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Pathologists' Assistant

The Pathologists’ Assistant program at the WVU School of Medicine was approved and founded in 2007, with the first class beginning in January 2008. The program is an intensive 24-month curriculum, culminating in a Master’s degree in Health Science. The first year is an intense didactic schedule, with some hands-on experience in the Surgical Pathology Gross Room and Autopsy Suite. The second year is clinical practice, with rotations in various medical settings for a wide-ranging experience prior to employment. Students are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution. While the preferred degree backgrounds come from a wide variety of science-based coursework, including Medical Technology, Pre-Professional Biology, and Forensic Science, any degree will be considered, provided the listed prerequisites are included on the transcripts.

Career Profile

The American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants was founded in 1972. The first program was at Duke University in response to the demand for qualified assistants in the specialty of anatomic pathology and a decline in the number of pathology residents. The profession has emerged as one of the fastest growing specialties in medicine, focusing on surgical and autopsy pathology (including anatomy and disease mechanisms), with additional training in laboratory management, clinical pathology, forensics and biomedical photography.

In practice, pathologists’ assistants are responsible for the processing of the surgical pathology specimen from receipt to dissection and description to submission of tissue to histology. In autopsy practice, the PA is involved in reviewing the medical record of the decedent, evisceration, dissection, and selection of tissue for submission to histology as well as formulation of a preliminary anatomic diagnosis and autopsy report under the direction of a pathologist. Many PAs are involved in laboratory management, teaching at the university level, training of residents and medical students, forensic investigation or research.

Program Application Requirements

Statement of Purpose, Supplemental Application / Portfolio

Additional Application Information

Shadowing of a certified Pathologists' Assistant is required. Please contact the program for assistance in obtaining shadowing. Four letters of recommendation. 

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline


Spring Deadline

May 31

Summer Deadline


English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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