, a Pathologist could work for hospitals, government (police) or for companies like PathCare, Ampath or Lancet for instance.

A Forensic Pathologist will use samples from corpses to determine cause of death or to determine whether the person was murdered.

What does a Pathologist do?

  • performs various laboratory tests of samples from live bodies
  • studies the nature of diseases
  • provides laboratory information to medical professionals

What does a Forensic Pathologist do?

  • studies the corpse
  • does experiments
  • determines reasons for death
  • writes reports
  • provides legal teams with necessary evidence
  • may appear in court as expert witness

Are you  . . . ?

  • interested in science and biology?
  • passionate about working in a lab?
  • a problem solver?
  • detail orientated?
  • observant?
  • a logical thinker?
  • dedicated?
  • methodical and systematic?
  • not grossed out with body samples and/or corpses

How do I become a Pathologist?

You will need a qualification.

You will need to study to become a General Medical Practitioner and then, once qualified, practice as a doctor in a private practice, hospital or clinic.

After completing your 2 years, you will need to complete a Master’s degree in Medicine (Pathology)

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of KZN
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Witwatersrand


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 



HPCSA registration is compulsory from the first year of your medical studies to qualifying and practising as a Pathologist.

Registration categories are:

  1. Student
  2. Intern
  3. Community Service
  4. Private Practice

OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Mortician or Phlebotomist

Is becoming a Pathologist the right career choice for me?