Pathologists’ Assistant

Major: Pathologists' Assistant
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Semester
Minimum Required Credits: 91.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.0811
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-2055

About the Program

The School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies offers the Master of Science in Pathologists' Assistant (PathA). The pathologists' assistant is an intensely trained allied health professional who provides anatomic pathology services under the direction and supervision of a pathologist. Pathologists' assistants interact with pathologists in the same manner that physicians' assistants carry out their duties under the direction of physicians in surgical and medical practice.

The PathA program offers students the opportunity to train in the highly specialized field of anatomic pathology. This two-year, full-time program begins in May of each year. The first year is comprised of the instructional portion of the program supplemented by pathology laboratory exposure. The second year of the program is composed of several hospital-based clinical rotations offering progressively responsible experience in autopsy and surgical pathology. These rotations are supplemented with informal classroom education.

Program Accreditation

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS): NAACLS, in conjunction with the AAPA, has established national standards for pathologists' assistant training programs. The standards include both didactic coursework and clinical experiences necessary to properly educate a pathologists' assistant. The Master of  Science in Pathologists' Assistant program at the Drexel University College of Medicine is accredited by NAACLS. Visit the NAACLS website for more information about the professional activities of this organization.

Professional Certification

The American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP BOC): The ASCP BOC, in conjunction with the AAPA, has established a national certification program for pathologists' assistants. In 2005, the ASCP BOC first offered a national certification examination for pathologists' assistants. In order to be eligible for the BOC examination, applicants must be graduates of a pathologists' assistant educational program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS). Visit the ASCP BOC website to read more about the certification program and the professional activities of this organization.

Professional Affiliation

The American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants (AAPA): The AAPA is the only national professional organization for pathologists’ assistants.


  • Is a not-for-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to advancing the pathologists' assistant profession by providing its members with education, networking, and professional support;
  • Supports professional competency through program accreditation and individual certification; and
  • Promotes public and professional awareness of the pathologists' assistant as an integral member of the healthcare team.

 Visit the AAPA website for more additional information about this association.

Career Opportunities

Pathologists’ assistants are employed in community hospitals, academic centers such as medical schools and university hospitals, private pathology laboratories, medical research centers, government hospitals, and medical examiner offices.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, visit the College of Medicine's Master of Science in Pathologists’ Assistant program webpage.

Admission Requirements

A pathologists' assistant is someone who has the ability to relate to people, the capacity for calm and reasoned judgment, and who demonstrates a commitment to quality patient care.

The program's courses and content are ideal for:

  • Recent graduates with a degree in a biological or allied health science with exposure to anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and microbiology. Previous exposure to pathology is recommended.
  • Allied health professionals, particularly cytotechnologists, histotechnologists and medical technologists

Admission Requirements

Students will be selected on the basis of adequate educational background and medical experience. A bachelor's degree in a biological or allied health science with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 is the minimum requirement for acceptance into the program. Prerequisite coursework will include microbiology, human anatomy, physiology, mathematics, English composition, general chemistry, organic and/or biochemistry, and biological science.

All candidates will be required to have a formal interview with the Selection Committee prior to final acceptance. The deadline for submission of the application is the second Friday in February of the year in which the students plan to enroll.

Candidates for admission must provide the following credentials:

  • Completed application form
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts from all college or university attended or where coursework was attempted or taken
  • Official General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Three letters of evaluation
  • Self-assessment essays:
    • Discuss personal goals, conditions, or career aspirations that motivate you to pursue graduate study at Drexel University.
    • What are your most important accomplishments?
    • What do you expect to achieve through this program?

Additional Information

For further information, contact:

Pathologists' Assistant (PathA) Program
Division of Interdisciplinary and Career-oriented Programs
245 North 15th Street, Mail Stop 344
New College Building, Room 4104
Philadelphia, PA 19102

 Degree Requirements

Required Courses
MFSP 551SHuman Function3.0
MLAS 531SEmbryology3.0
MLAS 545SFundamentals of Histology3.0
MSPA 500SGross Anatomy5.0
MSPA 510SLaboratory Management2.0
MSPA 520SMedical Terminology3.0
MSPA 530SBiomedical Photography4.0
MSPA 540SHistotechnology I3.0
MSPA 541SHistotechnology II3.0
MSPA 550SApplied Anatomic Pathology4.0
MSPA 560SMedical Ethics2.0
MSPA 570SMedical Pathology I6.0
MSPA 571SMedical Pathology II4.0
MSPA 580SMedical Microbiology I4.0
MSPA 581SMedical Microbiology II3.0
MSPA 590SLeadership Skills for the Medical Profession3.0
MSPA 600SSurgical Pathology I6.0
MSPA 601SSurgical Pathology II6.0
MSPA 602SSurgical Pathology III6.0
MSPA 610SAutopsy Pathology I6.0
MSPA 611SAutopsy Pathology II6.0
MSPA 612SAutopsy Pathology III6.0
Total Credits91.0



Sample Plan of Study 

First Year
  MLAS 531S3.0
  MLAS 545S3.0
  MSPA 500S5.0
  MSPA 510S2.0
  MSPA 520S3.0
Second Year
MSPA 530S4.0MFSP 551S3.0MSPA 560S2.0
MSPA 540S3.0MSPA 541S3.0MSPA 600S6.0
MSPA 570S6.0MSPA 550S4.0MSPA 610S6.0
MSPA 580S4.0MSPA 571S4.0 
MSPA 590S3.0MSPA 581S3.0 
 20 17 14
Third Year
MSPA 601S6.0MSPA 602S6.0 
MSPA 611S6.0MSPA 612S6.0 
 12 12 
Total Credits 91
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