New master’s degree in anatomy offered, and classes begin in June

Graduates of the UAB Anatomical Sciences program will help meet a growing need for anatomists in health care programs.

MastersJoomla1David Resuehr, Ph.D.The University of Alabama at Birmingham will launch a new master’s degree in anatomical science this summer to help meet the growing need for anatomists in health care programs and courses. During the 15-month program, students will learn the skills needed to teach anatomy at the college level. Applications from qualified individuals are currently being sought.

The new degree — Master of Science in Anatomical Science — is aimed primarily at people with master’s and Ph.D. degrees in STEM fields, or clinical practitioners who want to have a greater focus on teaching.

For the past 20 or 30 years, there has been a shortage of trained anatomists, says J. Bradley Barger, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology.

“This degree is designed for people who want to teach,” Barger said. “We need generalists who can excel in teaching all of anatomy.”

For centuries, the anatomical sciences have been a foundational pillar of medical education. UAB students will receive advanced training four key subjects — gross anatomy, embryology, histology and neuroanatomy. The master’s program will include the latest innovations in anatomy education, such as 3D anatomy via ultrasound, radiologic anatomy using CT scans, use of plastic-impregnated human tissue specimens and virtual microscopy for histology.

MastersJoomla2J. Bradley Barger, Ph.D.The degree also has a pedagogic component, where students learn how to be effective scholarly teachers and educational researchers. Each student will develop a research topic in medical education or original anatomy.

“We want people who have a heart for teaching,” Barger said. “The plan is to admit five students per year, and students will have an extremely high faculty/student ratio.”

The inaugural class starts this June and graduates in August 2020.

Deadline for applications is April 1. For details on applications, prerequisites, and the program overview and curriculum, see the Master of Science in Anatomical Science website. Scholars must apply through the UAB Graduate School.

Developed by UAB’s Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, this program provides the practical application of knowledge to train individuals for health care roles serving the local Birmingham community, the state of Alabama and the country as a whole. While prior terminal degrees are preferred, other students, including recent bachelor’s degree students who want to teach at the secondary or community college level, are also encouraged to apply.

David Resuehr, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell, developmental and integrative biology, is the program director. Barger and Resuehr wrote the curriculum for the new degree.