Academic Programs / Majors

Home > Majors > Pathologists' Assistant
New Search Button

Pathologists' Assistant

Request Info About Graduate School

administrative contact

Justin Falcon
Clinical Coordinator
Department of Pathology
phone: 304-293-3357

program contact

Michelle Costas
Program Director, Pathologists' Assistant Program
phone: 304-293-0734
fax: 304-293-2925

Program Details

Program Description

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 US 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 (AAPA) 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.

Delivery Methods Available

  • on campus

Graduate Program Application Requirements

Applicants must arrange for official copies of transcripts and test scores to be sent directly to the WVU Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at PO Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26506-6510. If being sent by delivery service (Federal Express, UPS, etc) requiring a street address, please use WVU Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, 1500 One Waterfront Place, Morgantown, WV 26501. The program requirements listed below (if any) are in addition to the main WVU Graduate Application.

  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Supplemental Application:
  • Recommendations: At least 2 recommendations are required.
  • Test Requirements: The GRE is NOT required.
  • See "Additional Information" below for other requirements

English Language Proficiency

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. Please see Office of Admissions - English Language Proficiency for more information.

Pre-Qualification Process

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

Additional Information

Applicants must arrange for official copies of transcripts to be sent directly to the:

WVU Office of Admissions
PO Box 6009
Morgantown, WV 26506-6009.

The program requirements listed below (if any) are in addition to the main WVU Graduate Application.

Personal Statement (2 parts- including shadowing statement)
Supplemental Application:
See "Additional Information" below for other requirements. Read and carefully follow the comprehensive directions.

Apply Now

Prospective students should apply online at:

Application Priority Dates and Deadlines

  • Fall Deadline: Do Not Admit
  • Spring Priority: Jan. 1-May 31 for the following January class
  • Summer Deadline: Do Not Admit


WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The WVU School of Medicine Pathologists' Assistant Program received the highest level of accreditation possible for a first-time applicant from NAACLS in 2009, a full five years. Our students are eligible to take the ASCP certification exam for Pathologists’ Assistants. We currently have a 100% pass rate for all graduates taking the exam on their first attempt, and a 100% job placement rate within one month of graduation. Please see: