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The Advanced Certificate (AC) in Cytotechnology is a one-year, 26 credit, post-baccalaureate graduate program that prepares students for careers as cytotechnologists. It is being offered by Hunter College in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The AC in Cytotechnology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)* and is New York State Licensure qualifying. Upon successful completion of the AC, students will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology** Board of Certification. The exam is also approved for NYS licensure purposes. Successful completion of this examination indicates attainment of entry level competency in the profession. Certified individuals are recognized with the designation CT(ASCP) – certified cytotechnologists ( Clinical training for the program takes place in the Cytology Service in the Department of Pathology at MSKCC.

Read about our recent graduates!

You can learn more about a career in Cytotechnology here: Consider a Career in Cytotechnology Video

Program Learning Outcomes for the Advanced Certificate in Cytotechnology

Students completing the Advanced Certificate in Cytotechnology will be able to:

  1. Independently evaluate gynecologic cytology specimens with sufficient competence to issue the final report for negative gynecologic specimens.
  2. Detect, select, and appropriately mark the cells most representative of the nature of any pathological process, if present, in any non-gynecologic cytology specimen.
  3. Perform on-site adequacy assessment of Fine-Needle Aspiration (FNA) specimens and communicate results of this assessment.
  4. Detect, select, and appropriately mark the cells/entities most representative of the pathological process, if present, in any FNA specimen.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the principles of specimen acceptance, rejection and processing in the cytology laboratory.

What is Cytotechnology?

Cytotechnology is an allied health profession that specializes in the study of cells from the human body. Working with a microscope and a variety of analytical technologies, some of which are automation-assisted, cytotechnologists evaluate cell samples from gynecologic (e.g., Pap smears), nongynecologic and fine needle aspiration specimens to detect cancer, precancerous lesions, benign tumors, and infectious processes. Cytotechnologists are trained laboratory professionals who help to save lives by identifying diseases early on and monitoring a patient's response to therapy.

How will the AC prepare me for a career as a Cytotechnologist?

Students will benefit from the educational resources available at MSKCC including the volume and mix of malignant and unusual cases that constitute the workload of the laboratory in which the clinical component of the program will be taught. They will be exposed to a variety of ancillary techniques used in the real-time cytodiagnostic process including immunohistochemistry, cytogenetics and molecular pathology and benefit from the experience and expertise of the full team of cytotechnologists and cytopathologists at MSKCC, one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the nation.

The AC in Cytotechnology is a CAAHEP accredited program and graduates are eligible to sit for the ASCP Cytotechnologist certification examination, which is also approved by NYS for licensure purposes.

Program Outcomes

ASCP Board of Certification (NYS licensing) Exam Pass Rate: 100%*
*outcome represents 3 years of data

For whom is this degree program designed?

This program is intended for exceptionally motivated individuals who welcome the challenge of developing the professional expertise to perform at a high level in a clinical laboratory setting. The successful applicant should have excellent communication (oral and written) and organizational skills, demonstrate an ability to work independently and be comfortable using a microscope to analyze specimens.

What are the entry requirements?

Please see the Graduate Admissions website for a complete list:

Note: Meeting the minimum requirements listed below does not guarantee acceptance to the program:

  • A baccalaureate or higher degree in the major of medical laboratory sciences, biology, chemistry or the physical sciences with the following pre-requisite courses or their equivalent as determined by the program: inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy & physiology, cell biology, mathematics and statistics, human genetics, immunology and clinical microbiology. Ideally, your basic science coursework took place within the past 5 years. The Hunter AC program does not accept advanced placement credits, experiential learning or transfer credits towards cytotechnology curricular requirements.
  • For those who completed academic work at colleges and universities outside of the United States: As noted above, students who complete the AC in Cytotechnology are eligible to sit for the ASCP Cytotechnologist certification examination. However, if you have completed any part of your baccalaureate degree outside of the U.S., ASCP requires proof of U.S. equivalency. For more information see: As mentioned on this site, ASCP only accepts foreign transcript evaluations from certain agencies. To be clear, evaluation of foreign transcripts is not required to apply to the program. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to have foreign transcripts evaluated by one of the ASCP-approved agencies well in advance of starting the program (preferably prior to applying) to ensure eligibility for taking the ASCP examination after completing the program.

