Course Title: Anatomical Pathology 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Anatomical Pathology 1

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021

Course Coordinator: Frank Musso

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4730

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.10.007B

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Histopathology 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 inpatient 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: Accurate observation and detailed descriptions of cells in normal, benign/reactive and malignant conditions, and the principles of routine cytological preparation and staining techniques.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

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

1. Knowledge capability

Have a comprehensive understanding of key scientific principles underpinning laboratory medicine and have developed a systemic knowledge of core cellular and molecular processes underlying health and disease. Have advanced knowledge of two core clinical speciality disciplines of laboratory medicine and advanced management skills.

2. Technical capability

Ability to develop and perform a range of diagnostic techniques relevant to the field of laboratory medicine. To use logical and systemic thinking and high level critical analysis skills to solve problems by utilising diagnostic techniques and methodologies in the chosen areas of clinical laboratory specialisation.

3. Professional work practices

Have a critical awareness of principles relating to scientific integrity, ethical issues and legal framework that underpins the field of laboratory medicine. Contribute to professional work settings through effective interpersonal and teamwork skills to support constructive interactions.

4. Communication skills

Ability to communicate effectively with individuals and groups within the diagnostic laboratory environment. Acquire, organise, critically analyse, interpret and present information to media in professional settings on current issues in laboratory medicine.

5. Reflective capability

Ability to reflect and integrate based upon experiences in relation to theory and work practices to demonstrate creativity in the identification of problems and their solutions. Identify personal skill deficiencies that require further professional 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.
  2. 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. Describe in a comprehensive and systematic approach the cell and tissue morphological features found in anatomical pathology specimens in different disease states.
  4. Relate the knowledge of the principles and procedures involved in the collection, processing, cytopreparation, screening, interpretation and reporting of common cytology specimens.
  5. Relate the use of molecular and immunological tests in cytopathology to different pathological diagnosis.
  6. Critically discuss quality assurance and quality control measures in relation to ISO15189 accreditation in Anatomical pathology laboratories.

Overview of Learning Activities

The theory and practical components of this foundation course are highly integrated throughout the four learning blocks. The first block is an introduction to the routine aspects of anatomical pathology. This is followed by the second learning block where a few commonly used routine special stains are introduced. The third learning block is to introduce the cytopathology component, and the fourth learning block introduces the ancillary techniques that enable both histopathology and cytopathology to make accurate diagnosis.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources in this course include:

  • Online learning activities
  • Recommended readings from textbooks, online sources, and designated references
  • Practical activities

Online resources will be made available via the RMIT Learning Management System (LMS).

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: In-semester Assessment
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 2: Mid-semester Multiple Choice test
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 3

Assessment Task 3: Final Practical Assessment
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 4: Final Case Study Theory Assessment
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6