Human Anatomy Degree Program Overviews

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.

Essential Information

These anatomical specific programs focus on research, and students are given opportunities to learn how the human body operates and functions. Graduate degree programs in anatomical sciences involve completion of a culminating experience, such as a dissertation or a thesis. Students may apply to doctoral programs in anatomical sciences upon completion of a master's degree, while some graduates choose to pursue career opportunities.

  • Program Levels in Anatomical Sciences: Master's degrees, doctorate degrees
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in a scientific field like biology or chemistry, minimum satisfactory GPA and GRE scores
  • Program Length: Two years for the master's and no specific time for the doctorate
  • Other Requirements: Dissertation, thesis, independent research, teaching undergrad and medical students

Master's Degree Programs in Anatomical Sciences

These programs typically take two years to complete. Most 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. 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. Course topics may include:

  • Gross anatomy
  • Microscopic anatomy
  • Histology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Embryology
  • Dental gross and microscopic anatomy

Doctoral Degree Programs in Anatomical Sciences

All students are expected to work on progressive, publishable research and teach anatomy courses to undergraduate and medical students. 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:

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

Popular Career Options

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

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

Job Outlook and Salary Info

Ph.D. holders can find jobs in research and academia. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary teachers were projected to see an average job growth of 19% from 2012-2022. The mean annual wages for postsecondary health specialties teachers were $112,950 in May 2014.

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