Course Title: Histopathology and Cytopathology 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Histopathology and Cytopathology 1

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2018

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Janine Danks

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7332

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.09.005

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

istopathology and Cytopathology are key disciplines of Anatomical Pathology. This course provides a sound understanding of histopathology and cytopathology as medical science disciplines. The role of diagnostic laboratories in the diagnosis of various disease states and in patient care and management will be covered. This course facilitates students to develop understanding of the microscopic structure, organization and function of human cells and tissues in health and disease, and develop expertise in the techniques used for their microscopic study. It will also provide an introduction for the further systematic study of histopathology and cytopathology disciplines.

This course focuses on developing theoretical knowledge and practical skills required for histopathological techniques and cytological interpretation and diagnosis in a variety of specimens.

The key topics covered in this course are:

Histopathology: The principles and aims of histological preparation including: technical faults, fixation of cells and tissues, processing of specimens, microtomy, staining via various routine and specialised methods for light microscopy, and the rationale and application of immunohistochemical staining

Cytopathology: Non-gynaecological cytology covering the pathology and cytological diagnosis of normal, benign, premalignant and malignant conditions in respiratory and effusion specimens. The theory of fine needle aspiration cytology, cancillary testing and quality control in the cytopathology laboratory will also be covered.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC158 Master of Laboratory Medicine:

  • PLO 1. Analyse and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories relating to the practise of histopathology and cytopathology. Be able to apply this knowledge to problem solving and interpretive situations of diagnostic work.
  • PLO 2. Demonstrate technical capability with an acceptable level of competency and skill.
  • PLO 3. 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.
  • PLO 4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in practical examinations and in the write up of practical reports.
  • PLO 5. Demonstrate the ability to reflect on experiences and identify technical and personal skill deficiencies which require further development.

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

  1. Recognize and describe the regulatory and safety procedures for specimen reception, identification and handling in anatomical pathology. This includes relevant quality assurance and quality control measures in Anatomical pathology laboratories.
  2. Critically discuss and explain the principles of and perform fixation, microtomy and various staining techniques for histopathological specimens. This includes the selection and application of immunohistochemical methods.
  3. Relate knowledge of the principles and procedures involved in the collection, processing, cytopreparation, screening, interpretation and reporting of common cytology specimens (including the use of ancillary testing), to different cytopathological diagnosis.
  4. Apply basic knowledge of aetiology, pathogenesis, pathology, histology and cytology to interpret and describe the morphological features found in cytology specimens.

Overview of Learning Activities

The syllabus is covered in a program of lectures, tutorials, and practical exercises designed to facilitate the acquisition and understanding of knowledge, which extends to leading practice in the disciplines. The theory and practical components of the course are highly integrated throughout each phase of this course. Most of the learning materials are accessible online via the RMIT Learning Management System which includes asynchronous discussion groups and student access to a range of online tools. This approach is used so that you achieve a thorough understanding of basic histopathological and cytopathological processes in conjunction with a level of practical competence that will enable you to undertake professional experience in Histopathology and Cytopathology laboratories.

Cytopathology includes morphology based sessions using the digital microscopy laboratory for tutorials and guided independent student microscopy. Using multi-head microscopes or a TV microscope, immediate feedback is provided during and at the completion of practical sessions. Some written practical reports are required to develop your powers of observation, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Review questions are also provided.

Teacher directed hours: 60 hours/semester
Learner directed hours: 60 hours/semester


Overview of Learning Resources

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

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Practical reports and proformas

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2 & 3

Assessment Task 2: Mid semester theory test

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 3: Final Practical exam

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 3 & 4

Assessment Task 4: Final theory examination

Weighting 30%

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