Field of Study: Pathology and Experimental Pathology
Programs in pathology and experimental pathology teach people about tissue injury and disease. Students learn how molecules and cells influence the causes of disease and death. They study biology, cell injury, and the immune system. They also learn to investigate how problems begin and progress.
Have you ever woken up feeling great, yet by the afternoon, suddenly felt sick? Your nose became stuffed up, your head felt heavy, and by dinnertime, you couldn't stop sneezing. Yep, you've got a cold. Have you ever wondered, Why did I feel fine just hours ago? And, how did I catch the cold in the first place? Why wasn't my body able to fight it off? These are all questions that pathologists study every day, from examining the common cold to more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
In pathology and experimental pathology programs, you take advanced science and math courses. You take courses in biostatistics, cell biology, and immunology. You also take biochemistry, physiology, and genetics. In addition, it's no surprise that you also take several types of pathology courses. Because most of your course work is research-based, you are also encouraged to focus on a particular disease or illness; for example, you can focus on how specific kinds of tumors grow and change. This allows you and other scientists to find new ways to treat cancer.
Over 60 schools offer pathology and experimental pathology programs. You can become a pathologist by going to graduate school after you earn your bachelor's degree. It usually takes two to three years to finish your master's degree and three to five years to complete your doctorate. Many schools grant master's degrees as you study for your Ph.D.; this means that you apply to Ph.D. programs with only a bachelor's degree.
Graduate study in pathology and experimental pathology prepares you to become a research scientist. You can work for university labs or pharmaceutical companies. You can also work for government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health or the Food and Drug Administration.