University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Anatomy and Histology

Study in the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology is offered by the Sydney Medical School. Units of study in this major are mostly available at standard and advanced level.

The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and carries out extensive biomedical research. Anatomy and Histology maintains a large catalogue of specimens for education and research. Research tools include a high-resolution transmission electron microscope and confocal microscope and excellent specimen preparation facilities. Other facilities include automated electrophoresis, high-pressure liquid chromatography, standard histology, immuno-cytochemistry, in-situ hybridisation and surgery.

The Discipline also houses major museums such as the JT Wilson Museum of Human Anatomy and the J.L. Shellshear Museum of Physical Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy as well as collections that are supplemented by a growing range of online learning resources.

About the major

A major in Anatomy and Histology introduces students to the detailed study of the structure and structural development of the human body from the subcellular and cellular levels through to the gross macroscopic level. The qualitative and quantitative descriptions of structure are related to subcellular, cellular and gross physical function. Specialized study of the subcellular and cellular development and organization of body structures and systems is undertaken in units of study in histology. Detailed study of the development and the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, head and neck, the viscera and the brain spinal cord and peripheral nervous system are studied in units of study in anatomy.

A major in Anatomy and Histology will provide students with a thorough and broad understanding of the microscopic and macroscopic structure and function of the human body, of its development and maturation and of its normal organization and potential for disruption and damage.

Requirements for completion

A major in Anatomy and Histology requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 24 credit points of 3000-level core units

A minor in Anatomy and Histology is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Anatomy and Histology are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Anatomy and Histology major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Anatomy and Histology major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1

Core: BIOL1XX8 Human Biology

(MEDS1X01 only available to students in the medical science stream.)

Semester 1 or 2

Core: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A


Semester 1

Core: ANAT2008 Principles of Histology

(MEDS2005 only available to students in the medical science stream.)

Semester 2

Core: ANAT2X10 Concepts in Neuroanatomy

(MEDS2001 or MEDS2004 only available to students in the medical science stream.)


Semester 1

Core: ANAT3X09 Systems Histology and Embryology

Core: ANAT3X07 Visceral Anatomy

Semester 2

Core: ANAT3XX4 Cranial and Cervical Anatomy

Core: ANAT3X08 Musculoskeletal Anatomy

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Anatomy and Histology section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Anatomy and Histology: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 2497

Discipline of Anatomy and Histology
Anderson Stuart Building F13
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Associate Professor Kevin Keay
T +61 2 9351 4132
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Anatomy and Histology will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a deep and comprehensive understanding of the fundamental organization and development of the human body from its gross structure to the cellular and intracellular levels.
  2. Demonstrate a deep understanding the fundamental functional properties of the body as it relates to structural properties and developmental processes.
  3. Relate and apply knowledge of the structural organization and functional properties of the body to other biomedical and biological disciplines.
  4. Understand the relationship(s) of anatomical and histological knowledge, with the knowledge of biological, anthropological and clinical disciplines.
  5. Search, identify, discuss and evaluate the primary scientific literature in the field of the anatomical sciences, histology, cell biology and neurobiology.
  6. Specify hypotheses, design research plans and specify experiments that address and test hypotheses.
  7. Understand the range of histological and anatomical methodologies.
  8. Appreciate the significance of histological and anatomical investigations that identify the origins of the scientific disciplines.
  9. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the investigative and experimental approaches of the present, including “state-of-the-art” techniques.