According to the Oxford English Dictionary, anatomy is the “branch of science concerned with the bodily structure of humans, animals, and other living organisms, especially as revealed by dissection and the separation of parts”. It has a variety of uses in the everyday life—law enforcement officers use anatomy to study crime scenes and help bring criminals to justice, archaeologists use it to study times long gone, and businessmen use it to develop useful ergonomic products and services.

Anatomy is also especially crucial in the medical field. Every medical specialization, whether it be neurology, cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology, etc. involves anatomy in some way or another. In an age where diseases are rife and common, having a deep and thorough knowledge of this subject is incredibly important especially for future healthcare workers.

The following universities are considered the best in the world in anatomy!

Top Anatomy Schools in the World

1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford (or simply Oxford) is a leading research university in the United Kingdom and is a top school for anatomy in the world. Since its formation in as early as 1096, Oxford has remained one of the best schools in the country and the world. The Oxford University Medical School, in particular, has enjoyed being the #1 medical school in the world for nine consecutive years.

Oxford offers an MSc (1 to 3 years) and a Ph.D. (3 to 4 years) in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. These are multidisciplinary courses that tackle six areas of study, including cardiac science, development and reproduction, functional genomics, ion channels, transporters and signaling, metabolism and endocrinology, and neuroscience.

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is another one of England’s premier universities. Like Oxford, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities for anatomy in the world. William Harvey, an English physician and one of anatomy’s most influential figures, is a graduate of Cambridge.

The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience offers various undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as an MPhil and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. Because their research is so broad, their department is divided into several areas, namely: cellular and systems physiology; developmental biology and reproduction; neuroscience; form and function. Cambridge is also home to the Human Anatomy Centre, where students can experience a full-body dissection as part of their studies.

3. Stanford University

Stanford University is a private research university in Stanford, California, United States, and is an excellent school for anatomy across the globe. It is an Ivy League school that frequently tops both national and international university rankings. It is considered by many college applicants and parents to be the ultimate “dream school” and America’s ‘it’ school.

Stanford’s Division of Clinical Anatomy offers a wide selection of anatomy courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Not only does it provide surgical training for future doctors, nurses, and the like, it also provides interdisciplinary courses related to anatomy such as Anatomy in Society (how human anatomy affects commercial product designs like automobile interiors and handicap devices) and Art and Anatomy (for art students who wish to produce realistic artworks of the human body).

4. Columbia University

Columbia University is a private research university in New York City, United States. It is the oldest university in the state and the fifth-oldest in the country. Columbia is particularly famous for its contributions to the scientific community—their medical school ranks among the best in the world, and many of their graduates have developed deeper understandings of the human body.

The Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia delivers a world-class anatomy program in the world and offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in anatomy. Here, students can develop a thorough understanding of anatomy fundamentals like histology, pathology, molecular mechanisms, and many more. In addition to that, the department also offers a Graduate Program in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine where Ph.D. students can apply their biological knowledge to examining diseases like sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and atherosclerosis in greater detail.

5. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins or JHU) is America’s first research university. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins is one of the most prestigious universities for anatomy worldwide. It is reputable in the STEM field for its contributions to medicine, engineering, and applied sciences.

Johns Hopkins University is one of the few universities on this list to offer specialized degrees in anatomy. Their Center for Functional Anatomy & Evolution offers a Master of Science in Anatomy Education (primarily for those who wish to teach anatomy at college level or work at an anatomy research laboratory) and a Ph.D. in Functional Anatomy and Evolution (for those wanting to partake in independent research).

6. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is a leading institution for anatomy in the world. Established in 1827, it is both the country’s oldest and highest-ranking higher education institution. The university offers over 700 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs spread across its 16 faculties. It also receives the most scientific research funding in Canada.

University of Toronto’s Division of Anatomy is an essential part of medical studies at the university. This department provides a wide selection of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses for students in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Occupational Therapy, and plenty of others. Their curriculum is a mix of formal lectures, demonstrations, and real and virtual laboratory work.

7. University College London

Located in the heart of London in the United Kingdom, University College London (UCL) is one of the largest universities in the country in terms of enrollment and a recognized university for anatomy across the globe. Founded in 1826, UCL has since become one of the most esteemed universities as well—notable alumni include Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Francis Crick who discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. Additionally, it is also home to the largest academic medical center in the world.

The Centre for Integrative Anatomy at UCL’s Division of Biosciences revolves around three research themes: form, function, and diversification. As an anatomy student, you must know how extinct and present organisms form, vary, and evolve; how anatomical features function and differ in terms of performance, fitness, and behavior; how vertebrate organisms develop over time and diversity in response to ecological factors. This department offers anatomy courses at all levels of study.


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