Pathologists’ Assistant Program

Program Contact: Robert Cottrell 203-582-8676

This program, leading to a Master of Health Science, trains qualified candidates to be pathologists’ assistants. Upon successful completion of their training, graduates are employed by pathologists in hospital laboratories, private laboratories and medical research centers. Currently, there is a nationwide demand for pathologists’ assistants. This demand results from the tremendous explosion in medical information and technology, the demand for new and more sophisticated pathological determinations and a national decline in the number of medical residents in pathology.

The program is a cooperative educational endeavor involving the following:

  • Quinnipiac University;
  • 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;
  • Norwalk Community Hospital, Norwalk, Connecticut;
  • St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut;
  • St. Francis Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut;
  • CT State Medical Examiner Office, Farmington, Connecticut;
  • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut;
  • Baylor University, Houston, Texas;
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota;
  • UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California;
  • Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, New York;
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. 

The program consists of both classroom and clinical training. 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).

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
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
and Histology Lab
PA 513 Basic Human Pathology I 3
PA 518 Laboratory Management 3
PA 535 Disease Mechanisms 4
Spring Semester
BMS 535
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 grade point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 following the 1st didactic year.
  2. Maintain an overall grade point average (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.

Mission Statement

The mission of Quinnipiac University’s Pathologists’ Assistant program is to prepare students with comprehensive knowledge in the practice and operation of an anatomic pathology laboratory. The program aims to maximize the students’ technical proficiency and creative thinking by successfully integrating didactic biomedical knowledge with hospital-based training. The culmination of this type of training assures that the graduates of the program are able to carry out a myriad of functions critical in becoming a successful pathologists’ assistant.

Program Goals

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 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:
    1. Properly collecting and handling specimens and keeping appropriate records using biomedical/photography techniques.
    2. Submitting tissues and selecting the necessary and appropriate techniques for processing and proper staining procedures.
    3. 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.


Students are admitted to the Pathologists’ Assistant program on a rolling basis. Applications are accepted until September 1. Interviews are conducted during the summer and fall semester. The six-semester class cycle begins with summer semester I.

Interested candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in the biological or 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:

  • 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 mathematics
  • 16 credits of biology, particularly courses in microbiology and biochemistry.

All applicants must 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).

All prerequisites must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination are not required.

Applications may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applicants should refer to the Graduate Admission Requirements found in this catalog.

A detailed autobiography of personal, professional and educational achievements as well as two letters of reference must be submitted with a student’s application.

All applications, transcripts, references and other supporting materials are submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Admission to the program is competitive. Personal interviews, required for admission, are offered to the most qualified individuals. A personal laptop computer is required.

The curriculum for the professional courses in the program are subject to modification as deemed necessary to maintain a high-quality educational experience and keep current with best practices in the profession.

Background Check and Drug Screen

To ensure their safety and maintain high-quality care of patients, clinical affiliates of the university require students to have a criminal background check and drug screen. All students entering the Quinnipiac University pathologists’ assistant program are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug screen (through the university vendor) prior to beginning classes and prior to beginning the clinical year. This is a mandatory component of the program. In addition, pathologists’ assistant students may be required to undergo a criminal background re-check and/or a drug screen prior to any of their clinical rotations. The results are made available to the student through their own personal and secure online portal. Whenever a Quinnipiac University Pathologists’ Assistant student may need proof of criminal background check for clinical rotations and/or to be eligible to sit for their certification exam, the student will release the information directly from their personal portal to the clinical site. The cost of the criminal background check and any re-checks and/or drug screens is the responsibility of each individual student.


The program consists of both classroom and clinical training. 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 North River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018
Phone: 773-714-8880
Fax 773-714-8886