Cytotechnology

A career as a cytotechnologist is both challenging and rewarding. Students are offered training in all major aspects relevant to the practice of cytotechnology as a profession.

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science Degree in Cytotechnology.

The program is administered by

Dean: Shirley Richmond, Ed.D.

Program Director: Liza Di Filippo, M.H.A./M.B.A.

Medical Director: Gregg Staerkel, M.D.

Visit the SHP Faculty page for a complete list of CT and SHP faculty, staff, and adjuncts.

The Program in Cytotechnology

Mission

The MD Anderson Cancer Center Program in Cytotechnology, in concert with the mission and vision of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is committed to the education of technically and academically competent graduates prepared to meet the immediate and future needs of the Cytotechnology Technology profession.

Objectives

The Cytotechnology program is designed to  prepare students to become entry level cytotechnologists. Working with a microscope, cytotechnologists study specimens from all body sites. Using subtle clues present within the cells, they can detect cancer cells, precancerous lesions, benign tumors, infectious agents and inflammatory processes.

The study consists of:

  • Lectures.
  • Demonstrations at the multi-headed microscope in a tutored setting.
  • Independent student microscope time with faculty feedback.
  • Rotations through various cytology laboratories providing experience in routine and specialized procedures.

Selection Process

Admission is dependent on factors that include:

  • Cumulative GPA.
  • Biology and Chemistry GPA.
  • Personal qualities such as maturity and professional goals based on the personal essay, aptitude test, interview, and reference letters.
  • Ability to meet the SHP non-academic technical standards.
  • Race, religion, national origin, veteran status, gender, or disability are not factors considered in the selection.

Applicants should begin the application process three to six months prior to the application deadline to ensure all documents are received and processed by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Registrar's office. See SHP Academic Calendar for application dates.

Nonacademic Requirements

For a description of the non-academic technical standards requirements for admission, visit the admission section of the Student Catalog's Policies and Procedures.

Program Admission Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Cytotechnology is either a one-year or two-year program with entry at either the junior or senior level. Application and supporting documents must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Applicants to the Cytotechnology program must satisfy the following requirements for admission.:

  • All prerequisite course work must be from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must have satisfactorily completed all prerequisite courses listed prior to graduating. These courses must be lecture and laboratory courses acceptable toward a degree by majors in those fields and cannot be survey courses.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale both overall and in science and mathematics courses is required to be considered for admission. Special circumstances may be considered, but at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  • Texas Success Initiative (TSI) - All applicants must provide proof of successful assessment of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). Applicants who have graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an accredited Texas College or University are exempt from TSI. Proof of an applicant's readiness to enroll in college level course work will be determined by the Registrar's Office based upon review of official transcripts from previously attended institutions.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. Internet based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite information regarding the one-year and two-year programs is found on the SHP Prerequisite page.

Advanced Placement

The School of Health Professions accepts and/or awards credit through the following examination programs:

  • College level examination program of the College Board
  • Comprehensive departmental examinations
  • Regionally accredited military training programs

Recommendations from the School's academic departments are followed with regard to minimum score requirements, level of credit and amount of credit to be awarded. Program faculty are consulted to determine if credit recommendations equate to specific School of Health Professions (SHP) courses. The internal comprehensive departmental examination program provides a local means for establishing knowledge of SHS course content in areas not covered by the above examination program. Programs may elect to administer examinations that cover material specific to SHS courses with the results being reported to the Registrar.

Graduation

Each candidate for a baccalaureate degree must complete a minimum of 135 SCH of course work. Within this requirement, students must complete the following at MD Anderson:

  • At least 40 semester hours of advanced (3000/4000) course work.
  • At least 25% of the total SCH required must be taken at MD Anderson.

Graduation occurs in August. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the Clinical Cytogenetics Board of Certification exam given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Please check with the program director for application deadlines and exam dates. Upon passing this exam, the student is considered a certified cytogenetic technologist. The awarding of the degree or certificate is not contingent upon a student passing the national certification exam.

