Biology Major: Cytotechnology Specialization [3+1]

Carlow University’s collaborative program with UPMC’s Anisa I. Kanbour School of Cytotechnology prepares students for an exciting and meaningful career assisting pathologists and changing patients’ lives. The program is set up as a 3+1 program, meaning 3 years are spent at Carlow University, and the 4th year students will enroll in the Cytotechnology program at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC. 

During the 3 years spent at Carlow, students will take course work designed to provide a solid foundation in cellular and molecular biology, with relevant biomedical information and practice with biotechnology commonly used in medical and research laboratories. Once at UPMC’s facility, students will be will be trained by cytopathologists and cytotechnologists. This course work includes instruction in preparing patient samples and interpretation of material, clinical rotations in UPMC hospitals, and training with state-of-the-art imaging systems used in the field. 

Students completing the requirements of the program graduate with a B.S. in biology from Carlow University and be prepared to take the national certification examination of the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC) to be certified at a Cytotechnologist.


What is a Cytotechnologist? 

Cytotechnologists are laboratory professionals that play a vital role in the detection of disease to set patients on the road to recovery. Everyday biopsies and molecular screens are conducted on patients to diagnose diseases like cancers, inflammation and infections. Before a pathologist can make a proper diagnosis, the tissues and cellular specimens must be obtained, and prepared on microscopy slides. Cytotechnologists prepare these slides, study the cellular architecture, and mark questionable areas for the pathologist to examine. As members of a pathology department, cytotechnologists are allied health specialists working in hospitals and commercial, research, and governmental laboratories that process patient specimens. 

  • The national salary average for cytotechnologists is between $58,926-$84,056 annually (cytopathology.org)
  • ExploreHealthCareers.org forecasts that the need for cytotechnologists will continue to grow over the next 20 years

Financial Aid

  • First 3 years students pay Carlow tuition as regular undergraduates
  • Students pay a $1000 deposit upon acceptance to Magee to reserve their spot
  • In year four, students pay Carlow tuition as regular undergraduates and can continue to receive financial aid

Specific Program Requirements

  • Students enroll as a Biology major at Carlow for 3 years, completing 89-90 credits
  • Students apply to Anisa I. Kanbour School of Cytotechnology, Magee Women’s Hospital, in year 3
  • If admitted, students complete fourth year of courses (32 credits) at Anisa I. Kanbour School of Cytotechnology, Magee Women’s Hospital, in a one-year clinical experience that runs from early July through June 30
  • Magee sends a transcript to Carlow upon completion (can send one after fall term and again upon completion)
  • Students would be awarded a BS in Biology with a specialization in Cytotechnology 

Candidates must satisfy all requirements for the B.S. degree in biology, with the following modifications: BIO310, BIO335, and BIO390 are required, and Biomedical Ethics is recommended. One upper biology elective and Senior Experience are waived. 

NOTE: Carlow University does not guarantee admission to the Cytotechnology program. Admission is on a competitive basis.


Highlighted Courses

BIO 310 | Cell Biology 

A study of the basic cellular and molecular mechanism by which cells function: membrane transport, metabolism and ATP production, DNA replication, protein synthesis, cell movement, and division. Laboratories introduce students to cell culture, microscopy, centrifugation, electrophoresis, spectrophotometry, and other techniques used to study cells.

BIO 335 | Microbiology & Immunology

A comprehensive examination of the biology microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, heleninths, and viruses. Emphasis is placed on, but not limited to, the bases of microbial diseases, control, prevention, treatment, and host defenses including immune responses and immunotherapies. Includes practical experience and bacteriological lab techniques.

BIO 390 | Histology

An examination of cell and tissue structure primarily at the light microscopic level, although some electron microscopy of cell structure will be considered. The focus is on major tissue groups that make up the vertebrate body, and examines the contribution of each to the structure and function of the organism as a whole. Emphasis will be placed on the technology and histological methods used in preparing tissues for microscopic examination and study.

Note: For more details about these classes and more, please visit the Course Catalog section of our website.