Postgraduate study

Human Anatomy MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Human Anatomy

My favourite aspect of this programme was actually learning anatomy by dissection. You get to dissect a full cadaver over the course of the year.

Mohamed Elajnaf MSc Human Anatomy Graduate 2018

In this programme 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.

Programme strands

This programme has two main strands.

Anatomy of the human body

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.

Anatomy pedagogy

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, 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 an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Additional programme content

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
  • clinical techniques used to image the body

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):

Semester one

  • 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
    • embryology
  • 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

Semester two

  • 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
    • embryology
  • 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

Summer period

  • 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
  • essays
  • multiple choice question exams
  • extended matching question exams
  • presentations
  • 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.

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

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
MScHuman Anatomy1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

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.

Christopher Callaghan

Christina Loukopoulou

Montserrat Rayman Silva

Ana Celia Valenzuela Gonzalez, Human Anatomy

Jamie Brockman, Human Anatomy

Mohamed Elajnaf, Human Anatomy

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a medical, biomedical or relevant bioscience subject, or other subject allied to medicine.

We may also consider applicants with a UK 2:1 or 2:2 honours degree or its international equivalent, if you have other qualifications with relevant work experience, normally of at least one year; for example if you have human anatomy work experience (i.e. human anatomy tutor, demonstrator, dissector etc) or in medical and paramedical fields. Please contact the programme team to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

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 need to pay this non-refundable deposit before an unconditional offer can be made.

  • £200 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

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

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScHuman Anatomy1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

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:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
  • Chancellor's Building
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB
Programme start date Application deadline
11 September 2023 28 July 2023

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

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
  • Chancellor's Building
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB