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Program Description

Just the Facts

Anatomy. A program that focuses on the scientific study of organ systems, tissue structures, and whole bodies together with their cellular and structural components and dynamics. Includes instruction in cell biology and histology, structural biology, molecular mechanics, regional and gross anatomy, embryology, neuroanatomy, endocrinology and secretory dynamics, and applications to such topics as aging and disease conditions.

This program is available in these options:

  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

The road to an anatomy degree is long, but don't let that turn you off. You won't spend all your time in a lecture hall. For the most part, this type of graduate work involves a research project in which students get personally involved.

"If you're lucky, you would have thought up and designed the experiment yourself," says Nathaniel McMullen. He is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at the University of Arizona. "And if you are a passionate and curious person, and you enjoy exploring the intricacies of nature, this isn't work, it's fun."

Bachelor's degrees in anatomy are hard to come by. Most students start with a degree in biology with some training in biochemistry, then do graduate work in anatomy.

McMullen says some students earn their bachelor's degree in ecology, biochemistry or psychology before entering the advanced program.

To apply to a graduate program, students must also take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). That's an exam similar to what students must take to apply to law school or medical school.

There are a number of universities in the U.S. that offer master's and doctoral-level degrees in anatomy.

To get ready for an advanced degree like this, make sure you have a strong background in the sciences. Take classes in biology, chemistry and physics.

"Read anything and everything about the world around you," says McMullen. "If you're already interested in the biological sciences as a career, see if you can get a summer job working in a lab."

The main costs are tuition and books. "The cost of books would certainly be several hundred dollars," McMullen says. "The good news, however, is that students in many programs usually receive a tuition waiver and a stipend [financial support] during their course of study."


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Physical Therapists

American Association of Anatomists
Lots of great resources for anatomy students

Normal Anatomy Images
Fascinating photographs of the insides of humans


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