MBChB Teaching 

Years 1 to 3

As the MBChB course in Aberdeen adopts a systems based approach, the study of anatomy forms part of each system. Anatomy is hence taught and examined across Years 1, 2 and 3 (early years) of the curriculum.

Students are introduced to anatomy by way of the regulations in the Anatomy Act, prior to commencing study of each of the body systems. Most of the anatomy teaching takes place in the dissecting laboratories within the Anatomy Facility where students are able to engage first-hand with human cadaveric material.  A fully-rounded approach to the teaching is emphasized and achieved by embedding in the course a range of modalities, including wet cadaveric specimens, anatomy models, radiographs, CT & MR images, 3D and real-time video imaging, surface anatomy and histology. Specifically designed pre practical lectures and workbooks serve to introduce and focus students to each practical session. Students are examined through the Objectively Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) in each exam diet in Years1 to 3 MBChB.

Anatomy in Year 1 MBChB: (ME2317 and 2509)

Course coordinator: Mr David Chorn

  • In Semester 1 students receive lectures, tutorials and practical instruction in general anatomy, before embarking in Semester 2 on study of the Respiratory and Cardiovascular systems.

Anatomy in Year 2 MBChB: (ME3023)

Course Coordinator: Dr Asha Venkatesh

  • In Year 2 MBChB students continue their study of anatomy in the Gastrointestinal System, Head and Neck anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Endocrine and Urinary systems.

Anatomy in Year 3 MBChB: (ME3026)

Course Coordinator: Dr Prem Ballal

  • Students complete their journey of anatomy by the study of the anatomy of the Musculoskeletal and Reproductive systems.


ME33HA Medical Humanities: Human Anatomy Dissection with Historical, Cultural and Social Dimensions

Course co-ordinator: Dr Shahida Shahana

  • This 6 week course in Anatomy is an option for the medical humanities block in year 3 in semester 1. This course is offered to 12 students per year, and offers a unique opportunity for full body dissection, further dissection focussing on a topic of historical importance, as well as a range of new expert guest lectures. This course supplements core anatomical knowledge with understanding of Anatomy place in both present day and historical societies and cultures. 

Biomedical Sciences with Anatomy

Year 2

All BMS BSc students gain a strong base of Gross Anatomy knowledge in Year 2 through the two compulsory anatomy modules (BM2009 and BM2509) is built upon as our anatomy students undertake three core anatomy modules this year (in addition to core biomedical science courses)

Semester 1 - Human Anatomy A (BM2009)

Course Coordinator: Dr Flora Groening

Topics covered: introductory anatomy, bones and joints, vertebral column upper limb, lower limb, thorax and abdomen

Semester 2 – Human Anatomy B (BM2509)

Course Coordinator: Dr Prem Ballal

Topics covered: pelvis, head, neck, neuroanatomy and brain

Year 3

Students registered for the BSc in Biomedical Sciences have the opportunity to specialise in Anatomy when they enter Year 3 of their studies. During third year of the BMS BSc students now specialise into anatomy, and diverge from the other BMS disciplines.

AN3009: Architecture of Life

Course coordinator:  Dr Asha Venkatesh 

  • This course equips students with key micro-anatomical principles and concepts that underpin human form and function. Students study the intricacies of cellular and extracellular components; how these combine structurally and functionally to form a coherent organ, and how they are altered in disease. The module is delivered through structured practical classes, which form the core element of this course, lectures, tutorials and online histology packages. By the end of this module students will be equipped with key generic microscopical, analytical, problem-solving and transferable skills, aimed at developing graduate attributes, to provide a solid foundation for further study in the biomedical sciences. Further details can be found at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/courses/undergraduate/2017-2018/anatomy

AN3301: Human Embryonic Development

Course Coordinator: Prof Lynda Erskine

AN3503: Biological Imaging

Course Coordinator: Prof Miep Heilfrich

Year 4

As students enter Year 4 (Honours year) of the BSc BMS (Anatomy) degree programme, two exciting dissection based modules comprise their core anatomy modules.