Curriculum

This intensive program is composed of a didactic and laboratory phase followed by directed clinical training at affiliated hospitals and cytology laboratories. The primary goal of the Cytotechnology program is to provide the community with cytotechnologists who are prepared to work at the staff level in hospital and private laboratories and university medical centers. With experience, cytotechnologists can perform at the supervisory, educational and administrative levels. The job responsibilities of cytotechnologists are expanding and research opportunities are increasing with the advancement of new tumor identification techniques and Human Papilloma Virus testing.

Current Affiliations

The Program in Cytotechnology has developed affiliations with reference labs and sister medical institutions within the Texas Medical Center and beyond, so that students will develop expertise in a variety of settings and experience the breadth of opportunity available to a certified cytotechnologist.

  • Houston, TX: LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, The Methodist Hospital
  • Galveston, TX: The University of Texas Medical Branch

Accreditation

The program is accredited by and has conformed its curriculum to the standards and guidelines published and monitored by the:

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 N, Ste 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
727-210-2350
www.caahep.org

Course Listings

Junior Year

The Laboratory Sciences programs admit students at the Junior Year level who share a Junior Year curriculum consisting of:

  • Laboratory sciences core courses
  • Program-specific core courses
  • Program-specific elective courses
Cytotechnology (CYTO): Junior Year courses30 SCH
The Laboratory Sciences: shared core courses8
HS 3102 Molecular Techniques Lab1
HS 3210 Laboratory Mathematics2
HS 4310 Medical Microbiology3
HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics1
HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence1
CYTO Program Core22
HS 3110 Medical Terminology1
HS 3254 Immunohistochemistry2
HS 3300 Immunology3
HS 3320 Medical Genetics3
HS 3330 Pathology of Body Fluids3
HS 3333 Statistics3
HS 3340 Research Methods3
HS 4111L Medical Microbiology Lab1
HS 4300 Pathophysiology3
Senior Year *45 SCH
CT 4101 Introduction to Cytotechnology1
CT 4102 Theory and Practice of Cytopreparatory Techniques I1
CT 4107 Nongynecologic Cytopathology II1
CT 4111 Theory and Practice of Cytopreparatory Techniques II1
CT 4114 Research Project1
CT 4118 Immunocytochemistry, Image Analysis1
CT 4119 Cytogenetics, Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization and Polymerase Chain Reaction1
CT 4120 Lab Management1
CT 4209 Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytopathology2
CT 4213 Nongynecologic Diagnostic Lab II2
CT 4216 Cytopathology Theory2
CT 4217 Cytopathology Diagnostic Lab2
CT 4303 Gynecologic Cytopathology3
CT 4305 Nongynecologic Cytopathology I3
CT 4306 Nongynecologic Diagnostic Lab I3
CT 4308 Gynecologic Diagnostic Lab II3
CT 4310 Fine-Needle Aspiration Diagnostic Lab3
CT 4312 Gynecologic Diagnostic Lab III3
CT 4404 Gynecologic Diagnostic Lab I4
CT 4715 Clinical Rotation7


* Students entering the School of Health Professions for the first time at the Senior level must take the following additional required courses that are described in the Junior Year for Laboratory Sciences section of the catalog:

  • HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics (1)
  • HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence (1)

Course Descriptions

HS series course descriptions, including Junior Lab Sciences

HS 3102 Molecular Techniques Laboratory (1 SCH)
A study of the laboratory skills involved in transporting, preparing and reporting final results of specimens that include blood, bone marrow and solid tissue samples. The course will provide participants with hands-on laboratory experience in: performing molecular techniques such as DNA extraction, purification and quantification; preparing and viewing PCR products and DNA fingerprints via gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformation.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3110 Medical Terminology (1 SCH)
An introduction to medical terminology. Emphasis on word roots, prefixes, suffixes, spelling and analysis of unfamiliar terms. Additional background information on the anatomy that relates to various body systems will be discussed.

