Schools with Cytology Programs: How to Choose

Dec 05, 2019

Cytology, also known as cytotechnology or cytopathology, is a specialized field in medical lab technology. Students in this field will learn how to examine cells for signs of cancer. Students will be trained to prepare slides of extracted body cells and study them microscopically for abnormalities that may indicate the beginning of a cancerous growth or other diseases in the host body. For information on training and education in cytology, read on.

According to the American Society of Cytology website, there are currently 33 accredited cytology programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. They offer bachelor's degree programs, graduate-level certificates and master's degree programs through 4-year colleges and universities.

Schools with Cytology Programs

Here's a list of schools with relevant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2018-2019*
Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, Indiana Public, 4-year Bachelor's In-state $9,465
Out-of-state $29,821
Rutgers University Newark, New Jersey Public, 4-year Certificate, bachelor's In-state $14,409
Out-of-state $30,717
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Private not-for-profit, 4-year Bachelor's, master's Undergraduate: $40,651 Graduate: $21,600
University of Rhode Island Kingston, Rhode Island Public, 4-year Master's In-state $14,138
Out-of-state $30,862
Albany Medical College Albany, New York Private not-for-profit, 4-year Master's $26,929
University of Tennessee-Memphis Memphis, Tennessee Public, 4-year Master's In-state $10,885
Out-of-state $29,913
University of Texas-M.D. Anderson Houston, Texas Public, 4-year Bachelor's In-state $5,474
Out-of-state $22,904
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia Public, 4-year Certificate, bachelor's In-state $10,560
Out-of-state $29,460

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when exploring cytology programs:

  • Lab facilities should have modern equipment accessible to all students, with an emphasis on safe lab procedures, including use of protective gear and familiarity with quarantine protocols.
  • Faculty expertise should include a breadth of professional experience in all areas of cytology.
  • Practicum and internship opportunities should be available at local hospitals with minimum complications to allow students to gain valuable field experience.
  • Students considering graduate cytology programs need an undergraduate degree in a life science.

Bachelor's Degree Program in Cytology

Core cytology courses cover human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, research methods, molecular diagnosis and cytopathology, along with a clinical practicum.

Master's Degree Program in Cytology

Master's degree programs usually take 2-3 years to complete and often require that applicants hold a related bachelor's degree or demonstrate professional experience. Courses and seminars are augmented with advanced cytopathology and laboratory practicums. There is typically a guided research component that involves a thesis or case study.

Students should verify prerequisites, facility technology, experiential learning components, and faculty expertise before choosing a cytology program.

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