We present the design and construction of a fiber optic probe for elastic light scattering spectroscopy in vivo with polarized excitation and polarization sensitive detection. The performance of the fiber probe is evaluated using a suspension of polystyrene spheres placed atop a diffusely scattering substrate, and it demonstrates that the size-dependent characteristics of the scatterers can be extracted in the presence of a highly diffusely scattering background using a linear combination of forward and backward Mie scattering components of the scatterers. Subsequently, Mie theory calculations are performed over a broad range of diagnostically relevant parameters of nuclei—mean diameter, size distribution, and relative refractive index—to understand how the polarized reflectance measurements with the fiber probe can be used to extract morphological information about epithelial tissue. Finally, the feasibility of in vivo measurements with the fiber optic based polarization sensitive light scattering spectroscopy is demonstrated. © 2002 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.