The best anatomy websites are often hidden gems piled under larger paid-for platforms. Searching around for them takes time. Time that you most probably don’t have!
Having faced the challenge of mastering anatomy myself in med school, I know what it’s like when it comes to hunting around for good resources.
That’s why I’ve put together this list. It’s a list that only includes sites personally used by myself or recommended to me by colleagues. And yes, each site on this list (although a couple have “premium” options) are free and very comprehensive.
The 5 sites on this list:
Before you dive into each though perhaps it’s worth reading on and figuring out which one is best for your learning needs. They’re not all equal (nor do they all cover the same things!)
Ready to get started?
List of Best Free Anatomy Websites
Dive into each of these and learn anatomy from some of the best resources around.
Games and quizzes more your thing?
Check out my article: Best Anatomy & Physiology Study Games for College Students
On to the sites!
TeachMe Anatomy was one my primary go-to sites when learning anatomy back in the first and second year of med school. It’s still one of my first point of references for looking anything up.
What’s great about the site is that it functions like a Wiki. This makes looking up unfamiliar terms lightning fast. It also means you don’t have to leave the site’s environment (and all the good stuff that comes with that) too.
Each article also gets an aggregated score. You can also see how many revisions a post has and how up to date it is with the current science. This is something books can’t do!
What I like most about this site is the design. TeachMe Anatomy is slick.
Each page follows a similar formatting style; an introduction to the topic, a description of the structure anatomically with relevant and clear images and finally a clinical relevance section that draws it back to medicine.
The sidebar also features a few quick MCQ-style questions alongside references to related clinical research.
The paid-for premium tier gives access to a larger question bank (there are lots of free ones) as well as a 3D model.
Innerbody Research is a med-ed site with a vastly underrated anatomy section.
What’s great about it is it’s simplicity. You land on the page, pick a system and then get reading. The pages are dense and cover just about everything. Including all the systems and well as specific diseases relating to them.
A cool feature of the site is the main navigation point on each page/article. Here you can interactively click around the part of the body relevant to each category (here I’m obviously in the skeletal section), then you’ll be taken to the specific information.
It’s fast, ad-free and works!
I’ve mentioned Get Body Smart before on this site, specifically when it comes to its highly recommended quizzes.
What I didn’t go into much detail about though was the excellent tutorial side of the site.
Unlike the other sites on this list, Get Body Smart is much less information dense. The philosophy of this site is to show rather than tell. That’s why it uses animations to teach rather than detailed text descriptions.
Using the site is incredible easy. You can use the navigation bar at the to go to an anatomical system. From there, you can then dive straight into a short tutorial and start playing around with the images and going back and forth on the buttons.
The site uses ads but they really don’t get in the way of learning.
From the tutorials you head right to the quizzes to consolidate your learning. Nothing is hidden behind paid access!
AnatomyZone is a site started by two British doctors that acts as a central hub for 3D videos.
Visitors to the site can quickly search for what they want to look up directly after landing on the site. You can also use the categories in the footers to better browse.
What’s neat about this resource is that each video comes with a scannable text. This means you can watch along and take notes (or make flashcards) directly using the information from the site. The 3D videos are embedded from YouTube.
The videos are delivered in a lecture-style format by the doctors themselves.
Often times individual medical schools deliver free resources so good you wonder how they achieve attracting paying students!
University of Michigan Medical School’s Anatomy Department does just that, putting their whole syllabus online free for public use.
What’s so useful about this is that you don’t have to go through a MOOC or any online portal to do this. You can just head straight to the site, dive into a course and get working. Each is structured exactly as the real-life class would progress.
They even include the downloadable supplementary materials like lab worksheets and lecture slides too.
You’ll see that that each of the available courses is divided into blocks. You can read my article on medical school curriculums to get a better sense of this type of structuring, but basically (in the example above at least) it means you’ll study anatomy according to physiological importance.
This is possibly what gives UMich an edge of the other sites on this list. Unlike the top-down approach they provide in the encyclopaedia-style format, UMich’s structure delivers better context to what you’re learning. It also ties it all together so that you know why what you’re learning is important.
What Makes A Great Anatomy Website for a Medical Student?
Each of these websites has to fit a certain criteria to earn their place on this list. As far as I see it, this is that criteria; things that help make them a great choice for med students pressed for time:
- Free access
- No sign-up
- Easy to use
- Nothing to download
- Clear explanations
If any site out there doesn’t fit that bill, it’s not on this list.
How Should I Use Anatomy Websites to Study?
Personally, I believe that each of these sites can be used as great primary resources for learning anatomy.
To really maximise your time however, I recommend first learning the information, revisiting it periodically and then practicing it with question banks or quizzes.
For more recommendations on how I best advise learning science subjects like anatomy, see my article how to study medicine more effectively (you don’t have to be a med student to find it useful!)
Anatomy websites come and go on the web all the time. The sites I’ve recommended above though? Likely to stick around for the long haul.
Each fits the bill of being quick, easy and free to use and learn from.
The perfect supplement to help you get an edge and ace your exams.
Image Credit @moonshadowpress at Unsplash
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in digital marketing and journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.