Course overview

Gain a strong understanding of current and in-development immunotherapies for treating cancer and tumour immunology on our unique Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology MSc. 

You'll learn everything from the basics of immunology and molecular biology of cancer before focusing on how to develop therapies like vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, CAR T cells and more. You'll also develop an understanding of the impact tumours have on the immune system and the immune system on tumours, as well as the business side of research.

Working with active cancer researchers and experts, you'll join the Centre for Cancer Sciences and conduct an in-depth six-month independent research project in the area of cancer immunology and biotechnology that interests you. The course will also see you make use of some of the latest technology in oncology and strengthen your ability to successfully evaluate and interpret cancer research data.

At Nottingham, you'll receive a thorough grounding in tumour immunology and the different immunotherapies that will help you succeed in your career tackling one of the world's biggest killers.

Why choose this course?

Cancer experts

Join a team of cancer experts whose research has led to the development of spin-out companies including, Scancell

Extended lab project

Spend six-month in the laboratory working on your research project on your chosen area

Exceptional facilities

Learn in and experience using the latest technologies at our new Biodiscovery Institute

Course content

You'll study across a number of compulsory modules designed to teach you everything you need to know about tumour immunology and how immunological mechanisms contribute to the development of anti-cancer therapies. 

You'll also have the skills to complete your own scientific research, evaluate and interpret data plus the ability to generate your own business concepts and ideas.

The course 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 in the summer.

You'll take all of the compulsory modules for a total of 180 credits.


Immunity and the Immune System 10 credits

This module provides an overview of the mechanisms and concepts underpinning the science of immunology and allergy.

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. You'll cover topics such as:

  • 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 module provides you with an in-depth understanding of normal cell regulatory mechanisms and how these are altered during the carcinogenic process.

Research Skills and Technology Exploitation 20 credits

This module focuses on the commercialism of research with lectures also on intellectual property. Invited speakers from the industry will contribute to this module.

You'll learn how to write a business plan on a cancer immunotherapy concept. You'll work in groups to represent individuals in a company and develop your own novel concept and create a business plan.

Cancer Immunotherapy 30 credits

This module gives you information on cancer vaccines. Topics include: what makes a good vaccine; different vaccine designs; animal models and immunological techniques. This module will cover subjects that have been introduced on the tumour immunology module in more depth.

You'll also cover the generation of monoclonal antibodies, clinical trials involving antibodies and the future uses of antibody therapy in cancer prevention.

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.

Host Tumour Interface 20 credits

This module highlights the current understanding of the immunobiology of tumours. This will include the following topics: immunosurveillance, tumour resistance, regulatory T cells. antigenic targets, cytokine therapy, non-specific immunity and animal models.

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.

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 Thursday 27 July 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Computer-based exercises
  • Small group learning
  • Practical classes
  • Coursework
  • Presentations
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

  • Computer-based exercises
  • Exams
  • Written work
  • Presentations
  • Business plan
  • 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'll need to make sure you attend your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

To achieve the MSc, you'll need a total of 180 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're 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 Mondays and Thursdays during the semesters. You'll have an average of eight to 12 hours of contact time each week.

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

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degreeAt least a 2:2 in a relevant subject like biomedical sciences, cancer sciences, biochemistry, genetics, and medicine.
Work experience

In exceptional circumstances, work experience in a relevant topic will be considered if you have not got a degree in a relevant subject area.

Additional information

We interview all candidates who meet the minimum entry requirements.

This online interview will be organised following your application.

We interview all candidates who meet the minimum entry requirements.

This online interview will be organised following your application.


If you have any course specific-questions you can email the course director, Dr Judith Ramage.

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

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £14,700
International £30,200

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.


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

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to study PhDs and other postgraduate medical programmes at universities across the world. Some have also found work in the biotech industry with companies like Medimmune, AstraZeneca and NY Biotech. 

Other graduates have gone on to become:

  • research technicians
  • patent lawyers
  • medical writers
  • recruitment consultants

Career progression

78.4% 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 £28,505.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" It's a very exciting time for cancer research and cancer immunotherapy. In the last ten years cancer immunotherapies have gone from not really having any effect on cancer to actually being able to cure some cancers. We've been running our course for around 15 years and we offer an excellent programme in recent advances in cancer immunotherapy and our students gain experience in a research environment. The majority of our students go on to scientific careers, starting with a PhD. "
Dr Judith Ramage, Course Director

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023. 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.