UCL Cancer Institute Students on stairs

MSc Cancer

The MSc Cancer programme reflects the depth and breadth of research expertise within the UCL Cancer Institute. The programme, taught by research scientists and academic clinicians, will provide students with an in-depth look at the biology behind the disease processes which lead to cancer. Students will learn about the approaches taken to predict, detect, monitor, and treat cancer. The programme provides a strong grounding in the cutting edge research methods and techniques used to advance our understanding of this disease and design better treatment strategies.

Who is the course for?

The programme is designed for those with undergraduate qualifications in the life sciences, scientists, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals including individuals from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The knowledge and transferable skills developed in the course will be suitable for those in an industrial or healthcare setting, as well as those individuals contemplating further PhD or medical studies.

“I would certainly recommend the course to anyone who aspires to a career in scientific or clinical research within academia or industry. The structure of the course provides a fantastic arena to acquire knowledge as well as understanding the practicalities of working within a research environment.”

Gayathri Delanerolle - MSc Cancer graduate


MSc Postgraduate Diploma Postgraduate Certificate
  • 2 Core modules
  • 4 Specialist modules
  • Research project module
  • 2 Core Modules
  • 4 Specialist modules
  • 2 Core modules
1 year full time
9 months full time
15 weeks full time

Course Structure and Curriculum

Core modules:
There are two core modules worth 30 credits each. Each module will consist of a written exam (50%) and coursework (50%).

  1. Basic Biology and Cancer Genetics
  2. Cancer therapeutics

Specialist modules:
There are four specialist (optional) modules. Each optional module is worth 15 credits. Each module will consist of a written exam (50%) and coursework (50%).
  1. Cancer Clinical Trials
  2. This module will provide students with an understanding of clinical trial design and conduct. They will learn about different types of trials, and the associated ethical and regulatory issues. There will be sessions on specific cancers, and an emphasis on targeted therapies and biomarker endpoints.
    Students will learn about clinical trial regulations and will have the opportunity to visit either a clinical facility where patients are given trial drugs or the Cancer Research UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre (CTC) to gain an understanding of the operational aspects of clinical trials. They will also learn how to interpret data from trials with an emphasis on the evaluation of evidence and will appraise several clinical trial publications.
  3. Biomarkers in Cancer
  4. This module will provide student with an understanding of the different classes of biomarkers and how they are used (diagnostic, prognostic and/or predictive, pharmacodynamic and imaging biomarkers). Students will learn about the detection of circulating tumour cells, cell free DNA and mRNA; the development of biomarkers and how biomarkers are used in the clinic.
  5. Haematological Malignancy & Gene Therapy
  6. Behavioural Science & Cancer
  7. This module will provide students with an introduction to psychosocial issues in the prevention, early detection and survival of cancer. Topics covered will include: cancer prevention through public health initiatives (e.g. social marketing), and individual-level interventions to prevent cancer or promote early detection. Students will be introduced to related psychological theories and applied behavioural examples in the area of cancer screening, energy balance, and smoking cessation.


Course Administrator

Lauren James
Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 6658
E-mail: l.e.james@ucl.ac.uk

Course Coordinator & Tutor

Dr Julie Olszewski
Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 6911
E-mail: j.olszewski@ucl.ac.uk


postgraduate funding

Laboratory based project or research module:
The project/research component of the course is worth 60 credits. Students will undertake a laboratory project, be involved with clinical trials or have a systems biology/informatics project. Students will submit a written dissertation of 10,000 - 12,000 words and have an assessed oral presentation about their research project around the midpoint of the module.


Why study with us?

University College London is one of Europe’s largest and most productive centres of biomedical science with great strengths in cancer research. Scientists at UCL have an international reputation for leading basic, translational and clinical cancer research. The newly formed UCL Cancer Institute brings together scientists from various disciplines to synergise multidisciplinary research into cancer. Our researchers’ particular areas of expertise include:

  • the biology of leukaemia
  • the infectious causes of cancer
  • the design of drugs that interact with DNA
  • antibody-directed therapies
  • the molecular pathology of cancer
  • epigenetic changes in cancer
  • gene therapy
  • early phase clinical trials
  • national and international clinical trials in solid tumours and blood cancers
In addition we collaborate with scientists in nanotechnology, bioinformatics and computational sciences, developmental biology, stem-cell research, immunity, engineering and medicinal chemistry.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Honours degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or an appropriate professional qualification or work experience.

How To Apply

Applications should be submitted directly to UCL admissions. Applications will be accepted from October 15th for the 2015-2016 academic year. Please apply early to avoid disappointment. The closing date for applications is 31st July 2015.

Fees and Funding

Programme fees: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/money/2015-2016_fees/2015-16_postgrad_taught

For those students working to organize scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants), early application for admission is strongly encouraged.


Frequently Asked Questions