Frequently Asked Questions

When can I apply?

You can apply at any time and select the academic year in which you wish to start.

We do not have a specific deadline, but all applications are processed before the end of August. As the course has a limited number of places, the applications process may be closed if a large number of applications are received. This would be notified on our website.

If you are applying from overseas, you will need to allow yourself sufficient time to receive your CAS number and secure your Tier 4 student visa.

Students who are eligible and interested in the France scholarship should apply and accept their offer before the end of June to allow shortlisting for the interviews which will be held in July.

Is there more than one intake a year?

We only have one intake per year and you will need to ensure that you can arrive in the UK in time for Introductory Week lectures. For 2018-19 this will be w/c 17 September 2018.

What are the entry requirements?

We welcome students from a science background including undergraduate studies in Biology, Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Natural or Human Sciences and Medicine. You must have achieved a minimum of a 2:1 degree from a recognised institution. If you are unsure whether you have a relevant degree, please contact us. Applicants with a good 2:2 will be considered in exceptional circumstances but you must contact the Course Director to discuss your application.

Can I still apply if I do not have a relevant degree?

Yes, you can still apply as you may have work and additional training experience that may be relevant and your application would still be considered. If in doubt please contact us to discuss your application. You may be invited to an interview so that you fully understand what our course entails and what is required of you.

What are the English Language requirements?

We ask for IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing and speaking and a 7.0 in listening. Please note that our English requirements are higher than the minimum requirements set by the University of Sheffield due to the nature and depth of the course to be studied.

We do recognise and accept other proofs of English and you can check these by following this link:

English language requirements for postgraduates

Do both of my references need to be academic? We would prefer both references to be academic, however if this is not possible, we would accept alternative references eg a manager at work, if these were relevant to the course.
What happens if I graduated a long time ago and I cannot provide an academic reference? In this situation, we would ask for two references from recent work situations who could judge your suitability for postgraduate study.
What should my referee comment on? Your referee should be able to comment on your personality and background, your work ethic and your approach to study, ideally being able to indicate how you have been involved in relevant study or experience to the course.
What is a personal statement? This is an important part of your application and should outline essentially why you want to study our Masters course. We would want to hear how your previous studies and experience would support your interest and application and how you feel studying our course would fit into your future potential plans. We would also welcome information on your activities outside the area of work or study which may add to your application.
Are there any scholarships available for Masters Students?

The France Scholarship:
Prospective UK students in receipt of an offer of a place to study on the MSc(Res) may apply for a Scholarship to support their studies. If you have received an offer and are interested in making an application you should contact the Course Director. Closing date for applications is 30 June 2017. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed in July.

The Sheffield Graduate Alumni Award:
Reductions of 10% on tuition fees are available for students who have completed their undergraduate degree in Sheffield. These are automatically deducted off your course fees.

Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarships:
Scholarships of up to £10,000 for Home and EU students starting their studies in September 2017. For more information and to apply, go to: The closing date for applications is 15 May 2017.

For International students:
Country Specific Bursaries:

Information on potential additional funding related to your individual country can be found at the following link:

Additional Scholarship Information: Further information can be found at the following link:

What happens to my application once I have submitted it? Your application will firstly be reviewed by the Course Director to ensure that you fulfil the criteria required by the course, in competition with the other applicants. We may interview candidates if we wish to ask the applicant further questions, or if a candidate has a high 2:2 rather than the required 2:1.

The decision will then be forwarded to the University Central Admissions Team for processing and they will send your offer or refusal letter to you by email.

What kind of offers are there? Your offer will either be:
You meet all our entry requirements and have the offer of place with no conditions.
You have the offer of a place but need to send proof of certain outstanding issues. This is common where you have not completed your undergraduate degree or where references or English Language qualifications need to be uploaded. Once the specified conditions are met, you will be upgraded to an unconditional offer and sent an updated offer letter. Please note that Sheffield graduates will have their offers automatically upgraded once the final degree results are published in the summer.
This will be if you do not meet our entry requirements or have submitted a particularly weak application.
Why has no decision been made on my application yet? There is usually a short delay between receiving your online application, processing it in the department and then the final offer letter being forwarded to you. At times, we may contact you regarding elements of your application and this would delay the decision. If you experience a significant delay, please get in touch.
What is a CAS number? A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) is a virtual number and replaced Visa Letters in acting as support for a student to come to the UK to study or, in the case of visa extensions, to continue their studies in the UK. International students will not be able to apply for a visa or visa extension without a CAS number.
When and how do I get my CAS number? Once you have been offered an unconditional place on our Masters course, you will be contacted directly by the University regarding your CAS number and how to apply for this. There is a deposit of £1,000 before your CAS number is issued and this will deducted from your tuition fees. Further information can be found at
How do I apply for my Tier 4 student visa? You will be sent information directly from our Points Based System team, however there is further information available at the following link:
What if I change my mind about coming to Sheffield? You are under no obligation to start your Masters course, even if you have accepted an unconditional offer. If you do change your mind, we would ask you to email our administrator Helen Mason ( so that we are aware that you will not be arriving.

