Master of Science Cytopathology2018-09-20T20:19:20+00:00
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Lois Rockson, Cytopathology Program Director

To learn more,
email Program
Director
Lois Rockson

Master in Clinical Laboratory Science-Cytopathology Program

Do you pride yourself on your attention to detail, decision-making ability, and excellent communication skills? Are you interested in applying the principles of evidence-based practice, engaging in research and scholarship, and upholding the highest levels of ethical and professional values? If you answered yes, then a career in cytopathology may be for you.

Advanced practice cytotechnologists are integral to providing anatomic pathology services. Our program teaches students to microscopically examine cells for malignancies, precancerous cells, and infectious diseases.

Graduates in cytotechnology work closely with pathologists, other laboratory professionals, and clinicians in hospital and reference laboratories, cancer centers,  biopharma corporations, and research and academic institutions to provide precision treatment and personalized patient care.

Contact a member of the cytopathology team to learn, ask questions, and start your journey toward a career as a cytotechnologist.

Lois E. Rockson MPH, MAEd, SCT(ASCP), CT (IAC)
908-889-2425
rocksole@shp.rutgers.edu

  • Rutgers provides the only accredited cytotechnology educational program in New Jersey through the MS in CLS Cytopathology Track.
  • The curriculum consists of 60 credits taken over 5 semesters, including 37 credits of Cytopathology core, 6 credits of Cytopathology electives, 12 credits of the MS-CLS core, and 5 credits of a graduate project.
  • Post-professional option for practicing cytotechnologists require only 29 to 35 credits to complete the MS degree.
  • Lectures and seminars are conducted on campus and online and student laboratory sessions are conducted on campus.
  • Supervised clinical practice is provided at affiliated clinical sites in hospitals and reference laboratories. 

There are two points of entry into the program:

  1. Entry Level Option: For individuals with a BS degree in biology or related science who completed the required undergraduate prerequisite science courses.
  2. Post Professional Option: For practicing cytotechnologists with a BS degree from an accredited university, who completed a CAAHEP-accredited Cytotechnology Program, and have cytotechnologist certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, CT(ASCP).

Program graduates are eligible for certification as a Cytotechnologist (CT) and in Molecular Biology (MB) by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).


  • Certification Pass Rate 2015-2016-2017 =  100%
  • Graduation Rate 2015-2016-2017 =  100%
  • Attrition Rate 2015-2016-2017 =  0%
  • Students must maintain a B average (GPA 3.0)
  • Students are expected to continually maintain matriculation while enrolled in the program.
The post-professional option is a part-time program in which students take a minimum of 9 credts per year for 3-4 years.  The entry-level professional option is 60-credit full-time program completed in 5 semesters.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), upon recommendation of the Cytotechnology Program Review Committee (CPRC). The Program does not provide credits for Experiential Learning.

Contact a member of the Cytotechnology team to learn, ask questions, and start your journey towards a career in Cytotechnology:

Lois E. Rockson MPH, MAEd, SCT(ASCP), CT (IAC)
908-889-2425
rocksole@shp.rutgers.edu

Application deadline for the Master of Science in Cytopathlogy is July 1 for Fall term for both options and Nov. 1 for Spring term (post-professional option only)
Application, fee, and all supportive documents must be submitted by these dates.

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited US college or university*
  2. Completion of the following prerequisite courses with a grade of B or better (generally within 7 to 10 years of enrollment):
    • Anatomy and Physiology (8 cr)
    • Cell Biology (3 cr)
    • Microbiology (4 cr)
    • Immunology (3 cr)
    • Histology (3 cr)
    • General Chemistry (8 cr)
    • Organic Chemistry (3-4 cr)
    • Biochemistry with lab (4 cr)
    • Precalculus/Calculus (3 cr)
    • Statistics (3 cr)
    • Genetics and Molecular Biology are recommended
  3. Overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  4. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 for science courses
  5. Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate coursework from all institutions attended.
  6. Curriculum vitae/resume
  7. Personal essay addressing career goals and reasons for pursuing the MS-CLS Cytopathology Program.
  8. Two (2) letters of recommendation from supervisor, lab manager, pathologist, and/or college professor who have the knowledge to evaluate the applicant’s academic and professional performance.
  9. Personal interview
  10. For post-professional option only:
    • Professional certification as a Cytotechnologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, CT(ASCP)
    • Professional experience as a cytotechnologist in GYN, Non-GYN, and FNA within the last 3 years. Applicants who do not meet this requirement will be evaluated on an individual basis by portfolio assessment.

