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Study with Edinburgh Surgery Online

Edinburgh Surgery Online offers a number of specialist postgraduate courses, designed to compliment and accommodate your clinical employment commitments. 

Find out more about the variety of courses we offer below and over the following pages.

MSc in Surgical Sciences

Based on the MRCS curriculum, this flexible online programme is intended for those in the very early stages of their surgical training (pre-MRCS).

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MSc in Primary Care Ophthalmology

This programme aims to provide high standard, flexible learning for the next generation of optometrists and medical and surgical ophthalmologists.

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MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors

This programme aims to provide evidence based tools and techniques to improve the reliability and safety of everyday health care systems and processes.

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ChM in General Surgery

Based on the FRCS curriculum, this flexible online programme is intended for those in the advanced stages of their surgical training (ST5/6).

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ChM in Trauma & Orthopaedics

Based on the FRCS curriculum, this flexible online programme is intended for those in the advanced stages of their surgical training (ST4).

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ChM in Urology

Based on the FRCS curriculum, this flexible online programme is intended for those in the advanced stages of their surgical training (ST4).

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ChM in Vascular & Endovascular

Based on the FRCS curriculum, this flexible online programme intended for those in the advanced stages of their surgical training (ST3).

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ChM in Clinical Ophthalmology

Based on the curriculum of the FRCSEd and FRCOphth, this flexible online programme is intended for those commencing the Intermediate phase of their training.

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Required documents –  all programmes

Applications are made online and scans of supporting documentation will be required.

  • Basic Medical Degree (MBChB or equivalent), as recognised by the General Medical Council.
  • Final Degree Transcript for your basic medical degree.  This is an official University document, normally though not always issued at the same time as the degree is awarded.  It lists all the courses and grades you received during your degree.
  • Details of one referee.  You will be given the opportunity to enter your referee’s email address on the online form; the system will then email your referee automatically.  This allows your referee to upload a reference electronically to your application.  If you obtain your reference personally, the reference MUST be on the headed paper of his/her institution and be signed and dated by the referee.  This is an academic reference and therefore the following points should be addressed:
    • Title and position of referee
    • How long they have known you and in what capacity
    • Their opinion of your ability to manage the study required on this programme
    • Any additional information they feel is useful
  • A personal statement confirming you are continuing your learning in a supervised clinical environment.  Please ensure that you address these points directly in your personal statement:
    • Your level of training
    • Current employment
    • Other study commitments – you should not be undertaking any other postgraduate courses
  • Evidence of English language.  If you are not from an English speaking country (as defined by UK Visas & Immigration), you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency, such as an IELTS or TOFEL certificate.  Any language qualification test must be dated within two years of the start date of the programme and meet the minimum required score.  Details on Postgraduate requirement can be found here.
Professor O James Garden CBE

Professor O James Garden CBE
Director of Surgical Online Learning


Professor O James Garden leads the development of surgical distance learning programmes resulting from the collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He currently serves as Director of Edinburgh Surgery Online.

He was appointed Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Edinburgh in 2000 and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh but undertook his postgraduate training as a hepatobiliary, pancreatic and liver transplant surgeon in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris. He is a well established figure in national and international surgery and is past president of the Association of Upper GI Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Chairman of the British Journal of Surgery Society, Immediate past President of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (IHPBA) and Secretary of the James IV Association of Surgeons (Europe). Professor Garden was awarded by The Duke of Edinburgh with a Chancellor’s Award for Teaching at the University of Edinburgh in 2010 for his work on surgical distance learning.

He has written extensively with some 270 research and clinical articles to his name and he has authored or edited 13 surgical textbooks. He is Editor-in-Chief of HPB, the official journal if the IHPBA, past Associate Editor of the World Journal of Surgery and currently serves on six editorial boards.  He is an honorary member of seven international societies and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was appointed Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland in 2004 and was made Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2014.

He has strong interests in surgical training and education. He believes that the Online Surgery Masters represents a valuable means of supporting surgical trainees in their personal and professional development as they work towards the fellowship.

