The anatomical society core embryology syllabus for undergraduate medicine

J Anat. 2019 Oct;235(4):847-860. doi: 10.1111/joa.13023. Epub 2019 Jun 20.


A modified Delphi methodology was used to develop a consensus regarding a series of learning outcome statements to act as the foundation of an undergraduate medical core embryology syllabus. A Delphi panel was formed by recruiting stakeholders with experience in leading undergraduate teaching of medical students. The panel (n = 18), including anatomists, embryologists and practising clinicians, were nominated by members of Council and/or the Education Committee of the Anatomical Society. Following development of an a priori set of learning outcome statements (n = 62) by the authors, panel members were asked in the first of a two-stage process to 'accept', 'reject' or 'modify' each learning outcome, to propose additional outcomes if desired. In the second stage, the panel was asked to either accept or reject 16 statements which had either been modified, or had failed to reach consensus, during the first Delphi round. Overall, 61 of 62 learning outcome statements, each linked to examples of clinical conditions to provide context, achieved an 80% level of agreement following the modified Delphi process and were therefore deemed accepted for inclusion within the syllabus. The proposed syllabus allows for flexibility within individual curricula, while still prioritising and focusing on the core level of knowledge of embryological processes by presenting the essential elements to all newly qualified doctors, regardless of their subsequent chosen specialty.

Keywords: anatomy education; embryology education; integrated curriculum; medical education; syllabus; undergraduate education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Embryology / education*
  • Humans

Associated data