Cytotechnology & Cell Sciences


  • Center City Campus
  • College of Health Professions

Degree Earned

  • Master of Science

Program Type

  • On Campus


Cytotechnologists are experts of cell and tissue morphology and function, and they use microscopes, automated imaging systems, and sophisticated laboratory techniques to detect and diagnose diseases. Cytotechnologists work both independently and collaboratively with pathologists, radiologists, oncologists, and other members of a healthcare team.

Professionals in this field:

  • Screen cytologic samples to detect and document cells representative of a variety of pathological processes
  • Correlate patient history and cytologic findings to generate a diagnosis and report
  • Select and perform molecular and immunologic tests that help to personalize patient care 
  • Assist clinicians in collecting and evaluating specimens from any body site
  • Perform cancer screenings to identify precancerous cells at their earliest and most curable stage 

Why Thomas Jefferson University?

Jefferson sits at the center of a region served by several renown university health systems, medical centers and cancer centers where many of the practitioners and researchers contributing to the advances in the profession live, work and teach.  Students at Jefferson will learn theory, basic laboratory techniques and the criteria for diagnostic interpretation of cells from all body sites. They practice their diagnostic abilities with archived patient specimen in the classroom before integrating that with clinical practice in an affiliated laboratory.  During the clinical phase of the program students work with current patients under the supervision of experienced cytotechnologists. Students attend clinical practicum in a variety of commercial, community, university and medical center laboratories to experience the variety in the scope of cytology practice.  Jefferson students and alumni benefit from:

  • Comprehensive curriculum in one-year and two-year program options
  • Renown network of affiliated clinical sites in the greater-Philadelphia region for practical training and experience
  • Clinical practicum courses integrated into the curriculum and coordinated by program faculty
  • Full-time faculty dedicated to teaching their program specialties
  • Core courses in molecular biology, molecular techniques and immunology studies
  • Research, literature review and writing techniques
  • Current laboratory operations and standards
  • Lifelong Career Success Center services

Cytotechnology Program Goals

The goal of the Cytotechnology & Cell Sciences program is to prepare competent graduates with the knowledge, skills, and professionalism necessary to perform as an entry-level cytologist.

Students/Graduates will demonstrate competency consistent with an entry-level position in the performance of routine screenings and diagnostic specimen microscopic evaluation, interpretation and report generation.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1-A: Students will assess the adequacy of routine gynecologic specimen and diagnostic non-gynecologic specimen, review the patient record and correlate findings.

1-B: Students will use microscopy to screen, detect, select and mark the appropriate cells most representative of any pathologic process, if present, to generate a meaningful report.

1-C: Students will determine and suggest appropriate companion testing and correlate companion testing results with the cytology findings, if applicable.

Students/Graduates will demonstrate competency consistent with an entry-level position in the performance of routine and diagnostic specimen preparation, staining, quality assessment and troubleshooting.

Student Learning Outcomes:

2-A: Students will explain and apply the principles for specimen rejection or acceptance into the laboratory.

2-B: Students will explain and select the most appropriate specimen preparation method and staining technique.

2-C: Students will use the microscope to properly visualize the specimen.

2-D: Students will perform other basic laboratory techniques such as aseptic technique, centrifugation, and pipetting.

Students/Graduates will be able to comply with laboratory safety, HIPAA and workload regulations, and the quality control and quality assurance requirements of applicable regulatory agencies.

Student Learning Outcomes:

3-A: Students will practice universal precautions and comply with other laboratory safety measures and regulations.

3-B: Students will be able to retrieve and explain the quality control and quality assurance requirements of regulatory agencies.

3-C: Students will comply with cytology workload limits and documentation standards.

3-D: Students will explain the use and purpose of the laboratory information system for review of relevant patient records and appropriate data entry.

Students/Graduates will have gained the knowledge and insight for the principles, theory, and indications of a variety of cytology companion testing.

Student Learning Outcomes:

4-A: Students will be able to explain the theory, principles and indications of various companion molecular, immunological, and digital laboratory technologies and techniques.

4-B: Students will correlate companion testing results to generate a more precise diagnosis.

4-C: Students will explain technical aspects and troubleshooting strategies of various molecular, immunological and digital laboratory technologies.

Students/Graduates will develop and strengthen problem-solving strategies and critical thinking capabilities to contribute to excellent patient-centered outcomes.

Student Learning Outcomes:

5-A: Students will critically evaluate medical literature for its pertinence and reliability.

5-B: Students will critique diagnostic quality and determine corrective measures for improvement.

Graduates will adhere to professional standards of conduct, ethical practice, communication and interpersonal relationships, professional development and education.

Student Learning Outcomes:

6-A: Students will integrate professional ethics and policy compliance into clinical practice.

6-B: Students will understand the importance of continuing education and maintenance of on-going competence.

6-C: Students will practice the principles of effective and appropriate communication with patients, peers, faculty, staff and the public.

Program Effectiveness

This information is displayed in accordance with requirements set by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), the accrediting body of the Medical Laboratory Science program, and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the accrediting body of the Cytotechnology & Cell Sciences program.


Graduated Cohort 2021 2022 2023 Avg.
External Certification Pass Rate 100% 100% 100% 100%
External Certification First Attempt Only  
100% 80% 67% 82.3%
Graduation Rate 100% 83.3% 100% 94.4%
Attrition Rate 0% 16.7% 0% 5.6%
Graduate Placement Rate 100% 100% 100% 100%


Many graduates work in hospitals and independent labs in the Philadelphia region. Others continue their studies, pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees in the field.

A degree in Cytotechnology prepares students for jobs in:

  • Community hospital cytology laboratories
  • University medical center cytology laboratories
  • Commercial and private laboratories
  • Cytology education and training
  • Sales and consultant positions
  • Research positions
Learn more about careers, certificates and outcomes.