BMSC12001 - Histological and Cytological Techniques

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit will provide you with foundation skills for work in histological and cytological (anatomical pathology) pathology departments. You will discuss and perform diagnostic histological techniques including tissue preparation, fixation, routine and special staining, sectioning and mounting. You will also prepare cytological specimens. Through your participation in practical sessions, you will develop a high level of skill in efficient use of microscope optics for examination of prepared slides. You will be able to apply quality assurance processes and quality improvement measures.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites


BMSC11001 Human Body Systems 1 AND BMSC11002 Human Body Systems 2 OR

BMSC11010 Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 AND BMSC11011 Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 OR

BMSC11007 Medical Anatomy and Physiology 1 AND BMSC11008 Medical Anatomy and Physiology 2

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

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Residential School Compulsory Residential School
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Unit Availabilities from Term 3 - 2023

Term 2 - 2024 Profile
Mixed Mode

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Online Quiz(zes) 20%
2. Portfolio 40%
3. Presentation 10%
4. Examination 30%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 83.33% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 37.50% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: SUTE
The unit, assessments and teaching style were very engaging and helpful to student learning.
Maintain the new Moodle Lessons format
Action Taken
Updated some material but maintained the Moodle Lessons format in 2023.
Source: SUTE and self reflection
The oral presentation was a good mode for assessments but 30% weighting was too high.
Review of weighting of assessments has been undertaken in consultation with Head of Course and Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching. Adjustments shall be implemented via a Unit Update Proposal.
Action Taken
The overall weighting of the oral assessment is now at 10% with no mimimum grade requirements. This eased the stress associated with this task.
Source: SUTE and self reflection
The addition of demonstration videos on different equipment prior to the residential school will help prepare students.
Consider the possibility to record some videos in the laboratory to prepare students prior to the residential school.
Action Taken
Video links provided to the students prior to the residential school.
Source: Informal verbal student feedback
While all assessment is stressful, the oral presentations were an engaging manner of demonstrating what we have learned in a supportive environment.
Maintain the format of the oral presentation. Having no minimum grade alleviated the stress to the students, while still encouraging students to complete the task. Holding this activity following the residential school helped nurture a supportive environment.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE feedback
"Loved the lecture format".
Maintain the Moodle Lessons Format.
Action Taken
Source: Self-reflection and SUTE feedback
Some students prefer traditional two hour and live lectures.
Continue to offer live tutorials for those who prefer a lectorial style format. Also offer hand-outs and links to traditional two-hour presentations in the extra resources.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Apply routine procedures and techniques relevant to histology and cytology specimen receipt, fixation, processing and staining used in pathology laboratories
  2. Discuss and apply the safe handling and quality control procedures of all equipment, reagents and samples in a histology laboratory
  3. Assess staining errors and outline remedial actions
  4. Outline the steps in tissue processing from specimen receipt to reporting.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Portfolio
3 - Presentation
4 - Examination
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10