Masters of Clinical Sciences, Pathologists' Assistant Program (MClSc)


The Pathologists’ Assistant program at Western University, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Department of Pathology offers the students the opportunity to train in the highly specialized field of anatomical pathology. This two-year, full-time program begins in September of each year. The first year is comprised of various courses. The second year of the program is composed of rotations through the hospital experience in autopsy and surgical pathology, research project and completing a two month community elective.


What is a Pathologists' Assistant

Pathologists' Assistants (PAs) are highly trained health professionals who provide anatomic pathology services under the direct supervision of a medically-qualified pathologist.  Pathologists’ Assistants interact with pathologists carrying out their duties under the direction of a Pathologist. The extra technical skills brought to the laboratory by the PAs, standardize and enhance the overall quality in the practice of anatomic pathology. The decreased time pathologists spend on more routine tasks enables them to maximize their time spent on more complex problems and increase the technical repertoire of the laboratory. The PAs assumes major responsibility for the initial examination and dissection of all surgically removed tissues and to a variable extent, for the dissection of bodies during post-mortem examination. This two-year program, comprised of intense academic studies combine with a one-year practicum, and a two month community elective, will enable the students to earn a graduate degree.

Program Overview

This is a continuous program of 22 months duration. The students  take various courses at the University of Western Ontario during Year 1 (September to April). In the first two months of Year 2 (May, June), they will rotate through various laboratories of London Health Sciences Centre and perform several related activities (see below). They will rotate through autopsy and gross surgical pathology for a total of 10 months (July to May, Year 2). During  year 2 they also complete a pathology research project. During the last two months of year 2, students complete a community hospital rotation.

2013-2014 Guidelines for M.Cl.Sc - PA Program

Employment Opportunities for Graduates

We’ve had 95 % graduate success rate and the opportunities for employment have been excellent. There are very few accredited pathologists’ assistant training programs in North America and the demand for graduates is high. Upon graduation 80% of our graduates have gained employment as Pathologists’ Assistants and 20% have gone onto to further their education (medical school).

Testimonials from Student(s)

The balance between the classroom and hands on training gave me the necessary knowledge and skills to work as a Pathologists’ Assistant (PA).  Upon the completion of the course I received two job offers and was able to commence working with minimal additional training.  I am currently working and teaching as a PA at a regional forensic pathology unit. 


This Program is Accredited by

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)

NAACLS, in conjunction with the AAPA, has established national standards for Pathologists’ Assistant training programs. The standards include both didactic course work and clinical experiences necessary to properly educate a pathologists’ assistant. The  Masters of Clinical Science, Pathology Assistant program at Western University, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Department of Pathology is accredited by NAACLS, As such, the program joins nine other accredited Pathologists’ Assistant Programs in the United States and Canada (Duke University, Quinnipiac University, Wayne State University, Ohio State University, University of Maryland, Indiana University, West Virginia University, Western University, and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Visit the NAACLS website at to read more about the professional activities of this organization.

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
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