By providing evidence of scientific and clinical knowledge, the IBMS Diploma of Expert Practice in Non-gynaecological Cytology enables you to show your practical competence required to prepare and report a defined range of non-gynaecological cytology specimens.

The qualification will help you to undertake a role that involves the preparation, evaluation and reporting of the previously defined range of non-gynaecological cytology specimens and to offer your expert professional advice on the sampling and interpretation of the previously defined range of non-gynaecological cytology specimens.

You will also be able to participate in the training of biomedical scientists and specialist trainee medical staff in the sampling, preparation, evaluation and reporting of the previously defined range of non-gynaecological specimens.

Fees, criteria and how to apply

£386 for the course fees.


To apply for the non-gynaecological cytology course, you must be an HCPC registered IBMS member at Member or Fellow grade with five years post-registration experience in cytology and at least two years current practical experience in the preparation and evaluation of non-gynaecological cytology specimens. 

You must also have a single named consultant pathologist trainer who has overall responsibility for mentoring you and monitoring your progress, and be working in a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) registered laboratory that 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.

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


Please submit to the IBMS Examinations Team a payment of £27 along with your completed training log book order form

To apply, in the year in which you plan to submit your portfolio for assessment, you will need to submit to the IBMS Examinations Team a payment of £386 and your completed application form.

Deferrals, withdrawals and mitigating circumstances

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

Course and assessment

As a professional vocational qualification, the IBMS Diploma of Expert Practice in Non-gynaecological Cytology is assessed through completion of a portfolio of evidence followed by written and practical examinations.

Training logbook and portfolio

The training logbook and portfolio of evidence provide a record of your training. They must contain evidence of regular assessments of your competence in reporting the specimen types covered in this qualification by your named consultant pathologist supervisor. 

Once submitted, your portfolio will be independently assessed by two members of the Conjoint Examination Board. To pass, there are 28 standards that you must meet before progressing to the written examination.

Written exam

You will have 75 minutes to answer five questions from a choice of six. 

Practical assessment

Urinary Tract and Effusion Cytology Practical Microscopy

After examining 14 cases (6 urines and 8 serous effusions) consisting of slides with summary clinical information, you will prepare full reports and discussion on them in 112 minutes. 

Respiratory Cytology Practical Microscopy 

You will examine 8 cases consisting of slides with summary clinical information, preparing reports and discussion on all 8 cases in 64 minutes. 


For further information, please refer to the Non-gynaecological Cytology guidance document.

Course dates and submitting
Key Dates for 2022 Exam Series

Microscopy Exam - This was due to take place on Thursday 23 June but was postponed due to the train strikes. This will now take place on Thursday 6 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