MRes Oncology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Our MRes Oncology course will enable you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to prepare for a career in cancer research.

Cancer is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Approximately 300,000 people develop the disease each year in the UK.

Understanding the basis of tumourigenesis and developing new therapies are high priority areas for investment, especially since the economic burden of cancer is increasing. The field of oncology encompasses a wide variety of biological and physical sciences.

You will learn from renowned basic, translational and clinical scientists at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, with a focus on developing practical research skills.

Our course covers the clinical and research aspects of cancer care, and you will have access to an exceptionally wide range of research projects in basic cancer biology, translational areas and clinical cancer care and imaging.

This MRes has both taught and research components and is suitable for those with little or no previous research experience.


Our MRes course aims to provide postgraduate level training that will equip you with the specialist knowledge and research skills to pursue a research career in the fields of medical and clinical oncology.

You will gain an understanding of the scientific basis of cancer and its treatments, as well as the skills needed to evaluate the potential efficacy of new treatments.

This course also offers the potential to:

  • gain hands-on research experience;
  • work with world-renowned experts;
  • use state-of-the-art research equipment;
  • publish your work and attend national and international conferences;
  • be taught by speakers at the forefront of national and international cancer research;
  • undertake laboratory or clinical-based research projects at the Christie Hospital site, the largest cancer centre in Europe with some of the UK's leading cancer researchers;
  • enhance your research skills and gain confidence in your research abilities.

Special features

Clinical and research components

This is one of only a handful of MRes Oncology courses in the UK. Unlike many other oncology courses, ours has both clinical and research elements, making it suitable for both medical undergraduates and graduates, as well as biomedical science graduates.

Teaching and learning

Our MRes is structured around a 2:1 split between laboratory/clinical-based research projects and taught elements.

Laboratory and clinical research experience is gained through two research placements, one lasting approximately ten weeks (October to December) and the second lasting approximately 25 weeks (January to August).

You may choose to carry out one project for both placements, which most students do, or separate projects for each placement.

Most research placements are based at the Christie site, either within the hospital, the Manchester Cancer Research Centre or CRUK Manchester Institute premises. Projects are also available on the Central Manchester University Hospitals and University Hospital of South Manchester sites.

A list of available projects will be provided to offer holders in August.

Coursework and assessment

Students are assessed through oral presentations, single best answer exams, written reports and a dissertation.

Course unit details

The course features the following components:

  • Research Methods course unit - 15 credits
  • Clinical Masterclass course unit - 15 credits
  • Lecture Series course unit - 15 credits
  • Tutorial course unit - 15 credits
  • Two research placements (1 x 10 week - 30 credits; 1 x 25 week - 90 credits)

The  Research Methods  course unit covers topics relating to:

  • Critical analysis of scientific/medical research and literature
  • Information management
  • Study design
  • Basic statistical analysis
  • Ethics, fraud, plagiarism and medical and academic misconduct
  • Presentation skills
  • Scientific writing and publishing skills

The  Clinical Masterclass  course unit provides a truly multidisciplinary foundation in the key issues in oncology. Delivery is by lectures and site tours and these classes will offer the student the chance to debate with internationally recognised experts in their field. Areas covered include: 

  • Cancer epidemiology, screening and prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Surgery

Following attendance at these classes, you will be able to understand how cancer is diagnosed and the principles of cancer surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The  Lecture Series  course unit comprises two intensive one-week courses, one in November and the other in February. The November course covers the biological basis of chemotherapy, pharmacology and cancer biology. The February course covers the biological basis of radiotherapy and translational aspects of cancer research, including biomarkers and new technologies.

The  Tutorial  course unit allows students to choose from a selection of clinical and academic oncology topics. The unit aims to improve ability to interpret and criticise literature as well as improve verbal communication skills in a small group setting. 

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Tutorial Unit MEDN66100 15 Mandatory
Research Project 2 MEDN66132 90 Mandatory
Clinical Masterclass MEDN66611 15 Mandatory
Lecture Series MEDN66620 15 Mandatory
Research Project 1 MEDN66640 30 Mandatory
Research Methods MEDN69910 15 Mandatory

Scholarships and bursaries

For the latest scholarship and bursary information please visit the fees and funding page.

Course collaborators

Our MRes has been developed and structured in close collaboration with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester Cancer Research Centre .


Teaching will take place in the following locations (utilising state-of-the-art facilities), all in close proximity to each other:

  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Withington;
  • The Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, Withington.

The clinical and academic experience of contributors to this course will provide you with an exceptional teaching and learning experience.

The majority of these contributors are based predominantly at the above sites, but also elsewhere within the University and our teaching hospitals (ie Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust).

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .