A Guide to Competencies, Educational Goals, and Learning Objectives for Teaching Medical Histology in an Undergraduate Medical Education Setting

  • Manas DasEmail author
  • Raj Ettarh
  • D. J. LowrieJr
  • Padmanabhan Rengasamy
  • Lisa M. J. Lee
  • James M. Williams
  • Geoffrey D. Guttmann


Horizontal and vertical integration within medical school curricula, truncated contact hours available to teach basic biomedical sciences, and diverse assessment methods have left histology educators searching for an answer to a fundamental question—what ensures competency for medical students in histology upon completion of medical school? The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) and the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) advocate faculty to provide medical students with a list of learning objectives prior to any educational activities, regardless of pedagogy. It is encouraged that the learning objectives are constructed using higher-order and measurable action verbs to ensure student-centered learning and assessment. A survey of the literature indicates that there is paucity of knowledge about competencies, goals, and learning objectives appropriate for histology education in preclinical years. To address this challenge, an interactive online taskforce, comprising faculty from across the United States, was assembled. The outcome of this project was a desired set of competencies for medical students in histology with educational goals and learning objectives to achieve them.


Histology Medical education Competency Educational goals Learning objectives 



The authors wish to thank Pamela Baker (Associate Dean/Associate Professor of Undergraduate Medical Education, Curriculum Development & Assessment, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati) for her expert opinion on the project. We also wish to thank Shawn Boynes (Executive Director, American Association of Anatomists) and Elizabeth Austin (Communications and Marketing Manager, American Association of Anatomists) for their help and support with the project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval


Informed Consent



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© International Association of Medical Science Educators 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Translational Anatomy, Department of RadiologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical EducationCalifornia University of Science and MedicineSan BernardinoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical Education, College of MedicineUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medical EducationUniversity of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of MedicineEdinburgUSA
  5. 5.Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, School of MedicineUniversity of ColoradoAuroraUSA
  6. 6.Department of Cell and Molecular MedicineRush UniversityChicagoUSA
  7. 7.Department of Basic SciencesUniversity of Medicine and Health SciencesBasseterreSaint Kitts and Nevis

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