Criteria for scoring micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges in binucleated cells in the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay for isolated human lymphocyte cultures are described in detail. Morphological characteristics of mononucleated cells, binucleated cells, and multinucleated cells as well as necrotic and apoptotic cells and nuclear buds are also described. These criteria are illustrated by a series of schematic diagrams as well as a comprehensive set of colour photographs that are of practical assistance during the scoring of slides. These scoring criteria, diagrams and photographs have been used in a HUman MicronNucleus (HUMN) project inter-laboratory slide-scoring exercise to evaluate the extent of variability that can be attributable to individual scorers and individual laboratories when measuring the frequency of micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges in binucleated cells as well as the nuclear division index. The results of the latter study are described in an accompanying paper. It is expected that these scoring criteria will assist in the development of a procedure for calibrating scorers and laboratories so that results from different laboratories for the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay may be more comparable in the future.