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This two-year part-time Masters programme delivered through the University of Edinburgh’s virtual learning environment, taught entirely online, is designed to give you the freedom to study flexibly.

Based on the UK Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum, the programme provides the opportunity for trainees in General Surgery to select those advanced modules relevant to their declared subspecialty, and supports learning for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) examinations.

Trainees are taught by experienced tutors, all leading clinicians in their field, and have access to a large structured learning resource of educational material, including an unparalleled online library facility. Illustrative cases cover technical skills and procedures as well as core knowledge and clinical skills.

In the first year of the programme, compulsory core modules cover the basic elements of the subspecialties. Modules are taught and assessed using a clinical problem-based approach, supported by systems-based review of the course material.

In the second year, trainees undertake a tailored academic module that reflects their subspecialty interest. Academic modules (core and specialist) explore research and teaching methodology, as well as developing skills to ensure an ability to analyse published evidence and explore interactive and written clinical communication skills. Trainees are required to complete an academic critique in an appropriate subspecialty area of work undertaken during the two-year period of study such as that resulting from a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

On completion of this programme, trainees will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of their chosen surgical subspecialty, and be able to apply this knowledge to the systematic assessment and management of surgical patients in the elective, urgent and emergency clinical setting;
  • Recognise the leadership contribution and responsibilities of the surgeon in the multidisciplinary management of complex surgical disease;
  • Critically reflect upon day-to-day surgical practice in the context of recent advances, and engage in critical dialogue with peers and experts in other sub-specialties;
  • Apply the general principles of clinical study design, ethics, and statistics to critically evaluate the scientific literature in surgical research, and make informed judgements on new and emerging issues in surgery;
  • Exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in professional activities at a level of independent surgical practice.

Eligibility Criteria

Prospective entrants would normally have acquired their MRCS (or equivalent assessment milestone) and be an Advanced Trainee in General Surgery - ST5 or greater [Specialist Training years] in the UK, or equivalent outside the UK.

Eligible candidates will have completed a minimum of 5 years speciality training in general surgery before the proposed date of admission to the programme and will be pre-FRCS status.

For those candidates who already hold FRCS status, we will look at each application on a case-by-case basis and may accept if there is a substantive training element in their current post.  However if you have passed Section 1 but not Section 2 of the FRCS you are still eligible to apply.

The ChM in General Surgery programme is accredited by:

Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

Ready to apply?

Find out how to apply and submit your application.

Programme structure of ChM in General Surgery

Year 1

Semester 1
September to January
Emergency Trauma and Critical Care 1
12.5 credits
Vascular and Transplant
10 credits
5 credits
5 credits
Semester 2
February to June
Emergency Trauma and Critical Care 2
12.5 credits
Oesophago gastric
5 credits
5 credits
Hepato Pancreato Biliary
5 credits

Year 2

Semester 1
September to January
Emergency Trauma and Critical Care 3
10 credits
Core Academic Activity
20 credits
Semester 2
February to July
Specialist Academic Activity
30 credits

Fee information

ChM in General Surgery Fees for academic year 2023/24

Students on full-time and part-time programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that annual tuition fees are subject to revision and are typically increased by approximately 5% per annum. This annual increase should be taken into account when you are applying for a programme.

Please see the scholarships page for full information on the range of Edinburgh Surgery Online Scholarships available.

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

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

Programme team

Mr Ewen Harrison

Mr Ewen Harrison
ChM General Surgery Programme Director


Mr Harrison is a Professor of Surgery and Data Science at the University of Edinburgh and a Consultant HPB and Transplant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

He is the Programme Director for the Masters in Surgery degree at the University of Edinburgh - a distance learning qualification, which allows surgeons to train while continuing to work in their home country, and benefit their community. 

He has an MSc in Statistics and he is an Editor for HPB. He leads the NIHR Unit on Global Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, a collaboration with the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick. This provides a platform for the GlobalSurg Collaborative (, an international collaboration of 5000 individuals in 420 centres across 102 countries studying outcomes in general surgery and quality improvement. 

Mr Harrison’s work is funded by the NIHR, Wellcome Trust, MRC and Academy of Medical Sciences. He has given the British Journal of Surgery Lecture 2017 at the 12th annual Academic Surgical Congress, the Honyman Gillespie Lecture 2016, and the Macewan Lecture 2016 at the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. He has recently completed a James IV Travelling Fellowship UK and Davies Travelling Fellowship in Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. 

Mr Harrison’s interests include crowd-sourcing patient-level date; surgical trials, particularly in low resource settings; mobile data collection platforms and "wearables"; automated data processing and display; natural language processing/sentiment analysis; decision modelling; Bayesian statistics; administrative data analysis; and patient reported outcomes. 

In 2023, Mr Harrison was awarded an OBE for services to the Covid-19 response, and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Read more

Mr Richard McGregor
ChM General Surgery Year 1 Director 


Mr Richard McGregor is a consultant Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He has an interest in clinical outcomes research and clinical human factors science. Having completed his surgical training in South East Scotland, he understood a minimally invasive UGI fellowship in Brisbane, Australia. 

Interested in this course?

To find out more about the ChM in General Surgery [at] (Email us today)

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