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    Edinburgh Medical School Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Medicine

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Please visit website for more details

  • Last Updated

    28 November 2017

Course content

In this program you will:

  • Learn anatomy through dissection
  • Gain knowledge and experience of anatomical teaching
  • Take additional modules on neuroanatomy, embryology, anatomy law and ethics and medical imaging.
  • Contribute to world leading anatomical and/or biomedical research

Our programme aims to improve your theoretical and practical knowledge of human anatomy through an intensive on-campus dissection course, as well as the development and learning of theoretical and practical aspects of teaching anatomy at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

This programme has two main strands. One is the in-depth study of the anatomy of the human body. Anatomical knowledge will be learned to a level to teach undergraduate and postgraduate students and professions allied to medicine. This strand will involve the dissection of a body in groups of three to five students over two semesters. This part of the course is largely self-directed, with regular “surgeries” when teaching staff are present to answer questions and help students with the dissections.

The other is anatomy pedagogy, covering the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching anatomy to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Next to theoretical lectures and workshops the first semester will focus on observing the teaching of anatomy to medical undergraduate students. The second semester will focus on being involved in preparing and carrying out teaching sessions to both small and large groups of students. The learned theoretical material, the observations and practical experiences will be compiled in an end-of year teaching portfolio. The experience that you will gain can be used towards an application as associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Complementing these strands will be a lecture-based embryology course providing you with an understanding of normal human development and how normal development can go wrong, manifested in commonly observed congenital abnormalities. You will also study neuroanatomy, the health and safety of embalming procedures and handling bodies, the legal and historical aspects of anatomy in Scotland and the UK, an introduction to the ethics of using bodies in medical education and explore clinical techniques used to image the body.

Programme structure

The programme is made up of six courses plus a summer dissertation project. The courses "Teaching Anatomy" and "Basic Human Anatomy 1 & 2" make up the majority of the degree with 40 credits each. The other courses are 10 credit courses that are spread out over two semesters as follows (10 credits equal 100 hours of work):

Semester one:

  • Basic Human Anatomy 1: Gross anatomy of the Limbs and Thorax (20 credits)
  • Anatomy Law and Ethics: Divided into 3 parts: Health & Safety of anatomy and body handling, the legislation that governs the activities of anatomy departments both in Scotland and throughout the UK, and the ethics of using human material for the teaching of anatomy (10 credits)

Semester two:

  • Basic Human Anatomy 2: Gross anatomy of the Abdomen, Pelvis, Head & Neck (20 credits)
  • Neuroanatomy: Gross Anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems, sensory and motor pathways, cranial nerves, spinal cord, spinal nerves and autonomic nervous system (10 credits)

Semesters one and two:

  • Teaching Anatomy: Theoretical and practical aspects of teaching anatomy to undergraduate and postgraduate students (40 credits).
  • Embryology: From ovulation of the egg to fetal development of all body systems (10 credits)
  • Medical Imaging and Anatomy: explore anatomy using images produced by clinical tools such as X-ray, CT and MRI. (10 credits)

Summer period:

  • Dissertation Project: 10,000 word dissertation and oral presentation (60 credits)

Teaching is by lectures, seminars and tutorials. Courses are assessed by either, or a combination of, oral examinations, essays, multiple choice question exams, extended matching question exams, presentations and practical anatomy exams.

You have the option to finish after the second semester graduating with a Diploma in Human Anatomy, or to gain your masters by completing a summer dissertation project that can be either library-, practical- or laboratory-based.

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

Career opportunities

This programme has been designed to help you gain a highly regarded qualification in anatomy and the teaching of anatomy. It will provide you with a set of major transferable skills such as dissecting experience, teaching experience, expertise in health and safety and anatomy law and ethics.

This programme can therefore open up possibilities in for example anatomy teaching, anatomy laboratories, further studies in medical and biomedical sciences, further research leading to a PhD, and many more increasing your long-term career prospects.


Visit the Human Anatomy (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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