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Pathology is the study of diseases and what goes wrong within the body as a cause of them. This may not sound inherently glamorous, but a major in experimental pathology might pave the way for a future of amazing discoveries, even a cure for cancer. You’ll be studying the nature of diseases and how they can attack tissues, organs, and the body as a whole. You’ll become knowledgeable about diseases on all levels, from the molecular to the cellular and more. And by learning about diseases in such great depth—and the factors and processes that lead to them—you’ll be on your way to helping create more effective ways to prevent and treat them in the future.

Experimental pathology majors learn how to perform skillful research so they can someday make advances in the field. How to use laboratory equipment, how to interpret and analyze data, and how to communicate your findings effectively are all topics that will be covered. You’ll study research from the past and how it has shaped the field, and you’ll gain an understanding of exactly where we are in the realm of disease and where we need to go. Pathologists pursue careers involving molecular genetics, tumors, neurochemistry, immunotoxicology, or cancer, to name a few possibilities. It’s strange to think that if experimental pathologists got so good at their jobs that they wiped out all disease, they’d actually perform themselves out of a career—but actually, that’s the goal!

Although experimental pathology is frequently a specialization in graduate or medical school, many schools offer undergraduates the chance to pursue studies in this area as well. The depth and breadth of your study will, of course, deepen and widen as you move further in your schooling.


  • Biochemistry

  • Biomedical Research

  • Cell Biology

  • Ethics

  • Gene Targeting in Transgenic Mice

  • Genetics

  • Medical Immunology

  • Molecular Biology

  • Neurobiology

  • Pharmacology

  • Radiation Biology

  • Statistics

  • Virology


To best prepare for a major in experimental pathology, get a solid foundation in science and math courses including calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics. Courses that include laboratory work are especially valuable. Scientists must also be good communicators, so take humanities courses like English and languages to strengthen your reading, writing, and speaking skills.