Admissions and Application

Applicants will submit a completed application form, additional materials, and fees to the Associate Director for review. After review by the admissions committee, selected candidates will be invited for an interview.

A review committee consisting of the Program Director, Associate Director and at least three others drawn from either the Medical Director, the Surgical Pathology Training Coordinator, staff PA's, and 2nd year students will approve all final admissions decisions. Criteria for admission are weighted to academic preparation and performance. Preparation in basic sciences such as cell and molecular biology, genetics, physiology, and immunology is preferred, but courses such as gross anatomy, histology, and microbiology are also recommended. Surgical pathology laboratory experience and/or the shadowing of a pathologist or a pathologists' assistant are also required, but cannot replace adequate academic preparation.

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Prerequisites

  1. A baccalaureate degree in a biological or chemical science from an accredited institution which includes course work in general chemistry, organic chemistry and/or biochemistry, biological science, and  college mathematics (at least to the level of algebra).
    -or-
    A baccalaureate degree in a non-science major to include the courses defined above and at least 24 credit hours in biological sciences and chemistry of such depth that the admissions committee determines that the candidate has the minimum scientific background to successfully begin the study of medical sciences.
  2. Scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preferred, or Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) taken within the last five years (no more than 5 years old on January 15 of the year admission is desired). Candidates who receive their baccalaureate degree from institutions outside the United States must submit a transcript evaluation showing degree equivalency and course by course subject matter description, and must submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores (no more than 2 years old) if English is not their native language.
  3. A minimum of 10 hours shadowing in anatomic pathology, specifically surgical pathology (preferably in more than one setting), or surgical pathology laboratory work experience is required. Autopsy shadowing is also preferred, but not mandatory.
  4. All candidates for the Master’s of Health Science degree and certification as Pathologists’ Assistants must possess the physical and mental skills and abilities necessary to successfully complete the training program curriculum. To achieve the optimal educational experience, students are required to participate in all phases of the training program, in compliance with the following Technical Standards.

The study of medicine is not a pure intellectual exercise. Rather, a specific set of minimal physical, mental, emotional and social abilities are needed to be a successful student. Students must possess all of the abilities listed in the five Technical Standards categories below. The use of an intermediary that would, in effect, require a student to rely on someone else’s power of observation and/or communication will not be permitted.

I. Observation

  1. Visually observe materials presented in the learning environment including audiovisual presentations, written documents, microbiology cultures, microscopic examination of microorganisms, tissues and gross organs in the normal and pathologic state, and diagnostic images;
  2. Observe specimens accurately and completely, both at a distance and directly. This requires functional vision, hearing, and sensation.

II. Communication

  1. Effectively speak, write, hear, read and use a keyboard utilizing the English language;
  2. Perceive non-verbal communications, including facial expressions, body language, and affect;
  3. Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and their families via speech as well as reading/writing;
  4. Communicate in oral and written form with the healthcare team in an effective, accurate, and efficient manner.

III. Motor

  1. Elicit information from surgical specimens and postmortem examinations by palpation and use of dissection instruments;
  2. Execute movements reasonably required to provide optimal gross analysis of surgical specimens and postmortem examinations. These skills require coordination of gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium, and sensation;
  3. Manipulate equipment and instruments to perform basic dissection procedures as required to attain curricular goals. (e.g., scalpel, forceps, scissors, needles and syringes, large dissection knife, band saw, camera).

IV. Intellectual/conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

  1. Perform calculations necessary to solve quantitative problems as required by the curriculum;
  2. Collect, organize, prioritize, analyze and assimilate large amounts of technically detailed and complex information in a timely fashion. This information will be presented in a variety of educational settings, including lectures, small group discussions, and individual clinical settings. The applicant should be able to analyze, integrate, and apply this information appropriately for problem solving and decision-making;
  3. Apply knowledge and reasoning to solve problems as outlined by the curriculum;
  4. Comprehend the three dimensional spatial relationships of structures;
  5. Remain awake and alert.

V. Behavioral, Emotional and Social Attributes

  1. Possess the emotional health to fully apply his/her intellectual skill, exercise good judgment, and to complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of surgical specimens and postmortem examinations;
  2. Develop a mature, sensitive, and effective relationship with patients and colleagues;
  3. Tolerate the physical, mental and emotional stress experienced during training and patient care;
  4. Possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainty;
  5. Form a compassionate relationship with his/her patients while maintaining appropriate boundaries for a professional relationship;
  6. Behave in an ethical and moral manner consistent with professional values and standards;
  7. Exhibit sufficient interpersonal skills, knowledge, and attitudes to interact positively and sensitively with people from all parts of society, ethnic backgrounds, and belief systems;
  8. Cooperate with others and work collaboratively as a team.

The faculty of the Duke University School of Medicine’s Pathologists’ Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the MHS degree and certification that have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to function in the specialized setting of anatomic pathology.
The Admissions Committee is responsible for adhering to these technical standards during the selection of students for the Pathologists’ Assistant Program.

Tuition

Tuition for the entering class in 2018 is $25,298 per year with a yearly technology, insurance and parking fees of ~$7300. The entering tuition and technology fee costs are guaranteed for the second year and will not increase. Rent, food, books and other miscellaneous costs average approximately $24,800.

Financial Aid

Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available. Supplemental loans up to the program’s recommended budget are available from private lenders.

For more detailed information, contact:
Office of Financial Aid
Duke University School of Medicine
Box 3067 Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710
 https://medschool.duke.edu/education/student-services/office-financial-aid

Class Size

The program accepts 6-8 students for each class.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications for admission is January 15 of each year. Application reviews will be completed by mid-February, and selected candidates will be interviewed during the following month. All applicants will be notified of their current status by April 1.

Application forms can be obtained by downloading from website, or by writing: Pamela Vollmer, BHS, PA(ASCP) Associate Director, Pathologists' Assistant Program, Department of Pathology Box 3712, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710. The program office telephone number is (919) 684-2159.

Applications must include:

  • A completed Duke University School of Medicine Pathologists’ Assistant Program application form and a non refundable application fee of $55.00.
  • Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended.
  • GRE (preferred) or MCAT scores. Scores should be sent to the codes provided in the application form. In addition, scores and percentiles should be written in the application form.
  • Internet-based TOEFL or academic IELTS scores (no more than two years old) are required for international students whose native language is not English. Internet-based TOEFL scores of 115 total or greater and academic IELTS scores of 8 or greater overall are competitive. Scores should be sent to the codes given in the application form.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED

Candidates will be notified of the admission committee's final decisions no later than April 30. Accepted candidates will be required to submit a non refundable deposit of $450.00 to retain their places in the class, along with a signed copy of the Duke Pathologists’ Assistant Program Technical Standards. This deposit will be applied towards the first semester tuition, fees and criminal background checks.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Duke University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, handicap, sexual orientation or preference, or age in the administration of educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, or any other University program or activity. It admits qualified students to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students. For further information, contact the Office for Institutional Equity, telephone 919-684-8222.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)