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Teaching Anatomy: Which Medical Schools Do Full Body Dissection

Although all medical schools in the UK are regulated and overseen by the GMC to ensure a consistent standard for students there are a few key differences, for example the course structure, teaching methods and amount of clinical contact. One question that frequently comes up for prospective medical students is 'how is anatomy taught' and 'which medical schools do full body dissection'.


To help answer this question we have contacted all medical schools in the UK, but before we go into the details, here is a brief overview of the different teaching methods for learning anatomy during your medical degree. 

Dissection

Regarded by many as the traditional way of teaching anatomy, dissection is the cutting of the body/human tissue to study its anatomical structure (eg. muscles, bones and nerves). During anatomy classes medical students will be carrying out the dissection themselves on cadavers who have donated their bodies to medical science.

Prosection

The cutting of a cadaver or part of a cadaver by an experienced teacher in order to demonstrate anatomic structure for students. The main difference here is that medical students will be observing rather than doing any cutting themselves.

Anatomage table

Otherwise known as a 'virtual dissection table'. This is a high tech way of teaching anatomy whereby medical students and demonstrators can virtually 'peel back' layers of tissue to reveal the underlying structures. It can also be pre-programmed to show various medical conditions such as an arthritic joint so students can gain a better understanding of how anatomy and physiology tie together.

full-body-dissection

Which medical schools do full body dissection?

Disclaimer: All the information below was verified in the second week of November, however it is subject to change. You are advised to confirm with the university of your choice before applying.

Medical SchoolTeaching MethodSource and Date Gathered
University of Aberdeen

Mainly prosection offered; opportunities for dissection available

In Years 1 - 3, prosection carried out by technicians using anatomy guidebook and tutorials

In Year 3, 14 students get chance to do a module involving cadaveric dissection Summer school students can take part in dissection room during holidays

Anatomy department in the 2nd week of November.

Also online on website

Anglia RuskinFull body dissectionCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
Aston University

Anatomy teaching offered through models and apps on site

Students travel to Leicester medical school (partnered school) for anatomy demonstration sessions

Admissions department in the 2nd week of November
Bart's and the London

5 year degree: prosection

4 year degree: full body dissection

Current student in the 2nd week of November
University of BirminghamProsection and anatomage tablesCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
Brighton and SussexWithin years 1 and 2, undergraduate students dissect specified regions of the human body aided by structured guidesUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
University of BristolProsectionFormer student at Bristol in the 2nd week of November
University of BuckinghamAnatomage table. Opportunities at Milton Keyes University Hospital nearby for students to do field trips and learn about prosection/dissectionAdmissions department in the 2nd week of November
University of Cambridge

Full body dissection

Prosection for head and neck

Current student in the 2nd week of November
Cardiff UniversityDissectionCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
University of DundeeDissectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
University of Edinburgh

Prosection, class sizes between 30 and 60 students, facilitated by MSc and PhD students

6 places for medical summer students for full dissections

Intercalation opportunity in anatomy development honours which can be dissection led

Anatomy department in the 2nd week of November
University of ExeterTo be confirmed
University of GlasglowA combination of dissection and prosectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
Hull YorkProsections, plastinated specimens, anatomical models, videos, e-learning resources, radiological imaging and the clinical examination of living anatomyUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
Imperial CollegeDissectionPhone call to admission office in 2nd week of March 2019
Keele UniversityDissection and elements of prosectionFormer student in the 2nd week of November
King's CollegeFull body dissection, prosection of limbsCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
Lancaster University

No dissection or prosection offered

Anatomy taught using models and anatomage table

Admissions department in the 2nd week of November
University of Leeds

Historically, students did full body dissections however, they have cut down and there will be only some wet anatomy

In Years 1 and 2 students will be taught with prosection

There are further opportunities later in medical school to do dissection

Admissions department in the 2nd week of November
University of LeicesterFull body dissectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
University of LiverpoolTo be confirmed
University of ManchesterManchester (year 1 and 2 (2011-2013) dissection primarily with some secondary prosecutions of head and neck anatomyFormer student in the 2nd week of November
Newcastle UniversityFull body dissectionCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
Norwich Medical SchoolDissectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
University of NottinghamFull body dissection for one year, three hours a weekCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
University of OxfordUndergraduate: ProsectionAdmissions department in the 2nd week of November
Plymouth UniversityThe anatomy course uses a combination of volunteer model patients, surface anatomy, medical imaging, plastic and computer-animated modelsUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
Queen's UniversityTo be confirmed
University of SheffieldFull body dissection for Phase 1 medical students, also prosections and plastinated materialCurrent technician at the university in the 1st week of July
University of SouthamptonProsectionFormer student in the 2nd week of November
University of St AndrewsFull body dissectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
St George'sWhole body prosectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November
University of Sunderland

Anatomical models, surface anatomy and computer-aided learning materials

By 2021, the Sunderland Royal Infirmary site will also include cadaveric dissection

University website in the 2nd week of November
Swansea University

n Year 1, in the curriculum, anatomy is taught via prosection and virtual body

In Year 2, 2 extracurricular opportunities in Autumn and Spring to carry out dissection on the locomotive system and other organs

Anatomy department in the 2nd week of November
University of Central LancashireProsection done at Liverpool, 3D teaching using an anatomage table and modelsCurrent student in the 2nd week of November
University College LondonAnatomy and imaging are taught through a combination of dissection, prosection and
computer simulation
University website in the 2nd week of November
University of WarwickPlasticinated prosections, 3D models and dissectionUniversity website in the 2nd week of November

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We hope this information is helpful in helping you to decide which medical schools to apply for. For more information on medical schools in the UK you may also be interested in our Complete Guide to the Best Medical Schools UK, or our Get Into Medical School Guidebook which covers each individual school as well as tips and advice for your personal statement, admissions exams and interview. 

We hope that these tips were helpful in making your decision easier and if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions at hello@theMSAG.com

dr-fei-zhang

Dr Fei Zhang

Fei is a medical doctor who graduated from Imperial College London. She is the Business Development Manager at theMSAG, leads our interview courses and regularly tutors students to help them with their interview technique. Previously she co-authored an article in SPC Magazine.


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