HS 3120 Introduction to Cytogenetics (1 SCH)
A detailed study of human G-banded chromosomes. Includes instruction in banding pattern recognition and polymorphic variation. Includes classroom instruction and hands-on experience.

HS 3203 Advanced Molecular Techniques (2 SCH)
This is a continuation of the previous introduction to molecular techniques laboratory course. Emphasis on performing additional molecular techniques such as, but not limited to various DNA extraction methods, amplification methods, electrophoresis, and fluorescent in-situ hybridization.

HS 3210 Laboratory Math (2 SCH)
The basic principles and theory of clinical, biochemical, and analytical laboratory math related calculations.It includes basic operations such as problem solving using percentiles, rates, ratios, mole ratios, molality, pH, conversions, solving for proportions and more.

HS 3254 Immunohistochemistry (2 SCH)
A comprehensive course that deals with the fundamentals of immunohistochemistry as applied to the theory and practical techniques in histopathology. The students acquire basic knowledge of how immunology is applied in the development of immunohistochemistry reagents and techniques. Emphasis will be placed on the clinical significance of diagnostic and prognostic indicators used in immunohistochemistry techniques. Troubleshooting and standardization of reagents are emphasized.

HS 3270 Critical Thinking in Health Professions (2 SCH)
This course is designed to provide health professions students with resources for improving critical thinking skills. The course will introduce basic concepts of critical thinking through integration into interactive case studies, problem based scenarios, and project design assignments. The specific objectives of this course coincide with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions' definition of critical thinking.

HS 3300 Immunology (3 SCH)
This course focuses on the basic concepts in immunology, and covers general properties of immune responses; cells and tissues of immune system; lymphocyte activation and specificity; effector mechanisms; immunity to microbes; immunodeficiency and AIDS; autoimmune diseases; transplantation. Course delivery is a blend of lecture and on line, self-paced activities.

HS 3310 Introduction to Quality in Healthcare (3 SCH)
This course will provide an overview of the history, development and application of quality concepts. The components of quality management, quality assurance and quality control will be addressed through discussions and assignments on the history of quality, the different approaches to quality, such as Six Sigma and ISO standards, and how to define, implement and ensure compliance to the quality assurance and quality control process.

HS 3320 Medical Genetics (3 SCH)
This course is a study of the role of genetics in medicine including: Mendelian genetics, multifactorial inheritance, DNA structure, chromosome structure, population genetics, mutation rates, ethnicity of disease and genetic mapping. A comprehensive review of the cell cycle, mitosis, and meiosis and pedigree analysis is incorporated as well.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3330 Pathology of Body Fluids (3 SCH)
This course is a study of the anatomy and physiology of the kidney and the formation, elimination and composition of urine. Various body fluids (CSF, Synovial, Plural, Serous, etc.) will be study and associations made with various disease states. Interpretation of urinary and body fluids elements, chemical assays and the correlation with normal and abnormal physiology: Course delivery is a blend of lecture and on line, self-paced activities.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3333 Statistics (3 SCH)
This course provides an introduction to statistical techniques. Emphasis will be placed on probability and probability distributions, sampling and descriptive measures, inference and hypothesis testing, linear regression, and analysis of variance.
(Prerequisite HS 3101)

HS 3340 Research Methods (3 SCH)
This research methods course will introduce the basic language and concepts of empirical research with emphasis on the applicability of research methodology in the area of clinical laboratory sciences. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to search the peer-reviewed journal databases available to them through the Research Library. They will then critique and review their references, learn how to make an outline, and write a literature review on their assigned topic. Curriculum will include a blend of lectures, group work, presentations by guest researchers and development of a group research poster.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3370 Fundamentals of Writing and Critical Thinking (3 SCH)
This basic writing course stresses both reading and writing skills and is designed to teach students to improve their ability to write logically and develop short essays, brief formal summaries, and reports.

HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics (1 SCH)
This course content is designed to establish a foundation and set parameters of professional practice for health care professionals. The emphasis will be on developing the background for the resolution of ethical dilemmas through ethical reasoning, ethical obligations in health professional-patient relationships and just allocation of scarce health care resources.

HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence (1 SCH)
This course content is designed to create an awareness of ethnocentrism and a beginning understanding of cultural similarities and diversity. It provides the student with knowledge of the concepts of cultural relativity, cultural integration and variation in cultural values, organization and institutions.

HS 4111L Medical Microbiology Student Laboratory (1 SCH)
The course utilizes biochemical, morphological, and serological techniques to illustrate concepts from the lecture course relating to microbial structure, metabolism, virulence, and transmission. Students also receive instruction on proper technique and procedures for a number of different tests, including culturing, staining, carbohydrate utilization, immunoassays, and microscopy.

HS 4160 Critical Scientific Analysis (1 SCH)
Students will analyze current scientific publications for research questions, hypothesis, study design and statistical analysis and the application of proper scientific formats in the clinical laboratory professions. Students will complete pre-session assignments, participate in group discussion and present their group findings.

HS 4161 Seminar in Health Care (1 SCH)
Seminar based course covering topics in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

HS 4170 Special Topics I (1 SCH)
A review of the principles of mathematics and statistics used in the clinical laboratories, this course presentation includes an introduction to the selection and operation of a laboratory information system.

HS 4300 Pathophysiology (3 SCH)
This course is designed to provide basic knowledge in pathophysiology in preparation for professional studies in the health sciences. Topic covered includes central concepts of pathophysiology of the cells and tissues and alterations on organs and systems with an emphasis on carcinogenesis. Appropriate diagnostic and treatment procedures are covered.

HS 4310 Medical Microbiology (3 SCH)
This course is the study of the utilization of morphological, biochemical, serological, disease inducing characteristics for microorganism, fungi, mycobacterium and virus identification. Course delivery a blend of lecture and on-line, self-paced activities.

HS 4371 Management and Education (3 SCH)
This course covers laboratory management and educational methodologies. It includes management and motivational theories, communication skills, regulatory and accreditation requirements, budget and strategic planning, curriculum design and examination instruction.

Senior Year Course descriptions

CT 4101 Introduction to Cytotechnology (1 SCH)
The student is introduced to the ethics and liability of the profession, the use of the light microscope and the professional role of the cytotechnologist. The course also includes lectures on the basic cellular structure and function, cell division, the origins of clinical cytology, evaluation of the cell sample and slide marking.

CT 4102 Theory and Practice of Cytopreparatory Techniques I (1 SCH)
The course consists of the basic study and practice of techniques used for handling cytological specimen preparation and fixation and staining of specimens for cytological study, including compliance with laboratory safety, biohazard precautions and HPV testing.

CT 4107 Nongynecologic Cytopathology II (1 SCH)
Students will study the normal anatomy and physiology of the urinary tract, central nervous system and body cavities. They learn cytomorphology of benign and malignant conditions of these organs/sites.

CT 4111 Theory and Practice of Cytopreparatory Techniques II (1 SCH)
The course consists of the advanced study and practice of techniques used for handling specimen preparation, fixation and staining of specimens for cytological study including compliance with laboratory safety and biohazard precautions. Special techniques include Thin-Prep processing, Autocyte preparation, Ficoll-Hypaque technique, cell block preparation and special stains (Gomori's methenamine silver and Diff-quick stains).

CT 4114 Research Project (1 SCH)
Guided study and/or research on a specific cytopathological issue. Includes collection and study of cases, photography, literature reviews, compiling data and poster or paper presentation.

CT 4118 Immunocytochemistry, Image Analysis (1 SCH)
Introduction to theoretical knowledge and practical experience in these adjunct diagnostic techniques.

