Graduate Programs Overview
The Department of Pathology offers a program of study for qualified individuals leading to the Master of Science (MS) in Comparative and Biomedical Sciences with an emphasis in pathology or the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Veterinary Pathology. Graduate veterinarians are offered a residency program or a combined residency/MS or PhD program, preparing the student to sit for examination by the board of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). The residency program is offered in Anatomic or Clinical Pathology. Non-DVM graduate students earn their graduate degrees independent of the residency. Click HERE to see our current position postings.
Entrance into any of these programs is competitive based on grades and test scores as well as availability of funding. Prospective students should have good background in biology, animal science, veterinary medicine (DVMs seeking admission into our program) or related area. Minimum requirements for Graduate School admission are:
MS : GRE > 300; GPA > 3.0
Ph.D : GRE > 310; GPA > 3.0
See the individual programs for more information including application information.
The College of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Pathology currently provides stipends, starting at $31,364, for ten pathology graduate students and residents, including two in the aquatic animal pathology program. There are an additional ten pathology residents/graduate students supported by a variety of sources including government grants and pharmaceutical companies.
The Department of Pathology is affiliated with Georgia’s two veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Athens and Tifton and has close relationships with pathologists, clinical veterinarians and other scientists in the other academic departments in the college and with scientists at the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, the Georgia Aquarium, the Department of Small Animal Medicine’s Infectious Disease Laboratory (exotic animals), the UGA Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service Laboratory, the USDA-ARS Southeastern Poultry Research Laboratory, the CDC, Yerkes Primate Center, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, and Zoo Atlanta. Pathologists from a number of these units are adjunct faculty within the department and participate actively in seminars and various research and training activities. The Department maintains necropsy, histopathology, clinical pathology, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and electron microscopy services. The College maintains central facilities for flow cytometry, confocal and immunofluorescence microscopy, laboratory animal medicine, monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production and analysis. The University provides central facilities for molecular genetics and proteomic analysis.
Faculty members in the department include veterinary clinical pathologists, veterinary anatomic pathologists, and an MD pathologist. See individual faculty pages for research descriptions.
Our graduate students participate in a rigorous curriculum offered by the Department of Pathology, by other departments in the CVM, and by the University of Georgia.
Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours consisting of at least 12 semester hours of course work open only to graduate students (exclusive of 7000 and 7300). A maximum of 6 hours of research (VPAT 7000) and 3 hours of thesis writing (VPAT 7300) may be applied toward the 30 hours. Students must maintain a ‘B’ average (3.0), and no grade below ‘C’ can appear on the Program of Study. Students have to write and defend a thesis, wherein they present the results of their research project.
Additional Department of Pathology requirements:
Cell Pathology (VPAT8020) or equivalent course as decided by Advisory Committee, and 2 research presentations (VPAT 8140).
Students interested in the MS or a combined pathology residency/MS program should apply to the CVM-wide master’s degree program.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 full years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree and have a Program of Study approved by the student's Advisory Committee consisting of a minimum of 30 hours of course work, 3 hours of which must be dissertation writing (VPAT 9300), 16 or more hours of 8000- and 9000-level courses in addition to research, dissertation writing, and directed study. Students must maintain a ‘B’ average (3.0), and no grade below ‘C’ can appear on the Program of Study. Students also have to pass written and oral preliminary exams, get approval of their dissertation prospectus, write and defend a dissertation, wherein they present the results of their research project.
Additional Department of Pathology requirements:
At least one, 8000-level course in one of the following areas is required: 1) Biochemistry or Cell Biology (BCMB/CBIO/GENE8010-8020); 2) Infectious Diseases [IDIS 8010 (Advanced Studies in Infectious Diseases), IDIS 8150 (Virology and Viral Pathogenesis), CBIO 8100 (Advanced Immunology I), or IDIS 8300 (Advanced Immunology II)]; or 3) Ecology [ECOL/PBIO/WILD 8310 (Population Ecology), or MODEL POP ECOL 8325-8325L (Modeling Population Ecology, prerequisite ECOL 8310)].
Two additional 8000-level elective courses.
Cellular Pathology (VPAT 8020)
Statistics: Two semester sequence POPH (8310/8320) or of Biostatistics BIOS (7010/7020) given in the College of Public Health.
Responsible Conduct of Research (GRSC 8550)
Presentation of 2 research seminars (VPAT 8140) is required as well.
At least one journal club.
Students interested in our PhD or combined residency/PhD program should apply to our PhD program through the Graduate School.
Residents have to take additional courses relevant to their training in diagnostic pathology. They also must spend time rotating through several service rotations to become well versed in the various areas of diagnostic pathology, and as preparation for the ACVP Board examination. Residents actively participate in seminars, pathology rounds, and teaching of veterinary students and junior residents in order to acquire good communication skills with fellow pathologists, clinicians and the general public. Click HERE to see our current position postings.
