Human Anatomy MSc The University of Edinburgh
This 12-month programme offers a rare opportunity to learn anatomy from dissection and experience in teaching human anatomy. This is an ideal stepping-stone to a career in anatomy teaching and research.
With this highly regarded qualification you will gain major transferable skills through an intensive on-campus dissection course and develop teaching experience at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
What will you study?
This programme has two main strands.
Develop your in-depth knowledge of human anatomy through dissection
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.
Learn to teach anatomy
The second strand is anatomy teaching, covering the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching anatomy to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Alongside theoretical lectures and workshops in the first semester, you will focus on observing the teaching of anatomy to medical undergraduate students.
In the second semester you will be involved in preparing and carrying out teaching sessions to both small and large groups of students. You will compile an end-of-year teaching portfolio based on:
- The theoretical material you learn
- The observations you make
- The practical experience you have gained
- The experience that you will gain can be used towards an application as an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Complementing these strands will be a lecture-based embryology course. This will provide 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:
- Anatomy law and ethics
- Medical imaging
- 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
Why choose Edinburgh?
Anatomy expertise with a rich history
There is a long and distinguished tradition of anatomy teaching in Edinburgh, reaching back to 1505 and the first recorded use of a body for dissection. Today our courses are taught by leading academics who are passionate about teaching and research, and who are making an impact on an international level.
The department has undergone extensive refurbishment and is well-equipped with facilities to preserve, maintain and use fixed and frozen human material for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. We have a recently established Research and Development Area, which is used by external clinical companies and surgeons for training and research purposes.
World Leading Research
The University of Edinburgh is fourth in the UK based on the quality and breadth of its research with its qualifications valued internationally. The 2021 Research Excellence Framework exercise results reveal that nearly 90 per cent of the University’s research activity is in the highest categories, which are classified respectively as ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent.’ Edinburgh is home to numerous highly respected research centres, which many of our academics are active members of. These include the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences and the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research.
The University of Edinburgh is currently ranked 15th in the World in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
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
- 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.
Our students come to us from all over the world with a huge range of expertise. Many students will go on to anatomy teaching positions in academic institutes within the UK or overseas. Some continue in research by achieving funding for a PhD position. A number of our students choose to study medicine.
The programme is made up of five courses plus a summer dissertation project.
The courses Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging, Embryology 1 and Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging, Embryology 2 make up the majority of the degree with 40 credits each.
The teaching anatomy course is 20 credits whereas the other courses are 10 credit courses that are spread out over two semesters as follows (10 credits equal 100 hours of work):
Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging and Embryology 1 (40 credits): Provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of the upper/lower limbs and thorax, incorporating:
- gross anatomy
- surface anatomy
- medical imaging
Anatomy Law and Ethics (10 credits): Divided into 3 parts:
- health and safety of anatomy and body handling
- the legislation that governs the activities of anatomy departments both in Scotland and throughout the UK
- the ethics of using human material for the teaching of anatomy
Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging and Embryology 2 (40 credits): Provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of the abdomen, pelvis and head and neck, incorporating:
- gross anatomy
- surface anatomy
- medical imaging
Neuroanatomy (10 credits): Gross anatomy of the:
- central and peripheral nervous systems
- sensory and motor pathways
- cranial nerves
- spinal cord
- spinal nerves
- autonomic nervous system
Semesters one and two
Teaching Anatomy (20 credits): Theoretical and practical aspects of teaching anatomy to undergraduate and postgraduate students
Dissertation Project: 10,000-word dissertation and oral presentation (60 credits)
Teaching and assessment
Teaching is by lectures, seminars and tutorials.
Courses are assessed by either, or a combination of:
- oral examinations
- multiple choice question exams
- extended matching question exams
- practical anatomy exams
Diploma in Human Anatomy
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.
Scholarships and Funding
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.
The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:
- your programme
- the duration of your studies
- your tuition fee status
Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.