background image

MHS - Pathologists’ Assistant

Carret icon


Pathologists’ assistants combine profound knowledge of human anatomy and disease systems with clinical procedural skills to help a pathologist diagnose diseases, assist in autopsies and ensure successful treatment for all patients.

Program Overview

As a pathologists’ assistant, you’ll uncover the many factors preventing the healthy function of organs and body systems. Our NAACLS accredited program, one of only 11 of its kind in the U.S. and Canada, teaches you to examine, process and prepare tissue specimens for a variety of clinical tests and procedures. The skills you acquire place you in high demand in hospitals, clinical laboratories, research and medical teaching facilities.

Our program emphasizes a strong foundation in the theory and application of anatomical, surgical and autopsy pathology. You’ll become proficient in such procedures as light microscopy, biomedical imaging, frozen sections and tumor triage. This combination of knowledge and technical skill enables you to competently identify diseases, assist in post-mortem examinations, and compile accurate clinical histories.

State-of-the-art facilities, such as our clinical skills lab, blend the classroom and laboratory dynamic for a collaborative and hands-on learning experience. Your 12-month rotations place you in both community and university hospitals, giving you the opportunity to apply your skills in settings for both surgical and autopsy pathology and further define your career goals    

White Coat Ceremony

Quinnipiac University PA student Ruzbeh Mehta (’18) accepting his white coat at the Pathologists' Assistant White Coat Ceremony held on the North Haven campus in the North Haven Auditorium on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Getting a head start

Quinnipiac University PA student Ruzbeh Mehta (’18) accepting his white coat at the Pathologists' Assistant White Coat Ceremony held on the North Haven campus in the North Haven Auditorium on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Student Event

PA student Ki’Essence Culbreath (’19) waiting to receive her coat at the Pathologists' Assistant White Coat Ceremony held on the North Haven campus in the North Haven Auditorium on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Leadership training

Quinnipiac University PA student Ki’Essence Culbreath (’19) waiting to receive her coat at the Pathologists' Assistant White Coat Ceremony held on the North Haven campus in the North Haven Auditorium on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Taking the next step

The Pathologists’ Assistant program hosted its inaugural white coat ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the completion of the academic portion of its first-year students’ graduate education. The students of the Class of 2019 will span out throughout the country to begin their clinicals.

The program was one of Quinnipiac’s first master’s programs, graduating about 600 students since 1973. Program alumni are working in almost every state — 49 in all. It’s also one of just 9 programs in the United States, with 2 additional in Canada.

Because the members of our Class of 2018 suggested the idea for the ceremony, they were also invited to participate in this year’s celebration.

“We have gained national recognition. We want our students to understand that we value them — and all that they have and continue to accomplish.”
Robert D. Cottrell, Director of the Pathologists’ Assistant program.

Curriculum and Requirements

MHS Pathologists' Assistant Curriculum

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Summer SemesterCredits
College-based didactic course work  
PA 502 Medical Terminology: Advanced 2
PA 511 Human Microscopic Anatomy 4
PA 512
& 512L
Human Anatomy
and Human Anatomy Lab
PA 515 Human Physiology 4
PA 526 Biomedical Photography 4
Fall Semester
BMS 517 Human Embryology 3
BMS 532
& 532L
and Histology Lab
PA 513 Basic Human Pathology I 3
PA 518 Laboratory Management 3
PA 535 Disease Mechanisms 4
Spring Semester
BMS 535
& 535L
and Histochemistry Lab
BMS 572 Pathogenic Microbiology 4
PA 514 Basic Human Pathology II 3
PA 516 Clinical Pathology 4
PA 517 Applied Anatomic Pathology 4
Second Year
Summer Semester
12-month hospital-based clinical training session  
PA 520 Autopsy Pathology I 6
PA 523 Surgical Pathology I 6
Fall Semester
PA 521 Autopsy Pathology II 6
PA 524 Surgical Pathology II 6
Spring Semester
PA 522 Autopsy Pathology III 6
PA 525 Surgical Pathology III 6
 Total Credits89

In addition to the college-based classroom course work taken during the first year, the student is introduced and oriented to the pathologists’ assistant profession by weekly attendance at clinical and gross conferences during their second year. This facilitates integration of the classroom course work with intensive clinical training during the second year.

To continue in the pathologists’ assistant program, students must maintain the minimum academic and clinical requirements for the program. Students must achieve the following requirements:

  1. Maintain an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 following the first didactic year.
  2. Maintain an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 during each semester of the clinical year. 
  3. Successfully complete all clinical rotations.

Failure to meet any of these requirements may result in probation or dismissal from the program.

Additional course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.

Admissions Requirements

Application Start Date

The pathologists' assistant program begins only in the summer semester. The program is on a rolling admission schedule.

