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University of Otago
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Master of Science (MSc) in Anatomy

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Otago


The Master of Science (MSc) is a two-year degree which encompasses both coursework and research. The first year involves mainly coursework and preliminary research preparation. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to existing fields of research, or to begin to develop new areas.

Why study Anatomy?

Anatomy is a diverse, vibrant, and visual subject. It explores the relationship between the structure of the body and the functions it performs, and can be studied from microscopic to macroscopic levels.

Some of the things you will learn include:

How the body develops from just a single cell to an individual with millions of cells organised into many different tissues and organ systems

How you can tell the age a person was when they died just by looking at their bones

What changes occur when we develop from child to adult

How the structure of muscles are related to their function

How our brains control what we think how we feel, and what we do

How the reproductive system functions

Using skeletal remains to track movement, culture, and health of ancient people

How to analyse, interpret, and discuss relevant contemporary anatomical research, and much, much more...

Studying papers in Anatomy will expose you to world-leading research in the anatomical sciences. You will learn techniques such as immunohistochemistry, cell culture, and gene sequencing, and have access to state-of-the-art equipment such as electron and confocal microscopes, and next-generation sequencing technology.

Career opportunities

A University of Otago graduate in Anatomy has the world at their feet. Opportunities available to them are varied and numerous, ranging from health professions such as Medicine, Dentistry, and Physiotherapy, to research and teaching at university or secondary and primary school, to technical work in medical or agricultural laboratories, to sales, marketing, and research positions with pharmaceutical, medical, or agribusiness companies, or national bodies such as the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Graduates also work as funeral directors, winemakers, policymakers, and beyond – there is definitely something for everyone with a degree in Anatomy!

Anatomy students gain a high level of knowledge and competencies across a broad range of topics, with a range of skills that can be applied to any chosen career. These skills range from learning to speak and work in group environments, honing and extending thinking and communication skills, through to having an awareness and understanding of ethics and developing the ability to undertake self-directed learning. Ant then of course, there are the technical and applied skills that are used every day in practical labs.

Some graduates use their degree as a stepping stone to further study in a health professional course, while others have gone on to postgraduate study in forensic science, clinical embryology, and of course the various research fields – biological anthropology, clinical anatomy, neuroscience, and reproductive and developmental biology – offered in the Department of Anatomy here at the University of Otago.

Duration of the Programme

A candidate achieving the degree by papers and a thesis shall normally follow a programme for the equivalent of not less than two years of full-time study and not more than three years of full-time study, and a candidate achieving the degree by thesis alone shall normally follow a programme of study for the equivalent of not less than one year of full-time study and not more than two years of full-time study. Exceptions shall be permitted only with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

Entry criteria

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

Every applicant must either

  • be a graduate with an average grade of at least B for the appropriate 300-level papers, or
  • have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

An applicant seeking admission to the thesis-only option of the programme (see regulation 2(c) below) on the basis of the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science or equivalent must have achieved a grade of at least B+ for the research report, thesis preparation, or dissertation requirement of the qualification concerned.

In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualification, as well as the applicant's performance in the programme.

English language requirements

  • IELTS Academic - Score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 90 with a minimum writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - score of 587 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Minimum of 176
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
  • ELA pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade

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