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Bachelor of Science Honours: Human Anatomy 
90671  Bachelor of Science Honours: Human Anatomy 
Stellenbosch University 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Honours Degree  Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services  Promotive Health and Developmental Services 
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 08  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 091/21  2021-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification is replaced by: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
118489  Bachelor of Science Honours in Anatomy  Not Applicable  NQF Level 08  120  Complete 

This qualification will provide successful graduates with highly specialised knowledge and skills in a broad field of human anatomy which will enable them to practice in various areas dealing with human anatomy, e.g., clinical investigation and research, general and specialised surgery, the design and manufacture of orthotics and prosthetics, forensics and anthropology.

Human Anatomy, world-wide, is a highly specialised field, with a myriad of research opportunities, including, inter alia, physical anthropology, the anatomy of human anatomical variation, comparative anatomy, surgical anatomy and radiological anatomy.

Successful completion of this qualification gives entry to further research and specialisation opportunities in various areas of medical and allied sciences, such as applied and surgical anatomy, comparative anatomy, physical anthropology, preservation techniques, histological techniques, laser micro-dissection; micro-photography and flow cytometry.

The rapid development of new technologies during the past few years has created a growing demand in academia, the public sector, the private sector and industry for suitably trained scientists. The Bachelor of Science Honours: Human Anatomy (BSc Hons: Human Anatomy) will equip graduates for further studies in professional and/or academic medical sciences. A significant number of students has expressed interest in pursuing Human Anatomy as a Postgraduate discipline, which has necessitated the development of this qualification in Human Anatomy.

Globally there is a shortage of appropriately qualified Anatomists. Since 2010, the University of Stellenbosch (Division of Anatomy and Histology) has developed partnerships with 12 international manufacturers of surgical equipment for the provision of weekly cadaver workshops for the retraining of practicing Specialists in Orthopaedics (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and elbows), Neurosurgery (brain and spinal reconstruction), Obstetrics and Gynaecology (laparoscopic hysterectomy), Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (skin flap reconstruction, e.g., the nose). The common denominator arising from all the workshops is that surgeons need to know their anatomy.

This qualification will appeal to a wide spectrum of graduates with an interest in the anatomical sciences and its specific applications in basic and applied research in the health and allied sciences. 

It is assumed that learners entering this qualification are able to communicate, read and write in the language of tuition at an academic level equivalent to NQF Level 7, have competency in the use of computers and have an understanding of the basics of research methodology.

Recognition of Prior Learning:
The Bachelor of Science Honours in Human Anatomy conforms to the institutional Policy for the Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) as well as the ARPL policy of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
This allows for entry to the qualification for those who do not meet the minimum entry requirements and for the awarding of credits towards the qualification.

The policy defines the process that must be followed in the assessment of an application for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at Postgraduate level and provides information pertaining to assessment tools that can be used in the assessment of RPL applications. The APRL process is subject to the Faculty's quality assurance process.

Access to the Qualification:
For admission to the Bachelor of Science Honours (Human Anatomy) an applicant must hold:
  • A MBChB Degree or verified equivalent.
  • A BChD Degree or verified equivalent.
  • A Bachelor's Degree with Anatomy as a major, together with Zoology, or Physiology, or Histology as major subjects; or another qualification approved by the Senate. Applicants with other completed major subjects, such as Genetics, Biochemistry and/or Microbiology, may be admitted on the basis of an adequate motivation and/or successful completion of an admission examination. Depending on the field of study, additional work and/or proof of competency may also be required.
  • A Bachelor of Technology Degree. 


    The qualification comprises compulsory modules totalling 80 credits and elective modules, chosen from the given selection, totalling at least 40 credits. A minimum of 120 credits is required to be awarded the BSc Hons: Human Anatomy.

    Compulsory Modules:
  • Anatomical techniques, 10 credits.
  • Gross Systemic Anatomy, 20 credits.
  • Legal and Ethical Aspects, 5 credits.
  • Research Assignment, 30 credits.
  • Use of Animals in Research, 5 credits.
  • Laboratory Practice, 10 credits.

    Total credits: 80.

