Available in Breast Pathology, Lower GI Pathology or Urological Pathology, the IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Specimen Dissection will show your scientific and clinical knowledge and the practical competence required to accurately dissect all Lower GI or Breast specimens, whether benign or malignant.

The qualification will help you to undertake a role that involves the description, dissection and block sampling of all Breast, Lower GI or Urological pathology specimens.

You will also be able to offer expert professional advice on Breast, Lower GI or Urological pathology dissection and participate in the training of biomedical scientists and junior medical staff in Breast, Lower GI or Urological pathology specimen dissection.

Fees, criteria and how to apply

Course fees = £440

Training logbook = £27


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 Histological Dissection which must have included evidence for the module that you wish to do the ASD in i.e. Breast, Gastrointestinal or Genito-Urinary. 

You must have at least seven years post-registration whole time equivalent post-registration experience in histology.

You will also need to have a single named consultant pathologist trainer who has overall responsibility for mentoring, 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 examinations@ibms.org

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 examinations@ibms.org.

Course and assessment

IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Specimen Dissection is a professional vocational qualification assessed by completion of a training logbook and written and oral examinations.

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. 

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, your portfolio must meet 29 standards.

Your portfolio will be independently assessed by two members of the Conjoint Examination Board. 

For more information, please refer to the histological dissection portfolio assessment indicators

Written examination

The 90 minute examination will cover scenarios encountered in the dissection of Breast, Lower GI or Urological pathology specimen dissection from any specimen categories.

The examination may also include questions on clinical governance, pathological processes or relevant topical matters.

Oral examination

The 45-60 minutes examination will cover case studies and other evidence from your training logbook.

Further information can be found in the course guidance documents:



Course dates and submission
Key Dates 2022 Series

Monday 21 November 2022: Written Examination

The viva will take place in early 2023 for candidates who score >50% on their written examination.

Key Dates 2023 Series

Friday 30 June 2023: Qualification Application Deadline

Friday 28 July 2023: Deadline for those wishing to re-sit in 2023

Friday 28 July 2023: Portfolio Submission Deadline. Portfolios can be submitted from week commencing Friday 3 July 2023

Monday 20 November 2023: Written Examinations

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 examinations@ibms.org 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 examinations@ibms.org.