BMSC12001 - Histological and Cytological Techniques

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit will provide you with foundation skills for work in histological (anatomical pathology) and cytological pathology departments. On completion of this unit, you will be able to discuss and perform diagnostic histological techniques including tissue preparation, fixation, routine and special staining, sectioning and mounting. Cytological specimen preparation will also be taught. Development of a high level of skill in efficient use of microscope optics for examination of prepared slides will be facilitated through practical sessions.


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 2 - 2022

Term 2 - 2022 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. Practical Assessment 40%
2. Online Quiz(zes) 30%
3. Presentation 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 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 5 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 12.5% 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: Unit Evaluation
Students found the formative quizzes well organised with ample questions.
Maintain similar format with different formative quiz types available each week.
Action Taken
Kept similar formative quizzes and added an image recognition formative quiz to each week as well. This allowed students to attempt different types of questions.
Source: Self-reflection and unit evaluation
Some students found attending the tutorials challenging.
Consider augmenting the interactive tutorials with additional 'drop-in' sessions.
Action Taken
Offered students drop-in sessions at the beginning of term but unfortunately there was very little engagement.
Source: SUTE
Students liked the three different formative quizzes offered each week: - Short answer questions - Image recognition - Extended answer questions
Continue to use and update these quizzes in Moodle
Action Taken
Source: Self reflection
Participation in the weekly tutorials was not optimal
Consideration will be given to substituting these with a series of 3 or 4 online workshops covering a number of topics spread throughout the term to increase engagement. These can be scheduled at times that are more appealing to the students
Action Taken
Source: SUTE and Self reflection
Students enjoyed the residential school, and the industry experience offered by the Unit Coordinator and technical staff
Maintain the same staff, and keep consulting with industry professionals to maintain the optimal learning experience for the students.
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 - Practical Assessment
2 - Online Quiz(zes)
3 - Presentation
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