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Extend your knowledge of clinically relevant anatomy through self-directed distance learning and hands-on cadaver dissection at the University of Otago, Dunedin campus.

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Applications for 2024 have now closed. Applications for 2025 will open on 1 September 2024.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy is a one-year programme providing instruction in clinically relevant anatomy to registered medical practitioners or those with an equivalent overseas qualification.

The programme focuses on anatomy relevant to surgical approaches, pathology, surgical procedures, and surgical complications.

Key features

  • Surg2018 promo3Open to junior doctors
  • 24 weeks online distance learning
  • x2 two-week campus-based tuition in the Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin campus
  • Taught by surgical anatomists, i.e. surgeons with a major interest in anatomy education and anatomists with a surgical background, together with consultant orthopaedic, general, ENT, maxillofacial, vascular, plastic, A&E surgeons, and radiologists
  • Cadaver dissection - a combination of targeted dissections of generic interest and free dissection for candidates wishing to investigate subspeciality-specific areas of interest.
  • Ultrasound tuition
  • Excellent facilities – the W.D. Trotter Anatomy Museum houses more than 2,000 anatomical specimens, radiographs and models.  The Department has an active Clinical Anatomy research programme and excellent links with surgeons and radiologists at Dunedin Public Hospital.

Course structure

Surg2018 promo5The diploma comprises four papers:

  • SUAN 701 - Upper Limb and Thorax
  • SUAN 702 - Lower Limb and Pelvis
  • SUAN 703 - Abdomen and Neck
  • SUAN 704 - Head, Spine, Basic Neuroanatomy, and Skin.

The diploma is taught in two semesters – each comprises 12 weeks of online distance learning and two weeks of campus-based tuition in the Department of Anatomy.  Distance-learning is self-directed and involves a weekly commitment to cover selected readings and answer test questions.

The campus-based learning is a structured programme of cadaveric dissections, hands-on tutorials, lectures, and surgical and radiologic anatomy talks delivered by specialists.

It is important for you to consider your other commitments carefully to ensure you will have sufficient time each week to devote to this course.

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Dates for 2025

Semester 1 distance learning – Monday, 10 March – Friday, 30 May
Semester 1 residential teaching in Dunedin – Monday, 23 June – Friday, 4 July inclusive

Semester 2 distance learning – Monday, 28 July – Friday, 17 October
Semester 2 residential teaching in Dunedin – Monday, 10 November – Friday, 21 November inclusive


Candidates will be expected to complete a literature-based research essay on a specific topic within each 12 week distance learning period.   Assessment during each campus-based block comprises mastery tests; oral (viva) exams; an oral presentation; and a final examination.

For further information contact:


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