Triangle Skip to content
Exit nav

Course overview

Join the fight against cancer and learn more about the biological and molecular aspects of the disease as well as the clinical practice of oncology. 

Taught by both scientists and clinicians who are internationally recognised for their cancer research, you'll get to learn and conduct your own research project in the brand new Biodiscovery Institute making use of some of the latest technology in oncology. 

For over 20 years the course has been providing up-to-date knowledge and training to its students in both clinics and labs, giving them a unique approach to the study of cancer.

At Nottingham, you'll receive the thorough grounding in oncology that will help you succeed in your career tackling one of the world's biggest killers.

Why choose this course?

Brand new facilities

Experience the latest technologies at the brand new Biodiscovery Institute

Meet the requirements

for Higher Specialist Training in Medical Oncology and Part 1 FRCR exams.

Cancer experts

Join the University that introduced the Nottingham Prognostic Index and EarlyCDT-Lung test

Course content

You'll study across a number of compulsory modules designed to cover the many different aspects of oncology including tumour immunology and physiology, pathology, cancer treatment, radiation biology. 

You'll also have a selection of optional modules to help you tailor your studies to your specific interests and work balance. Your selection will be taken in consultation with the course director and is subject to approval by the Head of School.

Study takes place over three semesters, autumn, spring, and summer. Typically taught modules are delivered in the autumn and spring semesters with the research project starting part time during the spring before becoming full time during the summer semester, though this is dependent on your mode of study.

MSc students will take all of the compulsory modules and choose 10 credits' worth of optional modules for a total of 180 credits.

Students taking the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) cover a collection of the same modules for a total of 60 credits.

Modules

Compulsory Modules

Tumour Physiology 10 credits

A series of specialist lectures will be provided on the growth and differentiation of tumours and their interaction with the host. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the role of angiogenesis and the host's immune system as determinants of tumour growth. This module will develop the students understanding of the tumour in relationship to the whole organism. Topics include: tumour-host interactions, tumour vasculature (structure and function), tumour growth kinetics, angiogenesis and vascular mediated strategies, metabolism, the biology of metastasis, and molecular and cellular aspects of apoptosis. 

This module is assessed by a one hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (100%).

Tumour Immunology 10 credits

An overview of immunological approaches to cancer immunotherapy and immunological mechanisms and how these may be used to optimise therapeutic approaches.

  • Anti-tumour Antibody Responses
  • Cellular Anti-tumour Immunity
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • CAR and redirected T Cell therapies
  • Cytokine Therapy
  • Immune evasion by tumours
Cell, Developmental and Molecular Biology 20 credits

This introductory module has been specifically designed to cover the basic underlying biology required for a clear understanding of stem cell types and their function.

Techniques in Cancer Research 20 credits

A series of lectures will be given on the various practical and analytical techniques commonly used in the scientific investigation of cancer. An extensive set of laboratory practicals are conducted to allow students to experience a variety of the techniques taught in lectures. The student will acquire a theoretical and practical understanding of the majority of techniques used in modern molecular biology. This will provide them with a basic grounding to be used in subsequent laboratory-based research.

Radiation Biology Applied to Therapy 10 credits

A series of specialist lectures will provide an overview of the principles of the interaction of ionising radiation with living systems. Particular attention is given to the scientific basis of fractionation in radiotherapy, radiation pathology and normal tissue effects, tumour radiobiology and molecular aspects of radiation biology. 

By the end of the module you will be able to describe the response of biological systems following exposure to ionising radiation, interpret the biological basis and consequences of conventional and novel fractionation regimes in radiotherapy and critically appraise the significance of new research findings.

This module is assessed by a 1500 word essay (20%) and a one hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (80%). 

Cancer Statistics and Epidemiology 10 credits

This module will give you an understanding of the principles underlying the design and analysis of epidemiological studies and clinical trials.

You will use a range of statistical sources in clinical research, and use those sources to describe and explain concepts fundamental to clinical research of all kinds. You will also learn to describe, interpret and appraise the applicability of statistical methods in a wide range of clinical and biological research.

Diagnostic Pathology of Cancer 20 credits

A series of lectures on the clinical aspects of tumour growth and dissemination. You will become familiar with practical microscopy of human tumours; understand the technique of immunohistochemistry and be able to interpret results from basic immunohistochemical panels of tumour markers to arrive at a cellular phenotype; be familiar with nomenclature applied to histological and cytological features of tumours, and be familiar with the classification of human neoplastic conditions.

Topics include: adaptive and maladaptive patterns of tissue growth, neoplasia, in situ neoplasia, tumour classification, staging and grading, diagnostic techniques (immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, molecular markers) .

Drug Design and Pharmacology 10 credits

At the end of the series of lectures and interactive workshops you will be able to: appreciate the interplay of chemistry, pharmacology, computational and clinical factors in the discovery and development of new anticancer therapeutic products. Your analytical skills will also be developed through scrutiny of controversial papers in drug design. You will work as a group when giving presentations at interactive workshop sessions.

This module is assessed by an essay submitted as coursework (30%), a 10 minute presentation (10%) and a final exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (60%).  

Research Project 60 credits

This module enables students to experience contemporary research methods by engaging them to design a research programme and perform experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.

Each student will be allocated an academic supervisor with whom they will discuss the research project prior to commencement. Students will first collect, analyse data, read and collate previous results relevant to their project, then embark on a period of research before preparing, writing and submitting a scientific paper. They will write a clear and concise report and will discuss their work with academic members during an oral presentation.

The form of project may vary and it will be based on laboratory work, audit, patient studies or an extended literature review. The principal activities will be completion of the practical work and submission of a final report in the form of a dissertation and presentation.

