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Graduate Program

Research Areas

The department has active research programs in enteric and/or foodborne diseases (E. coli O157:H7, M paratuberculosis), leptospirosis, leukocyte trafficking and function, parasitic diseases (Leishmaniasis), respiratory diseases (innate immunity) or other areas of infectious disease and host-pathogen interaction.

Five graduate students in the Department of Veterinary Pathology have been recipients of the KO8 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Award from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease).

The Department of Veterinary Pathology offers graduate courses and training programs that lead to either an MS or PhD in Veterinary Pathology. The programs are for individuals who have already earned a DVM or equivalent. In certain circumstances, a student with a BS or MS may be considered for the graduate program. The department also offers a minor in Veterinary Pathology for MS and PhD students and is open to students with or without a DVM degree.

For veterinarians, the department offers opportunities for the PhD in veterinary pathology to emphasize one of three areas. PhD requires 72 graduate credits (12 credits from outside major field).

Several members of the Veterinary Pathology faculty are also involved in multiple interdepartmental graduate training programs. Students may be admitted into these programs and have research projects in the Veterinary Pathology Department. See the links below for more information and application instructions.


For veterinarians, the department offers a combined residency/Ph.D. program leading to board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP)

  • Criteria and Best Practices
  • Program of Study (POS) Committee
    • The Program of Study (POS) Committee in the department is approved by the department Chair and DOGE.  For degrees in the department, fifty percent of the committee must be composed of faculty with the Department of Veterinary Pathology as their primary appointment department.  The POS committee must be chaired or co-chaired by a Graduate Faculty member who has their primary appointment in the Department of Veterinary Pathology.

Graduate Contact Point

Jesse M. Hostetter, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Education of Veterinary Pathology

Mailing Address:
College of Veterinary Medicine
2720 Veterinary Pathology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

Phone: 515-294-0953
Fax: 515-294-5423
E-mail: jesseh@iastate.edu

Veterinary Pathology Orientation Manual

for Graduate Students (pdf documents)

Download entire document

Below is a current list of what is included within the Veterinary Pathology Orientation Manual for Graduate Students

  • Welcome
  • Index
  • Introduction
  • Website Resources
  • General and Miscellaneous Information
  • Seminars
  • Study Sets
  • MS and PhD Examinations
  • Criteria for success in the program of study
  • Post Mortem: General Information
    • Procedures for Submitting Tissues for Microbiologic Tests (Bacteriology, Virology, Toxicology, Rabies, West Nile Virus
  • Biopsy and Post-Mortem Service Rotations: General Information
    • Fixation
    • Accessions
    • Demineralization
    • Processing
    • Case Reports - VADDS
    • Special Stains
    • Primary Antibodies Available
    • Immunohistochemical Staining
  • Clinical Pathology Laboratory: General Information
    • Sample Submission Protocols

Learning Outcomes Statement

The Department of Veterinary Pathology offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Veterinary Pathology with specialization in Veterinary Clinical Pathology and Veterinary Parasitology. All graduates from the Department of Veterinary Pathology's graduate program have expertise in a particular area of research, including research techniques, and scholarly activity (writing/publications/seminars).

Graduates specializing in Veterinary Pathology that emphasize professional practice can identify and interpret gross and histologic lesions, understand the pathogenesis of diseases important to various animal species, including domestic animals, and understand the pathology and pathogenesis of disease from a comparative medicine standpoint.

Graduates specializing in Veterinary Clinical Pathology can assess and interpret hematological and cytological specimens from various animal species, understand the pathogenesis of diseases important to various animal species, including domestic animals, and understand the pathology and pathogenesis of disease from a comparative medicine standpoint. Those graduates with Education emphasis can set up and/or support programs for learning enhancement.

Graduates specializing in Veterinary Parasitology can identify the major types of parasites and parasitic diseases in various animal species and understand comparative parasitology.

In addition, Graduates are expected to understand societal and ethical issues in their discipline, and to be able to communicate this expertise in seminars, meetings, and other scholarly activities such as written reports, peer-reviewed publications, grants, and/or with engagement in professional practice. Those engaged in diagnostic pathology training are expected to meet the eligibility requirements for board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Procedures for Outcome Assessment

The Department of Veterinary Pathology requires all students to continually and actively make progress toward completion of their degree as defined in the graduate student handbook. The core activities in the graduate plan provide constant measures of learning outcomes, as students successfully complete required coursework, develop a research (or project for non-thesis MS) plan, arrange a POS committee in conjunction with their major professor, successfully complete their preliminary examination, complete the research/project requirements and write the results in a form acceptable to the POS committee. Furthermore, because they work closely with faculty in every-day research and clinical settings, our graduate students are constantly provided with opportunities to receive day-to-day, or even minute-by-minute feedback on their performance. In addition, in most cases, students will generate peer-reviewed publications, present work at meetings, and contribute significantly to teaching through lectures, presentations, contributing to laboratory discussions, as well as to professional practice through diagnostic reports, communication with clients. The thesis or dissertation of students is reviewed by their POS committee. During their education/training, students are required to attend seminars, complete an appropriate course in ethics, and participate in other scholarly activities appropriate for the educational experience. The department tracks the job placement of graduates in order to gauge the marketability, competitiveness and overall success.