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The Master of Science in Pathologists' Assistant (PathA) program, combines intense academic studies with one year of practical work in the field. Students earn a Master of Science that prepares them to work, under the direction of a pathologist, as a highly qualified allied health professional in anatomic pathology laboratories throughout the country.

About the Curriculum

Classes in the Pathologists' Assistant program curriculum include anatomy, pathology, microbiology and leadership skills. There are a total of 91.0 semester credits for the program.

Visit the Drexel University program catalog page for more information

Program Level Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science in Pathologists' Assistant program will achieve seven program level outcomes that describe the skills, competencies and knowledge gained through completion of the program curriculum.

  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare, describe and dissect human tissue surgical specimens including appropriate specimen accessioning, describing gross anatomic features, preparing tissues for histologic processing and photographing all pertinent gross findings
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform duties relating to the administrative maintenance of surgical pathology protocols, reports and data and assuring the completion of specimen coding and billing
  • Demonstrate laboratory maintenance skills including assuring proper maintenance of equipment, provision of adequate supplies, and cleanliness of the surgical pathology suite
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the procedures associated with the preparation of human postmortem examinations including ascertaining proper legal authorization for autopsy, retrieving the patient's medical chart and other pertinent data for review with the attending pathologist(s); and coordinating any requests for special specimen sampling
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform postmortem examinations which may include: external examination; in situ organ inspection; evisceration; dissection and dictation or recording of data, as well as selecting, preparing and submitting appropriate gross tissue sections for analysis
  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain anatomic pathology protocols; photographic and microscopic slides; and complete coding of samples
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform basic administrative, budgetary, supervisory and teaching duties

What Is a Pathologists' Assistant?

A 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.

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.

Is the Pathologists' Assistant Program Right for Me?

Pathologists' assistant program courses are ideal for:

  • Recent college graduates with a degree in a biological or allied health science, with exposure to anatomy, physiology and microbiology
  • Those with previous exposure to pathology
  • Cytotechnologists, histotechnologists and medical technologists
  • Allied health professionals
  • Graduates with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score in the 50th percentile

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.

Student Testimonials

Emily K. Wagner, MS, PA(ASCP)
Class of 2012

I graduated from the Pathologists' Assistant program at Drexel University College of Medicine in the spring of 2012. In my time working as a pathologists' assistant I have come to understand how invaluable the education and experience I received at Drexel has been. The small class size and individual instruction, as well as the multiple rotation sites, were paramount in preparing me for my position as the only PA working for six pathologists. Having multiple rotations allowed me to see and have hands-on experience with a much wider range of specimens than I would have if I'd only been able to rotate at one or two institutions or if I had to rotate simultaneously with other students. It also exposed me to multiple dictation styles, computer systems and lab environments, which gave me the ability to adapt quickly to any type of pathology practice.

There is no better feeling than walking into a new job and knowing that you are fully prepared to succeed; I give full credit to the excellent education and wide range of exposure I received in the Pathologists' Assistant program at Drexel for my continuous success in the field.

Emily Loter, MS, PA (ASCP)
Class of 2015

My experience in the Pathologists' Assistant program at Drexel University was outstanding! The curriculum is demanding, but you are set up for success from the very beginning. The classes are small, the professors are terrific and always available, and the program is well designed and well executed. There are so many resources and opportunities available through Drexel. My favorite was being a student delegate to the Annual AAPA meeting! The clinical year gave me the confidence of knowing that I was a competent pathologists' assistant, and ready to enter the workforce. I even had a job lined up before graduation!