Studying here

The staff at the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology are committed to the ongoing development of a world class learning environment. The Discipline is constantly evolving to add new tools and techniques to its repertoire.

Read on to discover some of the many tools and methods used by the Discipline to enhance your learning.


All students studying anatomy in the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology at The University of Sydney will have the opportunity to dissect the human body at some point during there studies.

Prosection Workshop
Students who are currently enrolled in medicine stage 1 or 2, and science students currently enrolled in most anatomy units of study are eligible to apply for the annual prosection workshop. No previous experience is required. Adjudication of the completed specimens is conducted to determine who is to be given the title of ‘Prosector’.

Prosectors’ Competition
This competition is held annually and is open to all students (currently enrolled in anatomy units) who have had previous dissection experience. The objective of the competition is for students to plan and dissect a specimen worthy of inclusion in the Wilson Museum. The prosection is judged by the anatomy staff for the giving out of prizes and the title of ‘Prosector’.

Medical Students
Medical students in their first two years at The University of Sydney take part in weekly anatomy lectures and tutorials where they work with prosected material. In addition to this, medical students can take part in the Prosection Workshop and Prosector’s Competition outlined above. They can also apply to take part in an eight week Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection Course (AWBD) in the Elective Term between Years 3 and 4 of Medicine (December to February). The AWBD course is followed by the Laycock and Shellshear Prosectors’ Competition, when a prosection of clinical or surgical relevance is carried out by selected students.

Dentistry Students
In addition to the Prosection Workshop and Prosector’s Competition outlined above, dentistry students dissect the head and neck during year one of their course.

Science students
In addition to the Prosection Workshop and Prosector’s Competition, advanced science students may dissect the head and neck throughout semester two.

Teaching aids

The greatest teaching aids for anatomy are prosections and the experience of dissection. Students at the University of Sydney are able to learn their anatomy using a wide range of quality prosections, bones, models and imaging modalities. Prosections are special dissections, prepared for teaching purposes. With the extensive collection of prosections available in teaching rooms, students can fully appreciate the wide range of ‘normal’ anatomy – how we are so similar and yet so different. All students of anatomy may also have the opportunity to experience dissection. The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology is extremely grateful to the generosity of our donors that now act as ‘silent teachers’ of our students.

Anatomy tutorial rooms at the University of Sydney have state-of-the-art teaching facilities including resource computers and high definition cameras linked to plasma screens for showcasing anatomical structures. Every anatomy tutorial room at The University of Sydney, Camperdown campus, also contains large numbers of carefully prepared prosections, models, bones and radiological images, providing students with the “complete” experience in their learning of human anatomy.

Outside tutorial times, students learn in the Wilson Museum of Anatomy, from its comprehensive collection of prosections, a skeleton, wax models and computer resources. In the medical library students make use of skeletons, bones, models and wall charts. The Medical, Fisher and Cumberland campus Libraries also hold an extensive range of anatomy books, DVDs and electronic resources.

Online Learning

Online learning resources at The University of Sydney include:

  • The Wilson Museum of Anatomy (with fully integrated online access)
  • Anatomy Glossary
  • Eponym Glossary
  • Videos
  • Quizzes

Interactive image-based programs accessed through the internet to internal resources including:

  • The Dynamic Human Anatomy
  • library
  • WebCT
  • Medical program website
  • and external resources (links and engines)

Microscope Laboratories

Within our two main microscope laboratories we have the resources to allocate each student with a microscope and a set of teaching slides (600 slides per set), which students use in classes.

In addition, the department has an electron microscope, which students learn to operate in our 3rd year undergraduate courses.

The wet labs enable students to produce their own sections for both light and electron microscope imaging. All these facilities are available to undergraduate and postgraduate students.


Ultrasound machines are becoming the stethoscopes of the future. Ultrasound teaching was introduced into the medical program in 2008 as part of the integrated anatomy teaching curriculum. It’s presence in the medical teaching program continues to expand and is being evaluated closely.

Wilson Museum of Anatomy

The J T Wilson Museum has over 660 exhibits of prosected human anatomical specimens. The space is broadly divided into three regions; head and neck, trunk and limbs. The specimens differ from those seen in the teaching labs as they have been generated from the Prosectors’ Competition and professional prosectors over the last 100 years. Computers are available for access to the Wilson online catalogue and other electronic teaching resources.


Key innovations at the University of Sydney include state-of-the-art teaching rooms and museum facilities.

Teaching and learning innovations include the development of the Online Wilson Museum of Anatomy and the online Glossary of Anatomical Terms. In the medical program, students also access web-based movies generated by teaching staff for tutorials, e-practical quizzes, structured ultrasound teaching sessions and an online Virtual Anatomy Tutor.

These innovations and other recommended linked resources make self-study and self-testing easy and accessible for our medical students.

Ongoing Internal Evaluations

The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology is committed to a high standard or teaching. All units of study, courses and workshops held by the Discipline are evaluated regularly. Feedback is discussed with the Head of Discipline and changes made in response to feedback.

Successful Learning support

Students at The University of Sydney have access to a wide range of support structures. Scroll through our current students home page for further information.

This content on this page was collected and organised by Deborah Bryce with input from Marcus Robinson, George Ramsey-Stewart, Suzanne Ollerenshaw, Michelle Moscova and Karen Cullen.