*Applicants who have earned a degree from a non-US accredited institution must comply with the applicable University and School policies and submit:

  • Transcript evaluation by World Education Services (WES)
  • Only WES is accepted for the MS-CLS in Cytopathology Program
  • Course and grade evaluation required
  • Official transcripts sent from the non-US institution directly to Rutgers-School of Health Professions
  • TOEFL exam scores:
  • Taken within the last 2 years
  • Minimum of 79/80 on the Internet-based exam required

Online application.

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited US college or university
  • Overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 for science courses
  • Completion of a CAAHEP-accredited Cytotechnology program
  • Cytotechnologist certification by the American Society for Clinical Pathology
  • Documentation of professional experience as a cytotechnologist in GYN, Non-GYN, and FNA.
  • Personal interview

Application process:

Applicants must submit:

  • Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate coursework from all institutions attended.
  • Curriculum vitae/resume
  • Personal essay addressing career goals and reasons for pursuing the MS-CLS Cytopathology Program.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from supervisor, lab manager, pathologist, and/or college professor who have the knowledge to evaluate the applicant’s academic and professional performance.

*Applicants who have earned a degree from a non-US accredited institution must comply with the applicable University and School policies and submit:

  • Transcript evaluation by World Education Services (WES)
  • Only WES is accepted for the MS-CLS in Cytopathology Program
  • Course and grade evaluation is required
  • Official transcripts sent from the non-US institution directly to Rutgers-School of Health Professions
  • TOEFL exam scores:
  • Taken within the last 2 years
  • Minimum of 79/80 on the Internet-based exam is required

Online application

For more information about admissions, please email the Office of Admissions

908-889-2425

For individuals with a BS degree in biology or related science who completed the required undergraduate prerequisite science courses.

  • 2-year, full-time, 5 semester program consisting of 60 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree
  • Classes begin annually in the Fall semester
  • Curriculum consists of:
    Cytopathology courses (43 credits) that require on campus attendance at lectures, seminars, and student lab sessions, as well as clinical practice at off- campus hospital and reference lab affiliated sites
    MS-CLS core courses (12 credits) taken online
    Graduate project (5 credits) which is a self-directed, faculty-mentored project designed to address a practical problem or issue in cytopathology.
  • Graduates of the entry-level professional option are eligible to take the national cytotechnologist certification exam given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, CT(ASCP). Program graduates have a 100% pass rate on this exam.
  • 100% of program graduates obtain employment as a cytotechnologist in hospital or reference laboratories within 3 months of graduation

Major Clinical Affiliates and Rotation Sites
Clinical sites are located throughout New Jersey.  Students must provide their own transportation to off-campus affiliated clinical sites.

  • Jersey Shore Medical Center
  • AHS/ Morristown Medical Center
  • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
  • Somerset Medical Center
  • St. Barnabas Medical Center
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center
  • St. Michaels’ Medical Center
  • The Valley Hospital
  • University Hospital

Curriculum

CAAHEP-accredited Cytotechnology Program, and have cytotechnologist certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, CT(ASCP). 

  • Part-time program; students take a minimum of 9 credits per year for 3 to 4 years
  • Students undergo assessment of previous professional education and experience and may be approved for 25 to 31 credits to be applied to their MS degree requirements
  • Classes begin in the Fall or Spring semester
  • In general, students in this option take 29 to 35 credits to complete the MS degree:
  • Advanced Cytopathology courses (12 to 18 credits) that require on-campus attendance at lectures, seminars, and student lab sessions, and advanced clinical practice at off-campus hospital and reference lab affiliated sites
  • MS-CLS core courses (12 credits) taken online
  • Graduate project (5 credits) which is a self-directed, faculty-mentored project designed to address a practical problem or issue in cytopathology.

Major Clinical Affiliates and Rotation Sites
Clinical sites are located throughout New Jersey.  Students must provide their own transportation to off-campus affiliated clinical sites.

  • Jersey Shore Medical Center
  • AHS/ Morristown Medical Center
  • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
  • Somerset Medical Center
  • St. Barnabas Medical Center
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center
  • St. Michaels’ Medical Center
  • The Valley Hospital
  • University Hospital – Newark

Curriculum

The program does not provide credits for “Experiential Learning”

These learning outcomes meet the Institute of Medicine’s core competencies for health care professionals, namely, the ability to provide patient-centered care, work in interdisciplinary teams, employ evidence-based practice, apply quality improvement, and utilize informatics. (Institute of Medicine. Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003)

The graduate of the Rutgers MS CLS-Cytopathology Track will be able to:

