Master of Science in Molecular Pathology | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
A TTUHSC molecular pathology student performs a lab task under the supervision of an instructor

What is Molecular Pathology?

Molecular pathology, also known as molecular diagnostics, takes a molecular and genetic approach to the study and diagnosis of inherited disease, cancer, and infectious diseases. This type of laboratory science and testing stands at the frontlines of advanced patient care. As technologies continue to evolve and new scientific discoveries are made, molecular pathology is playing a key role in the evolution of patient health care.

About the Master of Science in Molecular Pathology

The Master of Science in Molecular Pathology is a one-year, on-campus degree program where you will learn how to perform clinical genetic analysis of human DNA and develop a strong clinical background in our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.  The 12-month sequential program begins in the summer and includes 39 credit hours of classroom, laboratory, and research experience and three credit hours of clinical experience. The clinical component is structured to provide you with skills and practice in diagnostic techniques, quality assurance, and interpreting and reporting patient results.

Molecular Diagnostics in a State-of-the-Art Facility

In our state-of-the-art training lab facility, you will develop your skills using some of the most complex gene-testing instruments available. The laboratory space is divided into a preanalytical room (for DNA and RNA isolation) and a post-analytical room (for PCR, DNA sequencing and viral assays). The techniques you will learn are the same as those used by forensic labs and in research and industry facilities. They include:

  • DNA and RNA isolation.
  • PCR (Polymerase chain reaction).
  • Real-Time PCR.
  • Sequencing.
  • RFLP (Restriction fragment length polymorphism).
  • Electrophoresis.
  • Next-generation sequencing.
  • Pyrosequencing.

The Master of Science in Molecular Pathology program at TTUHSC is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)

Learn how to apply to the Master of Science in Molecular Pathology program.

"The Molecular Pathology program is a great choice for anyone looking to enter the field of molecular diagnostics. The lectures, both in-class and online, serve as a comprehensive overview of the techniques and topics relevant to molecular diagnostics and the labs provide valuable hands-on experience that helped prepare me for work as a molecular technologist. Equally as important as the classes and labs is the quality of the professors, who are all great teachers and genuinely care about their students. Overall, I would recommend this program to all those seeking a career in molecular biology."

Stephen Saltus

Class of 2020 Molecular Pathology

Molecular Diagnostics Certification

As a graduate of the program, you will be eligible to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) national certification exam in Molecular Biology, resulting in the Technologist in Molecular Biology, MB(ASCP) certification.

  • For the past three years, TTUHSC students in the Master of Science in Molecular Pathology program had a graduation rate of 100%.
  • Our students consistently score above the national average on the ASCP certification exam; for the past three years, our students' first-time pass rate was 97%.
  • For the past three years, 97% of our graduates found employment in the the field or closely related field within one year of graduation.

A TTUHSC molecular pathology student uses gloved hands to place a slide onto the tray of a machine in the lab

Careers in Molecular Pathology

As a diagnostic molecular scientist, you will provide a critical service in the molecular diagnostic testing of acquired, inherited and infectious diseases. Your work will enhance the value of clinical laboratory services by providing advanced techniques and applying genetic information to the testing of patient specimens. With the continuing revolution in our understanding of human genomics that is driving new approaches to the therapy and diagnosis of disease, molecular pathology professionals will continue to be presented with dynamic new challenges, including unique kinds of testing, ethical issues, and advanced molecular techniques.

There is a shortage of qualified professionals available to work in this field and employment opportunities can be found in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospital molecular diagnostics laboratories.
  • Reference laboratories.
  • Biotechnology laboratories and sales.
  • Research and development laboratories.
  • Forensic laboratories.
  • Public health departments.
  • Crop science laboratories.

In addition to careers related to human genetic testing, molecular diagnostics specialists are also employed in the fields of animal science and agriculture.

  • With an increase in the aging population, and as diagnostic techniques such as prenatal testing for genetic conditions continue to become commonplace, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that jobs for medical laboratory scientists will increase by 12% to 14% through 2026, faster than average for all professions.
  • The BLS projects that job prospects will be best for professsionals who complete an accredited education program and earn professional certification.
  • For more information about a career as a medical laboratory scientist visit the ASCP website

The Molecular Pathology Curriculum

The Master of Science in Molecular Pathology curriculum prepares you to enter the field of clinical molecular diagnostics with a background and practice in molecular science, testing techniques, research, and laboratory management.

Lectures, laboratory experience, and clinical education combine to develop your professional job-ready skills. The curriculum consists of 42 semester equivalent hours of academic education. Classes include:

  • Molecular Biology of the Cell.
  • Research Design and Statistical Analysis.
  • Pathophysiology.
  • Human Molecular Genetics.
  • Management of the Molecular Laboratory.

Successful completion of the program culminates in the Master of Science in Molecular Pathology degree.

Explore our curriculum and learn about research and laboratory requirements.

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Questions?

Program Information, Admission, Application, Request a Tour

School of Health Professions Office of Admissions and Student Affairs

 health.professions@ttuhsc.edu

T: (806) 743-3220 

 

Ericka Hendrix, Program Director, Master of Science in Molecular Pathology
Ericka Hendrix, PhD, MB (ASCP)CM
Program Director
ericka.hendrix@ttuhsc.edu