Clinical Anatomy MSci - Intercalated Degree

Start date
1 year full-time
Course Type
Undergraduate, Intercalated

The aim of this programme is to allow you to develop an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, its application in contemporary clinical medicine, and how new approaches and treatments are requiring a greater understanding of anatomical form, function and dysfunction.

The importance of anatomy within contemporary clinical medicine has grown substantially with the development of both imaging and interventions beyond those traditionally limited to invasive surgeries. 

These include - laparoscopic surgeries; diagnostic and interventional radiology; ultrasonography; endoscopic investigations and therapies, and interventional cardiology. Most new medical graduates will be involved to some extent in these techniques and an in-depth knowledge of anatomy is imperative to successful implementation. The intercalated degree in Clinical Anatomy provides the ideal opportunity to expand your anatomical knowledge to the next level.

Why study this course?

Increased opportunity for dissection

There is opportunity for more challenging and detailed dissection than is available in other medicine courses that offer dissection within their pre-clinical curriculum. Your sessions will be uniquely supplemented by expert guidance from a multidisciplinary team of dissectors, anatomists, and surgeons.

Close links with local hospitals

Modules have considerable input from senior clinical staff and include on-site hospital rotations. The programme benefits from the development of close links between the University’s anatomy department and local trust hospitals, including University Hospitals Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Conduct novel clinically relevant research

Working alongside a research team of academics and clinicians, you will conduct your own piece of clinically relevant research. This can be a hugely enriching experience, not only will you learn a wide range of new and transferable skills, but you may also discover something truly novel that changes the way we approach medicine.

Patient and public engagement

The Anatomy in the Clinical Environment module involves a ‘patient and public engagement’ element, where investigating and later presenting a relevant clinical case to the general public is required. This will be presented via a manned poster in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and will require you to communicate effectively and accurately with patients and clinicians when responding to questions about pathology, treatment and future direction.

Involvement in education development and delivery

This has become an important element of medical careers at Junior Doctor level and proven aptitude is required for career advancement. As part of the course, you will be involved in numerous interactive tutorials and even conduct your own student-led seminar.

Please note that this course is only available to internal or external students currently studying Medicine or Dentistry looking to intercalate between years 3 and 4, or years 4 and 5. 

We have a variety of intercalated programmes at Birmingham, see here for the full list.


Embryological and Developmental Basis of Disease (EDBD)- 20 credits

Research and technology has substantially improved our knowledge of development, this in turn has improved the outcome of infants born prematurely and/or born with congenital anomalies, with many such patients now surviving to adulthood. This module has been developed to improve students’ knowledge and understanding of embryology and development, in order to better understand the aetiology of developmental diseases.

Clinical diagnostic algorithms and evaluation of the anatomical impact on management, treatment options and outcomes, are the core of this module. The module will especially examine the impact of maldevelopment upon function and disease, with both common and rare scenarios investigated. This module will improve the students understanding and awareness of difficult clinical presentations and thus provide significant transferrable skills for students returning to hospital-based teaching.

Form Function and Dysfunction (FFD)- 20 credits

The module offers the opportunity for you to expand upon your knowledge and understanding of anatomy at a contextually relevant time following exposure to patients during your hospital-based teaching. Clinical lectures and their accompanying journal clubs, along with the unique opportunity for whole body dissection, will enhance your understanding of the aetiology, symptomology and treatment of disease, and in the future, this experience will inform diagnosis and decision-making. This module provides the opportunity for advanced learning of three-dimensional anatomy and the investigation of consequences of a variety of pathologies in anatomically and clinically relevant areas.

During dissection, each student will work as a team of four on a designated cadaver, but students are expected to investigate anatomical variation by interrogating the cadavers dissected by other groups. Each cadaver on the programme will have a diagnosed pathology (as informed by the cause of death certificate). Through dissection and self-directed study, students will attempt to build a picture of the cause of death, while identifying anatomical variations, anomalies and pathologies, and discussing the reasons for their development. Clinical lectures and complimentary Journal club type reading of peer-reviewed research papers in a variety of clinical fields, will reinforce and deepen their knowledge of form function and dysfunction.

