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 (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

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. 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

This 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 emerge with the skills to pursue further research in cancer or to pursue careers in industrial or healthcare settings.

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

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.

The foundation of your career


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.

Teaching and 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 (four compulsory, one 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 take three modules. You take a research skills module, 'Cancer Research Proposal'. You take a specialist module, 'Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy', which explores the interaction between cancer and the immune system and its potential as a cancer therapy.

You also choose between two options 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 and 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 & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £35,000

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

Students will pay for the printing and soft binding of two copies of their project dissertations. 

Certain research projects, depending upon the activities involved, may require a Hepatitis B vaccination.

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

We recommend buying core textbooks, but this is not essential for the programme. Likewise, you may find it useful to have your own computer, but UCL students can access computers in the libraries or student learning areas around the campus.

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: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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