Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course

Course partners

UQ logo     Queensland Health     Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

The Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course (ASAC) is a joint postgraduate offering between The University of Queensland and Queensland Health, accredited by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS).

The next Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course offering will start on Wednesday 30 January, 2019. Registrations are now open. Read the brochure here.

The course provides topographical training in anatomy with practical sessions on wet prosected specimens. Although the course is intended mainly for junior doctors preparing for Surgical and Radiology Training examinations, it is open to junior doctors from other specialties as well.

The course will be conducted by experienced Brisbane based senior practising surgeons who are Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, (RACS). ASAC comprises an eleven module course structure that is delivered over 22 weeks at the University of Queensland's St Lucia Campus. Modules are delivered on Wednesday evenings, 1800 hrs-2100 hrs. There is a trial assessment and final assessment at the end of the course, both on Saturdays.

The course is offered by the University Of Queensland's School of Biomedical Sciences within the Faculty of Medicine. A Certificate of Attainment from the University of Queensland and Queensland Health, with RACS accreditation, will be awarded to successful candidates.

Course objectives

  1. To provide training in topographical anatomy to a level appropriate for postgraduates in surgical, radiologic and medical disciplines.
  2. To enable candidates to identify marked structures and their anatomical relations in prosected specimens and images.
  3. To enable candidates to correlate anatomical structures with radiological images.

Course content

The course will teach surgical anatomy addressing all aspects of regional and systemic anatomy. Upon successful completion of the course, candidates will demonstrate knowledge in surgical relevance of all the structures covered in the course and surgical and procedural approaches to each organ or structure; and develop skill in anatomical structure identification and radiologic interpretation.

Course fee

The course fee is unchanged in 2019. This fee of $6300 can be paid as a single payment or over 5 payments under our instalment plan. 

Course dates

Semester 1, 2019

With the exception of Module 11, all modules are delivered at St Lucia on Wednesdays in 2019. Dates take into account public holidays, semester breaks, the UQ exam period, and the State of Origin.  Examinations take place on Saturdays.


Module 1: Head & Neck Basics Wed, 30 January, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 2: Neck, Axilla, & Breast Wed, 13 February, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 3: Neuroanatomy Wed, 20 February, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 4: Thorax Wed, 6 March, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 5: Upper Abdomen & Abdominal Wall Wed, 13 March, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 6: Faciomaxillary & ENT Wed, 27 March, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 7: Lower Abdo, Male Pelvis, & Urogenital Wed, 3 April, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 8: Lower Limb Wed, 17 April, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 9: Female Pelvis & Gynaecological Anatomy Wed, 1 May, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 10: Upper Limb Wed, 8 May, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Module 11: Radiographic Anatomy Wed, 15 May, 6.00pm to 9.00pm*
Private Study (Revision Session) Wed, 22 May, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Practice Exam Sat, 25 May, 9.00am to 12.00noon
Assessment Sat, 1 June, 9.00am to 12.00noon

*Module 11 (Radiographic Anatomy) will be delivered at the Medical Imaging Department, Level 3, Ned Hanlon Building, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital.

Registration requirements

Completion of an undergraduate medical degree, such as an MBBS or its equivalent qualification.

Course written materials

As part of the course fee, you will have access to comprehensive sets of notes and PowerPoint files on each module. This resource can be downloaded from BlackBoard© once you have been issued with login details. All written material is covered by copyright. You are free to use the resource for your own needs only. Three of the recommended text books will be provided (at no extra cost) as part of the course. They are:

  1. Gilroy, A.M., Anatomy. An Essential Textbook. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York.
  2. Gilroy, A.M., MacPherson, B.R. & Ross, L.M., 2012, Atlas of Anatomy, Second edition. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York.
  3. McMinn, R.M.H, 2003, Last's Anatomy, Ninth edition (the RACS Edition). Elsevier, New York.

These three textbooks can be picked up at your first module session.

Course structure and delivery method

All module sessions will be delivered in the School of Biomedical Science's Gross Anatomy Facility. 

Each module session is three hours long, and will include:

  1. Pre-test multiple choice questions (MCQs) for 15 minutes;
  2. Composite group teaching involving an overview of module objectives by the module coordinator to all attendees lasting 25 to 45 minutes.
  3. Focused group teaching small group-facilitated-learning on prosected specimens and images lasting 2 hours. The surgical faculty to candidate ratio will be approximately 1:5.

Prize for Outstanding Achievement

A cash prize of A$1000.00 will be awarded for outstanding achievement to the candidate in the Advanced Surgical Anatomy course who obtains the highest overall marks.

Course coordinator details

Professor Mark Midwinter
Chair of Clinical Anatomy
School of Biomedical Sciences

We are now accepting registrations for the Semester 1, 2019 course.


Following your registration, we will email you with confirmation that your application has been accepted, a unique registration number and a link to the University of Queensland's secure Registration Fee Payment Gateway.

There are two exceptions for not being accepted: (1) incomplete information provided, or (2) the course is full. In both cases you will receive a follow-up email from us with further instructions/advice. 

