University of Chester

Programme Specification
Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology) BSc (Hons) (Level 6 only)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Science (Level 6 only)

Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology)

Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology)

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester (Parkgate Campus); Student workplace; on-line.

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Residential and Open, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

2 years

3 Years

Annual - September


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences

NHS Modernising Scientific Careers team.

NHS Modernising Scientific Careers Accreditation team.

Department of Biological Sciences

Friday 14th August 2015

The overall aims of the BSc in Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology) are to:

  • offer a BSc degree programme promoting academic, vocational and personal development.
  • provide students with the knowledge, skills and understanding       required by employers, utilising teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
  • provide a high quality academic and work-based programme of study that is relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students.
  • offer flexible modes of delivery and study to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds and patterns of employment.
  • encourage a critically- and theoretically-informed and reflective approach to academic study and professional practice.
  • foster a critical appreciation of the role and value of research and of a scientific approach to study.
  • provide students with the academic skills, professional expertise and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.

Demonstrate extensive knowledge and a critical understanding of relevant theoretical concepts (KU1);

Demonstrate a critical understanding of a broad range of practical issues as applied to the field of anatomical pathology technology (KU2);

Synthesize and integrate knowledge and understanding from different areas of anatomical pathology technology (KU3);

Apply a critically and theoretically informed perspective to relevant issues and current developments in anatomical pathology technology (KU4).





BI6183   X  X  X  X
BI6184    X  X             X             X
 BI6185               X               X                X            X          
BI6186    X   X   X   X
BI6187   X X  X   X
BI6188    X X  X

Analyse, synthesise, critically evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gathered from the academic literature, professional organisations, and experiences in the work place, in order to propose solutions to problems relevant to anatomical pathology technology (CS1);

Adopt a scientific and rigorous approach to academic study (CS2);

Plan, conduct and report on a specific research project (CS3).

                                     CS1                                        CS2                                   CS3              
 BI6183 X    
 BI6184 X    
 BI6185                      X                         
 BI6186 X    
 BI6187 X  X  X
 BI6188 X    

Be able to deploy academic and practical techniques for the integration of academic knowledge and understanding into effective professional practice in anatomical pathology technology (PS1);

Have understanding of the limits of own knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge. Have skills of self-evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion, and develop own criteria and judgement. Have key / transferable skills and confidence to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies that will enable assumption of significant responsibility within relevant organisations (PS2);

Undertake a research project from conception to completion (PS3).

                                              PS1                                      PS2                                   PS3                 
 BI6183  X  X  
 BI6184  X  X  
 BI6185  X  X  
 BI6186  X  X  
 BI6187  X  X  X
 BI6188    X  

Be able to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences (CU1);

Be able to use IT to manipulate quantitative and qualitative information to solve defined problems (CU2);

Be able to work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas, and modifying responses as appropriate (CU3);

Be able to analyse data using appropriate statistical techniques (CU4).

                                      CU1                                  CU2                            CU3                              CU4            
 BI6183  X  X  X  X
 BI6184  X    X  
 BI6185  X    X  
 BI6186  X  X  X  X
 BI6187  X  X  X  X
 BI6188  X    X  

This Level 6 ‘top-up’ programme is designed to enable students who have successfully completed the Science Foundation Degree in Anatomical Pathology Technology to continue their studies for a BSc (Hons) degree in Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology). The modular content and organisation of this programme reflects the Level 6 requirements of the Practitioner Training Programme for the BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science and integrated work based programme for Anatomical Pathology Technology which has been coordinated by the Modernising Scientific Careers team working with higher education and NHS colleagues (see Section 27). The curriculum will be delivered predominantly via blended learning, comprising face-to-face tuition at Residential Schools held at the University of Chester supported by distance learning, and work-based competency training.

This Level 6 programme includes 4 x 20 credit modules and 1 x 40 credit module (Research Project); this organisation mirrors study at this Level undertaken as part of other BSc programmes delivered by the Department of Biological Sciences. All 20-credit modules comprise a combination of academic learning outcomes and work-based competences, i.e. the modules combine and integrate both academic and work based learning. The academic content of these modules will be delivered via blended learning as detailed above, whilst the work-based competences will be delivered and assessed entirely within the student workplace. In addition, Level 6 includes a non-credit bearing competency module which provides a framework for the continued development of professional skills, personal qualities and behaviours (professionalism) that underpin successful employment as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist. As with other work-based competencies, this module will be delivered and assessed entirely within the student workplace.

Throughout Level 6 study, students are encouraged to develop fully as independent and autonomous learners. The students’ knowledge base will be significantly broadened through a range of modules covering specialised areas of pathology and mortuary service. In addition, students are required to undertake a research project where strong emphasis is placed on the development of independent research skills, along with the ability to present scientific data and arguments within the context of the professional discipline.

Each 20-credit module takes the form of a learning package consisting of a tutor-prepared module text which is supported and developed by text and online resources (accessed via the module space on the University VLE) such as self-assessment questions, websites, emails, discussion boards, etc. Students normally complete 3 x Level 6 modules per academic year.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BI6183 6 Mortuary Governance 2 20 N/A
BI6184 6 Neuropathology 20 N/A
BI6185 6 Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology 20 N/A
BI6186 6 Managing a Mortuary Service 20 N/A
BI6187 6 Research Project in Anatomical Pathology Technology 40 N/A
BI6188 6 Professional Perspectives II 0 N/A

120 credits at Level 6 entitles students to a BSc (Hons) in Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology).

The Modernising Scientific Careers BSc (Hons) degree programme accreditation process stipulates that 'all modules must be successfully completed and passed' (i.e. 'no whole module score can be below the University's definition of a 'pass'').

Subsequent to validation, an application will be submitted to the Modernising Scientific Careers Accreditation team for professional accreditation of the BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology) Practitioner Training Programme, which comprises the FdSc in Anatomical Pathology Technology plus this accompanying Level 6 'top-up' programme.

Students are accepted into this part-time programme upon successful completion of the Science Foundation Degree in Anatomical Pathology Technology, which is thus a pre-requisite for entry. This programme is only available to students who are currently employed as Anatomical Pathology Technologists and have the support of their manager for the integration of academic and work-based activities.


The development and content of this ‘top-up’ programme which constitutes Level 6 of the PTP curriculum for the BSc Healthcare Science (Hons) and integrated work based programme for Anatomical Pathology Technology has been coordinated by the Modernising Scientific Careers team working with colleagues in the NHS and Higher Education sector. These include representatives from the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technologists; the Home Office; NHS Blood and Transplant; the Royal College of Pathologists; the Royal Society of Public Health, and the University of Chester. In addition, individual patients and representatives of voluntary groups and bereavement services have been invited to contribute to the development of this programme including the Still Birth and Neonatal Death Charity and their feedback has shaped the curriculum.

The curriculum for the BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Anatomical Pathology Technology) (comprising this FdSc in Anatomical Pathology Technology and the subsequent Level 6 ‘top-up’ programme) was approved by the Health Education England Healthcare Science Education &Training Scrutiny Group in January 2014. In addition, the RSPH Level 4 Diploma in Anatomical Pathology Technology (which includes the Level 4 FdSc modules) received Ofqual accreditation in March 2014.

Learning and Teaching Methods


As noted above (see Section 24), the programme will be delivered predominantly via blended learning. All 20-credit academic modules will involve blended learning comprising learning packages, e-mail, discussion boards, telephone contact, Residential Schools and work-place mentoring. Tutor-prepared Module Texts (supplemented by set texts) will provide the main learning materials and the University VLE will be used to provide the learning framework, information on work patterns, additional support materials and the platform for communication throughout the programme. The attendance at a residential school will be at the start and end of each module.

Members of the Department of Biological Sciences have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at foundation, diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Department has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development.

Residential Schools

At the start of each academic module, students will attend a Residential School at which the module content (including support provision, learning materials and assessment details) will be described. Guidance, appropriate to a learner who has developed a degree of autonomy, will be given on learning to learn, accessing and using resources and preparing assignments as well as an introduction to the modular content. Students will be encouraged to form self-help groups (communicating through e-mail, discussion boards or telephone) and these will be explained and organised at the Residential School. On completion of the allocated time for the module, there will be a second Residential School. This will be used for any formal assessment – as described in the module descriptor – and module evaluation and staff/student cohort meetings.

