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BSc in Anatomy

Otago is the only university in New Zealand that offers a Bachelor's Degree in Anatomy.

The papers we offer cover clinical and functional anatomy, neuroscience, developmental and reproductive biology and biological anthropology.

The 100- and 200-level papers are designed to give you a broad and comprehensive grounding in modern Anatomy, while the 300-level papers allow you the opportunity to specialise in areas of interest.

Over the course of your degree you'll learn:

  • 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 our brains control what we think, how we feel, and what we do.
  • What changes occur when we develop and how fetal damage can have an impact on the mature nervous system.
  • How the reproductive system functions.
  • How the structure of muscles are related to their function
  • How to analyse, interpret and discuss relevant contemporary anatomical research and much much more...

If you incorporate biological anthropology into your degree you'll also learn things like:

  • How you tell the age a person was when they died, just by looking at their bones.
  • How the health, genetic and cultural history of people living thousands of years ago has influenced the distribution of modern diseases.
  • How biology, culture, and history are intertwined and relate to the human diversity we see in New Zealand and globally today.

Structure of a BSc in Anatomy

For more detailed information on the structure of these degrees, including major subject and programme requirements, please refer to the Anatomy subject page

  • Students with prior knowledge, who wish to substitute a higher level paper, should contact the Department to request a course variation (email:
  • Students in HSFY or BSFY in 2022, who then start a BSc with an Anatomy major in 2023, are not required to include a Māori-focused paper.
  • Students who were enrolled in an Anatomy major prior to 2023 are not required to include a Māori-focused paper.

See the list of Anatomy papers

What career could a degree in Anatomy lead you to?

Anatomy graduates are well equipped to work in a wide range of medical, health department, and applied biological science laboratories. The training you receive is especially helpful for work in research laboratories since you are also introduced to research methods and research questions as part of your studies.

Anatomy students also gain skills that can be incorporated into careers beyond those that appear to be directly relevant. These include marketing, science communication, teaching and much, much more...

A undergraduate degree in Anatomy also sets you up well for postgraduate study.

"The theory I was provided with at Otago was diverse, from specific embryology, anatomy and genetics through to ethics and reproductive anthropology. The knowledge I gained in all these papers provided me with a strong foundation that was then built on during my Masters."

Mina Vasilic, Anatomy Alumni

For more information about career prospects check out our careers page or talk to one of our staff.

Smart from the start

OverloadedTruckWhen it comes to a BSc the most important thing is to make sure you do not do more papers than you need, or more papers than you can cope with.

Otherwise your degree can take you longer than necessary and cost you more money.

It can also make your time at university more stressful than necessary.

We have a team of dedicated course advisors who can help ensure you take the right papers at the right time to complete your degree in the smartest way possible.

Their advice is not limited to Anatomy majors so if you are thinking of doing any degree that has an Anatomy component then talk to them (or Skype them). Their only concern is making sure you choose a degree structure that maximises your investment of time and money at university.

Anatomy Course Advice.

Rescue strategies

StretcherCharacters226pxDegrees don't always go as planned. Sometimes students fail critical papers, sometime their first choice doesn't pan out, sometime they simply change their mind.

The Department has a number of strategies that can help students overcome most problems in the smartest way possible. Rescue strategies

Apply Online

You can apply online for any University of Otago degree at Apply for a programme


Fees are determined by the type and quantity of papers you undertake. There are also some additional costs on top of the papers. For a full list of papers and information on how to calculate the cost of your degree please refer to the main university site below (also includes information on student loans):

Domestic Students: Tuition Fees Guide

International Students: Tuition Fees and Costs for International Students

Entrance Scholarships

There are scholarships available to students beginning their studies at Otago. They open around June/July and you have about six weeks to get your application in. For information on these scholarships and to download a copy of the 'guide to application' go to University of Otago Entrance Scholarships


The university has a good webpage dedicated to your concerns which you can find on the main website. You are also welcome to contact us directly.

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