Anatomy in the Clinical Environment (ACE)- 20 credits

This module will specifically examine the way anatomical knowledge is informing contemporary clinical practice. In particular students will examine how both morphological and functional anatomy is utilised in the clinical environment for diagnosis, staging and planning treatment of different disease states.

Students will work alongside and under the supervision of clinicians, exploring novel modalities for macro- and micro-anatomical assessments in clinical decision making. Through this process students will attend multidisciplinary team meetings, participate in clinical rounds, and shadow surgeries. Part of the students work will involve examining how anatomical information is used to effectively inform diagnoses and treatment, and used in communications with patients and relatives during consultations. In groups of three or four, students will spend 3-4 days a week in each of the following specialist areas over a 5-week period:

Plastic/ Maxillofacial Surgery (QEH)

Hand Surgery (QEH)

Paediatric medicine and surgery (BCH)

Imaging (QEH)

Ear, Nose and Throat (QEH)

Research Project- 60 credits

The module provides you with the opportunity to use the scientific, clinical and professional understanding you have developed through the taught components of the Clinical Anatomy MSci programme as a foundation for planning and undertaking a major piece of clinically relevant research. You will work with an experienced research team of academics and clinicians, but impetus for the work, critical thinking, and presentation will come from you as the student.


Fees and Funding

Standard fees apply. Learn more about fees and funding

How To Apply

Please contact our Intercalation team to make enquiries and apply.

Students studying medicine following successful completion of their third or fourth year and who will return to the fourth or fifth year of the MBChB course on completion of the intercalation. The programme is not available before you have completed at least one year of clinical training.

Dental students are advised to contact the Programme Lead prior to applying.

Teaching and Assessment Methods

The intercalated MSci in Clinical Anatomy is a one-year multifaceted programme. The course combines the academic study of anatomy with a practical focus on its influence, impact, and role in the clinical environment. The programme’s content is delivered in a myriad of ways; from classic lectures, interactive tutorials, journal clubs, and student-led seminars; to traditional dissection, practical research activities, and multiple clinical placements. 

These sessions will form the ‘sign-posts’ for supervised but self-directed enquiry-based learning.

Assessment Methods

The programme adopts a diverse range of assessment methods, allowing you to develop a wide range of transferable skills. For each assessment there will be a formative or practice exercise, which will be accompanied by detailed constructive feedback.

Assessments for Embryological and Developmental Basis of Disease (EDBD) module

In-course assessment:

3,000 word (maximum) essay (50%) 

Written examination:

Two-hour exam (two essays from a choice of four) (50%)

Assessments for Form, Function and Dysfunction (FFD) module

In-course assessment:                               

Submission of a logbook of dissection (10%)                                                                 

Oral examination over dissected specimen (50%)

Written examination:                                                                 

Two hour written exam (journal criticism) (40%)

Assessments for Anatomy in the Clinical Environment (ACE) module

In-course assessment:                                 

Poster presentation in QEH (30%)                                                                  

Reflection/interview / theatre presentation following poster presentation (20%)                                               

Written examination:                                                                        

Two hour written exam (two scenario-based essays from four) (50%)             

Assessments for Project

In-course assessment:                                

Project outline (20%)

Supervisors report (10%)

15,000 word dissertation (50%)

10 minute project presentation with questions (20%)

Preparation for your career in medicine should be a major consideration as you proceed through Medical School. The Clinical Anatomy MSci intercalated can help in advancing your medical career. 

Many students have produced significant international conference presentations and academic publications. These are educational achievements that are well recognised in applications for Foundation Programme and Academic Foundation Programme applications at the start of your post-graduate medical training. The intercalated courses give a excellent grounding if you wish to pursue a career in academic medicine, but as importantly an appreciation of the value of research in whatever speciality you may take up in the future. Whether you have a clear idea of a speciality where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Find out more about Careers Network.