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Unit outline_

CPAT3902: Pathogenesis of Human Disease 2 (Advanced)

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Understanding the underlying mechanisms and progression of disease, improving human health and addressing the impact of human activity on individual health outcomes are some of the great challenges facing modern medical sciences in the 21st century. To equip students with skills appropriate for careers in the biomedical sciences and further training in research or professional degrees, it is necessary to provide an integrated understanding of how to evaluate and analyse crucial pathological mechanisms governing disease progression in humans. In CPAT3902, you will participate in inquiry-led museum sessions that review human pathological specimens using innovative online tools combined with high-resolution microscopy to crystallise and reinforce concepts developed in the unit. These digital histopathology platforms are increasingly used to define and strategically assess how different organ systems react to injury/insult. You will undertake advanced investigations to understand pathogenesis, natural history and related health complications of common human diseases. You will learn to use methodologies to exemplify critical differences between health and disease to explain cellular aspects of specific pathological processes. The successful completion of CPAT3902 will provide you with critical thinking and analysis skills, written and verbal scientific communication to various audiences, hypothesis generation and testing, and mastery of digital imaging technologies. The knowledge, concepts and skills offered in CPAT3902 will ultimately improve your capacity to contribute to the management and intervention of fundamental and clinical aspects of health and disease. Enquiries should be directed to

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
A mark of 70 or above in 12 cp from [IMMU2X11 or IMMU2101 or MEDS2004 or MIMI2X02] or [MEDS2004 and (MEDS2001 or MEDS2003)]
Assumed knowledge

A working knowledge of biology

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Melanie White,
Lecturer(s) Stuart Cordwell,
Melanie White,
Babak Sarrafpour,
Greg Sutherland,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Extended answer questions covering all modules delivered
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Small continuous assessment Submission of practical workbook
EAQ with a microscopic and macroscopic evaluation of diseases
10% Multiple weeks One workbook per learning module
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Video project
Video presentation and script
10% Week 06
Due date: 08 Sep 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 22 Sep 2023
5-minute video
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
MCQ - Cardiovascular and Neurological modules
10% Week 07
Due date: 13 Sep 2023 at 18:30

Closing date: 01 Nov 2023
30 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO2
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
MCQ - Accessory Digestive Organ and Haematology Modules
10% Week 11
Due date: 18 Oct 2023 at 18:30

Closing date: 01 Nov 2023
30 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Assignment LabStay ELN
Assessment of ELN lab book
10% Week 12
Due date: 29 Oct 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 12 Nov 2023
LabStay spans 7 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz Quiz 3
MCQ - covering Oral and Maxillofacial module and microscope histopathology
10% Week 13
Due date: 01 Nov 2023 at 18:30

Closing date: 08 Nov 2023
30 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO2 LO1

Assessment summary

Practical workbooks: One workbook is available per learning module. All questions must be attempted in short answer format to be considered a completed submission. Submissions must be made before the relevant due date. No extensions or special considerations are provided.

In-class quiz: The content being examined will include all relevant material for CPAT3202 up until (and including) the week prior to the exam.

Pathogenesis video and script: Students will develop a script and video to do a deep-dive into a museum specimen, considering macroscopic and microscopic features and the pathogenic processes.

LabStay ELN: Students will join a research laboratory to undertake a scientific study. The ELN will be submitted for assessment of the LabStay.

Final Exam: The exam is comprised extended answer questions.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late assignments that have not been granted an extension will attract a penalty of 5% of the maximum mark per day late including weekend days (e.g. if the assignment is worth 40 marks, the penalty is 2 marks per day late). Assignments submitted more than 10 days late will be given a mark of zero (0).

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Advanced museum tutorial Tutorial (6 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Laboratory project Science laboratory (16 hr) LO5 LO6
Problem-based learning Workshop (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 01 Cardiovascular Pathology 1 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 02 Cardiovascular Pathology 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Cardiovascular Pathology 2 Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Cardiovascular Pathology 3 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Neurological Diseases 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Neurological Diseases 1 Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Neurological Diseases 2 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Accessory Digestive Organ Diseases 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Accessory Digestive Organ Diseases 1 Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Accessory Digestive Organ Diseases 2 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Haematopathology 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Haematopathology 1 Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Haematopathology 2 Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 1 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 2 Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Endocrinopathies 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Endocrinopathies 1 Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Endocrinopathies 2 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Students must attend at least 80% of compulsory museum tutorials and microscope practicals for this unit, per the University Coursework Policy.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Robbins Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease; 10th edition; Vinay Kumar, Abul K. Abbas, Jon. C. Aster

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Define and explain how different organ systems react to injury and adapt to pathology for comparison with physiological conditions.
  • LO2. Interpret key mechanisms of pathogenic processes to synthesise original insights and predict outcomes.
  • LO3. Revise and appraise complex pathogenic processes for translation to a broader audience.
  • LO4. Classify microscopic and macroscopic specimens that allow for evaluation and analysis of pathogenesis and disease.
  • LO5. Identify, evaluate and integrate sholarly information on disease pathogenesis for written and verbal communication.
  • LO6. Implement experimental strategies and assess experimental data to generate scientific conclusions.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In response to student feedback, lectures commence later in the day. The final exam is now worth 40% (previously 50%). Problem-based learning tutorials are introduced to help students prepare for final exams in group settings with the academic team on hand.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eyewash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.