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 jointly offered by the University of Edinburgh and the 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.

There are University awards of:

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

Year 1 and 2 each consist of 3, 20 credit courses. 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.

How will I be assessed?

Each course in the programme includes topic-specific activities. These include:

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

Assessments and course tasks are specifically designed to develop key skills such as clinical, communication and academic skills. Students will approach academic and scientific writing with a strong 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 and clinical case studies to support your preparation for the MRCS examination.

Year 3 consists of 1 year-long 60 credit, course. You can opt to take either the Dissertation course or the Evidence-Based course.

The Dissertation course is a single, in depth, piece of original research assessed by iterative written coursework assignments throughout the year. 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 has a taught component at the beginning of the year which focuses on research skills. The project is shorter in duration and length, and based around open access datasets. You will develop a research question based around open access datasets, manipulate and analyse the already available data and write a project report in a standard publication format. We assess Evidence Based Surgery by iterative written coursework assignments throughout the year.

For further details about the programme please see our programme website.

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

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 University of Edinburgh offers a number of outcome awards from its Surgical Sciences programme from Postgraduate Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Science.

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

Read more about the programme content

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScSurgical Sciences3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

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.
  • 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

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

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

Applicants from eligible Commonwealth countries who secure an offer to study this programme are invited to apply for a Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship. The scholarship covers full tuition fees. The deadline for scholarship application is 28th March 2024. Please check the link below for eligibility criteria, number of available awards, t&c and additional information.

(Revised 22 February 2024 to add in the 'Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships' information) 

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.

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, Office Room G10/G11
  • Simon Laurie House, 196 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, Office Room G10/G11
  • Simon Laurie House, 196 Canongate
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