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Pathology involves understanding the biology of human disease at the genetic, molecular, cellular and organ 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.

The first step towards becoming a health professional is to enrol in the Health Sciences First Year programme. This is also a way to begin your training as a biomedical scientist.

Find out more about the Health Sciences First Year programme

Undergraduate study

The Department of Pathology hosts three undergraduate biomedical science papers:

Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences programme (BBiomedSc):

The Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree provides students with a sound foundation in the scientific principles underpinning biomedical research and our current understanding of health and disease. A defining feature of this degree is its interdisciplinary nature, with students able to select papers from multiple contributing Departments.

The Department of Pathology contributes core papers to the Molecular Basis of Health and Disease Major in the BBiomedSc. Pathology papers are also available as options in 4 additional BBiomedSc majors. If you are considering Pathology papers, please note that PATH201 is a prerequisite for PATH301.

This degree structure is similar to the Bachelor of Science (BSc) programme, but has a broader biomedical base at 100-level with 200 and 300-level papers orientated towards biomedical understanding of health and disease.

Find more information on the Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences programme

Bachelor of Science programme (BSc): Minor in Pathology

Pathology can also be studied as a minor in combination with a major in one of the other biomedical sciences, complementing these courses with a secondary focus on the study of disease.

Common combinations are the addition of a minor in Pathology to a major in Anatomy, Genetics, or Microbiology and Immunology.

The requirements for a minor in Pathology are ANAT 241, BIOC 221, PATH 201, PATH 301, and PATH 302.

If you are planning to declare a minor in Pathology, please be aware that both ANAT 241 and BIOC 221 are Semester 1 papers. It may be useful to plan these papers for the beginning of your second year.

Find more information on the Bachelor of Science programme (Minor in Pathology)

There are currently various options open to students seeking to further their training in Pathology at 4th year and beyond.

Find out more about postgraduate study in the Department of Pathology

Careers in pathology

As a component of both the health professional and science courses taught at the University of Otago, Pathology offers graduates a varied range of career options.

Careers in science and biomedical research

Graduates with a pathology component in 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.

Biomedical Sciences at Otago
Sciences at Otago
Genetics at Otago

Careers in the health professions


Pathology sits at the centre of medicine. Understanding disease processes is fundamental to the good practice of medicine and communication to patients. The Department teaches into the second, third, fourth, and fifth years of the undergraduate medical degree (MB ChB) at Otago Medical School.

Medicine at Otago

Medical Laboratory Science

Diagnostic laboratories are the powerhouses of modern medicine. They are where diagnoses are made and where patient treatment is monitored. Medical Laboratory Science is recommended for students with a strong interest in laboratory diagnosis.

Medical Laboratory Science at Otago

Dentistry, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy

A strong understanding of the nature of disease is an essential component for all health practitioners. Our teaching to Dentistry, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy students provides the major principles of pathology.

Dentistry at Otago
Pharmacy at Otago
Physiotherapy at Otago

Student profiles

Learn more about why our students have chosen exciting careers in pathology, and how their studies are going.

Pathology undergraduate student profiles

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