Application Deadline

The deadline for a complete application is September 1. We encourage applicants to apply early, as spaces fill quickly. Interviews are conducted in the summer and fall semester. 

Admission Requirements

Interested candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in the Biological or the Health Sciences from regionally accredited institutions in the United States or Canada are eligible for admission to the program.  Applicants who hold a Bachelor’s degree from a different field must possess, at a minimum, the following courses to be eligible for admission:

  • two semesters of basic biology (or equivalent)
  • two semesters of general chemistry
  • two semesters of anatomy and physiology
  • one semester of organic chemistry
  • one semester of microbiology
  • one semester of mathematics
  • 16 additional credits of biology, particularly courses in microbiology, physiology, biochemistry.

Only candidates with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from Canada are eligible for admission to the program.

The most competitive applicants ideally possess a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a one-semester course in microbiology, anatomy and physiology (or a two-semester anatomy and physiology course).

Admission to the program is competitive.  We currently accept 24 students each year for the initial enrollment. Personal interviews, required for admission, are offered to the most qualified individuals.

Required Documents

  • Application: Complete the information required on the application form.  
  • Fee: You will be asked to include a non-refundable application fee of $45 by credit or debit card when submitting your application. Do not send cash or check.
  • Official Transcripts: It is your responsibility to request official transcripts from ALL undergraduate, graduate and professional schools attended (including part-time and summer study). If you received transfer credit from another institution, it is still necessary to have an official transcript sent from the original university. These transcripts must be provided to Quinnipiac University in a sealed envelope or sent electronically to
  • Letters of Recommendation: You must have two professional references submitted on your behalf.  You will be required to enter your recommenders' contact information on the application.  
  • Letter of Intent:  You will be asked to include a letter of intent discussing why you wish to pursue the pathologists' assistant program and how a degree from Quinnipiac will assist you in your career goals.
  • Resume: You will be asked to include an up-to-date resume.
  • Professional Licenses/Certificates (Optional): You will be able to upload any professional licenses or certificates when completing your application or from your student portal after submitting your application.
  • GRE exam: Not required.

If you're considering one of Quinnipiac's outstanding graduate programs, you're on your way to joining a graduate community committed to academic excellence and professional preparation at the highest level.

Our secure online application is designed to be convenient and efficient. If you need assistance with your application--or would like additional information on your program of interest--contact the staff in Graduate Admissions.

Program Outcomes

Through their graduate studies, pathologists' assistant students are able to:

  • 1. Develop a comprehensive knowledge of scientific facts, principles and data that contribute to the practice and operation of a pathology laboratory.
  • 2. Understand performance‑based education in order to assist the anatomic pathologist in the hospital or in other medical environments.
  • 3. Compare the structure and physiological functions of normal organs, tissues and cells to those of abnormal ones.
  • 4. Understand the characteristics of stains and the staining properties of normal and abnormal cells and their cellular constituents.
  • 5. Assist the pathologist who is determining the pathogenesis of disease by:
    • a. Properly collecting and handling specimens and keeping appropriate records using biomedical/photography techniques.
    • b. Submitting tissues and selecting the necessary and appropriate techniques for processing and proper staining procedures.
    • c. Proving accurate gross descriptions and selective sectioning of surgical specimens following established protocols and procedures.
    • d. Reviewing histological slides for technical quality and collecting clinical information and laboratory data for final diagnosis by the pathologist.
  • 6. Perform a postmortem examination and relate the clinical history to the results of the dissection.
  • 7. Recognize and record anatomic and morphologic changes in relation to clinical manifestations and laboratory data for the pathologist's interpretation.
  • 8. Understand the operation and services provided by the anatomic pathology laboratories and develop skills for the operation and management of the autopsy suite and surgical cutting room.
  • 9. Interact with the pathologist by integrating didactic biomedical knowledge with practical hospital based training. 
  • 10. Through management training and experience, supervise and coordinate the work of other laboratory professionals.

Clinical Partners and Accreditation

The program is a cooperative educational endeavor with Quinnipiac involving:

  • Baylor University, Ben Taub Hospital, Houston, Texas
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, New York
  • CT State Medical Examiner Office, Farmington, Connecticut
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut–New Britain, Connecticut
  • Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut 
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, Connecticut
  • St. Francis Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut
  • St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven, Connecticut
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital–Saint Raphael Campus, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital–Bridgeport Campus, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Quinnipiac University is a charter member of the Association of Pathologists' Assistant Training Programs, and its program meets criteria established by the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants (AAPA). This program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018 (773)-714-8880

Public Outcome Measures


Job Placement Rate**

Graduation Rate

ASCP Certification Pass Rate*





* ASCP Certification Exam-1st time test taker pass rate
** 100% Job Placement secured prior to graduation date of May 13, 2017

Attrition Rate

The program attrition rate for the program is as follows:

2017: 4%
2018: 4%