IBMS Specialist Diplomas are assessed through a portfolio of experiential learning and a presentation, a laboratory tour and oral examination that will enable you to demonstrate evidence of your training, practical skills, specialist knowledge and competency gained in a chosen discipline.

Holding an IBMS Specialist Diploma is part of the criteria for upgrading your class of IBMS membership from Licentiate to Member.

The diploma is available in the following disciplines:

  • Blood Sciences
  • Cellular Pathology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinical Immunology
  • Cytopathology
  • Cervical Cytology
  • Diagnostic Cytopathology
  • Haematology with Hospital Transfusion Practice
  • Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics 
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Rapid Onsite Evaluation 
  • Transfusion Science
  • Virology
Applying for the diploma

To apply, you must be an IBMS member at Licentiate, Member or Fellow grade and be HCPC registered as a biomedical scientist. 

The laboratory where you plan to undertake the qualification must have IBMS post-registration training approval. Please check with your laboratory manager or training officer if you are unsure about your laboratory's approval status.

Please note

Your IBMS membership must be maintained for the duration of this qualification.


Assessment is by an IBMS Examiner and will take place once you have completed your portfolio and prepared a presentation. The presentation will cover: your scope of practice and how specialist knowledge has developed, current developments in the laboratory or recent trends, and your special interests or professional activities.

Next, your laboratory manager or training officer should complete and submit an examination request form to

Please note

The time limit for completing this qualification has been removed. However, there will be an expiry limit of 3 years on any outdated version of a portfolio from the date a new version is introduced. There is still a requirement for evidence to be current, i.e. within 3 years of the verification. Evidence older than this will be discounted by the verifier.

Completing the diploma

You must complete all sections of the portfolio. However, not all sections require evidence of practical competence (‘be able to, describe...').

Where a particular analysis is not performed in your laboratory, you must demonstrate knowledge of the principles and practice and an understanding of the key skills required to perform the test.

All evidence of achievement sections in the portfolio have questions set by the training officer/trainer and all work in the portfolio needs to be signed and dated by you and your laboratory training officer (or a suitable trainer).

Who can train you

Your trainer must be competent to train and assess you. Following your competence assessment, your trainer should sign your portfolio. 

However, the training officer (or someone senior) must take responsibility for assessing that your evidence is appropriate for each section and sign the section underneath the Evidence of Achievement section (assessor’s box).

Preparing you for the exam

Prior to submission for assessment, the training officer should ensure all evidence is present and appropriate and all assessors boxes are signed.

You must complete the reflective log and your evidence should not exceed one lever-arch file.

A signed statement must be provided by your laboratory manager, which indicates the laboratory's repertoire and analyses that a specialist practitioner working in that laboratory would be expected to perform without supervision.


Taking the exam

Arranging an examination

To be able to sit the exam, you must maintain your IBMS membership for the duration of the qualification.

To request an exam, the laboratory manager or training officer should complete and submit a specialist diploma exam request form to Once received, we will aim to allocate an examiner within two months.

You will be allocated an IBMS examiner, who will contact your laboratory training officer to arrange a date for the diploma examination.  

At the exam

You will be asked to give a presentation describing your scope of practice and to show you have an understanding of your role in the laboratory, with the examiner asking questions on your presentation.

The examiner will also review your portfolio and ask questions on your evidence.

You will then undertake a laboratory tour and oral assessment with the examiner, where you will be asked questions and be expected to provide answers to show your working knowledge at a specialist level. 

To review the examination and provide feedback, the examiner will then meet with your training officer.

The examiner will submit their examination report and your training officer will also need to complete and send their Laboratory Feedback form to the IBMS Specialist Team. 

Once we have received both the examination report and the laboratory feedback, and you have been successful, you will be issued with your IBMS Specialist Diploma.

This qualification can then be used as evidence for you to demonstrate your specialist knowledge and skills required for career progression. If you are an IBMS Licentiate you will be eligible to upgrade to an IBMS Member

Fees and how to apply

Trainee portfolios, including portfolio, examination and administration fees = £133 

Replacement copy = £32, swap copy = £62

Payment methods

Payment must be made via either of the following methods:

  • Cheque/Postal Order  - which must be attached to your application
  • Card payment - details of how to make payment will be provided once application has been approved
  • Purchase order - you must include the purchase order number, order details and an address to send the invoice.

To apply, please submit your completed specialist diploma application form and payment or purchase order to

Postal application forms and payment can also be posted to:

Specialist Portfolio
12 Coldbath Square