CT 4119 Cytogenetics, Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization and Polymerase Chain Reaction (1 SCH)
Introduction to cytogenetic study and Polymerase Chain Reaction (theoretical knowledge) and practical experience in fluorescent in situ hybridization technique.

CT 4120 Laboratory Management (1 SCH)
Introduction to quality control and assurance, laboratory regulations, inventory methods, budgeting, information systems and leadership.

CT 4209 Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytopathology (2 SCH)
The study of normal anatomy and cytology of benign and malignant pathology and corresponding cytomorphological features of fine-needle aspiration specimens from lung, breast, thyroid, salivary gland, liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal gland, bone, soft tissue, skin and lymph nodes.

CT 4213 Nongynecologic Diagnostic Laboratory II (2 SCH)
The course consists of an advanced study of cytomorphological features of respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary and central nervous systems and effusions for microscopic and clinical analysis of exfoliative nongynecologic specimens. The students will have hands-on laboratory experience.

CT 4216 Cytopathology Theory (2 SCH)
Medical terminology and cytopathology theory.

CT 4217 Cytopathology Diagnostic Laboratory (2 SCH)
The student will learn to apply cytodiagnostic criteria on gynecological, nongynecologic and fine-needle aspiration specimens and develop practical expertise in microscopic and clinical analysis of these specimens to provide an accurate diagnosis. The students will have hands-on laboratory experience.

CT 4303 Gynecologic Cytopathology (3 SCH)
Students will study the normal anatomy, physiology and benign and malignant pathology of the female genital tract and corresponding cytomorphological features, as well as the value of cytological diagnosis in patient management.

CT 4305 Nongynecologic Cytopathology I (3 SCH)
Students will study the normal anatomy, physiology and benign and malignant pathology with corresponding cytomorphological features of the respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. The value of cytological diagnosis in patient management is included.

CT 4306 Nongynecologic Diagnostic Laboratory I (3 SCH)
The course consists of the application of cytomorphological features of the respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract for microscopic and clinical analysis of exfoliative nongynecologic specimens from these organs. The students will have hands-on laboratory experience.

CT 4308 Gynecologic Diagnostic Laboratory II (3 SCH)
The course consists of the application of cytodiagnostic criteria for microscopic analysis (screening, detecting, marking and diagnosing), and reporting cervicovaginal specimens in conjunction with clinical history. SurePath preparations are used as study material.

CT 4310 Fine-Needle Aspiration Diagnostic Laboratory (3 SCH)
The students will have hands-on laboratory experience as they learn to apply cytodiagnostic criteria and develop practical expertise in microscopic and clinical analysis of fine-needle aspiration specimens from lung, breast, thyroid, salivary gland, liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal gland, bone, soft tissue, skin and lymph nodes with clinical correlation.

CT 4312 Gynecologic Diagnostic Laboratory III (3 SCH)
The course consists of advanced application of cytodiagnostic criteria for microscopic analysis (screening, detecting, marking and diagnosing) and reporting cervicovaginal specimens on conventional and Thin Prep monolayer preparations in conjunction with clinical history. Quality control and clinical ethics are included.

CT 4404 Gynecologic Diagnostic Laboratory I (4 SCH)
The course consists of basic application of cytodiagnostic criteria for microscopic and clinical analysis (screening, detecting, marking and diagnosing) and reporting cervicovaginal specimens in conjunction with clinical history. Conventional pap smears and monolayer preparations of gynecologic specimens are used. The students will have hands-on laboratory experience.

CT 4715 Clinical Rotation (7 SCH)
The student will have laboratory and clinical experience in all of the following laboratories: Laboratory Corporation of America, Cytology Laboratory; The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Quest Diagnostics Laboratory; The Methodist Hospital; MD Anderson Cytology Processing Laboratory; Fine-Needle Aspiration Clinics; and cytology specimen screening.