Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Pathologists' Assistant

Our mission is to educate highly qualified professional Pathologists' Assistants who are highly competent and exceed standards of practice in surgical and autopsy pathology as required in hospital and medico legal facilities.

Pass Rate - Composite Annual First Time Test Taker: 100%
Pass Rate - First Time Test Takers (Within 1 Year of Graduation):  80%
Employment Placement Rate (6 months after Graduation):
Graduation Rate: 100%
Attrition: 0%

Pass Rate - Composite Annual First Time Test Taker: 85%
Pass Rate - First Time Test Takers (Within 1 year of Graduation):  91%
Employment Placement Rate (6 months after Graduation):  100%
Graduation Rate: 92%
Attrition: 8%

Pass Rate - Composite Annual First Time Test Taker: 100%
Pass Rate - First Time Test Takers (Within 1 Year of Graduation):  91%
Employment Placement Rate (6 months after Graduation):  100%
Graduation Rate: 100%
Attrition: 0%

Pass Rate - Composite Annual First Time Test Taker:  Forthcoming
Pass Rate - First Time Test Takers (Within 1 Year of Graduation):  Forthcoming
Employment Placement Rate (6 months after Graduation):  100%
Graduation Rate: 100%
Attrition: 0%


Program Goal:  The Wayne State University Pathologists' Assistant program trains individuals who will assist the pathologist in the performance of postmortem examination and in the dissection, dictation, and evaluation of surgical specimens for microscopic diagnosis.  The program also trains individuals budgetary, supervisory, and teaching skills.  Lastly, the program trains individuals to function as competent entry level Anatomic Pathologist' Assistants capable of performing, under the supervision of a pathologist those professional responsibilities as defined by the American Association of Pathologists Assistants (AAPA).


  • Identify, compare and discuss features of basic human anatomy and physiology.
  • Microscopically identify tissues and organs.
  • Describe normal human embryogenesis and identify stages of organogenesis.
  • Demonstrate fundamental skills of photography and apply same to recording of clinical specimens.
  • Explain meaning of common medical terms and identify and recognize normal clinical values.
  • Identify, explain and demonstrate standard histochemical methods for characterization of tissues/organs
  • Apply basic biochemistry concepts to discussions of and evaluation of disease processes.
  •  Interpret basic techniques used for differentiation and identification of medically significant microorganisms.
  • Identify regulatory, legal and organizational environment of a hospital laboratory.
  • Recognize and identify changes in trends in pathology practice, the impact of changing educational models and platforms, as well as changes in technological advances and practices in pathology.
  • Recognize, develop and demonstrate highly ethical practices in pathology.
  • Explain and evaluate principles of general pathology.
  • Explain the role of medical examiner and procedures for the identification of human remains.


Regarding Surgical Specimens:

  • Accession specimens appropriately.
  • Describe gross anatomic features.
  • Dissect surgical speciments.
  • prepare tissue for processing
  • Obtain biological speciments for analysis according to protocol (e.g. blood cultures, viral cultures, toxicological samples, immunohistochemistry).
  • Photographically document pertinent specimens and microscopic slides.
  • Maintain the surgical suite in accordance with federal and other regulatory guidelines.

Regarding Autopsy Specimens:

  • Identify special autopsy techniques and/or procedures as required.
  • Perform postmortem examinations according to protocol.
  • Select and prepare gross tissue specimetns for frozen and permanent sections for light, EM and or immunohistochemical techniques.
  • Obtain biological speciments for analysis>
  • Photgraphically document body, organ, microscope slide and/or other pertinent material.
  • Maintain autopsy suite in accordance with regulatory guidelines.
  • Restore body following autopsy.


Regarding Surgical Specimens:

  • Access pertinent clinical history.
  • Select specimens for processing.

Regarding Autopsy Specimens:

  • Assemble pertiennt history and clinical data.
  • Determine focus of autopsy.


  • Maintain reports, protocols and collections.
  • Ascertain proper legal authorization for autopsy
  • Coordinate personal involved in special speciment sampling
  • Release body in accordance with regulatory guidelines.


  • Implement directions given by supervising pathologist and respond appropriately.
  • Notify personnel involved as special techniques or procedures that are required.
  • Assist in AP conferences.