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The online discussions were mind-stimulating and I could study flexibly at my own pace

Graduating from the MSc in Surgical Sciences is an important milestone in my surgical career and it helped me to pass my MRCS first time. I strongly recommend the course for young surgeons in training who wish to have strong foundation in basic sciences.

Mr Jin-Jiun Mah

I am really happy I came across ESO

It has really helped me in the Part 1 Fellowship of West African College of Surgeons exam I passed in October. I can boast I have a large wealth of basic surgical knowledge. It's scope is full and delivers all what a  young surgeon needs to lay a strong surgical foundation. It has given me a good value for money. I strongly recommend this to all young African surgeons in training.

Adetunji Adeniyi Oremakinde, current student (MSc)

Year 1 Senior Registrar in Neurosurgery,

Lautech Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria

I’ve found the ChM Urology to be challenging yet achievable.

It has provided me with the tools to achieve lifelong learning at a very high level, all aided by a worldclass faculty and super support team

Ms Sarah J Hart

ChM in Urology

There is no doubt that this program has led to a significant improvement in my clinical ability

I am currently a year 2 student in the ChM in General Surgery. I pursued this Masters degree as I was keen to undertake a postgraduate degree without taking time out of formal training. I was also attracted to this program as it covers all components of the FRCS examination. Participation in the ChM in General Surgery has been a very positive experience. Although this is a part-time program it covers all topics required for the FRCS examination. There is no doubt that this program has led to a significant improvement in my clinical ability. The ChM in general surgery is taught by consultant surgeons who are proven trainers and experts in their field and the faculty is drawn from the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand and the USA. In addition to the formal teaching there is the opportunity to complete a research project in a sub-speciality interest that gives students experience in research. The ChM has undoubtedly enhanced my knowledge base. I feel adequately prepared for the FRCS examination in general surgery and in addition it has allowed me to complete a research project that is relevant to my future career aspirations. I would recommend this program to any senior surgical trainee who wishes to complete a postgraduate degree that will adequately prepare them for the FRCS examination without taking time out from formal training. 

Mr Darren Porter

2018 Graduate

The ChM in Trauma and Orthopaedics delivered by the University of Edinburgh has been a resounding success

As a practising orthopaedic surgeon, this course has enabled me to once again explore the basic science, pathology and management of trauma and elective orthopaedic procedures through case based discussions amongst a collaborative and experienced cohort of colleagues.

With the help of an experienced Orthopaedic tutor, our class has been able to present, debate, research and surmise common and rare orthopaedic conditions and management principles. As an orthopaedic surgeon involved in trauma and arthroplasty, I have found this course to both fortify ideas previously held and challenge some of my practice when evidence and discussion suggest different methods of management.

The Edinburgh University ChM in Trauma and Orthopaedics has an extensive and comprehensive syllabus. With knowledgeable staff and an international student presence, the diversity of orthopaedics is thoroughly explored. This prestigious degree has helped me in my clinical and academic pursuits and is recommended to anyone in their search to improve their understanding of trauma and orthopaedics.

Mr Jarrad Stevens

2018 Graduate

Directly relevant to every aspect of my day-to-day clinical practise

The ChM has increased my background knowledge, my clinical reasoning, my critical appraisal skills and my ability to perform self-reflection. It is directly linked to my training curriculum, and so is directly relevant to every aspect of my day-to-day clinical practise – and provides an excellent revision aid for the FRCS examination.

Matthew Thomas

ChM Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, Graduated 2017.

Gave me the opportunity to work and study at the same time

I am a vascular surgery trainee from Malta. When I was reading for ChM in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, I was working/training in a full-time setting with a 48hour+ week. I also have a passion for research and academic vascular surgery. Online distance learning was the best setting for me because it gave me the opportunity to work and study at the same time. Through online distance learning I was able to meet international tutors and colleagues and discuss cases (in-line with the current module) that I was encountering on a daily basis. As a result I was able to understand the subject even further. Working from an island makes travelling to European Universities on a regular basis expensive. Online distance learning cut down travelling costs and gave me the opportunity to channel the expenses towards other academic areas.

