Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Surgical Sciences (Online Learning) MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

Graduating from the MSc in Surgical Sciences is an important milestone in my surgical career and it helped me to pass my MRCS first time. I strongly recommend the course for young surgeons in training who wish to have a strong foundation in basic sciences.

Jin-Jiun Mah MSc Surgical Sciences (Online Learning) graduate

This three year, part-time, fully online programme is offered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The programme offers you the unique opportunity to have direct contact with international students, tutors and experts in the different surgical specialties from across the world, widening your understanding of evidence-based surgical and academic surgery practice.

This programme is also affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy:


The programme offers the awards of:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert: 60 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip: 120 credits)
  • Master of Science (MSc: 180 credits)

Year 1 (Postgraduate Certificate) and Year 2 (Postgraduate Diploma) each consist of three courses of 20 credits. These Certificate and Diploma years cover the UK Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum, offering a solid base for your preparation for the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination, with additional emphasis on acquired knowledge and its application. Year 3 (Master of Science) consists of a 1 year-long 60 credit course. You can opt to take either the Dissertation course or the Evidence-Based course.

How will I be assessed?

Certificate and Diploma years

Each course in the includes topic-specific activities such as:

  • clinical case studies
  • online discussions facilitated by experienced tutors
  • directed readings

Assessments and course learning tasks are specifically designed to develop key skills such as clinical, communication and academic skills. Students will approach academic and scientific writing with a solid evidence-based approach while learning to prepare specific written assignments for each course, for an authentic learning experience. Some tasks offer the ability to draw on students’ clinical experiences and expertise, regardless of where in the world students are.

We offer several MCQ tests, with feedback provided for each attempt, and clinical case studies to support your preparation for the MRCS examination.

Masters Year

The Dissertation and Evidence Based Surgery courses are assessed by iterative written coursework assignments throughout the year, culminating in a project report.

The programme is delivered in an online environment that provides a dynamic and collaborative learning experience. You will become part of an online community bringing together students and tutors from all over the world.

We make use of a blend of online learning methods such as discussion forums and live tutorials.

Expert tutors will support you through every stage of the programme and you can engage with fellow students in supportive and constructive online networks.

The flexible learning environment means you learn at the times and locations that suit you best, making this programme suitable for high calibre, busy professionals who want to update and extend their knowledge.

Online Master Brochure

The following outcome awards are offered by this Surgical Sciences programme:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert: 60 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip: 120 credits)
  • Master of Science (MSc: 180 credits)

All courses are delivered online using methods that are fully supported by the University’s award-winning online learning environments.

Year 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Core courses

  • Cardiorespiratory Science
  • General Surgery
  • Locomotor, Urology and ENT/OMFS

Year 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Core courses

  • Principles of Surgical Management
  • Communication and Care
  • Academic Surgery, Orthopaedic & Trauma

Year 3: Master of Science

You must complete 60 credits in Year 3. You have 2 options in Year 3:

  • Dissertation
  • Evidence Based Surgery

Course options

The Dissertation course is a single, in depth, piece of original research. You have latitude to choose your own research topic and methodology. You will develop a research question; collect analyse and critically appraise your own data; and write this up in the form of a substantial project report.

The Evidence Based Surgery course starts with an introduction to the skills involved in implementing a research study. This is followed by a project phase where you will plan, execute and write up of your own research project in the form of a manuscript. The Evidence Based Surgery project is shorter in duration and length compared to the Dissertation project and can involve methods that do not require primary data collection.

(Revised 29 April 2024 to provide more detail about the introductory element of the Evidence Based Surgery course)

The Certificate, Diploma and Masters programmes are designed to let you study towards your MRCS in a flexible way.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

An accredited medical degree (MBChB or equivalent). You must be in a supervised clinical environment while you are studying.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:


You will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit before an unconditional offer can be made.

  • £500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fee deposits can be paid using the University's online payment facility, ePay:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScSurgical Sciences3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

The University of Edinburgh offers a small number of scholarships to outstanding candidates. These are very competitive. We publish data on the success rate for scholarship applications to help you understand the level of demand.

(Revised 18 March 2024 to remove 'Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships' information) 

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.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • MSc Surgical Sciences Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Surgery Online
  • 198 Canongate
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 23 August 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • MSc Surgical Sciences Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Surgery Online
  • 198 Canongate
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