    Elective Modules (Choose a combination for at least 40 credits):
  • Cell Biology, 10 credits.
  • Clinical and Surgical Anatomy, 10 credits.
  • Comparative Anatomy, 10 credits.
  • Developmental Anatomy, 10 credits.
  • Human Anatomical Variation, 10 credits.
  • Microscopic Anatomy and Histological Technique, 20 credits.
  • Physical Anthropology, 10 credits.
  • Radiological Anatomy, 10 credits.

    Total Credits: 40. 

    1. Explain the theoretical aspects of the core and relevant elective subject matter.
    2. Apply the relevant theoretical and practical skills in completing a chosen research project.
  • Range of possible research areas: Applied Anatomy; Immuno-histochemistry; Morphometry, Laser Microdissection and Microphotography; Flow Cytometry, Physical Anthropology.
    3. Critically evaluate and utilise a wide range of information to solve problems effectively using appropriate methods that are relevant to the morphological health sciences and communicate knowledge and findings to other people.
    4. Apply technical skills and scientific methods using relevant instruments and equipment to conduct sound research that conforms to the legal, safety and bioethical requirements pertinent to good laboratory practice in the health sciences.
    5. Produce a research project in a scientific format within the context of the morphological health sciences, with results and conclusions that are presented to a group.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes
    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are integrated into the various teaching and learning components of the modules and will ensure that graduates are able to:
  • Identify complex problems and solve problems through critical and innovative thinking, responsible and independent decision-making and application of basic and advanced scientific methods.
  • Apply basic and advanced scientific methods and technology efficiently and responsibly.
  • Efficiently manage the collection, organisation, analysis, evaluation, integration and application of information from various sources.
  • Organise and manage self competently and efficiently to ensure independence.
  • Develop self with emphasis on insight, responsibility, accountability, continued learning, self-criticism, acceptance of criticism from others and the ability to work independently.
  • Be able to work as part of a team and to add value to the larger group through constructive collaboration, cooperation and self-initiated new actions.
  • Communicate effectively through presentation of information and data by means of oral, audiovisual and written skills and by demonstrating appropriate linguistic and computer proficiency.
  • Demonstrate a holistic approach to problem solving within the context of respect and sensitivity for other people, the community, and the environment.
  • Show understanding of the importance and the potential applications of health sciences in general and anatomical and histological sciences in particular to the community through the communication of knowledge and results and the transfer of relevant technology.
  • Apply or utilise the opportunities, challenges, requirements and ethical principles that apply to research and good practice in the health science professions. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria:
    The following Assessment Criteria are applied in an integrated manner to the Exit Level Outcomes:
  • Knowledge and insight regarding the theoretical and practical aspects of relevant subject matter is shown in written texts and essays.
  • A dissection demonstrating a lack of bilateral symmetry in a selected region of the human body is successfully completed.
  • Presentations on the legal and ethical aspects of the use of human material are made during the weekly journal club meetings.
  • A portfolio is compiled and an oral presentation made on a practical assignment which requires successful harvesting of human tissue, fixation, processing, cutting on a microtome, mounting on a slide, differentially staining of the tissue and morphometric assessment.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Learning is assessed via a monthly individual discussion between lecturer and learner, where the following issues are discussed:
  • Learning objectives for the period under review.
  • Activities that are planned, including the research project.
  • Major learning outcomes envisaged.
  • Learner's self-assessment of the learning experience.
  • Assessment of the learning experience by the Head of Department or Discipline.
  • Learner's learning plan for the next month.
  • Matters to carry forward.
  • New activities planned.

    These discussions generate progress reports, which reflect the achieved outcomes and deficits in the knowledge and skills basis of the learner. Learners have to complete and submit a research report pertaining to the research project.

    The final written and practical moderation and assessment will be overseen by an external examiner who has been approved for this purpose by the Senate of the institution. 

    Post-graduate studies in Human Anatomy are offered fairly extensively throughout the world.


    The University of Western Australia offers a Graduate Diploma in Anatomical Sciences, which is aimed at students with a variety of backgrounds who either lack comprehensive training in anatomical sciences or who wish to broaden and update their knowledge and expertise.

    Students focus on one aspect of human anatomical structure and function, ranging from studies in neuroscience, evolution, human variation and adaptation, forensic anthropology, or biomechanics to morphometrics and comparative anatomy and undertake an individual research project in the second semester.

    The course is offered over one year full-time and consists of four core units totalling 48 credit points. The units are Project Analysis (6 credit points), Project Design (6 credit points), Concepts and Developments in Anatomical Science (12 credit points) and an Anatomical Sciences project (24 credit points).

