Professional/Short course Cellular Pathology and Oncology

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Applied Sciences
Course Director
Dr Chris Moore

BSc(Hons) Biomedical Top-up

Page last updated 12 October 2023


Modules can be offered either individually or collectively if you have had your first degree evaluated by the IBMS and require further Top-up studies in order to complete the educational requirement for IBMS accreditation.

On successful completion of this level 7 (Masters level) Cellular Pathology and Oncology module, you will be able to:

  • Employ good laboratory practice related to Cellular Pathology techniques.
  • Understand the principles of tissue preparation for histology and the mechanism by which common staining methods work.
  • Show an appreciation of the epidemiology and aetiology of cancer.
  • Understand the key features of tumour cells, progression towards malignancy and the cellular and molecular biology underpinning malignant disease.
  • Discuss the role of Cell Pathology in the diagnosis and prognosis of both neoplastic and non-neoplastic disease in the major organs and tissues.
  • Critically discuss current methods for cancer screening, and the potential for development of existing and potential future screening programmes.
  • Understand current therapeutic approaches and be able to discuss potential future avenues for therapy.

For an applicant looking to top-up an undergraduate degree to obtain an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) accreditation, please refer to the Biomedical Science module top-up for IBMS/HCPC accreditation for more information.

Careers / Further study

This course can contribute towards:

  • BSc Biomedical Science
  • BSc Healthcare Science (Life Sciences)



The module syllabus typically includes the following:

Technical aspects of Cellular Pathology

  • Preparative processes in Cellular Pathology; microscopy; the theory of stain action; immunocytochemistry; cytopathology; molecular techniques used and their application.

Principles of cancer biology

  • The hallmarks of cancer; its genetic basis; oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes; cell signalling in tumours; tumour progression; invasion and metastasis; the role of cancer stem cells.
  • Cancer screening; diagnosis; grading and staging; existing therapeutic strategies; potential future therapies.

Tissues and organs: Pathology and investigation

  • A systematic overview of the structure and function of the major organs, their pathology, and associated neoplastic disease (To include: liver; lung; skin; prostate; reproductive system; gastrointestinal tract; the urinary/renal system;.breast; bone; skin; pancreas; neuroendocrine system).
  • Non-neoplastic disease of the major organs requiring cellular pathological investigation; systemic disease such as amyloidosis and renal disease.
  • The role of cellular pathology in research; quantitation; quality control.

Learning and Teaching

Scheduled learning
The majority of the taught material will be delivered as lectures, complemented by tutorials and practical classes, but divided into discrete sections:

  • The early part of the module will focus on the technical aspects of cellular pathology, this will include a practical class where technique will be put into practice and followed by a tutorial session to both review and reinforce learning, and provide guidance for a written assessment based on the laboratory work.
  • The next section will focus on the cellular and molecular biology of cancer. This will be largely lecture-based and include a tutorial exercise on the grading and staging of cancer.
  • The remainder of the module will focus on different organ systems each week, their pathology and cellular pathology approaches to disease investigation. This section will include two practical classes - one focussing on prostate pathology and amyloidosis, the second on the grading and staging of solid tumours.
  • The final section will also include tutorials on current research frontiers, the use of immunocytochemistry in research, the use of molecular techniques in cellular pathology, and cancer screening programmes - where you may be given reading materials or case studies in advance and will be expected to actively participate in the session.

Independent learning
In addition to lectures, and practicals, you are expected to prepare for tutorial sessions by carrying out designated reading tasks. Furthermore, you are expected undertake further independent reading - with guidance given during lectures. This reading is designed to support your learning both for the completion of coursework, but also in preparation for the final exam to ensure both breadth and depth to their knowledge.

The expected time dedicated to independent learning is 228 hours.

Study time

The contact hours (72) are distributed as follows:

  • 51 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of practical classes
  • 12 hours of tutorials/seminars (including 3 hours of revision sessions)

In addition to the described contact time, this material will be supported through online learning material, including online quizzes and technology-enhanced lecture material.

Independent learning: Using defined TEL strategies includes hours engaged with essential reading, assignment preparation and completion etc.


The coursework based assessments will cover the broad curriculum via a laboratory based assessment and a personal research-based poster presentation (on a current topic relevant to pathology).

The final summative assessment will be in the form of an end of module exam.

You will be asked to write a report based on the stain theory practical class, but will be expected to demonstrate extensive further reading on both the technical and pathological aspects of the work. This will allow you to critically evaluate scientific literature and current clinical practice.

The second coursework element will require you to produce a poster based on a piece of current research in either cancer biology or histopathology. You will be expected to provide an oral defence of this poster.

The final element is a three hour examination comprising of essay type questions. Allowing you to demonstrate both the breadth and depth of knowledge of the topics.

In addition to these assessments, you will be given formative feedback in lectures and tutorials.


Study facilities

The College of Health, Science and Society has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the facilities it provides.

Get a feel for the Biosciences facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Please visit our full fee information to see the price brackets for our modules.


Please see our timetable for full date information.

How to apply

Please click on the Apply Now button to apply for your CPD module, which you can take as a stand-alone course or as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.

Extra information

If the course you are applying for is fully online or blended learning, please note that you are expected to provide your own headsets/microphones.

For further information