This program is accredited by:

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL   60018-5119

(847) 939-3597

Phone: (773) 714-8880
Fax:     (773) 714-8886


In 1989 the Wayne State University Board of Governors approved the Pathologists' Assistant program. The NAACLS (National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences) accredited program, one of 8 in the United States and the only one in Michigan, prepares graduates to assist pathologists in the preparation and performance of processing surgical specimen and postmortem examinations and leads to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Pathologists' Assistant. Clinical training is offered in cooperation with the Detroit Medical Center hospitals and the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office. Upon committee selection and admission to the professional program, the student will take one year of course work and then engage in an assigned series of clinicalexposures in preparation for employment in a variety of professional settings.

This is a very competitive program limited by available clinical affiliations. In reviewing completed applications, the Admission Committee will consider work experience, letters of evaluation/recommendation, science grades/program pre-requisites and overall GPA. Although academic achievement is important, knowledge of the profession, ability to communicate and personal qualities of maturity, motivation and integrity are equally important. Consequently, the Admission Committee will give great weight to evaluations from faculty advisers and employment supervisors as well as personal interviews in the selection of candidates. Final selection to the Pathologists' Assistant program is by committee interview, conducted by the Admission Committee to the program.

The professional curriculum has been arranged with the presumption that students will devote full time and energy to their college and university experience. Students are encouraged to limit their outside employment during the first professional year in order to benefit from the full complement of academic and cultural opportunities that are a vital part of higher education. Outside employment of any type or kind is not allowed during the second professional year in the program.

Because of rapid changes in technology and in the methods and concepts of health care, students in the allied health programs must complete their pre-professional science credits within six years prior to admission to the professional program and must complete their professional education within three years, unless exception is granted by the department chair/program director in consultation with the departmental continuance committee. Students who interrupt their academic program for academic or personal reasons will have to apply for reinstatement on an individual basis to have their performance evaluated. They may be required to pass examinations comparable to those given to current students at that level sought for re-entry into the program.

Admission Requirements Pre-Professional Program

Students seeking admission to the university should refer to the admission requirements as stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin current to their application time frame. Courses in this program are taken under the guidance of the College of Science at Wayne State University. Students must pass required pre-professional courses with a grade of "C" or better.

First Year: BIO 1500: Basic Biology I (4); BIO 1510: Basic Life Mechanisms (4); CHM 1020: General Chemistry I (4); CHM 1030: General Chemistry II (4); ENG 1020: Introduction to Writing (4); MAT 1800: Elementary Functions (4); PHI 1050: Critical Thinking (4); COM 1010: Oral Communications (3); Social Science Elective (3).

Second Year: BIO 2200: Introduction to Microbiology (4); BIO 2870: Anatomy and Physiology (5); BIO 2600: Introduction to Cell Biology (3); Bio 3070 Genetics (5); Computer Literacy Requirement; ENG 3050: Report Writing (preferred) (3); HIS 1100 or HIS 1200 (preferred) (4); Humanities Elective (4); PHI 2320: Ethics (4); Foreign Culture Elective (4); American Government Elective (4); Visual and Performing Arts Elective. Please refer to Pathologists' Assistant information flyer for current information..

Professional Program Admission

The junior class is admitted to the professional program in September only.

The Admission Committee, composed of faculty and graduates of the program, will consider from admission applicants who have (1) a cumulative GPA of 2.5 overall and 2.5 or better in the sciences; (2) completed all pre-professional courses by the time of admission; (3) successfully completed the Proficiency Examinations, if applicable; and (4) submitted complete applications to the University and to the Pathologists' Assistant program by May 15th of the year one wishes to enter the program. All applications must include official transcripts from all former colleges/universities. All serious applicants must attend one of the College Information Meetings, which are held the first Tuesday of every month at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Healths Sciences.

Professional Curriculum:  First Year

Professional Curriculum:  Second Year

Deadlines for Fall Full-Time Admission

Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid
Wayne State University
Welcome Center
42 W. Warren Ave.
Detroit MI 48202
(313) 577-3378

If you are not a current WSU student, please complete the correct University Application at
www.admissions.wayne.edu or contact:

Admissions Office
Wayne State University
Welcome Center
42 W. Warren
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-3577

Application Deadline for Pathologists' Assistant program has changed to May 15th.

Applications to the Pathologists' Assistant program are due May 15. Applications received after May 15will NOT be considered for fall enrollment. Contact the Program Director of the Pathologists' Assistant program, Department of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, Wayne State University, 5439 Woodward Avenue, Detroit MI 48202.   Phone:  (313) 577-2050   Email: fundappsciences@wayne.edu

For information regarding CLEP Exams, contact:
Office of Testing and Evaluation
Wayne State University
698 Student Center Building
Detroit MI 48202 
(313) 577-3400