Please note that international students who have paid their deposit, and have already received their CAS number, will not be refunded their deposit.

When does the course start? For 2017-18 our course begins with Introductory Week activities during week commencing 25 September 2017. As these lectures and discussions are very important, we ask that all students make arrangements to be in Sheffield to attend these activities.
Can I study part-time? Yes, you can. The part-time course is two-years, with attendance for a minimum of 2.5 days/week for the taught part of the course (September-March) in both years, and then the research project in the second year will require full-time attendance for 25 weeks (March-end of August). It may be possible to carry out the research project at your place of work if this is relevant to the field of Oncology. However, you must provide a statement of reference from a work based person in the Oncology field indicating his/her willingness to act as a local tutor to the candidate. The proposed project will be subject to approval by the course committee. Applicants considering the part-time option must contact the course director, Dr Carolyn Staton ( to discuss this option in detail.
Can I study by Distance Learning? This option is being considered but is not available at the present time.
I am going to take an English test later in the year, can I still apply now? Yes you can apply before you have your English test result. However, please note that your offer would be conditional on receipt of our required English standards. Your offer would only be converted to unconditional if we receive proof that you have met our English language requirements.
I am studying at the English Language Teaching Centre in the summer, am I still eligible? Yes, you can apply but it is important to note that if you do not achieve our required English Language levels, we will not accept you onto the course, regardless of whether you are already in the UK.
What happens after I have been made an offer?

Once you receive your offer, it is helpful to us if you accept your offer if you are fairly certain that you are coming to study our Masters course. Please be aware that you cannot accept more than one unconditional offer at the University of Sheffield.

If you have outstanding documents, please continue to upload these onto your online application as they become available and as soon as all the requested information is received, you will receive an unconditional offer.

We will keep in touch with regular newsletters and once your application rolls over to registration status in early September, we would contact you to invite you to the Introductory Week activities.

How long is the course and what are the term dates?

26/09/17 – 29/09/17: Introductory Week

02/10/17 – 20/12/17: Autumn Term

02/01/18 – 31/08/18: Spring/Summer Term

How much holiday do students get? You will have two weeks holiday over the Christmas Festive period and then a further ten days, to be taken during your research project in the Summer Term, in discussion with your Research Supervisor.
If I cannot take up my offer of a place this year, can I defer it to next year? We are happy to defer offers for one year. We would ask you to reapply for the course if you were unable to take up your place in the second year.
Is there an application fee? There is a non-refundable deposit of £1,000 for international students to secure your CAS number.
How are the modules assessed? 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.
Is there any background reading I should do?

Recommended Reading for the Course:
Core textbook:

The Biology of Cancer. 2nd Edition. Edited by Robert Weinberg (2013). Garland Science (ISBN 978 0815342205)

Other recommended reading:

The Molecular Biology of Cancer: A bridge from bench to bedside. 2nd Edition. Edited by Stella Pelengaris and Michael Khan (2013). Wiley-Blackwell. (ISBN 978-1-1180-0881-2)

Epidemiology. 4th Edition. Edited by Leon Gordis (2008) Elsevier (ISBN 978-1-4160-4002-6)

Cancer and its Management, 6th Edition. Edited by Jeffery Tobias and Daniel Hochhauser (2010). Wiley-Blackwell (ISBN 978-1-4051-7015-4).

Can I talk to people who are on the course at present? We do have student representatives who would be able to correspond with you by email. Please contact the course administrator, Helen Mason ( to arrange this.
Do you have Open Days or can I visit?

Please check our website for details of the Postgraduate Open Days.

If you are closer to Sheffield and would like to arrange a visit, please contact our Course Administrator, Helen Mason ( to arrange a convenient time.

How can I get any further information? If you would like to discuss the course further, please email the Course Director, Dr Carolyn Staton ( or call her on +44 (0) 114 215 9063.