Course Title: Cytopathology 2

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Cytopathology 2

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr Daniel Sze

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6524

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.09.003

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment or email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

System Enforced Pre-Requisites (Enforced by SAMS)

Course Description

Cytopathology is a key discipline within Anatomical Pathology.  This course combines aspects of cell biology, cell morphology, histology, histopathology, pathology and practical techniques in immunochemistry to be able to detect and diagnose diseases in individuals.

This course focuses on developing the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required for cytological interpretation and diagnosis in a variety of specimens. You will be introduced to various gynaecological and non-gynaecological specimens in a series of lectures, tutorials and multithreaded microscope sessions.  You will complete a series of small projects designed to develop your practical microscopy skills and challenge your critical thinking abilities.  These projects are simulations of cases seen in practise.

The key topics covered in this course are:

Gynaecological Cytopathology screening cytology: covering the pathology and cytology of normal, benign, premalignant and malignant conditions of the cervix and endometrium.

Non-gynaecological Cytopathology diagnostic cytology: covering the cytology of normal and malignant processes in respiratory, effusion, urinary and several aspects of FNA cytology. These topics will also cover collection and preparation of cytological specimens as well as ancillary testing and laboratory safety.

There are some opportunities to undertake case study investigations with external laboratories.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP147 bachelor of Laboratory Medicine:

  • Analyse and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories relating to cytopathology.  Be able to apply this knowledge to problem solving and interpretation of diagnostic work
  • Demonstrate technical capability and an acceptable accuracy, relative to experience, within the discipline of cytopathology.
  • Contribute to academic and professional work settings through responsible, self-managed, independent work, interpersonal skills which support constructive interactions with individuals and teams, and understand the ethical and legal framework that underpins the field of diagnostic pathology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with individuals and groups with discussion of cases and presentation of case studies; and in the write up of projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect on experiences and identify personal skill deficiencies which require further professional development.
  • Analyse information/data critically and synthesise knowledge.


On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge in the discipline of cytology and its practice in screening and diagnostic applications, as well as in the aetiology, pathogenesis and histology of common benign and malignant diseases.
  2. Screen, detect, evaluate and interpret the morphological features of the cells observed in cytological specimens.
  3. Communicate and support your diagnostic conclusions using common cytological terms
  4. Be creative in your approach to problem solving, as it relates to the practice of cytology, as well as being responsible in the way you present your solutions.
  5. Critically analyse cases, and in the conclusions and results you produce.


Overview of Learning Activities

The syllabus is covered in a program of lectures, tutorials, screening projects and exercises designed to facilitate the acquisition and understanding of knowledge, which extends to leading practice in the discipline of cytopathology. The practical program is structured to provide learning experiences, which complement the theory syllabus and allow you to gain skills in the interpretation of cytology specimens. Throughout the subject you will be encouraged to demonstrate a responsible and mature attitude and be aware of the consequences of suboptimal performance.  Critical thinking and communication skills are encouraged in class discussion, presentations, and screening projects. These skills form key graduate attributes for employability in the field of laboratory medicine

The course is supported by RMIT's online Learning Management System (LMS).

The primary learning mode for this course is face to face. You will undertake the equivalent of six hours per week in lecture and laboratory time and are expected to spend a minimum of six hours in independent study. You are required to be diligent in keeping up with your studies outside of class time and spend significant time on campus in the Pathology Museum completing their screening projects.

Overview of Learning Resources

There are numerous resources available online on myRMIT, including comprehensive lecture notes, a detailed study program, relevant journal articles and external links to useful cytology websites. You will have access to teaching slide sets for topics covered in the practical morphology as well as unknown practice slide sets.  Laboratory manuals will be available through the course coordinator.

Overview of Assessment

All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

The assessment is divided equally between the two modules of Gynaecological and Non-gynaecological Cytopathology.

HURDLE: You must pass both the theory and practical components of this course to achieve an overall pass.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Screening projects consisting of gynaecological and non-gynaecological slides

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 5

Assessment Task 2: Written and oral presentation of case studies

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 3: Practical tests

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 4: Final theory examination

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3 & 4