The IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology will enable you to show your scientific and clinical knowledge that underpins the assessment of non-gynaecological cytology specimens. 

The qualification will help you to undertake a role that involves the acquisition, preparation, assessment and reporting of selected non-gynaecological cytology specimens, including those where a clinically significant diagnosis is made, as well as offer expert professional advice on non-gynaecological cytology specimen reporting.

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 non-gynaecological cytology.

Achieving an IBMS ASD in Non-gynaecological 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 an IBMS Diploma in Expert Practice in Non-Gynaecological Cytology and /or the Diploma of Interpretative and Diagnostic Cytology. 

You will need at least seven years post registration experience in non-gynaecological cytology with substantial experience (4 years minimum) in pre-reporting for consultant pathologists  and reporting negative sample, plus more than three years at a senior level involvement with preparation, quality management, EQA and IQC of the relevant categories of non-gynaecological specimens.

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 Non-Gynaecological Cytology is a professional vocational qualification assessed by a portfolio of evidence and 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 the specimen types covered by this qualification by your named consultant pathologist supervisor. 

The portfolio of evidence must include a prospectively constructed shadow reporting log of at least 500 cases along with ten different case studies/reports reflecting the case-mix within non-cervical cytology you encounter during your training.

You can submit your training logbook once your named consultant pathologist supervisor is satisfied that your training is complete and advance to the written and practical examinations.

To pass your portfolio assessment and progress to the written and practical examinations, you must meet 28 standards. 

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

Written assessment

You will answer four out of six short-answer questions in 90 minutes, which include case-based scenarios.

Practical microscopy examination

Short Cases

You will review 12 cases in 72 minutes and provide their diagnosis along with any confirmatory ancillary tests that should be undertaken where appropriate.

Long Cases

You will review five cases in 100 minutes. 

Course dates and submitting
Key Dates for 2022 Exam Series

Microscopy Exam - This was due to take place on Friday 24 June but was postponed due to the train strikes. This will now take place on Friday 7 October at the NEPSEC in Wakefield.

Key Dates for the 2023 Exam Series - All Dates are TBC

Friday 3 March 2023
Qualification Application Deadline

Friday 24 March 2023
Portfolio and Shadow Reporting Log Submission Deadline

Monday 8 May 2023
Written examination (sat in your local hospital)

June or July 2023
Microscopy Examination (date dependent on number of candidates, availability of NEPSEC and examiners)

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