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The MSc in Surgical Sciences is delivered completely online and is designed to give students the freedom to study flexibly at the times and in the places that suit them.

Professor Stephen Wigmore is the Programme Director, providing strategic oversight of the programme as a whole. Day-to-day support and guidance is given by the Deputy Programme Directors and Programme Administrators who take responsibility for delivery and development of the programmes. Every module also has a lead clinician and e-tutors who teach on the discussion boards for that module.

The Certificate Year of this three year programme is designed to give you a firmer grounding in basic science as applied to surgery whilst the Diploma takes this further and offers an alternative, taught route to the MRCS.  Most students complete the full qualification of MSc which can be used as a means of moving towards a period of full-time training towards an MD or PhD.

It is appreciated that the traditional approach of taking “time out” for a period of research training might not be appropriate for all training surgeons but the MSc will offer you a unique way of developing your research and educational skills while continuing to practise in the clinical environment.  Furthermore, it will provide you with recognition of academic achievement and a strong foundation with which to progress through surgical training.

The MSc in Surgical Sciences degree is awarded by the University of Edinburgh, which is a top ranking accredited University recognised world-wide.  The final award states the achievement of a Masters in Surgical Science, the mode of delivery (online) is not specified on the final degree certificate.

The MSc requires a considerable commitment and self-discipline on the part of the student. You are expected to undertake around 10 to 15 hours of self-directed online study per week and participate throughout in assessed online discussions. A considerable amount of this time will also be devoted to reflecting on or applying knowledge to real life situations.

Most of the work involves independent and group study using a clinical problem-based approach, supported by a systems-based review of the programme material which allows you to choose between two learning styles; problem-solving or systematic where specified learning objectives are followed.

Your study time could be spent in a wide variety of ways: making choices regarding treatment and diagnosis of virtual patients as you work through a virtual case, discussing coursework and sharing ideas with peers and tutors, trying out self-test MCQs, reading programme material or perhaps preparing another piece of written work.


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Eligibility Criteria

The MSc in Surgical Sciences is intended for doctors in the early stages of their careers (pre-MRCS) and therefore those who already possess the MRCS or FRCS are ineligible.

If you have passed Part A but not Part B of the MRCS you are still eligible to apply.

It is expected that you will be planning to begin the MRCS examinations within two years of commencing the programme (Year 1 follows the MRCS Part A Syllabus and Year 2 is designed to support Part B)

Ready to apply?

Find out how to apply and submit your application.

Programme Structure of MSc in Surgical Sciences

Year 1: Certificate in Surgical Sciences

Year 1 aims to ensure that you have a sound understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology and microbiology as applied to general surgical practice and that will underpin surgical training across the broad range of surgical specialties in the early years of your clinical experience.

Assessment consists of in-course assessment.


Year 2: Diploma in Surgical Sciences

Year 2 aims to ensure that you have a sound understanding of the principles of pre-operative care, surgical management, post-operative management, and the professional, management and generic aspects of surgery as applied to general surgical practice and that will underpin surgical training across the broad range of surgical specialties in the early years of their clinical experience. The academic surgery course allows you to develop an understanding of research methodology in preparation for the final year research project.

Assessment consists of in-course assessment.


Year 3: MSc in Surgical Sciences

The Masters in Surgical Science is aimed at trainees who wish to differentiate themselves or signal an interest in academic surgery. 

You have two options of courses in Year 3: Dissertation or Evidence Based Surgery.

Dissertation Course: The dissertation course will allow you to conduct your own independent, original research project in a topic and format of your own choice. The phases leading up to hand-in of the research project are outlined below.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
Outline Project Approval
Detailed Summary Submission
Formal e-Poster Presentation
Masters Project Report
September October March May


Evidence Based Surgery Course: The evidence based course includes an initial taught element, where you will develop a critical and reflective understanding of the research design process, before going on to develop and undertake an independent research project. The phases of this course are outlined below.

Phase 1 (10 weeks: Taught) Phase 2a (5 weeks: Taught) Phase 2b (15 weeks: Independent)
Foundations of Evidence Based Surgery 
Research Methodology 
Research Project

Fee information

MSc in Surgical Sciences 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.

For further information, please see the University's fees page.

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

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

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 

Programme Team

Professor Stephen Wigmore

Professor Stephen Wigmore
MSc in Surgical Sciences Programme Director

BSc(Hons), MBBS(Lond), MD(Edin), FRCSEd, FRCS (Gen Surg)

Programme Director, Professor Steve Wigmore was appointed Professor of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Edinburgh in 2007. He graduated in Medicine at King’s College, University of London and worked at King’s College Hospital and The Royal Free Hospital before commencing basic surgical training in Edinburgh in 1991. He was a Smith & Nephew Foundation and Wilkie Scholar before taking up a lectureship in clinical surgery in 1996. He trained in surgery with Sir David Carter and Professor James Garden developing an interest in HPB surgery and Transplantation. He worked as a Post Doctoral Scholar at the University of California San Francisco holding a UICC Yamagiwa Yoshida Fellowship. He returned to Edinburgh after being awarded a Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship which coincided with his appointment as Senior lecturer and Hon Consultant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He was appointed to the Chair of Transplantation Surgery at the Birmingham Liver Unit in 2005 returning to Edinburgh in 2007 to his current post.

He has published widely in surgical specialities particularly focusing on the fields of organ pre-conditioning and liver surgery. He has published more than 150 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and reviews research grants for national and international funding agencies. He is currently an Associate Editor of the journal HPB the official journal of the IHPBA. He is a former Associate Editor of the World Journal of Surgery and serves on the Editorial boards of the British Journal of Surgery and Transplantation among other journals.

He is a principal investigator in the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research with laboratories in the Queens Medical Research Institute and maintains an active research group in the fields of experimental and clinical liver surgery and transplantation. He is currently Clinical Director for General Surgery and Transplantation Services at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

He has an active interest in postgraduate education and has been involved in the ESSQ programme since its inception. He has been involved in the development and assessment particularly of years two and three and has been Year 3 Director for the past 4 years.

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Mr Peter Lamb
MSc Surgical Sciences Year 2 Director

Consultant General & Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer

Mr Lamb was appointed as a consultant in 2008 with subspecialist interests in oesophagogastric and minimally invasive surgery. He has an active interest in undergraduate teaching and surgical training.

Mr Lamb’s main research interest is oesophagogastric cancer, and during his training he completed an MD at the Northern Oesophagogastric Unit, Newcastle, on sentinel node mapping in oesophageal cancer. He completed his higher surgical training in the Northern Deanery followed by an oesophagogastric fellowship in 2007/8 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia.

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Mr Damian Mole

Mr Damian Mole
MSc Surgical Sciences Year 3 Director

Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant HPB Surgeon

Damian Mole’s clinical focus is on the surgical management of benign and malignant disorders of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts. In addition to contributing to the tertiary referral HPB specialist team at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, he periodically leads the Emergency General Surgery receiving team and manages common elective general surgical conditions. Damian trained in Birmingham, London, Belfast and the USA prior to moving to Edinburgh in 2006.

Damian’s research is driven by a vision to produce innovative solutions to difficult surgical problems and challenging diseases. His research strategy is based on a critical questioning approach, disease mechanism evaluation and seeking out and building the best teams to discover and deliver these solutions. His current specific challenges are centered on mechanism evaluation and therapies for multiple organ dysfunction triggered by severe acute pancreatitis, and on harnessing the power of regeneration for tissue restitution.

Damian is a Developing Principal Investigator in the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh. He is a graduate of the Health Foundation Leadership Training Program.

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Interested in this programme?

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