    United States of America:

    New York Chiropractic College offers the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction.

    Professional healthcare Degree holders and biologists with graduate Degrees have the foundation to teach anatomy and physiology at the undergraduate level, but often lack the instructional training, tools, and skills necessary for success in the college and university setting. The Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction qualification is designed to build on existing anatomy and physiology competencies and transform the graduate into a highly effective instructional specialist for the undergraduate lecture hall and laboratory.

    Beyond increasing the instructional skills of anatomy and physiology, the most significant benefit to graduates of the New York Chiropractic College Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction Degree is the ability to expand career opportunities. As a result of an increasing number of allied health professional qualifications requiring human anatomy and physiology instruction, there is an institutional shortage of highly qualified human anatomy and physiology instructors to effectively prepare students for their careers. In addition, graduates will be better prepared to expand beyond professional practice and to pursue opportunities as full-time or adjunct instructors in undergraduate college or university settings.

    United Kingdom:

    University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine offers the Master of Science Diploma or Degree in Human Anatomy.

    There are two main strands to this qualification, viz., the in-depth study of the anatomy of the human body and all that this entails and the development of different teaching methods for the teaching of human anatomy. The opportunity exists for students to finish the course after the second semester when they will graduate with a Teaching Diploma in Human Anatomy.
    Alternatively they can do a summer vacation research project after which they will graduate with a Master of Science in Human Anatomy.

    On the basis that a sound knowledge of gross anatomy, including neuroanatomy, is essential for the teaching of anatomy, a core component of the course is the dissection of the entire body over the two semesters. Complementing the gross anatomy is a lecture-based embryology course which gives an understanding of normal human development as seen by dissection, how normal development can go wrong and how this manifests itself in commonly observed congenital abnormalities. Also covered in this part of the course are the health and safety and legal aspects of handling the body as well as an introduction to the ethics of using bodies in medical education.
    The teaching component of the course introduces students to the various methods used in the teaching of anatomy and their effectiveness. It involves, under supervision, the preparation of material for a teaching session for both small and large groups and the delivery of this material to undergraduate students. Methods of assessment are also considered.

    Those wishing to work towards an Master of Science will be required to complete a project during the summer vacation period. This can be either a library or practical/laboratory based project of the student's choosing, under the direction of a member of the academic staff.

    Key features include:
  • The opportunity to learn the anatomy of the human body by dissection.
  • Gaining a comprehensive knowledge of normal anatomy.
  • Safely handle the body from its arrival to its final disposal.
  • Record keeping and the law.
  • Effective teaching and assessment methods in anatomy.

    Teaching is by lectures, seminars and tutorials. The dissection component of the course is largely self-directed but with regular lectures to complement the practical work. Specific dissections will be required, which will be assessed for both quality and their potential use in teaching. Following on from the taught component, students have the opportunity to carry out a research project during the summer. This may take the form of a library or practical work. Topics will be open but should address basic science, morphological, clinically applied and surgical related human anatomy. Possible topics could include anatomical variation in the human population, investigation of alternative surgical approaches. Students will be encouraged to liaise with clinical and surgical colleagues to develop valid topics for research.


    The Bachelor of Science Honours in Human Anatomy compares favourably with its various international counterparts in both content and delivery. It is evident that there are many career opportunities available to the learner who undertakes this qualification, both locally and abroad. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
    This qualification articulates horizontally with other Bachelor of Science Honours Degrees in areas such as Zoology, Physiology, Genetics, Microbiology or Biochemistry (i.e. as third year/major courses) at NQF Level 8.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This qualification articulates vertically with a Master of Science in Anatomy or any other relevant Master of Science Degree, at NQF Level 9. 

    Internal assessment will be conducted in line with the institutional policy on assessment practices.
    Programme coordinators are responsible for ensuring that assessment practices are explicit, valid reliable and in line with the policy.

    External assessment and moderation are done by an external examiner who will be appointed by the Senate of the institution. 

    All assessors and moderators must be subject specialists in the area being assessed; they must be in possession of a qualification at a NQF Level higher than that of this qualification and must preferably have practical experience in the relevant field. 


    When qualifications are replaced, some of their learning programmes are moved to being recorded against the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replacement.

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    1. Stellenbosch University 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.