  1. Perform diagnostic cytology on gynecologic, non-gynecologic, and fine needle aspiration specimens to identify and determine specimen adequacy, cellular constituents within normal limits, inflammatory, pre-malignant, and malignant cellular changes, and effects of therapy.
  2. Use Rapid Onsite Evaluation (ROSE) to assess acceptability of specimens collected by fine needle aspiration, perform locator-guided screening for gynecologic samples, and use digital pathology to document findings.
  3. Perform high-complexity methods for detection and characterization of cancers and pathogens by examining DNA, RNA, and other cellular components using immunochemistry, flow cytometry, digital image analysis, fluorescence-in-situhybridization, polymerase chain reaction, other molecular methods, and emerging diagnostics.
  4. Apply principles and practices of quality assurance/improvement, method evaluation, management, regulatory compliance, critical thinking and problem solving to cytology laboratory services to reduce diagnostic errors, improve efficiency and timeliness, and decrease costs.
  5. Critically review, appraise and synthesize the cytology and health sciences literature.
  6. Identify and systematically investigate research questions to promote evidence-based cytology practice.
  7. Use a variety of information technologies to address both theoretical and practical problems, enhance communication, and disseminate knowledge to applicable audiences and interest groups.
  8. Demonstrate proficiency in both oral and written communication, using both scholarly and technical formats, to work effectively interprofessional teams.
  9. Participate in cytology and other healthcare professional organizations and the cytology community-at-large through patient advocacy, volunteerism, education, and research.
  10. Demonstrate appropriate professional relationships with diverse groups of patients, peers, other health care professionals, faculty, and the public.
  11. Comply with professional codes of ethics and display ethical behavior in practice, education, professional and scholarly activities                   
The goals of the MS-CLS Cytopathology Program are:
  • to prepare competent advanced practice cytotechnologists who will function in traditional and expanded roles in cytology and the health care system;
  • to provide students with a broad-based background to serve as a foundation for future growth and development;
  • and to prepare graduates to adapt to a changing health care environment.

The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for entry-level and advanced practice in scientific/technical areas, supervision/management, and education and research. It is also designed to socialize the student to the attitudes and values of the profession, to provide an overview of the legal, ethical, economic, political, and social aspects of the professions and health care delivery system in general, and to instill a commitment to life-long learning. The curriculum is also designed to develop generic skills in effective communication, problem-solving, and self-directed learning.

The MS in CLS-Cytopathology program is the only accredited Cytotechnology education program in New Jersey, and only one of five entry-level masters programs in the country.

Advanced practice cytotechnologists perform diagnostic cytology by microscopically examining cells removed from all body sites to determine if a malignancy, precancerous lesion, or benign disease, such as an infection or inflammatory condition, is present. They assess acceptability of specimens collected at bedside by fine needle aspiration, use image analysis to screen specimens, and digital pathology to document their findings. They also use high-complexity technologies for detection and characterization of cancers and pathogens by examining DNA, RNA, and other cellular components using immunochemistry, flow cytometry, digital image analysis, fluorescence-in-situ hybridization, polymerase chain reaction, and other molecular methods. They work closely with pathologists, other laboratory professionals, and clinicians.

Career opportunities are available in hospital and reference laboratories, cancer centers, as well as in biopharma companies, and research and academic institutions. 100% of program graduates obtain positions in the field within 3 months of graduation with competitive salaries.

There are two options for admission into the program.

  • ENTRY-LEVEL PROFESSIONAL OPTION: For individuals with a BS degree in biology or related science who completed the required undergraduate prerequisite science courses, and
  •  POST-PROFESSIONAL OPTION: For practicing cytotechnologists with a BS degree from an accredited university, who completed a CAAHEP-accredited Cytotechnology Program, have cytotechnologist certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, CT(ASCP), and completed the required undergraduate prerequisite science courses.

Entry-level option: the program is 2 years, full time, 5 semesters. Classes begin annually in the Fall semester.
Post-professional option: the program is part-time with students taking a minimum of 9 credits per year for 3 to 4 years. Students may begin the program in the Fall or Spring semester.

The University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The MS in CLS Cytopathology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), upon recommendation of the Cytotechnology Program Review Committee (CPRC).

Courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Some courses require attendance on campus or at affiliated clinical laboratories, and some courses are offered online.

Students in the post-professional option undergo assessment of previous professional education and experience on an individual basis and may be approved for 25 to 31 credits to be applied to their MS degree requirements.

The University Board of Trustees approves tuition and fees on an annual basis. Learn more.

The best source of information about financial aid is the University Student Financial Aid Office. For more information call the Office at 973-972-4376. You may also be eligible for tuition assistance from your employer or for scholarships through your professional association. In addition the School of Health Professions offers a limited number of scholarships.

For the Technical Standards that apply to all SHP programs click here.

The Disability Compliance Coordinator may be reached at 973-972-8594.

Prior to the beginning of each semester and dates for student registration are posted. Registration deadlines are available by going to the SHP Office of Enrollment Management. Click here.

Dept. Home
APPLY NOW!
Lois Rockson, Cytopathology Program Director

To learn more,
email Program
Director
Lois Rockson