Just remember that full registration is a two-step process:

  1. Submission and acceptance of your application. Acceptance (or otherwise) will be confirmed in an email from us.
  2. Payment of the course registration fee - either as a single payment (A$6,300.00) or over 5 equal instalments. Payment of the fee (either in full or in-part) will guarantee a place on the next course. In-part means payment of the first instalment of A$1260.00.

Your full registration status will be confirmed via email.


Once we have accepted your registration request, you will be sent an email inviting you to pay the course fee using The University of Queensland's secure CBA bank BPOINT© payment gateway. Payment can be either a single payment in full or payment through five installments.

To get started you need to click on University of Queensland' s secure Registration Fee Payment Gateway link in the email we send you following acceptance of your application.

The fee for the 22-week Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course is A$6,300.00.

The instalment payment plan fees are:

    Instalment 1: A$1,260.00

    Instalment 2: A$1,260.00

    Instalment 3: A$1,260.00

    Instalment 4: A$1,260.00

    Instalment 5: A$1,260.00

The timing of these payments will be arranged to suit you;  however the first payment needs to be made as soon as possible after acceptance of your registration to secure your place on the course. The final payment needs to be completed no later than two weeks before the final assessment date. To attend the final assessment you will have to have completed all payments. We will send a friendly email reminder about your next payment one week before an instalment is due.

Please remember that your place on the next course will only be fully guaranteed once you have paid the registration fee either in full or in part (for example, the first instalment through the instalment plan).

Assessment resit registration

We offer the opportunity for you to resit the course assessment at the end of the following course, if you wish. To complete the assessment resit registration process contact us at To avoid disappointment we need your completed form and resit payment of A$495.00 at least one week before the final assessment.

Following receipt of your enquiry, we will email you within one working day with confirmation that your assessment resit request has been accepted, a reminder of your Registration Number and a link to the University of Queensland's secure Registration Fee Payment Gateway.

We suggest you send in your completed form early and make payment one week before the final assessment. That way we can send you a friendly reminder at the appropriate time.

Expression of interest

If you just want to register an Expression of Interest then email us at

You might like to cut and paste the following:

"I am submitting an Expression of Interest to attend the Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course. It is clearly understood that I am under no obligation to finally register. I look forward to recieving an invitation to register for my choosen course about 3 months before the start. At that point I can choose whether or not to submit a registration application.

I give the Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course Administrator authority to store my confidential contact details for the purpose of contacting me again in the future but only in relation to registering for this course ".

Otherwise, please look over the information on this site before proceeding further.  

Curriculum framework

Training need

Widespread opinion amongst medical and surgical consultants, as well as published literature, suggests inadequate retained knowledge of applied anatomy by junior doctors after graduation. A survey among junior doctors at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) indicated enthusiasm and a need to enhance anatomic knowledge for clinical application and examination preparation.


Many universities across Australia and New Zealand offer formalised courses in applied anatomy for junior doctors wishing to advance their knowledge in anatomical sciences. Some of these courses have been very successful and are generally over-subscribed. 

In response to demand, the Advanced Surgical Anatomy Course (ASAC) was first offered in early 2012 as part of a joint initiative between Queensland Health and The University of Queensland. This RACS accredited Course, which is offered twice a year, has been designed to improve junior doctors’ knowledge of clinically relevant anatomy, thus enhancing their acceptance for vocational training and upgrading clinical performance.

Aims of the course

The aims of the course are:

  1. To improve junior medical staff anatomical expertise and performance by raising their knowledge of anatomy;
  2. To enhance junior medical staff opportunity for vocational training acceptance.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course candidates will:

  1. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of surgically and medically relevant topographical anatomy.
  2. Identify marked structures and their anatomical relations in prosected specimens and images.
  3. Correlate anatomical structures with radiological images.

Teaching strategies

Pre reading
Pre reading resources for candidates’ reference for each module will be recommended, linked to learning objectives of the course, and will consist of chapters from:

  1. McMinn, R. M. H. (Ed.), 1994, Last’s Anatomy Regional and Applied, Ninth edition. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. (recommended by RACS, and provided at no extra cost)
  2. Sinnatamby, C.S. (Ed.), 2011, Last’s Anatomy: Regional and Applied, Twelfth edition. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, Edinburgh.
  3. Ellis, H., 2006, Clinical Anatomy: A Revision and Applied Anatomy for Clinical Candidates, Eleventh Edition. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Accessed from  on 15 June 2011

Other readings

  1. Agur, A. M. R., & Dalley II, A. F., 2009, Grant's Atlas of Anatomy, Twelfth edition. Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  2. Gilroy, A.M., Anatomy. An Essential Textbook. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York. (provided at no extra cost)
  3. Gilroy, A.M., MacPherson, B.R. & Ross, L.M., 2012, Atlas of Anatomy, Second edition. Thieme, Stuttgart/New York. (provided at no extra cost)
  4. Netter, F.H., 2011, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Fifth edition. Saunders/Elsevier, Philadelphia.

The three Gilroy textbooks can be picked up at your first module session.

