These 37 manuscripts, all originating from Dobson's time as a student at Edinburgh University in the late 18th century, give a good insight into the content and nature of medical education at a time when Edinburgh was one of the foremost centres of medical teaching in Europe. At this time there were no officially accepted medical lectures being given in Manchester, or indeed the rest of England outside of London, and Dobson's experience and the knowledge he brought back to the North West would have been in line with the experiences of many other young medical men.
The core subjects of medical training are represented in Dobson's notes, including institutes of medicine (medical theory), the materia medica, chemistry, botany, anatomy, clinical lectures, and midwifery. In addition the lectures of some of Edinburgh's most famous medical lecturers such as, William Cullen (1710-1790), John Gregory (1724-1773), Joseph Black (1728-1799), Thomas Young (c.1725-1783), Andrew Duncan (1744-1828) and Alexander Monro (1733-1817), are represented and are of interest in their own right.
One volume of midwifery lecture notes (MMM/1/4/2) also contains a number of lectures on philosophy demonstrating the broader education available to medical students. Included in the rear of the final volume of clinical lectures (MMM/1/3/6) there is also record of Dobson's early clinical practice shortly after qualifying and following his return to Lancashire.