Clinical Anatomy BSc - 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 how anatomical sciences are being applied in contemporary clinical medicine and how changing technology and treatments are requiring greater understanding of anatomical form, function and dysfunction.

It is intended this degree will allow students with an interest in a variety of clinical specialties (from General Practice, imaging, interventional radiology, anesthesia, pathology, medical and surgical specialties) to develop an appreciation of how anatomical knowledge impacts on current practice and possibly future developments in diagnosis and treatment.

Please note that this course is only available to students currently studying Medicine.

Students may also apply to the following intercalated programmes:

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

These include diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology; community based imaging such as ultrasonography, anaesthesia and pain management; endoscopic investigations and endoscopically delivered therapies, interventional cardiology. Most new medical graduates will be involved to some extent in these techniques. 

An intercalated degree in Clinical Anatomy provides the opportunity for you to gain experience in this area through a bespoke anatomy course for students between years 3 and 4, or years 4 and 5 of their MBChB programme.

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 and with more time available for its delivery.

Patient and public engagement

The Anatomy in the Clinical Environment module involves a ‘patient and public engagement’ element, where investigating and later presenting some relevant clinical anatomy 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 in responding to questions about a specific pathology, treatment or investigation. 

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.  The Form, Function and Diversity module requires that you each develop a 10-minute podcast based on a clinically relevant aspect of their dissection.  This is to be used for undergraduate medical teaching.

Close links with local hospitals

All modules will have considerable input from senior clinical staff. 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.

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Embryological and Developmental Basis of Disease - 20 credits studied in semester 1

Technology has substantially improved the outcome of infants born prematurely and/or born with congenital anomalies so that these children might survive to adulthood. Additionally not all congenital and developmental anomalies are diagnosed at birth, but have substantial clinical consequences even into adulthood. This module has been developed to improve your knowledge and understanding of embryology and development in order to best 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 examine the impact of maldevelopment upon function and disease; both relatively common and rare scenarios will be investigated. This module will improve your the understanding and awareness of difficult clinical presentations and therefore provide you with significant transferable skills when returning to hospital-based teaching.

Form, Function and Dysfunction - 30 credits studied in semester 1 and 2

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 (at this stage incomplete) hospital-based teaching. Dissection informs recognition and understanding of the aetiology and symtomology of disease and of (ab)normality - and in the future will inform your decision-making in diagnosis. To expand further on understanding you will be expected to be able to find, read, interpret and present published research based on anatomical, surgical and radiological anatomy. The module will assist you in understanding how anatomy evaluated by novel technologies such as endoscopic ultrasound, laparoscopy, manometry etc assesses anatomical relationships and their function and morphological consequences.

This module provides the opportunity for advanced learning of three-dimensional anatomy and the investigation of consequences of a variety of pathologies on anatomically and clinically relevant areas. Each student will work with a maximum of three others to dissect a cadaver. Each cadaver on the programme will have a pathology (as informed by the cause of death certificate). Through the process of dissection, comparison with radiological evidence as well as with each others' work, you will learn the breath of normality. Through dissection and reading you will identify anatomical anomalies and pathologies and discuss the reasons for their development. Journal club-type reading of peer-reviewed research papers in a variety of clinical fields will reinforce and deepen your knowledge of form, function and dysfunction.

Anatomy in the Clinical Environment - 20 credits studied in semester 2

This module will specifically examine the way anatomical knowledge is informing contemporary clinical practice. In particular you will examine how both morphological and functional anatomy is utilised in the clinical environment for diagnosis, staging and planning treatment of different disease states. You will work alongside clinicians under supervision, exploring novel modalities examining macro- and micro-anatomical assessments in clinical decision making within the multidisciplinary team meetings and other clinical areas. Part of your work will examine how this technical information and relevance is effectively communicated to patients to inform patient and relatives of the findings.

Project - 50 credits taken over semester 1 and 2

The module provides you with the opportunity to use the scientific, clinical and professional understanding that you have developed through the taught components of the Clinical Anatomy BSc programme as a foundation for planning and undertaking a major piece of scholarly work. Projects will run full time from early November to the end of January and there will be one day a week after that for writing up/finalising data etc. Hand in - same as others - last day of term.


Standard fees apply. Learn more about fees and funding

How To Apply

To apply, please complete our online application form 

Application deadline

Applications must be received by end of 4th January 2021. 

Any tips on applying?

As you might realise, this is an intercalation that has wide application to clinical work – but it will not be an easy ride! If you are enthusiastic that will come across in your applications, but consider the presentation (pagination etc) of your application document.

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.

Much of the teaching will be directing the student to contemporary issues of discussion around anatomy examples include: classification of congenital heart disease in planning surgical correction and relationship to outcomes; maximising functional recovery after stroke; pre-operative staging of malignant diseases.

This will form the ‘sign-post’ for supervised but self-directed enquiry-based learning. Some teaching tutorial sessions will be group problem-based learning this will require the students to work collectively to research different elements of an area of study. There will be regular journal article critique sessions where students will be expected to find papers, discuss background information, and present to the rest of their peers.

Assessment Methods

This is different and appropriate to each module - any new formats will have formative assessment which will be marked and you will have progress tutorials.

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

In-course assessment:                                

3,000 word (maximum) essay (30%)

Written examination:                                                             

Two hour exam (two essays from a choice of six) (70%)

Assessments for Form, Function and Dysfunction (FFD) module

In-course assessment:                               

Preparation of a ten-minute educational podcast (35%)                                                                 

Submission of a logbook of dissection (10%)                                                                 

Oral examination over dissected specimen (20%)

Written examination:                                                                 

Two hour written exam (journal criticism) (35%)

Assessments for Anatomy in the Clinical Environment (ACE) module

In-course assessment:                                 

Poster presentation in QEH (35%)                                                                  

Reflection/interview / theatre presentation  following poster presentation (25%)                                               

Written examination:                                                                        

90 minute exam (scenario-based essay from choice of three) (40%)             

Assessments for Project

In-course assessment:                                

20,000 (maximum) word project (60%)

Supervisors’ report (20%)

10 minute (maximum) project presentation with 8 minutes for questions (20%)

Preparation for your career in medicine should be a major consideration as you proceed through Medical School. The BMedSc intercalated honours degree 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.

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