Teaching guidelines

For the purpose of consistency in approach to teaching across all the modules, the module facilitators are expected to follow these guidelines:

  1. Preface or overview of the general outline of anatomy of the area
  2. Surface anatomy
  3. Body wall
  4. Organ relationships
  5. Blood supply, nerve supply & lymph drainage
  6. Surgical inferences - incorporated within all of the above steps
  7. Summarise/feedback and question time

Approach to learning

Interactive learning for small groups will involve:

  • Group discussions
  • Formative quizzes (electronic and practical)
  • Small group facilitated learning on prosected specimens or images (Module 11).
  • Blended learning

Multiple methods and multiple delivery approaches to learning will be incorporated:

  1. Classroom facilitated learning
  2. Electronically delivered learning (revision of anatomy in MD course)

Learning activities

  1. Self directed preparatory reading
  2. Pre- and post-tests delivered electronically
  3. Group discussion and question sessions
  4. Participating in small group interactive teaching on prosected specimens

Essential learning

Relevant applied surgical and radiological anatomical knowledge.

Resources required

  1. University of Queensland wet anatomic specimens
  2. High definition (HD) audiovisual (AV) system and computers
  3. PowerPoint presentations
  4. Radiological images (Module 11 only)
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  6. FRACS (surgeons) qualified facilitators to teach the modules

Course evaluation

Course evaluation will be conducted at the end of course. Candidates will be provided the course evaluation form to evaluate the course on content, teaching methods, duration, venue, assessment and suggestions/general comments on the course.

Candidates are advised to discuss any issues with their regular clinical tutors.

Course modules

Learning materials

This course consists of 11 modules of integrated learning. PowerPoint files and other related materials for each module can be downloaded from our BlackBoard© site. Once full registration has been completed you will be given the access information needed to access these learning materials. 

The learning objectives for each module will be posted on the BlackBoard© site once available. The structure of the course is currently undergoing a small refinement to enhance the learning outcomes.

At the end of the course, summative assessment by multiple choice questions (MCQs) and objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) will be conducted in a four-hour session on a Saturday.

There must be a 70% attendance at the modules plus completion of the exam for any certificate to be awarded. There will be three different types of certificate awarded, depending upon the marks achieved; a Certificate of Completion; a Certificate of Merit and a Certificate of Participation. In addition, the highest mark will receive special acknowledgement and an award of $1000.

  • Certificate of Merit

75% or above in the final exam, plus 90% attendance at the modules

  • Certificate of Completion

60% or above in the final exam, plus 90% attendance at the modules

  • Certificate of Participation

Exam completion, plus 70% attendance at the modules

Multiple choice questions

  1. Course learning objectives 1 & 3 will be assessed.
  2. It will be of two hours duration.
  3. It will consist of 110 questions with ten (10) questions from each module. Equal weighting to each module.
  4. The pass mark for MCQs will be 65 per cent.
  5. It will be weighted at half of the total assessment marks.

Objective structured clinical exam

  1. Course learning objective 2 will be assessed.
  2. It will be of one-hour duration.
  3. The examination will be on prosected specimens and/or images from each module.
  4. There will be total fifty-five (55) prosected specimens and images.
  5. The pass mark for OSCE will be 65 per cent.
  6. It will be weighted at half of the total assessment marks.

Assessment criteria

  1. Assessments will demonstrate achievement in all the three course learning outcomes.
  2. Assessment criteria 1: MCQs will judge the candidates knowledge, comprehension and application of anatomical structures and radiological identification.
  3. Assessment criteria 2: OSCE will judge the candidates knowledge of anatomical structures and their ability to identify the structure’s anatomical relations in prosected specimens and images.
  4. Formative assessment will be undertaken throughout the course via electronic and practical quizzes. There will be a practice OSCE the week before the summative assessment.
  5. The formative assessment will not count towards the final assessment marks. It will be used to enhance, recognise and respond to the candidates learning.
  6. Candidates will be assessed via MCQs and OSCE on prosected specimens and images.
  7. Candidates will be required to complete both the final assessments (MCQs & OSCE) in order to pass the course.
  8. Candidates will be required to achieve 65 percent in each of the assessment category to pass the course.

Remediation process

  1. On the completion of pre-test Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), feedback will be provided electronically to the candidates about their weakness in responses.
  2. Areas of general weakness as identified by pre test MCQs will be emphasised by the module facilitators in the wet specimens teaching sessions.
  3. Questions will be evaluated by University of Queensland’s Learning management system (Blackboard) and graded. Questions of little value will be deleted.
  4. Blackboard allows immediate access to the results; therefore, information can be immediately fed back to the candidates.
  5. Following the final examination, results of the MCQs and the specimen/image identification will be discussed with candidates.
  6. The unsuccessful candidate/s will be offered the opportunity to resit the exam with an additional fee of A$450, if he/she fails one or both the components.
  7. In the above case, candidate/s will resit the complete exam of the following course 6 months later.
  8. The opportunity to resit exam will be offered only once per candidate.
  9. The candidate/s will be provided with following support:
    • Readings
    • Online resources
    • Regular practical quizzes
    • Practice prac exam
    • Contact with Clinical Tutors regarding individual learning consultation.