Optional Modules

Cancer Treatment and Chemotherapy 10 credits

A series of specialist lectures on medical oncology with emphasis given to current and novel treatment protocols. 

This module includes: 

  • Health economics
  • Organisation of cancer services
  • Surgical management of cancer
  • Principles of chemotherapy
  • Endocrine therapy
  • Novel approaches to cancer therapy/gene therapy

This is a module comprises one two-hour lecture per week (26 hours). It is assessed by a one hour exam consisting of MCQ’s and short essay questions.

Clinical Pharmacology and Systematic Therapies 10 credits

This is a series of specialist lectures on medical oncology with special emphasis given to current and novel treatment protocols.

Topics include:

  • chemotherapy - basic principles
  • pharmacology of analgesiscs, steroids and anti-emetics
  • pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics
  • high dose chemotherapy approaches
  • alkylating agents/pyrimidine antimetabolites/antifolates
  • topoisomerase inhibition
  • complications of cancer treatment
  • drug resistance and other related topics

This module comprises one two-hour lecture per week (26 hours). It is assessed by a one hour exam consisting of multiple choice and short essay questions.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020.
Tumour Physiology 10 credits

A series of specialist lectures will be provided on the growth and differentiation of tumours and their interaction with the host. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the role of angiogenesis and the host's immune system as determinants of tumour growth. This module will develop the students understanding of the tumour in relationship to the whole organism. Topics include: tumour-host interactions, tumour vasculature (structure and function), tumour growth kinetics, angiogenesis and vascular mediated strategies, metabolism, the biology of metastasis, and molecular and cellular aspects of apoptosis. 

This module is assessed by a one hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (100%).

Cell, Developmental and Molecular Biology 20 credits

This introductory module has been specifically designed to cover the basic underlying biology required for a clear understanding of stem cell types and their function.

Radiation Biology Applied to Therapy 10 credits

A series of specialist lectures will provide an overview of the principles of the interaction of ionising radiation with living systems. Particular attention is given to the scientific basis of fractionation in radiotherapy, radiation pathology and normal tissue effects, tumour radiobiology and molecular aspects of radiation biology. 

By the end of the module you will be able to describe the response of biological systems following exposure to ionising radiation, interpret the biological basis and consequences of conventional and novel fractionation regimes in radiotherapy and critically appraise the significance of new research findings.

This module is assessed by a 1500 word essay (20%) and a one hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and short answer questions (80%). 

Cancer Statistics and Epidemiology 10 credits

This module will give you an understanding of the principles underlying the design and analysis of epidemiological studies and clinical trials.

You will use a range of statistical sources in clinical research, and use those sources to describe and explain concepts fundamental to clinical research of all kinds. You will also learn to describe, interpret and appraise the applicability of statistical methods in a wide range of clinical and biological research.

Clinical Pharmacology and Systematic Therapies 10 credits

This is a series of specialist lectures on medical oncology with special emphasis given to current and novel treatment protocols.

Topics include:

  • chemotherapy - basic principles
  • pharmacology of analgesiscs, steroids and anti-emetics
  • pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics
  • high dose chemotherapy approaches
  • alkylating agents/pyrimidine antimetabolites/antifolates
  • topoisomerase inhibition
  • complications of cancer treatment
  • drug resistance and other related topics

This module comprises one two-hour lecture per week (26 hours). It is assessed by a one hour exam consisting of multiple choice and short essay questions.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

How you will be assessed

  • Exams
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Dissertation
  • Viva voce

Your work will be assessed during or at the end of each module through a variety of means.

To complete a module and gain its credits you will need to make sure you attend your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

In order to achieve the MSc, you will need a total of 180 credits.

In order to achieve the PGCert, you will need a total of 60 credits.

Contact time and study hours

We encourage our students to think of the course like they would a full-time job and spend around 37 hours on it per week including teaching time.

You are expected to work roughly 10 hours for each credit on the course including teaching and independent study, so a 20 credit module should take around 200 hours to complete or around a total of 25 eight-hour days.

Students learn over a period of two semesters and a summer period totalling around 12 months.

Teaching is usually delivered on Monday and Thursday during the semesters. You'll have an average of 12 to 16 hours of contact time each week, however time and days of teaching will depend on the modules. 

Non-teaching days are intended for private study and your research project.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 in a relevant subject like Biological and Medical Sciences

Applying

If you have any questions about applying to the course or studying at the University of Nottingham, please use our enquiry form

You can also contact the course director, Dr Claire Seedhouse, if you have any questions about the course content.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification MSc PGCert
Home / UK £13,000 £4,333
International £26,500 £8,833

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses such as travel and accommodation.

You should be able to access the books and resources you need for the course through our libraries, however you may wish to purchase your own copies or get specific books which may cost up to £80 each.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Some have gone on to roles specifically in oncology including:

  • PhDs
  • Clinical careers including work in clinical trials
  • Medical writing
  • Pharmaceutical industry roles
  • Research institutes
  • Other postgraduate medicine programmes

Others have used their transferable skills and knowledge in positions including:

  • Patent lawyers
  • Recruitment consultants

Career progression

90.3% of postgraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £38,889.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Oncology Curriculum Requirements

By completing this course you will have met the curriculum requirements for Higher Specialist Training in Medical Oncology as set out by the Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training.

You will have also partly fulfilled the syllabus requirements for clinicians studying to sit Part 1 FRCR exams. 

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" It's a great course. It's delivered by experts in the field, by scientists and clinicians and also external experts so you get a really thorough grounding in many different aspects of oncology. You've also got the research project which really gives you a proper feel of what it's like to be in a lab and be part of a research group. Very often it's the thing that really pushes students on in their careers. "
Dr Claire Seedhouse, Course Director

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.