Cancer MSc

London, Bloomsbury

The Cancer MSc reflects the depth and breadth of research interests, from basic science to translational medicine, within the UCL Cancer Institute. The programme, taught by research scientists and academic clinicians, provides students with an in-depth look at the biology behind the disease processes which lead to cancer.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in a relevant discipline such as life sciences or medicine or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 3

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.

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

This pioneering programme offers a foundation in understanding cancer as a disease process and its associated therapies.

You will learn about the approaches taken to predict, detect, monitor, and treat cancer, alongside the cutting-edge research methods and techniques used to advance our understanding of this disease and design better treatment strategies.

You will experience being fully immersed within a research-intensive environment by completing a 3.5-month research project, where you will learn invaluable research skills. The modules on the programme align with the research strengths of the UCL Cancer Institute, with a continued focus on innovations in translational cancer medicine.

You will emerge with the skills to pursue further a career within cancer research or within an industrial or healthcare setting.

Who this course is for

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

What this course will give you

This programme offers you the following benefits and opportunities.

  • UCL is one of Europe's largest and most productive centres of biomedical science, with an international reputation for leading basic, translational and clinical cancer research.
  • The UCL Cancer Institute brings together scientists from various disciplines to synergise multidisciplinary research into cancer.
  • Our expertise includes the molecular pathology of cancer, signalling pathways in cancer, epigenetic changes in cancer, targeted drug design and antibody-directed therapies, stem cell therapy and cancer immunotherapy, and national and international clinical trials in solid tumours and blood cancers.
  • Our education team are experienced and equipped with the latest learning innovations and teaching techniques, giving you an unparalleled education.

The foundation of your career

MSc Cancer graduates have been successful in securing positions within the Cancer Institute, either as research assistants/technicians, PhD students or data managers within the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit.

What's really cool at UCL is the fact that we have every clinician, every researcher that has made a big difference to cancer research at our fingertips. I think this is the best place to study cancer.

Georgia Constantinou

Cancer, MSc


You will develop skills including how to critically evaluate scientific literature, experimental planning and design, interpretation of data and results, presentation/public speaking skills, time management, working with a team, working independently, and writing for various audiences.

These knowledge and skills will be suitable for anyone contemplating a PhD or medical studies in cancer or for those interested in careers in an industrial or healthcare setting.


We offer regular research seminars within the Cancer Institute and the Faculty of Medical Sciences where you can meet and hear from expert speakers from academia, industry, and clinics. We encourage students to broaden their skills and expand their networks by attending and participating at advertised conferences.

Teaching and learning

You will develop your knowledge and understanding of cancer through the following:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • self-study
  • database mining
  • laboratory-based practicals
  • clinical trial evaluations
  • research training
  • assigned reading
  • self-learning.

Each taught module is assessed by an unseen written examination, presentation and/or coursework. The research project is assessed by the dissertation and oral presentation.

The MSc Cancer is a full-time degree. Teaching may be scheduled throughout the working week.

During the core and specialist modules, a typical week might involve around 15 hours of lectures and tutorials over three working days. However, this will vary between weeks and between different modules. The remainder of the time is intended for independent study.

During the research project, students will typically attend their research group full-time.

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months) is offered. A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, full-time 15 weeks) is offered.


The programme comprises five taught modules (three compulsory, two optional), and the research dissertation. The first term consists of two core modules ('Basic Biology and Cancer Genetics' and 'Cancer Therapeutics') which provide a fundamental understanding of cancer biology and treatment. In the second term, you will take three modules. You will take a research skills module, 'Cancer Research Skills' and have the option to choose between two optional specialist modules. Either 'Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy', which explores the interaction between cancer and the immune system and its potential as a cancer therapy or ‘Cancer Omics and Evolution’ which will introduce you to the realms of cancer omics, exploring large omics datasets and the basic concepts of cancer evolution. Further, will also choose between two optional modules that will broaden your knowledge. 'Behavioural Science in Cancer' considers how patients and the public are influenced by cancer as a disease. 'Cancer Clinical Trials' explores how discoveries from the laboratory are safely and reliably taken forward into clinical testing. In the third term, you will apply your knowledge, technical and analytical skills to investigate a novel research hypothesis in a research project. 

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Cancer. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Cancer. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Cancer.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Where you'll study

Research staff at UCL Cancer Institute

At the UCL Cancer Institute, you will join a scientific community of over 400 talented scientists. We are dedicated to discovering new techniques in cancer detection and treatment that can make a different to the lives of cancer patients. Our undergraduate, taught masters and PhD programmes reflect the depth and breadth of research expertise within the UCL Cancer Institute. Teaching is predominantly based at the Hampstead and Bloomsbury campuses.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Cancer MSc Q&A

The Cancer MSc reflects the depth and breadth of research interests, from basic science to translational medicine, within the UCL Cancer Institute. The programme provides students with an in-depth look at the biology behind the disease processes which lead to cancer. In this session, Dr Sarah Koushyar will highlight some recent research and outline the structure of the MSc programme. Along with a summary of the programme, there will also be a Q&A at the end. This event is open to all.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

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:

Additional costs

Certain research projects, depending upon the activities involved, may require a Hepatitis B vaccination. The current cost of the vaccine is £50 per dose (£150 total), according to NHS.UK.

Although most of the teaching is conducted in Bloomsbury, you may occasionally need to travel to other sites (e.g. Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead) for some activities. These are usually within London, so additional travel costs should be low. (Single fare information is available at Transport for London.)

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

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

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study this programme at graduate level
  • why you want to study this programme at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree.

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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