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Human Anatomy Degree Program Overviews

Learn about degree programs in human anatomy. Get an overview of these programs, as well as related prerequisites, coursework, career options and continuing education information.

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Essential Information

Students interested in studying human anatomy can most often find suitable courses in pre-medical degree programs or in degree programs such as biology, physical therapy or occupational therapy. However, some schools offer graduate degree programs devoted entirely to anatomical sciences. These programs focus on research, and students are given opportunities to learn how the human body operates and functions. Graduate degree programs in anatomical sciences complete culminating experiences, such as a dissertation or a thesis.

Master of Science Degree in Anatomical Sciences

A master's degree in human anatomy usually requires two years for completion. Most programs focus heavily upon research, and the first year is generally allotted for coursework and selection of an appropriate research advisor. During the second year, students are advised to focus upon their research and thesis.

Education Prerequisites

Master's degree programs in the anatomical sciences generally require bachelor's degrees in scientific fields, such as biology or chemistry. Additionally, each school has its own minimum required grade point average and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.

Program Coursework

Anatomical sciences courses often involve laboratory work, which may include dissection projects. Elective slots in the curriculum let the student choose coursework to fit his or her professional goals. Anatomy students may take these courses:

  • Gross anatomy
  • Microscopic anatomy
  • Histology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Embryology
  • Physiology
  • Research
  • Dental gross and microscopic anatomy
  • Independent research

Popular Career Options

Anatomical science graduates can choose to remain in academia and pursue a doctoral degree or work in the pharmaceutical industry as a bioscientist. Graduates who wish to pursue other fields often enroll in medical school.

  • Teacher or professor
  • Biomedical researcher
  • Biotechnologist
  • Forensic scientist

Continuing Education Information

Students may apply to doctoral programs in anatomical sciences upon completion of a master's degree, while some graduates choose to pursue career opportunities.

Doctor of Philosophy in Anatomical Sciences

Students enrolled in a doctoral program in the anatomical sciences are generally focused upon developing original research at the medical school or university level. All students are expected to work on progressive, publishable research and teach anatomy courses to undergraduate and medical students. The length of time for degree completion is not normally defined, as long as continual progress is made.

Education Prerequisites

Students normally enter a doctoral program following completion of a master's degree program or bachelor's degree program in biology or other related fields. Additional criteria include grade point averages and GRE scores.

Program Coursework

Following the initial year of classes, which are consistent with those offered at the master's degree level, students focus on original research and teaching activities. The following courses may be offered within a doctoral program:

  • Advanced neurobiology
  • Visual neuroscience
  • Evolutionary anatomy
  • Vertebrate evolution
  • Research topics

Job Outlook and Salary Info

Ph.D. holders can find jobs in research and academia. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professors were projected to see an average job growth of 17% from 2010-2020. The mean annual wages for postsecondary health sciences teachers were $81,140 in May 2012.

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