Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Clinical Anatomy MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Who this programme is for

The programme is tailored specifically for intercalating medical or dental students.

About the programme

Human anatomy is a core component of undergraduate medical degree programmes, as well as programmes allied to medicine such as radiography and physiotherapy.

However, the relative amount of anatomy taught on these programmes is considerably less than in years gone by, and there are limited opportunities across the UK (and further afield) for medical and dental students to gain an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy beyond their core programmes.

We have established this programme not only to directly address this deficiency but also to offer an opportunity for graduate entry intercalating medical/dental students to significantly enhance their clinically-relevant anatomical knowledge and research skills.


There are three main aims of the MSc Clinical Anatomy programme, providing you with:

  • the opportunity to gain a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of clinically-related human anatomy by dissection
  • a comprehensive understanding of the anatomical basis of clinical subjects, including surgery, radiology and histology
  • experience of undertaking a cutting-edge anatomically/clinically-related research project

The programme’s principal educational and clinical aims are specifically to give you thorough knowledge in all aspects of anatomy, including:

  • gross anatomy
  • embryology
  • neuroanatomy
  • anatomical imaging

You will also gain knowledge in clinical related subjects including radiology, histology and surgery, to the level of being competent to teach these elements to medical students and to students in professions allied to medicine.

Why Edinburgh

The unique elements of this programme are:

Hands-on cadaveric dissection

You will gain a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of human anatomy by dissection. This strand will involve the dissection of a body in groups of three to five students over two semesters.

A major component of this course involves self-directed learning. When there are no scheduled lectures or tutorials, students are required to spend their time in the lab, fully engaged in the process of dissecting and learning anatomy from their assigned dissected body.

Additionally, there will be regular "surgeries" where teaching staff will be present to offer guidance and support during the dissections.

Bespoke modules covering anatomical aspects of radiology, histology and surgery

The knowledge gained will enable you to:

  • understand and apply basic anatomical principles underpinning surgery, radiology and histology
  • locate and identify key anatomical structures, including major clinical phenotypes, on medical images
  • identify and interpret light microscopic histological images of core human tissues

A clinically-orientated research project

This will provide you with an opportunity to gain a more in-depth working knowledge of a particular aspect of clinically-relevant anatomy.

Complementing these three strands will be a lecture-based Medical Law and Ethics course.

You will learn:

  • 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

You will also explore clinical techniques used to image the body.

The research project gives you an opportunity to gain a more in-depth knowledge of a particular aspect of anatomy and to present your findings by writing a dissertation.

This programme is a one-year, full-time MSc.

Should you face delays due to valid reasons, such as visa issues, and therefore be unable to commence the MSc Human Anatomy programme on time, a one-week delay may be permitted with the Programme Director's consent.

The programme consists of 120 taught credits, with a 60 credit dissertation component.

The credit rating for each of the courses is set at SCQF Level 11.

Video recording of the lectures pertaining to this programme is prohibited.

Semester 1

  • Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging and Embryology 1 (40 credits)
  • Surgery, Radiology and Histology 1 (10 credits)
  • Anatomy Law and Ethics (10 credits)

Semester 2

  • Basic Human Anatomy, Imaging and Embryology 2 (40 credits)
  • Surgery, Radiology and Histology 2 (10 credits)
  • Neuroanatomy (10 credits)

Semester 3

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

(Revised 26 October 2023 to add guidance for students who are delayed starting the programme)

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
MScClinical Anatomy1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

By the end of the programme you should be able to demonstrate:

  • extensive and detailed working knowledge and understanding of clinically-relevant human anatomy, to a level allowing you to teach anatomy to both undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • to relate normal processes of embryology and development to anatomy observed by dissection
  • an appreciation of the health and safety aspects of handling bodies for dissection
  • a thorough understanding of the use of bodies and the law
  • an understanding of the ethics of using bodies for medical education
  • a critical knowledge of the anatomical basis of radiology, histology and surgery
  • an ability to work independently on an anatomically- or clinically-based research project

We anticipate that you will return to your medical/dental studies on completion of the programme, and utilise your new knowledge and skills to accelerate your clinical career and widen your career options.

If you intercalate on a masters programme, it could affect future funding entitlements for your medicine degree.

You should consult with your funding body to confirm how you will finance your intercalated year and if there are any implications for funding your remaining undergraduate medical degree.

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.

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

  • You must be currently studying for a MBChB, MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery), BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), or equivalent and have at least three years of study and gained at least 360 credits. You must demonstrate successful completion of all assessed work at a pass level of 60% or above, at first attempt.

Personal statements will be considered a key criterion in the assessment of your application. Your personal statement should demonstrate your knowledge and experience of research and the research process.

Due to limited places, entry to this programme is highly competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

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 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:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScClinical Anatomy1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Old Medical School (Anatomy), Teviot Place, Doorway 3
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 26 July 2024

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit one reference with your application.

UK intercalating applicants must submit a letter of confirmation from their University with their application stating permission to intercalate on this programme from their Head of Undergraduate Medical or Dental Education.

International applicants may be required to provide details of the medical or dental curriculum they are studying in order to confirm eligibility.

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

Further information

  • College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Old Medical School (Anatomy), Teviot Place, Doorway 3
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG