University of Technology Sydney

66066 Chemical Pathology

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science: Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In the field of Chemical Pathology, the analysis of body fluids and tissues is pivotal in aiding disease diagnosis and management. This subject covers a broad range of topics, encompassing both routine and specialised chemistry tests routinely performed in modern pathology laboratories. By employing cutting-edge techniques and methods, students gain hands-on experience in executing these tests, enhancing their technical expertise and proficiency in operating state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. Additionally, the subject emphasises the importance of meticulous preparation when generating pathology reports, equipping the students with the ability to communicate diagnostic findings effectively and concisely to medical professionals.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Apply the fundamental principles and concepts in chemical pathology, encompassing the intricate processes of pathological investigation, management, and treatment.
2. Compare and contrast the latest advancements in biochemical techniques and instrumentation, critically evaluating their impact on both established clinical methods and the transformative trends shaping the field of Chemical Pathology laboratories.
3. Critically analyse and interpret experimental clinical biochemistry data and identify relevant disease diagnosis.
4. Critically evaluate complex clinical scenarios to enhance the comprehension of interpreting clinical pathology tests and to develop clinically relevant diagnosis hypothesis.
5. Communicate scientific information and experimental results and their interpretation to professional audiences verbally and in written formats.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate critical engagement with advanced knowledge and application of in-depth and up to date Analytical Chemical Technologies within a range of professional contexts. (1.1)
  • Critically evaluate information in the investigation of complex real-world problems relevant to analytical chemical technologies. Assess, argue for, and conduct appropriate approaches to independent research adopting techniques from a variety of sources such as scientific literature in order to develop solutions to complex problems. (2.1)
  • Engage in work practices that demonstrate an understanding of health and safety requirements, ethical conduct and risk management principles associated with analytical chemical sciences. Design, construct, collaborate and execute appropriately judged professional solutions to chemical problems that can impact society. (3.1)
  • Present and communicate complex ideas effectively and professionally. Judge and adapt interpersonal communication approaches from a variety of methods (oral, written, visual) to communicate with chemists, scientists, industry, and the general public across all mediums. (5.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The Faculty of Science has developed a set of key graduate attributes (GA’s) and course intended learning outcomes (CILO’s). Chemical Pathology contributes to the development of the following GAs and CILO’s:

1 - Disciplinary knowledge

Develop a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, role, and application of chemical pathology through online activities, independent learning, and practical classes. Upon completion of this subject students should be able to diagnostically analyse and assess results of clinical biochemistry tests, with an understanding of data collection and analysis, quality control and assurance, and investigative methods and aspects. Students should be able to critically evaluate various cases hypotheses and take a flexible methodology to approach the clinical investigation. Students are expected to be able to have a good understanding of what is required from Chemical Pathologists experts in the field, and to identify the best practice. Students will be assessed on their knowledge across assessments tasks 1, 2 and 3.

2 - Research, inquiry, and critical thinking

Build a foundation of theoretical forensic knowledge, incorporating research techniques and evidence analysis from scientific literature. Apply this knowledge to case studies and practical examples, using reflective inquiry and collaborative problem-solving skills to investigate, interpret, and find solutions. Students will be assessed on their research, inquiry, and critical thinking across assessments tasks 1, 2 and 3.

3 - Professional, ethical, and social responsibility

Throughout this subject, students will acquire, develop, and integrate technical, practical, and professional skills within ethical boundaries. The students will also acquire experience with a range of different analytical techniques used in Chemical Pathology in hands-on laboratory sessions. You will develop the skills needed to apply your knowledge through data acquisition and interpretation both in industry and research context. There will also be opportunities to work collaboratively and autonomously during the practical classes, applying knowledge and consolidating your understanding of the interpretation process which is a key professional competency. Students will be assessed on their professional, ethical, and social responsability across assessment task 2.

5 - Communication

Effective communication of your results is crucial in research and industrial settings. Students will be able to enhance their written communication skills through preparation of concise and logical laboratory reports. They will also develop scientific vocabulary, receive feedback on writing proficiency, and deliver oral presentations to effectively communicate Chemical Pathology knowledge to professional audiences. Students will be assessed on their communication across assessments tasks 2 and 3.

Teaching and learning strategies

The theoretical content of this subject will be delivered through asynchronous online self-paced learning, which is designed to provide students with essential knowledge and understanding in Chemical Pathology. It is crucial for the students to actively engage with the online material to effectively complete the practical component and develop a strong foundation in the field. By immersing in the online activities, students will not only gain proficiency in theoretical concepts but also stay updated with the latest advancements in the area, ensuring their knowledge remains current and applicable in real-world scenarios. Embracing the online learning opportunities will greatly contribute to their overall competence and success in this subject, enabling them to become well-rounded professionals equipped with the necessary skills for the dynamic field of Chemical Pathology.

Online quizzes are an integral component of this subject, serving multiple purposes to enhance the learning experience. Through these quizzes, students will receive valuable early formative feedback, allowing them to gauge their understanding of the learning materials provided online. As the session progresses, ongoing feedback will also be provided to assess the student's knowledge acquisition on each topic upon completion.

Practicals will be held on campus and students are required to partake in these activities to obtain hands-on experience. These sessions, totalling 6 sessions of 3 hours each, serve as a practical reinforcement of the theoretical concepts learned online. Through collaborative group work, students will engage in laboratory-based activities, applying their understanding of the subject material and acquiring practical expertise. Individual laboratory reports will demonstrate their comprehension and mastery of the concepts covered. Immediate verbal feedback during the practical sessions, combined with written feedback provided with the reports, will facilitate continuous improvement and guide students in their case studies. By actively participating in these practical sessions, students will develop a deeper understanding of Chemical Pathology.

Students will engage in a case study that that entails evaluating clinical results in the context of chemical pathology. Assigned to groups, students will analyse the results of chemical pathology tests to develop a clinically relevant diagnosis hypothesis. This assessment encompasses both an oral presentation during a practical session and a written comprehensive report. The report format will include a summary, introduction, methodologies (tests conducted), discussion, conclusions, and references. Additionally, students will communicate their diagnostic conclusions through a PowerPoint presentation, effectively conveying their findings. By emphasizing analytical aspects and interconnecting related fields, this assessment aims to bolster the credibility of the diagnostic approach in the clinical laboratory, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the intricate interplay between different factors within the diagnostic process.

Content (topics)

Chemical pathology is a multi-faceted discipline, intersecting with biochemical and analytical specialities. This subject will provide the knowledge and technical skills in basic analytical techniques, instrumentation, and data processing, with an introduction into advance analytical techniques and its incorporation into the modern-day clinical laboratory, including reference ranges, maintaining laboratory safety, quality control and assurance, their role in a diagnostic laboratory, sources of error, and specimen handling.

Bridging the gap between molecular, biomedical, and analytical skills required, by providing an understanding of the application of analytical aspects and techniques for detection, monitoring and assessment of pathological conditions.

  • Introduction to Chemical Pathology
  • Selected analytical applications in chemical pathology – case study based.
  • Understanding of laboratory systems and processes.
  • Future of Chemical Pathology - new assays and ideas arising in chemical pathology.


Assessment task 1: Online activities


This assessment task contributes to the development of the following attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

2. Research, inquiry and critical thinking


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

1.1 and 2.1

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

The online quizzes in this subject serve will assess students' mastery of fundamental principles and concepts in chemical pathology, as well as their proficiency in interpreting chemical pathology data. Through multiple-choice questions and short answer responses, students are evaluated on their ability to provide accurate and informed responses, demonstrating both comprehension and critical thinking skills.

Assessment task 2: Laboratory Reports


This assessment task contributes to the development of the following attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

2. Research, inquiry and critical thinking

3. Professional, ethical and social responsibility

5. Communication


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

1.1, 2.1, 3.1 and 5.1

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 40%

1-2 pages. Templates will be provided for the short laboratory reports.


The students will be assessed on their ability to effectively apply their knowledge to the analysis of the practical analytical results and effectively answering related questions. They will be evaluated on their aptitude in using statistical calculations in conjunction with test outcomes, accurately interpreting experimental findings, and drawing appropriate conclusions based on clinical evidence supported by relevant literature. The reports serve as a platform for students to showcase their critical understanding in result interpretation, ultimately providing diagnostic outcomes derived from their analysis. Through these assessments, students demonstrate their proficiency in integrating theoretical knowledge with practical application, reinforcing their ability to make informed and clinically relevant judgments based on their findings. Further information on criteria on how the reports will be assessed will also be provided in Canvas.

Assessment task 3: Case Study Report and Presentation


This assessment task contributes to the development of the following attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

2. Research, inquiry and critical thinking

5. Communication


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 3 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

1.1, 2.1 and 5.1

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 30%

A 15-20 minutes oral presentation. A template and a marking rubric will be provided for the full laboratory report.


Students will be assessed on their ability to accurately apply their chemical pathology knowledge to a realistic case study. This assessment will encompass their ability to analyse the case study and present their findings, ensuring accuracy and proficiency in their presentation skills. Further information on criteria on how the reports will be assessed will also be provided in Canvas.

Minimum requirements

Minimum requirements: Students must obtain at least 50% of the available marks to pass this subject.

Practical classes in subjects offered by the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences are an essential and integral part of each subject in which they run. In addition to assisting students’ understanding of concepts, practical classes develop laboratory skills and experience, including safety skills, that are essential graduate attributes desired by employers. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to attend the scheduled practical classes.

Required texts

Rifai, N. (2019). Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics 8 E; South Asia Edition; e-Book, Elsevier India.

Clarke, W. and M. Marzinke (2020). Contemporary practice in clinical chemistry, Academic Press.

Recommended texts

Marshall, W. J., et al. (2020). Clinical chemistry, Elsevier Health Sciences.