Graduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy (GDSA)

Learn from world-leading experts and gain the perfect preparation for the Generic Surgical Sciences Exam (GSSE) and Surgical Education Training (SET) applications.

Welcome to the Graduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy (GDSA)

Department of Anatomy and Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences

The latest features of the Graduate Diploma are highlighted here

We are running the GDSA in 2022 – enrolments now open

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Graduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy

Looking to further your career in surgery or radiology?

Learn from world-leading experts and gain the perfect preparation for the Generic Surgical Sciences Exam (GSSE) and Surgical Education Training (SET) applications.

  • 6 months intensive
  • Accredited by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Taught by Australia’s leading senior surgeons and anatomists
  • Build confidence in anatomical knowledge
  • Strengthen your portfolio with targeted approaches in teamwork, communication and technical ability

How to apply

Develop an edge with your next stage of training and practice

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What’s new about the GDSA?

For more than 20 years, our Graduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy (GD-SURGANT) has been renowned as an industry-leading, full-body anatomy course, with detailed dissection of a specialty area.

Now, you also receive:

  • More independent dissection hours than any other course
  • Specific skill development aimed towards improving SET applications and making better pre-SET and SET 1 clinicians
  • Skill development including standardised operative dissection technique, oral communication - directed towards oral exams and the SET interview - and radiologic anatomy
  • More structured time with instruments, looking at radiographic anatomy and formally talking about surgically-relevant anatomy
  • More formal feedback, including documentation to use in your SET applications
  • Support from one of the country’s largest body donor programs

Download the Handbook

We were not only able to learn on the real-life 3D specimen but go one step further and dissect it yourself, and that’s a priceless experience. Then, you can apply that back at work, which makes you feel more confident handling instruments and describing things.”

Dr Arthur Yim, Alfred Hospital resident, Urology Specialty 2020 graduate, School of Biomedical Sciences Alumni

Running the numbers

There are 6300 surgeons in Australia, practising in nine surgical specialities. Here are some of the reasons why you should join them.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons modelling  indicates that unless there is a substantial increase in the number of graduating surgeons, Australia faces a surgical workforce crisis in the next 15 years. To avoid this, it is conservatively estimated that in addition to the 184 new surgeons currently graduating each year, a further 80 will need to graduate alongside them.

  • If Australians are to continue receiving today’s standard of surgical care, additional expenditure of at least $72 million per annum is needed for surgical training alone.
  • In 2019, more than 1100 surgeons attended Professional Development programs.
  • The number of female surgeons in active practice increased by almost 8% in 2019.
  • 1 in 4 (24%) hospitalisations involved surgery (2.7 million) and there were 352,000 admissions involving emergency surgery in Australian hospitals in 2017-18.

Why choose a GDSA at the University of Melbourne

Since 1853 this University has been contributing to the health and wellbeing of our society. We train the very best clinicians, work on internationally competitive research and graduate the brightest students in surgical anatomy.

I did the course myself 20 years ago and it was really valuable to start me on my surgical career in terms of understanding anatomy very well, which is extremely important. I recommend this course to any future surgical candidates.”

Dr Salena Ward, Oesophago-Gastric, Bariatric and General Surgeon, Alumni, School of Biomedical Sciences Alumni

Welcome to the Melbourne Academy of Surgical Anatomy (MASA)

An exciting development as part of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Where leading surgeons develop positive impact and improve patient outcomes.

Want to be a world leader in clinical anatomy? MASA offers lifelong learning opportunities in surgical education and training, micro-credentials, research and commercialisation. Tap into internationally recognised, specialised short courses and customised training programs that are designed to set the brightest minds apart.


From day one when we had the demonstrators showing us the ProSections and doing my own dissections, I learned so much more quickly than I ever did when I was studying from a text book alone. I’ve gotten so much out of the course and I would highly recommend it.”

Dr  Sarah Adamson, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Resident, Plastic Surgery Specialty 2020 graduate, School of Biomedical Sciences Alumni

What they say

Dr Bryan C Mendelson, FRCSE FRACS FACS, Plastic Surgeon, GDSA Mentor and Examiner  

"I examine plastic surgery candidates, and I was extremely impressed with their fluency and being able to demonstrate the anatomy. These graduates go out into clinical practice having a real edge over students who just don’t know the anatomy confidently."

Quentin A. Fogg, Associate Professor in Clinical Anatomy, GDSA Course Co-ordinator, PhD, FRCPS (Glasg), School of Biomedical Sciences

"The Graduate Diploma of Surgical Anatomy offers you the unique and unparalleled opportunity to take your anatomical knowledge, dissection ability and communication skills to the next level.”

Contact us

Prof Gary Hime
Head, Department of Anatomy and Physiology
A/Prof Quentin Fogg
Head of Surgical Anatomy Research Group & GDSA Course Co-ordinator

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