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Study Pathology at Otago

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Why study Pathology?

Understanding human disease is key to the development of effective treatments.  Students who complete Pathology papers at the University of Otago will have an integrated knowledge of the biology of disease.

Our undergraduate Pathology papers at Otago provide a foundation for basic and translationally focused post-graduate research and graduate entry into professional programmes.

A single discipline Pathology minor will produce graduates who can blend biomedical science with clinical knowledge to respond to global health challenges.


Pathology is the study of human disease at the molecular, cellular and organ systems levels.

Studying Pathology will allow you to learn about diseases caused by genetic, infectious, immunological and environmental injury, including how diseases affect cells and organ systems, and how diseases can be detected and treated.

At Otago, the study of Pathology is included in health professional courses as well as the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science programmes.

Career opportunities

Otago graduates who include Pathology papers within their qualifications find employment in a wide variety of areas.

Recent developments in fields such as biotechnology, molecular biology, genetics, immunology and medicine have increased the demand for graduates with a background in Pathology.

Graduates can opt to follow a traditional academic research pathway, or work in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Graduates are also employed as managers and advisers in government agencies.

Pathology at Otago

Pathology is offered as a minor for a range of bachelors' degrees.

A Pathology minor in the BSc programme integrates with other papers offered in the BSc programme and integrates well with other majors in Biomedical Sciences, as well as with a range of other subjects.

Pathology is also taught as part of the Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (BBiomedSc) degree. The Department of Pathology offers core papers in the Molecular Basis of Human Disease major in the BBiomedSc programme. Pathology papers are also available as options in four additional BBiomedSc majors.

Teaching format

Teaching is delivered in lectures and laboratories. Laboratories provide hands-on experience and demonstrate the principles that underpin the understanding of the pathogenesis of disease.

Postgraduate study in Pathology

There are currently various options open to students seeking to further their education in Pathology at 400-level and beyond.

Students who have completed any of the majors in the BBiomedSc programme can enrol in a BBiomedSc(Hons) in the Department of Pathology. The BBiomedSc(Hons) can be in any of the majors, including the Molecular Basis of Health and Disease. Some students who have completed a BSc in appropriate subjects may also be permitted to complete a BBiomedSc(Hons).

Students who have completed a BSc in Genetics can complete a BSc(Hons) in Genetics that includes a research project based in the Department of Pathology.

Further postgraduate study includes options such as the Master of Biomedical Sciences, the Master of Science (subject to joint supervision with a department that offers the MSc), or a PhD.

Find out more about postgraduate study in Pathology

Pathology research at Otago

Our staff undertake internationally-recognised Pathology research.

This research is focused on three thematic areas:

  • Translational Cancer Research
  • Epigenetics
  • Developmental Biology

The types of medical and scientific problems that this research addresses include:

Current research projects available in the Department of Pathology

See the Apply for a programme page for a list of the qualifications available at Otago

Background required

No specific secondary school subject requirements, however Year 13 Biology and Chemistry are recommended.  Calculus and Statistics are also useful.

Please refer to the University's general admission requirements.


Pathology as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

100-levelSee below 

ANAT 241 Human Biology: Cells to Systems

BIOC 221 Molecular Biology

PATH 201 Foundations in Human Pathology





PATH 301 Advanced Pathology

PATH 302 Cancer Biology

Note: Prerequisites for constituent papers are:
PATH 201: BIOC 192, CELS 191, HUBS 192 (for which either HUBS 191 or PTWY 131 is a prerequisite).
PATH 301: PATH 201 (with ANAT 241, BIOC 221 as recommended preparation)
PATH 302: One of ANAT 241, BIOC 221, PATH 201 (with GENE 222, BIOC 352, GENE 313 as recommended or concurrent preparation)



Total 90

PATH papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
PATH201 2024 Foundations in Human Pathology 18 Semester 2
PATH301 2024 Advanced Pathology 18 Semester 1
PATH302 2024 Cancer Biology 18 Semester 2

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Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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