Medical Teaching Unit

The Medical Teaching Unit is located between the Perak Labs and Alfred Denny Building on Western Bank.

Medical Teaching Unit

The facility provides anatomical learning through cadaveric dissection. The Unit receives whole body donations mainly from the South Yorkshire area. Donated bodies are studied in a variety of ways dependent on your course.

The laboratory comprises two large open spaces for dissection as well 14 teaching bays used for small group tutorials and revision sessions.

The unit holds a large number of anatomical resources for learning and teaching including plastic models, pre-dissected material and a large osteological collection. The facility is fortunate to have its own plastination unit enabling the availability of long lasting pre-dissected material – an invaluable resource for revision and examination.

Medical Teaching Unit equipment

The Unit houses over 2,500 historical pathology specimens collected from the local hospitals. Included in the collection are unique specimens of particular medical conditions such as lungs showing the first recorded example of silicosis in South Yorkshire.

Pathology collection
Small portion of our extensive historical pathology collection

For more specific information about how anatomy relates to your specific course of interest, please see the relevant course information below:



The Medical School has used cadaveric dissection to teach anatomy since 1828 and we are proud to continue this tradition. We are fortunate to have the overwhelming support of the local people in South Yorkshire, which enables us to provide students with first-hand experience of the inside of the human body. This early exposure starts to develop the students’ professional behaviours and ethics required for clinical practice.


Learning anatomy at the MTU is a truly unique opportunity… Models and textbooks are good, but there is simply no substitute to having every organ, tissue and fibre in front of you, anatomically complete. I feel genuinely honoured to have been able to learn anatomy this way, and remember it fondly. All actions are performed with reverence, and the teachers are excellent. Anatomy is useful for every single condition you will learn about

David Fennimore

Phase 3B Medical Student (End of 4th year)

Our students perform dissection of the entire human body over the first year of the Medicine degree course supported by a comprehensive video resource, written instruction and a high staff to student ratio. The classes enable students to develop a true three dimensional understanding of the human body in a safe and supported environment without risk to living patients. They also experience team working and practical skill development which will be essential later in the course.

The opportunity for full body dissection was one of the many reasons I chose Sheffield Medical School and I have found it immensely useful for consolidating what I learned in lectures and pre-reading

Faith Solanke

Phase 2a

More information on our Medical degree course


BDS Dental Surgery/BSc Bio-dental Science and Technology

During the first year of your degree programme, you will study human anatomy by cadaveric dissection. We will focus on the anatomy of the thorax during the first several classes, progressing to detailed anatomy of the head and neck for the remainder of the course.

Students working in a lab with model body parts

Dissection classes will be conducted in the Medical Teaching Unit (MTU) in a small group setting. Academic members of staff as well as post-graduate demonstrators will facilitate practical classes, providing guidance and expertise. Students will be provided with a dissection schedule that guides their dissection and highlights important structures. Pre-filmed dissection videos are available as learning aids to view before and after the class.

The opportunity to learn anatomy by dissection in Sheffield is incredibly valuable. Dissection allows an unparalleled appreciation for the three dimensional nature of anatomy. A strong foundation knowledge of head and neck anatomy is essential to enable clinical procedures to be carried out safely, and when considering the physical manifestations of disease.

Further to the undergraduate experience, I am now pursuing a career in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, and the fascinating (and fun!) dissection sessions undoubtedly encouraged me to explore this during my time as a student, applying what we learnt in the dissection room in the operating theatre.

Richard Taylor

BDS graduate

More information on our Dentistry degree courses


MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology/MSc Palaeoanthropology

The programmes offered by the Department of Archaeology are the only Archaeology courses in the UK providing an entire module dedicated to learning Human Anatomy via whole body human anatomical dissection. Via a close collaboration between the Medical Teaching Unit and the
Department of Archaeology, students benefit from a wealth of educational resources that facilitate an in depth knowledge of the human skeleton and musculoskeletal anatomy.

Skull on a lab table

First-hand experience with human dissection provides an unrivalled understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy, and modules run in the Bioarchaeology Teaching labs in the Department of Archaeology provide training in the identification of human remains, and analytical techniques to estimate age, sex, stature, ancestry, and the identification of pathological changes. With access to both facilities in the Medical Teaching Unit and to a large skeletal collection of over 2,000 individuals from sites dating from the early medieval period to the 20th century in the Department of Archaeology, our students develop a strong skill set in the analysis of human skeletal remains. These skills enable our students to pursue careers in archaeology, biological anthropology, forensic anthropology and the museum and heritage sector. Please see our course pages for further information.

