The IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology will increase your practical skills required to screen, interpret and report normal and abnormal cervical cytology results. 

The qualification will help you to undertake a role that involves the independent interpretation, evaluation and reporting of cervical cytology samples, as well as offer expert professional advice on patient management and follow-up. 

You will also be able to participate in the training of biomedical scientists and specialist trainee medical staff in the reporting of normal and abnormal cervical cytology samples.

Achieving an IBMS ASD in Cervical Cytology will make you eligible to upgrade to become an IBMS Fellow.

Fees, criteria and how to apply

Course fees = £440. 


To apply for the cervical cytology course, you must be an HCPC registered IBMS member at Member or Fellow grade and hold the NHS CSP/City & Guilds Certificate in Cervical Cytology or the equivalent BSCC/IBMS Certificate of Competence in Cytology Screening

You must have at least seven years post-registration experience or primary screening in cervical cytology and at least three years experience of “checking” and service management within the screening programme.

You will also need to have a single named consultant pathologist trainer who has overall responsibility for mentoring and guiding you and monitoring your progress, undertake your training in a laboratory with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) registration that also has IBMS laboratory post-registration training approval.

If you are unsure whether your laboratory has IBMS laboratory approval, please check with your laboratory manager or training officer. 

Payment methods

Payment must be made via either of the following methods:

  • Card payment - you will be contacted for your card details once we have received the application form
  • Purchase order - you must provide the PO itself rather than just the PO number and this should accompany the application form.

To apply for the qualification in the year in which you plan to submit your portfolio for assessment you will need to submit payment and your completed application form to

Once your application has been accepted, you will be sent confirmation of your candidacy and a reminder of the submission deadline for your portfolio. 

Please note that a £50 administrative fee will be applied to any refund if you withdraw from the qualification at any time.

Deferrals, withdrawals and mitigating circumstances

If you wish to defer, withdraw or highlight any mitigating circumstances, please contact

Course and assessment

IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology is a professional vocational qualification assessed by a portfolio of evidence and a written and a practical examination. 

Portfolio assessment

The portfolio of evidence provides a record of your training and should contain evidence of regular assessments of your competence in reporting cervical cytology results by your named consultant pathologist supervisor. 

Your portfolio should include:

  • answers to 7 questions on cervical cytology listed in the candidate guidance
  • a shadow reporting log must be submitted of at least 500 cases
  • evidence of the regular case review of at least 50 cases from the shadow reporting log
  • a total of ten case studies
  • three audits
  • a record of training programmes or courses attended
  • a record of multidisciplinary team meetings attended
  • appropriate reflection.

To pass your portfolio assessment and progress to the written and practical examinations, you must meet 28 standards. Further information can be found in the cervical cytology assessment indicators document. 

All portfolios are independently assessed by two members of the Conjoint Examination Board. 

Written examination

You will answer four out of six short-answer questions in 90 minutes covering the following areas: 

  • morphology
  • screening
  • service development
  • clinical aspects of cervical screening
  • new developments in cervical screening
  • quality assurance and audit.
Practical microscopy examination

Short Cases
You will screen 12 slides in 72 minutes with summary clinical information and prepare full reports comparable to HMR 101/5 including appropriate management, with free text comments if necessary.

Long Cases
You will review 8 cases in 120 minutes consisting of slides with summary clinical information, preparing full reports and discussion. 

Course dates and submitting
Key Dates for the 2023 Exam Series 

Friday 10 March 2023: Portfolio Submission Deadline

Friday 7 April 2023: Shadow Reporting Log Submission Deadline (for those wanting to re-sit their exams)

Tuesday 2 May 2023: Written examination (sat in your local hospital)

Wednesday 21 to Friday 23 June 2023:  Microscopy Examination (The date will be dependent on number of candidates across the DEP and ASD Cytology qualifications)

Submitting your portfolio

You must submit your portfolio electronically, hard copies will not be accepted. Please scan your portfolio and training logbook and send via email to to download the files.  Due to the large file size of the portfolio we recommend that you send your documents using a file sharing system such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Docs or WeTransfer, then send the link to