Pathologists' Assistant — M.H.S.

Program director
Cheryl Germain

Clinical Coordinator
Michael Weitzeil

Medical director
Jeremy Deisch

Loma Linda University offers a professional course of study leading to the M.H.S. degree in pathologists' assistant.  This degree prepares students for a career as mid-level health-care professionals in hospital pathology laboratories, private laboratories, universities, and industry.

Program learning outcomes

By the end of the program, the graduate should be able to: 

  1. Perform appropriate anatomic pathology techniques for the preparation, gross description, and dissection of human surgical tissue specimens;
  2. Perform appropriate autopsy pathology techniques for the recovery, preparation, gross description, and dissection of human organs and tissue specimens;
  3. Communicate effectively verbally and in writing;
  4. Administer a pathology laboratory/autopsy service successfully;
  5. Train other clinical health professionals using appropriate pedagogy.

Loma Linda University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501; telephone: 510/748-9001; fax: 510/748-9797; website:  <http://www.wscuc.org/contact>.

Pathologists’ Assistant Program accreditation

In April, 2018, the Pathologists' Assistant Program was granted a five-year accreditation, with no citations or concerns, from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).  The next accreditation review is in 2023.

NAACLS is the premier accreditation for pathologists’ assistant programs. Strict standards required for this accreditation ensure quality education and preparation for the certification examination and competence in the field as a pathologists’ assistant. Loma Linda University School of Medicine's Pathologists’ Assistant Program will adhere to required standards to produce high-quality and competent pathologists’ assistants. For further information, contact the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 5600 North River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119; 847/939-3597 or 773/714-8880; website: <http://www.naacls.org>.

The annual application period is November 1-March 31. Applications and all supporting documents (e.g., transcripts, recommendations) must be received by the March 31 deadline. Dates are strict for acceptance of application materials. The class will include 18 students. Accepted applicants will be notified by May 15 to begin the Autumn Quarter (late September).

In addition to Loma Linda University requirements, the applicant must all fulfill the following requirements:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  2. A preferred cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  3. Interview—Only select applicants will be invited for an individual interview (no group interviews).
  4. All prerequisite courses must be completed at an accredited college or university in the United States prior to admission; coursework from international institutions is not accepted. 
    • Biology with laboratory (12 quarter units/8 semester units)
    • General chemistry with laboratory, complete sequence (12 quarter units/8 semester units)
    • Organic chemistry, complete sequence (12 quarter units/8 semester units)
    • Microbiology with laboratory (4 quarter units)
    • College algebra or higher (3 quarter units)
    • English composition (complete sequence)
    • Strongly recommended:  medical terminology and conversational Spanish
  5. Three letters of recommendation—Recommendations from family members or friends are NOT acceptable. DO NOT ask the pathologists’ assistant (PA) with whom you’ve shadowed for a recommendation. 
    1. Suggestions:
      • A laboratory professional (clinical or research) with whom the applicant has worked
      • An undergraduate professor
      • A work supervisor who can address the applicant's work ethic and dependability
    2. Recommendations:
  • Speak with the persons from whom you are requesting recommendations and be sure they know you well, understand the program to which you’re applying and why. Make certain they can speak to your abilities; not just that you are a nice person.
  • Be sure the persons supplying the recommendations understand that NO PAPER RECOMMENDATIONS ARE ACCEPTED!  All recommendations must follow electronic procedure.  If the recommender does not have an email account, help them create a free email account on yahoo or google
  1. Proof of shadowing—During the interview the applicant will be asked to relate what a PA does during a normal working day.  While there is no required number of hours to shadow, the applicant must be interactive, asking questions to learn the duties of a PA (ASCP).  Contact information of the PA with whom you shadowed must be provided.
  2. The GRE, or any other pre-graduate school standardized testing, is not required.

NOTE: There are no transfers of credit into the Pathologist's Assistant program.  All courses in the curriculum must be completed at Loma Linda University.

The Pathologist’s Assistant program follows the LLU Nondiscrimination Policy.

First Year
Autumn QuarterUnits
ANAT 544Human Embryology Lecture2
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
PATH 501Anatomy and Pathology I4
PATH 521Anatomical Techniques I3
Winter Quarter
AHCJ 515Curriculum Development in Higher Education3
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
PATH 502Anatomy and Pathology II4
PATH 522Anatomical Techniques II3
PHSL 588Pathophysiology4
Spring Quarter
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
PATH 524Clinical Microbiology for Pathologists' Assistants3
PATH 551Disease Mechanisms I3
PATH 581Basic Pathologic Microanatomy2
RELE 505Clinical Ethics3
Summer Quarter
PATH 5341Civic Engagement and Poverty: Service Learning1
PATH 552Disease Mechanisms II3
PATH 564Biomedical Photography1
PATH 582Advanced Microanatomy2
PATH 598Clinical Laboratory Management2
PATH 644Clinical Pathology Seminar2
Second Year
Autumn Quarter
PATH 741Pathology Review I2
PATH 761Pathologists' Assistant Practicum I9
Winter Quarter
PATH 742Pathology Review II2
PATH 762Pathologists' Assistant Practicum II9
Spring Quarter
PATH 743Pathology Review III2
PATH 763Pathologists' Assistant Practicum III9
Summer Quarter
PATH 744Pathology Review IV2
PATH 764Pathologists' Assistant Practicum IV9
 Total Units: 94

Multiple clinical rotations are assigned by the program director to ensure a varied and comprehensive clinical experience for each student. Rotations will include surgical pathology in academic and community settings, private laboratories, pediatric pathology, medical examiners offices and hospital autopsy services.

Noncourse Requirements

  • Will Alexander Lecture Series:  Attendance at the Will Alexander Wholeness Series is mandatory in PGY1.  The series extends from Fall to Spring Quarters, once a month, Wednesday evenings for one hour.  The lecture series includes topics on wholeness, personal/professional development, care of creation, diversity, and service. 

Normal time to complete the program

Two (2) years (24 months) — full-time enrollment required