The Department of Archaeology also contributes to teaching on the Biomedical Sciences module Forensic Anatomy in the Medical Teaching Unit. Here we provide access and training to BMS students in the study of archaeological human skeletal remains. This familiarises students with the key methods used for forming an osteological profile for identifying individuals in forensic
contexts. was a very humbling experience and has made me want to pursue studying anatomy further..

It was a fascinating experience and one I’ll never forget.

The dissections were incredible! It really helps to see the muscles in situ to understand what they do...

More information on our Archaeology degree courses

Human Communication Sciences

BMedSci/MMedSci Speech and Language Therapy

The University of Sheffield is one of only a few universities in the UK to offer undergraduate and postgraduate Speech and Language Therapy students the opportunity to learn from human anatomical dissection.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate students examine human anatomy relevant to human communication sciences within the University’s dedicated Medical Teaching Unit. As you progress through your degree and into your career ahead, you will learn how to link this medical knowledge to speech and language pathology.

Student holding a model throat

The opportunity to work in the MTU was invaluable to support my knowledge and understanding of biomedical science relating to speech and language therapy. Having not studied biology at A Level, I was really worried I would find the module overwhelming and inaccessible. However, being able to see donated cadavers, organs and structures and observe partial dissections really helped cement the theoretical knowledge delivered to us in lectures. I went from fearing this module to absolutely loving it and it certainly sparked my interest in neurology. I never would have said I was a sciency person before, but I certainly would now!

Heather Meakin

Speech and Language Therapist

HCS1010/HCS6301 Biomedical Science

This module will explore components of anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience that are relevant to the understanding of human communication throughout the lifespan. This will include the respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems, the development, structure and function of the head and neck. Traditional lectures are accompanied by small group tutorials which are held in the Medical Teaching Unit, offering students the opportunity to enhance their learning through use of 3D anatomical models and prosected specimens.

“The medical knowledge I gained through studying the BMedSci at Sheffield has given me the tools to work clinically in a hospital with patients with a variety of speech and swallowing conditions. I found the Sheffield course to be dedicated to sending out Speech Therapists into the working world with brilliant theoretical knowledge. Particularly, my time spent learning in the Medical Teaching Unit helped develop my understanding of anatomy and my ability to visualise biological structures, which in my job I do daily.”

Freya Lloyd

Speech and Language Therapist

More information on our Human Communication Sciences courses

Biomedical Science

Human Anatomy is taught across level 2 and 3 of the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science degree.  At level 2 the focus is cadaveric dissection and at level 3 the relationship between Anatomy and Forensic Science is explored using real life crime scenes.

The MSc Human Anatomy with Education course serves as both a stand alone Anatomy master's degree or as professional training for those wishing to teach Anatomy as a career.  The clinical aspects of this course also mean that it is popular with intercalating medics with participants gaining Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy on completion of their degree.

More information on anatomy teaching in biomedical science

Postgraduate Opportunities

MSc Human Anatomy with Education

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology

Physician Associate Studies

Postgraduate students stood in front of the Medical School

Physician Associates are a recent addition to the portfolio of health care professionals in the United Kingdom. At the University of Sheffield, our Masters degree course uses an abridged medical training model, which includes wholebody cadaveric dissection. This fully immersive learning environment enables students to gain an in depth understanding of the structure of the human body and facilitates knowledge transfer to real patients in the second half of the course. Development of motor skills is without risk to patients, in preparation for refinement during clinical training and practice.

One of the reasons I chose to study Physician Associate Studies at the University of Sheffield was the anatomy dissection course. The amount of knowledge I gained through the course was astounding and I use this same knowledge every single day in the clinical environment. I really can’t imagine learning anatomy in any other way

Ben Goude

Final Year Physician Associate

Neuroanatomy Dissection

Brain MRI image

This module supports a diverse range of courses from taught program research degrees in neuroscience and translational pathology to clinical neurology and psychology. Students undertake extensive dissection of the cranium, brain and spinal canal during their practical sessions, with a high teacher student ratio. Modern, experimental and historic imaging supports the learning and we have developed a virtual reality brain model, 3D printed models and a comprehensive award-winning video resource to provide access to learning resources outside of practical classes.

Brain image

More information on Neuroanatomy Dissection

Postgraduate medical training

Members of the medical faculty also provide teaching and facilities for medical practitioners who are preparing for postgraduate examinations. Formal teaching for anaesthetic trainees at primary and final FRCA and surgical trainees for MRCS takes place at various times during the year. Facilities are also available for individual users by prior arrangement.

If you are a postgraduate who would like to use the facilities to further your understanding of anatomy, please email the Medical Teaching Unit Manager -