Academic Programs Catalog

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation

Dalen W. Agnew, Chairperson

The Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation offers courses for students in the professional program in Veterinary Medicine.  The department offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs.  Residency training in diagnostic veterinary anatomic or clinical pathology is also available.

Graduate Study

Many members of the faculty participate in graduate training at the master's and doctoral level through the interdepartmental program in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology.

Several colleges and departments within Michigan State University cooperate in offering interdepartmental Doctor of Philosophy degree programs with majors in cell and molecular biology, genetics, and neuroscience, which are administered by the College of Natural Science. For additional information, refer to the statement on the doctoral programs in the College of Natural Science section of this catalog.


Residency Training in Veterinary Pathology

The veterinary residency program is designed to provide post–D.V.M. advanced training for proficiency in the practice of pathology. Scheduled rotational assignments are available in the areas of necropsy, clinical pathology, and surgical pathology. Residents also receive experience in teaching and are exposed to the research activities of the department. Residents must identify their area of interest in either clinical pathology or anatomic pathology. Appointments are for a 2 to 4 year period depending on the background and career objectives of the individual resident. Annual evaluations are conducted, and reappointments are contingent on the student's performance.


Pathology for Graduate Students in Related Fields

Students majoring in related fields may elect to take supportive courses in pathology. Such students are expected to have an adequate background in biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, gross anatomy, and histology. Also, due to limited facilities, permission must be obtained from the department chairperson prior to enrollment.



Graduate education and research may be directed to either human or animal pathology. Major areas of research in pathology provide the basis for advanced degree programs. These areas include toxicologic pathology, oncology, neuropathology, hematology in a broad sense, immunopathology, pathology of infectious diseases, reproductive and cardiovascular pathology, and pathology of animal models for human disease. Comparative aspects of disease processes may encompass a variety of species, including humans and domestic or wild mammals and birds, and may emphasize anthropozoonoses dealing with diseases transmissible across species lines. An interdisciplinary approach to problem solving will be applied in all instances where indicated.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Veterinary Medicine students must meet the requirements specified below.


With few exceptions, the graduate student majoring in pathobiology will have a professional degree in some branch of medicine. Students holding a bachelor's degree and seeking graduate training in pathology are advised to inquire about possible openings before going through the process of formal application. The doctoral candidate will usually have, in addition, a master's degree in a medical or paramedical science; however, possession of a master's degree does not guarantee admission to a doctoral program.

Academic Standards

In all graduate study programs in pathobiology, the student is expected to assume much responsibility. In research, particularly, the qualified student must demonstrate ability to independently plan, initiate, and carry to completion the project which the student undertakes.


Pathobiology - Master of Science

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Pathobiology

The student must complete 30 credits under Plan A (with thesis). The student is required to prepare a manuscript judged by the academic advisor and the director of thesis research as suitable to submit for publication in an appropriate scientific journal.


A minimum of 10 semester credits must be acquired in residence.


Pathobiology - Doctor of Philosophy

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Pathobiology

The student is required to prepare a manuscript judged by the academic advisor and director of dissertation research as suitable to submit for publication in an appropriate scientific journal.

The minimum number of credits required for the degree depends principally upon the student's educational background and level of scholarly attainment. Those students who are well advanced in training or who have had considerable professional experience in pathology and can submit bona fide evidence of scholarship and attainment may not be required to take as many as the usual 40 credits of course work beyond the master's degree.