Matthew Grima

ChM in Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, Graduated 2015

The MSc in Surgical Sciences provided a fantastic opportunity for ongoing education and research at the postgraduate level

I found both the coursework and research components very useful to my clinical work. Delivered through an online medium, it offered the flexibility of balancing studies with a full-time clinical load. I recommend the course to anyone wishing to undertake postgraduate studies in the surgical field!

Dr Sharman Tanny 

Directed me to the important topics in the daily practice and for the exam

I decided to study the ChM as I was preparing for the FRCS-orth. I felt I needed a structured program to guide me through the syllabus. It was definitely the right choice as I kept studying every day for 2-3 hours and it was flexible with my work duties. The program was very good as it directed me to the important topics in the daily practice and for the exam. The evidence-based orthopaedics is important to keep up to date with new guidelines. My consultants noted big changes in the way I am handling patients and planning their management, which was very positive. I developed this with the regular participation in the discussion boards and the feedback from our tutors, they were very helpful. The ChM helped me also to prepare for the FRCS and I took section one and passed by the time I went for the graduation ceremony. Thanks for our nice tutors and supervisors, they encouraged us with positive feedback.

Mr Elgenaid Ahmed

2017 ChM Trauma & Orthopaedics Graduate.

Evidence-based and trains us to look at literature with a critical eye

The ChM course came highly recommended to me by colleagues who had done it before me. My decision to pursue the course was multi factorial. One was it provided me with a masters degree from the prestigious University of Edinburgh. Two was the high quality of mentors and tutors on the course. Three was the unique VLE platform where I could interact with everyone at my time and convenience. The best thing about the course is that it is evidence-based and trains us to look at literature with a critical eye. The modules cover all important aspects and topics like NOTSS, statistics etc. which are very important for surgeons to be aware of during practice and research. The course has improved my surgical acumen, decision-making and overall knowledge. I am more attune to practices and literature relevant to me. It has added weight to my résumé translating into more doors opening up, academically and clinically. I would hands down recommend this Masters course to anyone aspiring to be a master in trauma and orthopaedics!

Mr Jay Shah

2017 ChM Trauma & Orthopaedics Graduate.

I highly recommend this two year course to those who intend to appear for the FRCS Exam

I chose to enrol in ChM in General Surgery because it offered me the flexibility to study at my own pace and time as the course is taught entirely online. The course helped me gain knowledge based on the UK surgical curriculum and acted as the pivot in my preparation for the FRCS Exam. I found the experience very fulfilling and consider myself lucky to have interacted with a few excellent tutors who are experts in their respective fields and some very knowledgeable students from different parts of the globe throughout the course. The quality of interaction in the Virtual Learning Environment was excellent and the knowledge I gained helped me pass Section 1 of the FRCS Exit Exam and I hope to carry this knowledge to pass Section 2 in the near future. One thing I liked about this course was the liberty I had in participating in discussion boards at my convenience without the need to attend generic classroom lectures on a designated date, time and place. I highly recommend this two year course to those who intend to appear for the FRCS Exam in the near future and to those who are willing to further their surgical knowledge and gain insight and understanding of the intercollegiate surgical curriculum and national guidelines in the United Kingdom.

Mr Tanveer Adil

2017 Graduate

It was a very enjoyable two years and I would highly recommend this course to colleagues

The ChM program run jointly by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is a fantastic two-year part-time online masters that is a great compliment to the general surgery curriculum. I found that doing an online masters was the best fit with my training path and was an ideal way to obtain a masters degree. The curriculum of the ChM is practically identical to the FRCS curriculum and is an excellent way to start revision for the intercollegiate exams. The masters covers all aspects of general surgery and challenges us in ways that we do not necessarily get challenged on our day to day jobs. An added advantage is the international students, and tutors, that take part in the course and offer a different perspective to difficult cases. It was a very enjoyable two years and I would highly recommend this course to colleagues. 

Mr Fadlo Shaban

2017 Graduate


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