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    Diagnostic Oral Pathology

    School of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of Health

    Gain the expertise to diagnose a wide range of oral and maxillofacial conditions and learn a wide range of histopathological and laboratory techniques used to carry out the latest research into oral diseases
    MMedSci Diagnostic Oral Pathology

    Course description

    This course is unique and focuses on oral and maxillofacial pathology, so you can gain specialist knowledge of diseases and disorders that affect the tissues and organs of the mouth, jaws, face and neck.

    You will develop a working knowledge of the diagnostic process by studying lesions to help you understand the role they play in diagnosis, and also key techniques such as light microscopy. You will be introduced to histopathological techniques used in the diagnostic laboratory, from the processing and preparation of tissue to staining and immunohistochemistry. You will also study the latest laboratory techniques used in oral health disease research and be introduced to recent advances in tissue engineering and regenerative dentistry.

    Throughout the degree, you will be trained to use digital and light microscopy to assess a variety of oral specimens and identify when more information or procedures are needed to confirm a diagnosis. As you progress, you will study less common lesions, and explore the role of oral pathologists in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

    As well as building on the knowledge of pathology you will have from your undergraduate degree, the course gives you the chance to build up your research skills. You will complete a research training programme and carry out your own independent research project.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Basic Principles of Pathology

    This unit will provide an introduction to the principles, practice and approaches of diagnostic pathology. An introduction will be given to the use of the light microscope including photo-microscopy. A range of simple clinical lesions will be used to explain the diagnostic process including specimen trimming, recognition of simple histological and histo-pathological features and the preparation of a routine histo-pathological report. Basic health and safety, ethics and information on the human tissue act and bio-banking also forms part of the module.

    15 credits
    Basic Techniques in Histopathology

    The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the principles and practice of the basic techniques in histopathology. Processing of tissue will be explained and demonstrated from its arrival in the laboratory to fixation, processing, staining and sectioning for examination. The use of special stains in oral pathology and principles of immunohistochemistry will also be highlighted.

    15 credits
    Research Problems and Approaches

    The aim of this module is to introduce the candidate to critical appraisal of the scientific literature, health informatics and presentation skills. Health informatics seminars will familiarise the candidates with the tools available for searching and accessing scientific literature. Students will learn to critically appraise the literature including scientific papers, develop a coherent argument and present their findings both verbally and in a written format. Candidates will also be required to attend the Dental School lunchtime seminar series.

    15 credits
    Laboratory Research Methods

    The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the principles and practice of contemporary laboratory research methods. Demonstrations and 'hands on' practical sessions will enable the candidate to experience small and large scale molecular techniques for assessing gene and protein expression and for cloning. An introduction to cell culture will be given along with procedures of sample preparation and storage, use of controls and determination of validity, data analysis and 'troubleshooting' specific protocols.

    15 credits
    Diagnostic Oral Histopathology

    The aim of this module is to introduce the candidate to the principles and practice of diagnostic oral histopathology. Through a combination of student led seminars and practical microscopic assessment of oral pathology specimens, the candidate will gain experience of the diagnosis of common and significant lesions. The candidates will be made aware of current issues and controversies in oral pathology, sources of information to support the diagnostic process and the steps required to resolve diagnosis for specimens beyond their immediate capabilities.

    30 credits
    Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Dentistry

    The replacement of missing or diseased tissues and the restoration of normal tissue function is arguably the greatest challenge encountered by surgeons and clinical dentists today. This module introduces postgraduate students to the rapidly developing field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as applied in clinical dentistry, craniofacial surgery and in commercial and laboratory research. Students on this module will be provided with knowledge and insights with respect to the broad field of tissue engineering and regenerative dentistry, but particular emphasis will be placed on engineered tissue construction for dental and craniofacial repair and reconstruction.

    15 credits
    Advanced Oral Histopathology

    The aim of this module is to introduce the student to advanced diagnostic oral histopathology. Through a combination of student led seminars, draft report writing and practical microscopic assessment of oral histopathological specimens, the candidate will gain experience of the diagnosis of less common but significant lesions. The candidates will be made aware of the role of the pathologist in cancer management.

    15 credits
    Oral Histopathology III

    In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Masters Degree students must produce a dissertation of approx 20,000 words involving some original research and a review of the relevant literature.

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    After an induction period, you will learn through supervised reporting, staff and student-led seminars, practical laboratory sessions, lectures and independent study.


    You will be assessed through an introductory multi-choice assessment, written and microscope-based exams, essays, presentations at journal clubs and seminars, and a dissertation.

    Your career

    This course is great preparation for further study in oral pathology, for example, a PhD.

    It can also help you to take your career in dentistry to the next level by giving you a better understanding of common and significant oral pathological lesions and conditions, and the experience to work out the next steps in making more complex diagnoses.

    Student profiles

    A woman in a lab

    This course has provided me with the essential foundation in oral pathology that I needed

    Astari Puteri Diagnostic Oral Pathology

    Astari is a dentist and junior lecturer working in the Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Department at the Universitas Airlangga in Indonesia. She explains how our Diagnostic Oral Pathology master’s course filled a gap in her knowledge, allowing her to provide expert teaching to students at her university.

    Entry requirements

    A recognised dental or medical qualification. You must have at least one year's postgraduate experience in a relevant clinical discipline.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview. 

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    Additional costs

    The cost of dissertation binding is not included in your course fees.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 215 9318 or +44 114 215 9319

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.