School of Anatomy


The University of Waterloo School of Anatomy was established by Order in Council of the Government of Ontario in 1978 to enable students of human movement to more easily gain an indepth knowledge of the structure of the human body. The level of teaching is on par with that of any medical school in order that our graduates may play a useful role in the health system.

The School was founded through the efforts of Dr. Don Ranney, a former orthopaedic and hand surgeon whose research focused on biomechanics of the hand and industrial repetitive strain injuries of the upper limb. He was Head of the School for its first twenty years.

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Program Director: Tamara Maciel, BSc, MSc  
Laboratory Instructor: Jeremy Roth, ​BHSc, MSc

Teaching laboratory

The Human Anatomy Dissection Laboratory provides students with the opportunity to learn and review anatomy using pre-dissected human cadavers. The primary laboratory users are undergraduate kinesiology students but the space is also used by optometry students, fine arts students, a variety of graduate students, and visiting health care professionals. 

Undergraduate courses

Five courses in human anatomy are available to Kinesiology and Health Sciences students within the department. These are Human Anatomy : Limbs and Trunk (required of all students) and several electives: Human Anatomy of the Central Nervous System. Directed Study in Anatomy (which usually involves the internal organs); and either a Research Proposal and Project in Anatomy (2 terms) or a Senior Essay in Anatomy. Through interaction with other departments on campus, courses are available in histology, embryology, vertebrate zoology and human pathology. The School of Anatomy thus plays a key role in preparing students for courses in medicine, chiropractic, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and a wide variety of other health related fields as well as biomechanics and anatomy.


After completing a course, many undergraduate students come back for a second look as Volunteer Teaching Assistants. This refreshes their own knowledge when they are in a position to apply it to other courses, gives them practice in teaching, and brings to the junior students a sense of purpose in learning anatomy.

Graduate student research

The Anatomy Laboratory also plays a vital role in faculty and graduate student research, particularly in the area of biomechanics. Preliminary study of cadaver material is often advisable before conduct of research using living subjects to avoid misguided assumptions. Some research, both graduate and undergraduate, may be entirely anatomical in nature.

Body donation and the advancement of science

For more information regarding donations to the School of Anatomy please refer to our bequeathal program.