The syllabus covers the basic mechanisms of disease that trainees need to understand so they are equipped to train in their chosen discipline and to understand pathology disciplines other than in their own chosen field. For example, the microbiology trainee needs to understand the mechanisms of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or what a septic infarct looks like; the chemical pathology trainee needs to know about the anatomical pathology changes seen in metabolic syndrome; the anatomical pathology trainee needs to understand why certain antibodies used in routine diagnosis are relevant; and the genetic pathology trainee needs to understand how enzyme deficiencies may lead to morphological changes, etc.
The syllabus is primarily based on the first 11 Chapters of the Professional Edition of Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, by Vinay Kumar, Abul K. Abbas, Jon C. Aster (eds), 9th ed. (2015), Elsevier (including the online version).
The syllabus document includes supplementary references, which may either explain details more clearly than the textbook or may contain diagrams that help explain basic concepts, or that cover research design. As far as possible these references are from Open Access journals but for copyright reasons the actual articles are not able to be placed on the College website.
As of 2020, genomics and molecular genetics is being covered more extensively in the BPS syllabus and the exam. We have included in the syllabus a supplementary reference on diagnostic molecular pathology.