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Medicine students in the anatomy lab at the University of York with Dr Kat Sanders


Develop the in-depth understanding of human clinical anatomy needed to deliver exceptional healthcare, under the guidance of our expert anatomists.


A modern approach to anatomy

Understanding the structure and function of the human body is essential to being a brilliant doctor.

Everything you learn in your anatomy sessions will be applicable to the care of patients and is designed to prepare you to be a competent and safe doctor.

The anatomy you learn will relate to the themes raised by your weekly problem based learning case, reinforcing your understanding of the key underlying science, and ensuring you are putting into practice what you learn each week.

From understanding the anatomical basis of patient symptoms, to performing relevant examinations and interpreting clinical images, your anatomy learning will put you in good stead to effectively and safely diagnose and treat patients.

Medical students in an anatomy session with Professor Peter Bazira
Medicine students in an anatomy demonstration with Lauren Clunie
Medical students in an anatomy session with Dr Kat Sanders
Dr Kiranjit Kaur, 2019 graduate


Learning anatomy using prosections allows you to focus on the anatomical structures, rather than worrying about how to dissect correctly to keep the important structures intact. The prosections are done in a way that makes it as easy as possible for us to learn from them and get the information we need.
2019 graduate

Dr Kiranjit Kaur


What approaches are used?

You will build your knowledge of clinical anatomy using an academically rigorous combination of prosections, medical imaging, computer-based anatomy programmes, cadaveric videos, anatomical models, and innovative techniques in living anatomy developed by our own researchers.

This blended approach offers an efficient and consistent means of learning clinically relevant anatomy, ensuring that you develop the essential knowledge and skills you need for your medical career.


Prosections are human anatomical specimens that have been previously dissected by our expert anatomists to display and demonstrate specific structures, relationships, systems, and regions. They give medical students the opportunity to learn anatomy efficiently and view anatomical variations in several specimens.

Formalin-embalmed prosections

These prosections preserve key surface features of anatomical structures and permit these structures to be moved relative to each other to reveal important three-dimensional anatomical features and relationships.

Plastinated prosections

Plastinated prosections have had the body fluids and fat replaced with synthetic materials such as silicone resins. This means that they can be handled without protective gloves and can be used and reused indefinitely to demonstrate key anatomical features.

They are more rigid than formalin-embalmed prosections but offer an excellent opportunity for the indefinite preservation of important anatomical features and variations.


Students in the anatomy lab with Lauren Clunie inspecting prosections
Students in the anatomy lab inspecting prosections
Anatomical models

These high quality, anatomically accurate representations of human anatomy supplement and complement learning from prosections.

They provide the opportunity to hone your spatial abilities and to build on the understanding of clinically relevant anatomical relationships.

The models can be used outside the anatomy laboratory to facilitate learning in your PBL groups, the library, or even at home.

Medicine students in the anatomy lab
Medicine students in an anatomy session with Rebecca Quinn
Medical imaging

Medical imaging is how most practising doctors engage with and view human anatomy in practice. We therefore use modern medical imaging modalities such as CT, MRI, and ultrasound to complement anatomical learning.

Using medical imaging enables us to reinforce the links between cadaveric and living anatomy, and to prepare students to actively engage with medical imaging in their clinical training and practice.

Students discussing a CT scan of a brain with Professor Peter Bazira
Students discussing a chest X-ray with Professor Peter Bazira

If you are interested in dissection, you will have the opportunity to carry out a detailed dissection of a region of the body and to study anatomy in depth within a clinical context as part of the Scholarship and Special Interest Programme, or in the elective period in Year 5.

You can also undertake whole body dissection as part of our intercalated Masters programmes: MSc in Clinical Anatomy or MSc in Clinical Anatomy and Education.