A woman dissecting a sample while a student watches

Pathologists' Assistant field

We accepted our first students in the fall of 2020. The results of our 2020-2022 and 2021-2023 cohorts were: 

100% graduated
100% obtained work in PA-related fields

If you graduate from our program, you will be eligible to take the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists’ Assistants (CCCPA) certification exam.

This program is fully accredited with the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), and you will be eligible to take the American Society of Clinical Pathology Pathologists’ Assistant (ASCP(PA)) certification exam upon graduation.

What is a Pathologists' Assistant?  

A Pathologists’ Assistant is a highly trained healthcare professional who provides various services in surgical and autopsy pathology under the direction and supervision of a certified pathologist.

You will typically be involved in:

  • preparing and examining surgical pathology specimens
  • performing postmortem examinations
  • laboratory operations (regulatory, quality improvement, management activities, education, and research). 

You will often work in a hospital, Forensic Services office, or other laboratory in a private or university setting.

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Program mission statement

The University of Toronto’s Master of Health Science degree in Laboratory Medicine - Pathologists’ Assistant Field - is committed to deliver an excellent professional graduate training program for health care learners that graduates highly qualified Pathologists’ Assistant professionals.

Program learning objectives

Upon graduation, you will possess the fundamental basic and clinical knowledge and practical and professional competencies required to practice as a Pathologists’ Assistant. Find out more about the learning objectives.

Q&A with Katie Ford: Pathologists’ Assistant in training

We speak to Katie Ford, in her second year of the Pathologists’ Assistant field, about what it’s been like to be one of the first students in a pioneering program.
Katie Ford

Pathologists’ Assistants: playing a key role in patient care

We spoke to Amy Calovini about what a Pathologists’ Assistant is and how she came to be one at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health. 
Amy Calovini

What and how you will learn 

You will complete 9.5 full course equivalents (FCE) over two years.  

In your first year, you will learn core academic competencies required to succeed in the field.  

In the summer of year one, you will begin practicum rotations at hospital and laboratory sites across the Toronto area. These rotations are usually six weeks in length and will be at: 

  • The Hospital for Sick Children 
  • Mount Sinai Hospital 
  • North York General Hospital 
  • Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) 
  • St. Michael’s Hospital 
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 
  • The University Health Network 

In your second year, you continue the practicum rotations, with a weekly academic half day, and work on your Capstone Research Project throughout the year. 

Core courses   

You will complete core courses, which all PA and CE students take. These include topics such as: 

  • Cell and Molecular Biology  
  • Biomedical Research Methods  
  • Clinical Laboratory Management  
  • Biomedical Ethics  
  • Biostatistics  

PA specific courses 

You will also take courses specific to your field, which include: 

  • Basic Principles in Human Pathobiology and Pathophysiology  
  • Anatomy and Pathology of Organ Systems  
  • Advanced Anatomy Dissection  
  • Practicums in Surgical Pathology, Autopsy Pathology and in Forensic Pathology   
  • Science of Biobanking  

See Courses overview for full details on the courses.

Contacts for the PA field

Beatrice Wong

Beatrice Wong

Program Administrator: ​Clinical and Professional Program Assistant



Fang-I Lu

Dr. Fang-I Lu

MDCM FRCPC, MScCH (HPTE) candidate

PA Field Director and Associate Professor


Dr. Lu's faculty profile

Will Tsui

William Tsui


Education and Clinical Coordinator, Pathologists’ Assistant Field and Lecturer


Will Tsui's faculty profile

Avrum Gotlieb

Dr. Avrum Gotlieb


Program Director and Professor


Dr. Gotlieb's faculty profile

National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)

You can contact the NAACLS at:

  •  5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720 Rosemont IL  60018-5119
  • Phone number: 773.714.8880
  • Fax number: 773.714.8886
  • Email: info@naacls.org