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
  • If you completed any part of your bachelor's degree outside the US, you will need to complete the TOEFL with an acceptable score. Please take the exam before submitting your application. The following minimal TOEFL scores must be obtained:

-Paper based test: 550
-Computer administered test: 213
-Internet based test: 60 (less speaking component)
For more information about TOEFL see:

  • Statement of purpose: 500 words including a bit about the path that brought you to this degree, and motivation to enter the clinical lab profession.
  • Two brief professional letters of recommendation (from teachers, employers, etc) who can speak to your academic potential and personal responsibility, as well as your ability to learn independently.

What will I study? What is the educational format?

The AC in Cytotechnology is administered in collaboration with MSKCC. The program is an intense one-year training program (fall, spring and summer semesters) conducted at Hunter College and the laboratory facility of the MSKCC Cytology Service. Didactic (classroom) and clinical instruction is provided in gynecologic, non-gynecologic and fine needle aspiration cytology with an emphasis on pre-screening of cytopathology specimens from all body sites. Program faculty includes licensed cytotechnologists and pathologists with educational experience and expertise in the diagnostic practice of cytopathology.

To see a list of course descriptions for the AC in Cytotechnology, click here. 

Can I complete the AC in Cytotechnology part-time?

No. The AC in Cytotechnology is an intense one-year program in a clinical setting that requires a full-time commitment that will not readily allow outside work or courses.

Do I need to obtain a license to work as a cytotechnologist?

Yes. Since September 2006, all cytotechnologists working in New York State (NYS) are required to possess a cytotechnologist license issued by the NYS Department of Education (DOE) in order to practice the profession of cytotechnology. Upon successful completion of the program students will be eligible to obtain a NYS license and can acquire employment at one of the many private or hospital laboratories in the New York metropolitan region or outside NYS. For more information about NYS cytotechnologist licensure requirements, please visit the NYS DOE Clinical Laboratory Technology website.

How are credits/tuition structured? Other requirements?

The AC is composed of 26 graduate credits, with associated tuition ( There is no financial aid available to students in Advanced Certificate programs. Registration in the appropriate courses will need to be carried out on time according to the advising schedule of the MLS Department that will be published in advance. Application and fees for ASCP certification and licensure are the student’s responsibility. Your clinical training will also require the purchase of a liability insurance policy (about $50/year), medical exams, and immunizations.

When will I be able to enroll in the AC in Cytotechnology?

The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission has been extended to May 1st, 2024. See the Hunter College Graduate Admissions website ( for details. Review of candidates will take place after that date. Spaces are limited and competitive. Preparation well in advance is necessary to obtain materials from far away schools, and to make allowance for full time study.

How do I apply?

Applications are submitted online to Graduate Admissions at Hunter College ( See the site for deadlines and detailed requirements.

Contact Information

If you have additional questions, please send an email to one of us.

Shahana Mahajan, Ph.D
Chair and Professor, Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS), Hunter College
Professor, CUNY Graduate Center
425 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212)481-5271

Muktar Mahajan, Ph.D
Graduate Program Director
Dept. of Medical Laboratory Sciences
Hunter College
425 East 25th St.
New York, NY 10010

Sean McNair, MPH, CT(ASCP)
Program Director, AC Program in Cytotechnology
Cytology Education Coordinator
Cytology Service, Department of Pathology
1275 York Avenue, Room C595
New York, NY 10065

Steven Einheber, Ph.D
Advisor, AC Program in Cytotechnology
Professor, Dept. of Medical Laboratory Sciences
Hunter College
425 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

*Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

9355 113th Street N, #7709
Seminole, FL 33775
Phone: 727-210-2350
Fax: 727-210-2354

** American Society for Clinical Pathology
8900 Keystone Crossing, Suite 620
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Phone: 317.569.9470
Fax: 317.569.0221
Phone: 1.800.267.2727






« May 2024 »

MLS offers an Advanced Certificate in Cytotechnology in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission has been extended to May 1st, 2024. For application details, please visit Hunter College's Graduate Admissions here.  

The Fall 2024 application deadline for the Masters in Biomedical Laboratory Management (BLM) is April 15th, 2024. Non-degree options are also available. For application details, please visit Hunter College's Graduate Admissions at

The Fall 2024 application for the Advanced Certificate in Medical Technology (AC) has a deadline of March 1st, 2024.