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MSc Orthopaedic Science

Course Description

The Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, at the University of Dundee, was founded in 1967 when the University of Dundee split from St Andrews’ University and established an independent teaching medical school. The department is based in the Tayside Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Technology (TORT) Centre. The current staff includes a professor, two clinical senior lecturers, two non-clinical senior lecturers, one clinical and one non-clinical lecturer, one research assistant and four clinical fellows, who are supported by various staff members.

With a tradition of teaching and research in the field of mechanisms of disease, treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system and biomedical and rehabilitation engineering. The founder, Professor Ian Smillie, gained a worldwide reputation in knee surgery and the role of the meniscus. His successor, Professor George Murdoch, founded and developed the Dundee Limb Fitting Centre and the Tayside Rehabilitation Engineering Services, which have acquired an international reputation for the treatment of the amputee and assessment of gait analysis. His successor, Professor David Rowley, sustained the department’s international reputation and innovation in the area of joints replacement complemented by a worldwide service in Clinical Audit Outcomes


The MSc in Orthopaedic Science programme will provide a robust and wide-reaching education in the fundamental physical sciences relating to orthopaedic surgery. It is the only programme amongst the few comparable MSc programmes in the UK with a specific focus on the theoretical and practical application of technology within orthopaedics. Additionally, it equips trainees with the knowledge of fundamental science required for the FRCS exit exam.

Aims of the Programme

The aim of this programme is to provide students with a Masters level postgraduate education in the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental physical sciences relating to orthopaedic surgery. It also aims to provide experience in the design and execution of a substantive research project in the field of orthopaedic, biomechanics and rehabilitation technology and its underlying science.
By the end of the programme, students should have a systematic understanding and knowledge of the physical sciences and technology relevant to orthopaedics, a critical awareness of current research questions in the field and the appropriate practical and analytical skills in order to be able to:

- Understand and interpret complex scientific concepts.
- Critically evaluate current research.
- Understand and utilise relevant technology, and have the ability to evaluate and critique methodologies.
- Develop and test scientific hypotheses, including the design of laboratory research projects aimed at addressing specific hypothesis-driven questions.
- Undertake the practical and technical aspects of a laboratory-based project.
- Communicate complex scientific concepts to specialist and non-specialist audiences, both verbally and in writing.
- Demonstrate an understanding of whether specific research outcomes make a significant, novel contribution to the field.

Programme Content

The programme will be taught part-time by distance learning over a period of normally 3 to 5 years, or one year full time in house. It is comprised of five compulsory 30-credit taught modules and one 60 credit research project module.

Module 1 - Mechanics
Module 2 - Biomechanics
Module 3 - Rehabilitation Technology
Module 4 - Orthopaedic Technology
Module 5 - Statistics

Methods of Teaching and Assessment

Modules 1-5:
Teaching in modules 1-5 will be delivered through distance learning module components, each comprised of a module component guide and several component units. Tutor support will be available via email, web conferencing, written correspondence and telephone.

Assessment of modules 1-5 will be by examination with the option of sitting exams upon completion of each individual module or upon completion of all five modules. Assessment is weighted (80%) by exam and (20%) by coursework.

Successful completion of the PGDip modules 1-5 is required to progress to the research project component. Successful completion of course work will normally be required prior to sitting the examination papers. Each of the two components of assessment for the PGCert and PGDip (course work and examination) must have a minimum grade of D3 to pass and progress to the full MSc programme.

Module 6 - Research Project:
During the research project, learning will be partly experiential, partly directed and partly self-directed. The research project will be assessed through the presentation of a thesis, and the final mark will be moderated through an oral exam (60 credits).

why study at Dundee?

In 2013 the MCh (Orth) Dundee, course was granted full accreditation by the Royal College of Surgeons of
England. This accreditation is extremely important and comes as the department is celebrating the 20th
anniversary of the course. This is the only face-to-face course accredited by the College outside of England.

“It was a great learning experience. Coming here, my overall
personality has changed. I have learnt the right way to write
a thesis and also got to know the recent advancements in
field of Orthopaedic surgery” International Student Barometer, 2009

Career Prospects

The programme will prepare graduates for a research-focused clinical career in the NHS or academia, and is particularly well positioned to prepare graduates for entry into a clinical academic career path.

If taken in-house, the start date for this course is September. The distance learning start date can be at any point in the year.
* The taught elements are conducted by self-directed learning modules as with distance learning but the project will be undertaken in-house. The candidate will be attached to a consultant firm as an observer.

Students wishing to pursue the MSc must complete the Diploma within 3 years part-time or 9 months full-time. The MSc must be completed within a period of 1 year full-time or 2-5 years part-time.

Fees must be paid in full prior to commencing the course (in-house only).

Visit the MSc Orthopaedic Science page on the University of Dundee website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants should be Specialist Registrars or equivalent in orthopaedic surgery qualified to MB ChB or equivalent plus MRCS or equivalent.English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component less than 5.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

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