Pathology Program Structure & GMS PiBS Application Process

Graduate training opportunities include a doctoral program for PhD and MD/PhD students, and a Master’s program.

The Department of Pathology participates in the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS), and uses a common application.

The central location for information and applying to the GMS and PiBS may be found here.

Applications are submitted here.

MD/PhD and PhD GENERAL: A course of study and laboratory experience extending over 1 – 2 years is followed by a qualifying examination which is taken within one semester after completion of required course work. The proposal for dissertation research is then developed and presented to the dissertation committee; the proposed research extends over another 1-2 years and is performed under the guidance of the major adviser with the help and advice of the committee.

In the first year, PhD students will participate in the Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS) core curriculum as well as have the opportunity to select elective courses. Additionally, trainees will engage in laboratory rotations, in journal clubs and research seminars.  Trainees will work closely with a faculty advisor in the development of an individual plan that will be tailored to serve specific research and professional goals.  After selection of a laboratory, students will join the program/department with which the mentor is affiliated and continue advanced studies towards candidacy

The Director of Graduate Studies serves as a curriculum adviser to all students in the first two years of the program and approves the course registration forms. After the required courses are completed, the student’s research adviser provides direction in the choice of additional courses.

Laboratory rotations are performed in the first year of study to:

  • Acquaint the students with research opportunities in the program
  • Teach a variety of approaches to research and teach specific research methods
  • Permit choice of a laboratory for dissertation research. The dissertation research adviser should be chosen and preliminary work in the area of research begun early in the second year of study

There is an emphasis on integration of basic experimental and clinical aspects of pathology in the program. Students are encouraged to attend research and clinical seminars and discussions at the Medical School.


Students must have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. Additional criteria considered by the admissions committee include:

  • A good academic record/GPA
  • GRE test results and TOEFL for International students
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of references
  • Interview evaluation (if invited)
  • Interest level in pathology research
  • All aspects of an applicant , including research experience and publications are considered in the decision process



All Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students who are admitted to the program automatically receive a stipend, tuition, activity fees and health insurance.  For the 2012/2013 academic year, the stipend is $30,500 for entering students and $31,500 for students who have passed their Qualifying Exams.

Students are also eligible to compete for support from outside agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. While in graduate school, students are also eligible to compete with other students in the Division for research and travel awards from the Department and Boston University School of Medicine.



  • Occurs at  the end of the  2nd year of graduate study
  • Tests the student’s ability to research a scientific area
  • Allows the faculty to assess the student’s accrued knowledge and understanding of the biomedical sciences
  • Consists of written and oral components

A written dissertation describing the student’s research accomplishments must be submitted and defended for graduation

The Master of Science in Pathology Laboratory Science focuses on the basic science and laboratory techniques of pathology and related disciplines. The MA Program was founded in 2003 by Dr. Adrianne Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and former Associate Chair of the department.  Graduates will be prepared to work in basic science, biotechnology and other biomedical research laboratories designing, performing, and evaluating research using methods based on morphology. Students learn to prepare and evaluate animal or human cells and tissues for the effects of test compounds, devices or procedures using morphologic methods.
Techniques include gross, microscopic and ultrastructural techniques for examination of cells and tissues, including histochemical staining and immunohistochemical, immunofluorescence and radioisotopic methods; certain clinical chemistry, hematological, immunological and radioisotopic methods for examination of blood and tissue fluids or extracts. Offerings include some or all of the following specialized techniques in the basic laboratory rotations or in the student’s laboratory research project: laser capture techniques, in situ hybridization including fluorescence detection (FISH) and confocal or electron microscopy, image analysis & virtual pathology. Students learn and rotate in modern, well equipped laboratories on the BU Medical Campus.


  • A bachelor’s degree (or higher) from a recognized college or university, including courses in general biology, chemistry, physics and calculus;
  • A good academic record/GPA
  • TOEFL for International students. The TOEFL requirement is set by the University at 600.
  • 3 letters of recommendation on official letterhead
  • Personal statement, stating interest level in pathology research
  • Interview evaluation, if invited, either in person or virtual
  • All aspects of an applicant , including research experience and publications are considered in the decision process