 Visiting Lecturers

Visiting Lecturers will be used to support the delivery of the programme. This will provide professional expertise in pathology, and will include contributions from a range of personnel involved in specific areas relevant to anatomical pathology technology.

 Work-based Competences

The professional competences highlighted within this Level 6 programme will be addressed within the student workplace as part of the duties of her/his employment. Students entering this programme will have successfully completed the FdSc in Anatomical Pathology Technology (and the RSPH Level 3 Certificate in Anatomical Pathology), which involves such work-based training arrangements. Consequently, the work-based training and learning required as part of this ‘top-up’ programme may be regarded as an extension of pre-existing arrangements and structures.

All students will be expected have a work-based Training Officer/mentor who will normally be a colleague. The mentor’s role in the work place is to train and support learners in whatever capacity they are learning, and to enable the learners to share their learning experiences. The mentor will help provide a framework for advising and sharing of work-related experience, to encourage and stimulate appropriate questioning and enable the learners to identify appropriate work-based learning contexts. Mentors will not be responsible for formal assessment procedures although they will be available to help in preparing students for assessments.

Training Officer/mentor training is organised and delivered by staff in the Centre for Work Related Studies at the University. There will be on-going sessions for mentors to monitor and support and evaluate progress when this programme is in operation

Appropriate expert mentorship in the workplace should be provided on a day-to-day basis.

Assessment Strategy and Methods

The strategy is designed to provide students with a range of assessment methods and develop their performance in assessment. Generally, there is a balance between course work and examination – this has been Departmental policy for some time. The staff believe that in preparing and submitting course work, which can include essays, laboratory and data handling exercises, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes where an examination would be inappropriate. However, we are aware that examinations have an important role in summative assessment as well as giving academic credibility, both externally and internally, to the work of the Department. All students receive written comments on coursework and additional feedback on the work is usually given more informally by individual tutors. Additionally, students are invited to discuss their assessment results with the appropriate tutor. This opportunity allows students to discuss their performance and ways to enhance it for the future.

As noted above (see Section 24), the work-based competences will be delivered and assessed entirely within the student workplace. The competences within each module (which are detailed in the Work-Based Training Assessment Guide) constitute outcome-based statements for the relevant Learning Outcomes associated with individual modules. All students are required to provide evidence to demonstrate that they have successfully achieved each competence. Such evidence is reviewed, and if appropriate signed-off, by the work-based Training Officer. In addition, evidence is subjected to verification by an External Assessor (appointed by the RSPH). Students will gain competences at their own pace, but in line with the overall delivery of the relevant modules.

A variety of work-based assessment methods are utilised (Direct Observation of Practical Skills; Observed Clinical Event; Case-based Discussion) as highlighted in the Assessment Guide, and the completion of a competency log is essential for progression within the programme and in order to exit from the programme.



Written          Exam             Written         C/W                Presentation       Poster         Work Based Learning               
 BI6183  X  X      X
 BI6184  X  X      X
 BI6185  X  X      X
 BI6186  X  X      X
 BI6187    X  X  X  
 BI6188          X

*Evidence for the attainment of Work Based Learning Outcomes may include observation in the workplace; witness statements; professional discussion; work journals or diaries.

Formative assessment in this programme is designed to help students understand the requirements for successful study at Level 6. There will be set assignments which will be assessed using the normal marking criteria but the marks will not be formally recorded. Extensive written feedback will be given to students following the marking period. This feedback can be discussed with both the module tutor and/or the work place mentor.



Graduates of the BSc (Hons) will possess the essential knowledge, skills, experience and attributes required of a newly qualified Healthcare Sciences Practitioner, such as:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the application of science and research methods to the practice of anatomical pathology technology.
  • Ability to apply academic knowledge and techniques to practical solutions in mortuary work places.
  • Skills of academic enquiry to generate potential solutions to problems in anatomical pathology technology, and cognitive skills to critically evaluate these to arrive at solutions fitted to context.
  • An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge in mortuary work contexts.
  • Skills to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis, in written and oral form, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Confidence and transferable skills to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies that will enable them to assume responsibility within mortuary organisations. .

In light of the above, this degree programme will equip graduates with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to make a significant contribution to anatomical pathology technology. Some graduates may ultimately decide to further enhance their professional standing by continuing with their studies in order to gain an appropriate postgraduate qualification.

The programmes of study in the Dept of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.

Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel