Pathology Graduate Degree Program Overviews

Oct 26, 2019

Pathology is the study of disease and identification of related factors. Master's and doctoral programs in pathology can be taken at the graduate level. Explore program information and career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Master's, doctoral and dual degree programs in this field are widely available, and many offer opportunities for specialized study in such fields as environmental pathology, toxicological pathology, and cancer research. To be admitted to these programs, students must have a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Graduate degrees in pathology are usually designed for students who want to pursue careers in medical research or academic medicine. Students who want to obtain a medical degree must also complete medical school, residency and licensing to become a physician.

Master's Degree in Pathology

Master's programs in pathology, such as the Master of Science or Master of Arts in Pathology and Master of Medical Science with a concentration in pathology, are primarily designed for students who wish to pursue careers in research. Some schools require clinical lab or hospital rotations as part of the curriculum. Depending on the focus or track, courses might include:

  • Microorganism genetics
  • Histology
  • Experimental pathology
  • Systemic pathology studies
  • Chemical toxicity mechanisms

Doctoral Degrees in Pathology

Doctoral programs are primarily for those wishing to enter advanced research or medical practice. Students in these programs, including the Ph.D. in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology and Ph.D. in Speech Pathology, typically attend rounds in an attached or nearby medical facility, complete laboratory rotations, and conduct dissertation research. Coursework might include:

  • Medical immunology
  • Molecular and cell laboratory studies
  • Gene expression biochemistry
  • Disease mechanisms
  • Conducting responsible research
  • Diseases related to organ systems

Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical scientists, such as pathologists, are projected to experience an 8% increase in employment opportunities from 2018-2028 ( The BLS reported median annual salaries of $84,810 for medical scientists as of May 2018. Pathologists are also included within the category physicians and surgeons, according to the BLS, which projected that physicians and surgeons would see a 7% growth from 2018-2028. The median annual wage for physicians and surgeons was $200,890 as of May 2018.

Individuals looking for a graduate program in pathology can do so at the master's or doctoral levels and specialize in a variety of topics. Students will complete clinical components along with coursework and research.

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