Oncology MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Research degree studies at the UCL Cancer Institute provide students with a supportive yet intellectually rigorous environment to develop their research skills, subject knowledge and critical review abilities. Excellent facilities, supervision and training opportunities prepare students for careers in academia, industry, business, biomedicine and healthcare.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
£2,845
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£27,480
£13,750
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Research within the Cancer Institute is varied and entails various disciplines such as molecular and cellular biology, cancer genetics, immunology, genetic engineering, cancer therapeutics and bioinformatics. There are five research departments within the Cancer Institute:

  • Cancer Biology
  • Haematology
  • Oncology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Trials Centre

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

The UCL Cancer Institute offers a unique opportunity to work in a collaborative research environment that spans basic research, translational medicine and clinical applications. The Cancer Institute works closely with its associated clinical trials facilities, experimental cancer medicine centre, biobanking facilities and associated partner hospitals in London.

The foundation of your career

Skills students acquire include bench and technical skills, critical evaluation of scientific literature, experimental planning and design, interpretation of data results, presentation/public speaking skills, time and project management, working within a team, working independently and writing for various audiences.

Employability

Graduates go on to further medical training or clinical posts, or academic posts at institutions including universities around the world. They have also found employment in laboratory management, research, industry, clinical trials co-ordination, scientific writing and editing, sales and consulting.

Networking

Networking opportunities include weekly internal divisional seminars, weekly external speaker seminar and reception, Cancer Institute annual conference, student poster sessions, national/international research conference attendance, academic careers day and LinkedIn alumni network.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

  • Antibody Based Medicines
  • Cancer Drug Development
  • Drug-DNA Interactions
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Tumour Biology on Therapeutic Response

Research environment

UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). Our scientists have an international reputation for leading basic, translational and clinical cancer research and the Cancer Institute is uniquely positioned to leverage the multidisciplinary nature of UCL by engaging a range of disciplines to transform cancer research.

You will join a community of over 300 research scientists and 120 research students within the Cancer Institute. Our combination of fundamental cancer research, clinical links with UCLH, and the Royal Free Hospitals, and collaborative links with the Crick Institute and Cancer Research UK, make the Cancer Institute an exciting environment for basic and translational research into cancer.

You will develop your research hypothesis with your supervisors, and undertake novel laboratory, bioinformatic or clinical research as part of their research team. You will regularly discuss your data and analyses with your supervisors, and record these on your research log. You will be expected to present and discuss your data and conclusions at research team meetings, Institute Research in Progress talks, the annual Cancer Institute conference and Research Student poster day. You will also be encouraged to present at relevant international conferences and, where appropriate, to contribute towards scientific publications in your field.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is usually 3-4 years for full-time studyand 5 years for part-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9- 18 months (full-time) or 15-30 months (part-time) after initial registration.

Within three months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method and a realistic plan of work. You will produce and submit a detailed outline of your proposed research to your supervisor and thesis committee for their comments and feedback. You will then undertake this project as part of your supervisor’s research team, sharing ideas with them and drawing on their knowledge and expertise.

In your second year (18-36 months for part-time students) you will continue to explore your research hypothesis and collect and analyse novel data. You will also be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a report summarising your research to date, and to present and answer questions about this work at a viva voce examination. You will also be expected to present your research to the department at a Research in Progress seminar.

In your third year (36-60 months for part-time students) you will be expected to complete your data collection and analysis, and to prepare your thesis. You will also be encouraged to present your findings at an international conference or annual Cancer Institute conference. Following this third year (after 5 years for part-time students) you may be eligible for a CRS year (two years for part-time students) to complete your thesis writing and to undertake your viva examination.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is usually 5 years for part-time study.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 15-30 months after initial registration.


Within five months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method and a realistic plan of work. You will produce and submit a detailed outline of your proposed research to your supervisor and thesis committee for their comments and feedback. You will then undertake this project as part of your supervisor’s research team, sharing ideas with them and drawing on their knowledge and expertise.

In your second and third years (18-36 months) you will continue to explore your research hypothesis and collect and analyse novel data. You will also be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a report summarising your research to date, and to present and answer questions about this work at a viva voce examination. You will also be expected to present your research to the department at a Research in Progress seminar.


In your fourth and fifth year you will be expected to complete your data collection and analysis, and to prepare your thesis. You will also be encouraged to present your findings at an international conference or annual Cancer Institute conference. Following the fifth year you may be eligible for a CRS period of two years to complete your thesis writing and to undertake your viva examination.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £27,480 £13,750

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

As a research student possible additional costs may include printing and binding of thesis copies, items such as books or additional expenses whilst attending conferences. The Cancer Institute provides some competitive travel scholarships to support research students attending training workshops or international conferences.

Your research degree may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (AFE). The AFE (also known as bench fees) is an additional cost, incurred by yourself or your sponsor. It is levied to cover the costs related to consumables, equipment and materials etc. which are not included in the tuition fee. As each research project is unique in nature, the AFE is calculated on a student by student basis and is determined by your academic supervisor.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Annual CR-UK funded clinical fellowships and non-clinical PhD studentships are available; please check the Cancer Institute website for further details. Other funded studentships will also be advertised on the Institute's website as they become available.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. You should check the institute's studentship opportunities pages or contact the Departmental Graduate Tutor before making an application. For more information see our How to apply page.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

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