Course structure

Course content

Our MSc(Res) programme will give both scientists and clinicians an in-depth understanding of the scientific and clinical challenges pertinent to the management of tissue-specific cancers, and offers theoretical and practical training in fundamental aspects of contemporary oncology encompassing the cellular and molecular basis of cancer, tumour microenvironment, cancer epidemiology, cancer diagnosis and treatment, cancer technologies and clinical research. The MSc(Res) course provides an innovative and progressive programme with teaching delivered by leading research scientists and clinicians including regular ‘Keynote Lectures’ by international clinical researchers on the topic of ‘bench to bedside’, in addition to the main modules.


The course combines teacher-centred and student-centred learning.   Whilst some of the teaching is didactic, consisting of formal lectures and seminars, there is emphasis on student-centred learning by means of class discussions/workshops, group debates, self-study units, individual presentations and interactive tutorials.   Students work independently during the research and literature review projects under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

The taught component – the first five months of the course - integrates a range of teaching styles including lectures, seminars, class discussions/workshops, practical demonstration classes and interactive tutorials designed to bring students up-to-date with current theoretical and practical findings in the subject. During the Cancer Technologies and Clinical Research module there is the opportunity to select either the Home Office Licence Induction Course or Cancer Systems Biology Course. In the summer, the 25 week continuous research project gives students the practical experience of performing hypothesis-led translational research which culminates in an oral presentation and written dissertation.


The taught modules are assessed by a ‘seen’ written exam which takes the form of a series of essay style questions which the students have 32 hours to answer and hand in, and will assess the students’ ability to synthesise and use information, not just regurgitate it. In addition the students are assessed by other specific assignments including essays, poster and oral presentations. The literature review will be assessed by submission of a formatted review paper, and the research project will be assessed by oral presentation and written dissertation.

A student who fails to obtain the MSc(Res) but who achieves 120 credits or more will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Translational Oncology.

Criteria for the award of credit units and degree

To be considered for the award of the MSc(Res) degree, a student must pass all modules. Each module is assessed individually via two assignments which are marked on a 100-point scale. The pass mark for each assignment is 50%. An average of 50% must be achieved over both assignments to receive the credits for the module, but in order to continue on the MSc(Res) 50% or more must be achieved in both assignments.

A student requires 180 credits to be awarded the MSc(Res). That is, all modules must be passed. The MSc(Res) will be awarded with distinction to any student whose final average mark is 70% or higher and has 90 credits marked at 70% or greater. Any student who also obtains a final average mark of at least 60% but lower than 70% with 90 credits all marked at 60% or greater will be awarded an MSc(Res) with merit. When calculating the average mark, individual marks are weighted in proportion to the number of credits carried by each module.

A student who fails to obtain the MSc(Res) but who achieves 120 credits or more will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Translational Oncology.


TO students picture

Course structure

Module 1 - Cellular & Molecular Basis of Cancer

Module 2 -  Cancer Epidemiology

Module 3 - Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Module 4 - Tumour Microenvironment

Module 5 - Cancer Technologies & Clinical Research

Module 6 - Literature Review

Module 7 - Translational Research Project


Each student is allocated a personal tutor at the beginning of the course, and regular meetings are scheduled throughout the year. Detailed feedback will be given to students by module leads after each assessment. The University provides many other sources of support including the Counselling Service, Disability & Dyslexia Support Service, International Office, Student Services and many more.

Personal skills development

The MSc(Res) in Translational Oncology will provide students with a springboard for their future career. A series of tutorials including CV writing, career tracking and critical appraisal, among others, will help with personal development to improve student employability. Furthermore, the research project and literature review, seminar programmes, tutorials and taught modules provide a range of subject specific and transferable skills pertinent to a career in academia, industry or elsewhere.

Subject specific

Student feedback

'The professional skills tutorials were really helpful in planning for my future career'.

'I really liked the extra things we were able to do such as seminars, the conference and professional skills tutorials. They were good to experience and good to add to applications/CV'.