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A Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) is an allied health professional that provides services in surgical and autopsy pathology under the direct supervision of an anatomic pathologist.

Program Information

It will be an 80 credit-hour Master of Medical Science in Pathologists’ Assistant (MMSPA) program. The Pathologists’ Assistant is an allied health professional who is a mid-level healthcare provider. It will be completed fully in a seated format with clinical rotations conducted at local hospitals, free-standing pathology laboratories, and forensic pathology laboratories. After completing the program, students will be eligible to sit for the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification exam, once the program is deemed a “serious applicant” by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

Program Outcomes*

  • Graduation rate of 80%
  • ASCP certification exam pass rate of 80%
  • Obtain job as PA within one year of graduation: 100%
  • Obtain and retain quality clinical sites 95%

*Information regarding graduation, employment, and ASCP-BOC exam pass rate will be posted here once the first class graduates.

Course Sequencing

Fall, Year 1: 14 credit hours

  • PATH 500 Human anatomy (8 hours)
  • PATH 505 Medical terminology (2 hours)
  • PATH 512 Human physiology (4 hours)

Spring, Year 1: 15 credit hours

  • PATH 510 Human Histology and Histotechnology (4 hours)
  • PATH 514 Human Embryology and Genetics (4 hours)
  • PATH 518 General Pathology (7 hours)

Summer, Year 1: 15 hours

  • PATH 550 Surgical and autopsy techniques (8 hours)
  • PATH 520 Systemic Pathology (7 hours)

Fall, Year 2: 13 credit hours

  • PATH 620 Review (1 hour)
  • PATH 650 Practicum for Pathologists’ Assistants I (8 hours)
  • PATH 516 Microbiology and Immunology (4 hours)

Spring, Year 2: 13 credit hours

  • PATH 601 Lab management (2 hours)
  • PATH 602 Curriculum development and Leadership (2 hours)
  • PATH 621 Review (1 hour)
  • PATH 651 Practicum for Pathologists’ Assistants II (8 hours)

Summer, Year 2: 10 credit hours

  • PATH 622 Review (2 hour)
  • PATH 652 Practicum for Pathologists’ Assistants III (8 hours)

Surgical Pathology

The PA prepares, grossly describes, and dissects human surgical specimens. The PA will assure the specimen has been accessioned correctly, analyze pertinent history and scans, describe gross anatomic features of surgical specimens, and prepare and submit appropriate tissue for routine processing. The PA can collect samples for special studies such as flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry and is also responsible for appropriate photographs of gross specimens.

The Pathologists’ Assistant can also take on administrative and education duties.

Autopsy Pathology

The Pathologists’ Assistant perform postmortem examinations, including the external examination, in situ organ examination, evisceration, dissection of organs, selection of appropriate tissue for light microscopy, and additional administrative duties.

Steps to Enrollment

The degree program will be ongoing. The target audience is existing healthcare workers employed in the clinical laboratory sciences and undergraduate students that have recently completed their studies in biology or chemistry.


A baccalaureate degree in chemistry or biological studies from an accredited institution is required. A baccalaureate degree in a non-science area will be considered if the applicant has taken the required science courses and the admissions committee deems them acceptable. The applicant is encouraged to demonstrate successful completion of science coursework including at least one semester each of the following: general chemistry, organic chemistry or biochemistry, biology (including introductory and at least one semester of upper-level biology coursework), mathematics (at least through algebra), and English composition. Classes such as anatomy, physiology, histology, and microbiology are highly recommended.

  • The student must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above. A science GPA of 3.2 or higher is recommended.
  • A 500-word personal statement indicating why the applicant wants to be a Pathologists’ Assistant and attend Anderson University is required. This letter should indicate personal experiences including, if applicable, any job-related experiences in the laboratory setting. Prospective student shadowing or other clinical experiences in an anatomic pathology laboratory (histology, surgical pathology, and/or autopsy) is highly recommended; however, this experience is not required for admissions consideration at this time.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic background and performance are required. In addition, official copies of all college/university transcripts (undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate transcripts) are required.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT) are not required for admission at this time.
  • The applicant must be physically, mentally, and socially capable of taking on the required coursework and clinical rotations as well as qualify for the ASCP-BOC exam.


We are currently in the process of applying to be a NAACLS accredited university with the intent to be within the "serious applicant" status before the first class sits for the ASCP exam.

The MMS in Pathologists’ Assistant program is pending approval by SACSCOC.


Derek Nelson, MSBS MLS PA (ASCP) CM

Program Director of Pathologists’ Assistant Program
Chair of the School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Assistant Professor
Phone: 864-622-6092

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

5600 N. River Road 
Suite 720 
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119 
773-714-8880 (Telephone) 
773-714-8886 (FAX)