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Course content

Programme description

This postgraduate certificate and diploma is a unique opportunity for students who want to explore aspects of human anatomy through the flexibility of an online distance learning programme.

All courses making up the programme use innovative teaching methods to provide students with key transferable skills in addition to a solid foundation of anatomical knowledge.

Our programme in anatomical sciences is delivered entirely online and consequently relies on the use of IT, for example through the use of email, audio visual material, discussion forums and various other interactive resources.

This is a postgraduate qualification for medical, biomedical, allied health professionals and those in holistic practice with an interest in human anatomy. The programme draws upon the highly regarded teaching and research staff within the University.

Our aim is to provide quality course materials to be delivered from our virtual learning environment. Interactive software is being specifically developed for use in this programme alongside the licensed software currently in use for the on campus masters programme in Human Anatomy and our medical degree course.

The programme is designed to introduce and develop student knowledge in the anatomical sciences; in addition it is aimed at renewing and strengthening communication and IT knowledge and skills.

Our online learning system lets you work entirely from your own home location. This will enhance your learning experience and working knowledge while rewarding you with a highly regarded qualification.

Online learning

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from your own home or working environment.

Our online students not only have access to the University’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Programme structure

The programme normally takes two years.

Year 1: Certificate

Courses include:

  • Fundamental Human Anatomy 1 - including the upper and lower limbs, back and pelvis.
  • Fundamental Human Anatomy 2 - including thorax, abdomen, head and neck.
  • Embryology - human development.
  • Neuroanatomy - nervous system

Year 2: Diploma

You will extend your anatomical knowledge with courses in:

  • Advanced Human Anatomy 1 - more detailed study of anatomy previously examined incorporating anatomical principles.
  • Advanced Human Anatomy 2
  • Histology - microscopic anatomy.
  • Imaging - modalities that are relevant to anatomical sciences.

Each of the four taught courses has a set of modules that are released to students on a weekly basis from our virtual learning environment.

The modules consist of the following structure.

  • A recorded lecture to introduce the topic
  • Interactive content (video/animated/narrative)
  • A set of resource links to course reading – library and research.
  • A discussion board facilitated by a tutor.
  • A set of questions (MCQs) which students can take at the end of each section - these are formative and do not contribute to the final mark.

At the end of each module there is a further set of multiple choice questions which students take; this set of MCQs do contribute to the final mark.

More information on anatomy at the University can be found on our website:

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Flexible study

The programme also offers the opportunity to take a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), either part-time over 9 months or on an intermittent basis over 2 years; or a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), either part-time over 21 months or on an intermittent basis over 4 years.

Career opportunities

This programme has been designed not only to help you gain a highly regarded qualification but also to provide you with a set of major transferable skills, which will be relevant to your current career, further study or simply increase your long-term career prospects.


Visit the Anatomical Sciences (Online Distance Learning) - PgCert/PgDip/PgProfDev page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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