This course is available for postgraduate medical students enrolled in the Master of Surgery (by coursework) Degree Course at the University of Sydney.

RACS logo

This course has been accredited by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. It has been also approved by the Board of Studies, of the University of Sydney.

The inaugural course (WBD-MS2012) was held in August/September/October 2012. The twelve participants all successfully completed the course. You can download the full report for the 2012 course (PDF - 8.1MB).

2012 participants - group photo

Class of 2012

The second course (WBD-MS2013) was held in August/September/October 2013. All fourteen participants successfully completed the course. You can download the full report for the 2013 course (PDF - 1.3MB).

Portrait of the postgraduate class of 2013

Class of 2013

The WBD-MS Course is composed of four Units of Study (SURG5027, SURG5028, SURG5029 and SURG5030), which are conducted in serial fashion over twelve weeks. The next course, (WBD-MS2014) will be held in July/August/September/October 2014.


The Schedule of Dissection for WBD-MS and Grad Cert of Adv Clin Skills (Surg Anat) 2015 can be found below:

Download schedule document (PDF - 75KB)

These courses are conducted all day on Mondays/Tuesdays/and Wednesdays of each week for 12 weeks as shown in the Schedule. The 35 days of dissection of the course (i.e. a possible 280 hours of dissection) constitute the 4 Units of Study (i.e. SURG5027-30).

The Graduate Certificate in Advanced Clinical Skills (Surgical Anatomy) acts as an embedded course within the Master of Surgery, specifically the Master of Surgery (Surgical Anatomy). Units completed for the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Clinical Skills (Surgical Anatomy) can be recognised for credit towards the Master of Surgery (Surgical Anatomy). These Units of Study generate 24 Credit Points of the 48 Credit Points required for the award of the MS Degree or complete the Grad Cert of Adv Clin Skills degree.
Enrolments are only accepted for the full 12 weeks of the course. This is a full-time intensive anatomy dissection course. The full commitment and out-of-dissection-class preparation, reading and study required, makes this course incompatible with a concomitant regular hospital post even with very favourable rostering.

The full details of the four Units of Study comprising the WBD-MS Course taken from the Surgery Handbook can be accessed by following:

It is possible to complete the Master of Surgery Degree (by coursework) by completing the “Surgical Anatomy Stream” of study. The full details of the Surgical Anatomy Stream (and WBD-MS) requirements, taken from the Surgery Handbook, can be accessed by following:


Dissections follow Cunningham’s Dissection Manuals (Romanes GJ, Cunningham’s Manuals of Practical Anatomy, Vols 1-3, 15th Edition, 1986, Oxford Medical Publications) available from the Coop Bookshop. Candidates will also be expected to be familiar with Last’s Anatomy 9th Edition (McMinn RMH, Last’s Anatomy Regional and Applied, 9th Edition, 1994, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh) also available from the Coop Bookshop. This is the edition of Last approved by the RACS and has the RACS logo on the back cover.


Candidates in the course dissect in groups of 6 or less per cadaver. Specialist surgeons act as Tutors and Supervisors, especially when their areas of interest and expertise are being dissected. Thus the course has a strong clinical and surgical emphasis. At the completion of each anatomical region an assessment by MCQs and spot tests is carried out. Each dissection day, a two station SCORPIO assessment is held at 3pm. There is a Pre-course practical test and an End-course summative wet specimen written practical examination, which must be passed to successfully complete the course.

The course is run along similar lines to the Elective “Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection” Course (AWBD) for Final Year Medicine students which have been held annually at the University of Sydney over the past four years. Details of this medical undergraduate course can be accessed by following:

The participant with the highest aggregate score from MCQs and spot tests and wet specimen assessments is awarded the Sydney Nade Prize in Surgical Anatomy, in honour of the late professor Sydney Nade, an original supervisor of this course.


  • Full details of this Postgraduate Whole Body Dissection course (WBD-MS) and the method of enrolment can be obtained from:
    MS Administration

  • The overall organiser of the course Master of Surgery course is:
    Professor Pierre Chapuis
    Director of Postgraduate Surgical Education, University of Sydney

  • The coordinator of the dissection course is:
    Assoc Professor Lindsay Wing