AN4003: Brain function and malfunction (with Anatomy)

Anatomy Course Coordinator: Dr Prem Ballal 

  • The dissection component of this course comprises 4 X 3-hour dissection practicals where students will be guided by a member of staff in the preparation of a dissected human cadaveric part. Students maintain a dissection portfolio each week which will form part of the assessment.

Details of the lecture and practical component of the course can be found https://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/courses/undergraduate/2017-2018/anatomy

AN4301: Developmental Neuroscience (with Anatomy)

Course coordinator:  Dr Asha Venkatesh  

  • For the anatomy dissection in this course, students perform a neuroscience based dissection project of their choice during their practical classes (4 x 3-hours). Students begin by designing their project with a dissection plan. As they embark on their dissection, once again they are fully supervised and guided through this process.

Details about the remainder of the course (Developmental Neuroscience) can be found at: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/courses/undergraduate/2017-2018/anatomy

The second half of the semester is taken up by students Honours Projects


This is a semester long novel research project of your choosing. Previous honours project titles offered by Anatomy have included: The Anatomy of Lower Back Pain: A Cadaveric Study with Clinical Implications,  Functional adaptations of wrap-around tendons, How safe is temporal artery biopsy?, Accuracy of Cadaver-based Ultrasound Techniques for Regional Anaesthesia Teaching, Left ventricular architecture in relation to pathological mechanical failure and its repair and Varied Anatomy of the Human Thyroid and Associated Structures – Implications for Thyroid Surgery”.

Sports and Exercise Science

Year 3 – SR3508

This 3rd year course called “Clinical exercise physiology” delves into the subfield of exercise physiology. This course is focussed on skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle-related diseases and on using exercise for the treatment of disease, and is complemented by a series of hands on gross anatomy practical classes, working with and understanding real human tissue arrangement, with 4 classes on bones, joints, muscles and the heart and cardiovascular system.

Physician Associate Studies

Course co-ordinator: Dr Alison Jack

Year 1

  • During the first year of the Physician Associate Postgraduate Diploma, students study all systems of the human body, through the use of prosected material. Practical gross anatomy classes are supplemented with radiology small group teaching, and surface anatomy tutorials, clinical teaching on a systems based approach is supplemented by dedicated anatomy teaching.


Contact Dental: Professor Jaya Jayasinghe
Anatomy co-ordinators – Mr David Chorn and Dr Prem Ballal

Year 2

A full course in Dental Anatomy is given jointly by staff from the Aberdeen Dental School and the Anatomy department. Students receive their lectures at the Dental School and their practical instruction in the Anatomy Facility teaching laboratories. Students cover all regions of the body with particular emphasis being placed on head, neck and chest anatomy. Year lead for anatomy – Prof. Jaya Jayasinghe (Dentistry), assisted by Dr Prem Ballal and Mr. David Chorn (Anatomy).


Year 1 - AY1502 Archaeology in Action

  • This short course in skeletal anatomy allows Archaeology students to get hands on with human osteology, studying the human skeleton, and beginning to understand how it can alter with a number of factors such as ageing, disease and malnutrition.  

Peer Assisted Learning

The newly launched Peer Assisted Learning Scheme is a teaching method that involves senior medical students teaching their near peers in junior years  and is a student-led initiative that was formalised by staff, leading to a productive staff-student partnership to promote teaching and learning. PALS was introduced into Years 1, 2 and 3 MBChB practical anatomy classes with year 5 students acting as peer tutors following “training the trainer sessions”. It not only provides our junior students with a valuable learning resource in class but also provides additional opportunities for the peer tutors to improve their anatomical knowledge and gain experience in teaching.

Regional Anaesthesia and Anatomy Teaching Fellow

Each year the anatomy department offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for a post-FRCA anaesthetic trainee to work within the university setting. This one year fellowship runs from January each year and fellows spend every Tuesdays and Friday afternoons within the Anatomy involved in formal teaching sessions, supervising honours students projects, developing teaching materials, co-organising the USGRA course and there is plenty of opportunity to carry out research – possibilities are endless! The challenge would be to fit everything into the one year.