MB ChB Manch 1934, MD 1938; FRCS Eng 1942; MRCS LRCP 1934.
Kirkman studied medicine at the University of Manchester and was house surgeon at MRI. He was assistant lecturer in physiology at the University of Liverpool and senior surgical registrar at South Manchester Hospital Group before being appointed consultant surgeon to Withington Hospital and Duchess of York Hospital for Babies, Manchester. Kirkman was also clinical lecturer in applied anatomy at the University of Manchester. He was a fellow of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and the Royal Society of Medicine. Kirkman was a life fellow of MMS.