Graduate veterinarians interested in our residency-only program should apply to our non-degree certificate program through the Graduate School.
We offer both a combined residency/graduate program and a non-degree residency program, the availability of which varies from year to year (See ACVP web site for specific postings). The residency program is 3 years in duration, while the typical combined program lasts 5 years. Both programs are designed to meet eligibility requirements for board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Click HERE to see our current position postings.
ACVP board preparatory courses offered in this program include:
- Microscopic Pathology
- Veterinary Pathology
- Avian Pathology
- Diagnostic Oncology
- Cellular Pathology
- Pathology of Laboratory Animals
- Histopathology Seminar
Less formal preparatory sessions, such as Gross Review, Journal Clubs, and AFIP slide review, are also routinely offered. Residents are also required to rotate through the Clinical Pathology and Ophthalmologic Pathology Services. There are also opportunities to rotate through our Comparative Pathology service and the Emory University Yerkes Primate Center.
The primary sources of case material supporting the residency training program are the College’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory necropsy service, and the Department’s mail-in, and Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology services. These sources account for about 1500 necropsy, 1200 biopsy, and 900 zoo and exotic animal cases annually. The breadth of case material available to residents ensures that they receive a robust experience in surgical and diagnostic pathology in a wide variety of species including companion animals, livestock, poultry, pet birds, pocket pets, laboratory animals, exotic animals, marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates. Residents are required to perform 24 weeks of necropsy duty, 27 weeks of biopsy duty, and 9 weeks in the Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service over the course of their program. While on duty, residents work closely with faculty pathologists in performing necropsies and conducting histopathologic evaluations of necropsy and biopsy specimens. Eighteen anatomic pathologists and 5 clinical pathologists, including those with special interests in wildlife, aquatics, exotic animals and poultry are involved in instruction of residents throughout the program. Several faculty members are certified in other branches of pathology, including fish pathology, poultry medicine and medical pathology.
Teaching, Presentations, and Publications
Residents are required to teach sophomore veterinary students in General Pathology and Systemic Pathology laboratory sessions for at least 2 semesters. Yearly presentations in the Histopathology Seminar series and at the Southeastern Veterinary Pathologist Conference at Tifton, GA, are also required. Residents are also highly encouraged to present at the ACVP or AAVLD conferences. At least one case report or other publication is also expected before the end of the residency program.
We offer both a combined residency/graduate program and a non-degree residency program. When available, announcements for these positions are posted on the ACVP and ASVCP websites. The residency only and combined residency/MS degree programs are 3 years in duration, whereas the residency/PhD programs typically last 5-6 years. All programs are designed to meet eligibility requirements for board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Interested applicants must possess a DVM or equivalent degree and provide evidence of academic strength and interest in clinical pathology. A preference is given to candidates with one or more years of post-doctoral clinical experience or who have completed an internship. Residents are directly supervised by four board-certified clinical pathologists and 19 anatomic pathologists, including those with special interests in wildlife, aquatics, exotic animals and poultry are also involved in instruction of residents throughout the program. We currently have one third-year resident, one second-year resident and one first-year resident. The clinical pathology program has an outstanding pass rate for the ACVP Board Certification exam. Click HERE to see our current position postings.
Formal course work throughout the residency is offered as additional preparation for the ACVP certifying examination in clinical pathology (see anatomic pathology course list). Additional courses required of clinical pathology residents include:
- Advanced Hematology
- Advanced Biochemistry
Residents are also required to attend less formal sessions within the clinical pathology department (cytology rounds, journal clubs, chemistry seminars) as well as those offered in the anatomic pathology, medicine and oncology departments.
The residency involves intensive training in all aspects of veterinary clinical pathology, including hematology, clinical chemistry and cytology. This program is unique in that it incorporates formal instruction on surgical biopsy as well. Residents are expected to complete an average of 18 weeks of clinical duty per year with additional time spent learning laboratory instrumentation and quality control practices. Clinical duty responsibilities include providing cytology and histopathology service, reviewing blood smears and hematology data, interpreting clinical chemistry data and interacting with clinicians and students. The primary source of material is the College’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, but mail-in cases from private practitioners are also received. The active exotic, avian and wildlife services within our college allow our residents to become adept at interpreting material from a vast array of species, although submissions from traditional species are the most common.
Teaching, Presentations, and Publications
Residents have the opportunity to teach sophomore veterinary students in the Clinical Pathology didactic course, and they participate in the teaching of the senior veterinary student clinical pathology rotation. These courses enable the resident to develop teaching skills in lecture-based, laboratory and small-group formats. Active participation in college seminars and at least one presentation at a national meeting (such as ACVP, AAVLD or ACVIM) are required for successful completion of the residency. Additional requirements include the development and completion of a residency or graduate degree research project and submission of a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Attendance and presentation at regional meetings such as the Southeastern Veterinary Pathologist Conference at Tifton, Georgia, are also encouraged.