MSc Molecular Pathology of Cancer / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our flexible, blended MSc Molecular Pathology of Cancer course will enable you to take advantage of growing opportunities within this field, which is critically important for translational and personalised medicine in cancer

The number of academic pathologists trained in molecular pathology has steadily declined over the past 20 years. As such, it has been identified as an area requiring support and development by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Royal College of Pathologists, creating careers opportunities for students and professionals alike. Our master's course is aimed at medical students, biomedical scientists, medical practitioners and trainee pathologists who want to learn more about molecular pathology. Trainee pathologists can take our course as part of an existing training programme.

Students will become part of Manchester's world leading precision medicine research community, learning practical skills that will be directly applicable to this emerging field.

In addition, you will benefit from our association with the network of MRC and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded Molecular Pathology nodes, which have been partly established to train more scientists to work in this field. This will enable you to connect with colleagues and related opportunities across the UK.


This course aims to provide you with a wide and detailed understanding of the various aspects of molecular pathology.

Provided as part of The University of Manchester MRC/EPSRC Molecular Pathology node (Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre), we recognise the need for providing more training in molecular pathology among histopathology trainees, clinical scientists and biomedical scientists.

As such, the course addresses a wide audience, and has a broad range of units to facilitate the different learning and training needs of different groups of professionals.

In addition to the taught components, which will give an in-depth understanding of molecular pathology and associated disciplines. The MSc course will also develop your experience of and skills in scientific investigation, analytical thought and scientific criticism.

Special features

Professional input into course content

This course has been designed to take into consideration the training requirements of biomedical scientists, clinical scientists and medical histopathologists. We have consulted with local Postgraduate Deaneries and associated professional bodies including the Royal College of Pathologists to tailor the content.

Teaching and learning

The course is delivered in a blended mode, combining on-campus face-to-face sessions and online synchronous and asynchronous sessions. It offers lectures, seminars, discussions and group work, and provides a range of audio-visual stimuli learning materials including PowerPoint slides, images and videos.

All units are supported by the use of Blackboard (a virtual learning environment) on which staff post lecture slides, reading lists and other accompanying material.

Each unit on Blackboard also has its own discussion board, where you can interact with staff and other students on the course, for example, by posting and responding to questions, and making comments related to the course.

A significant amount of teaching and learning will take place through the dissertation research unit (60 credits), in which you will be expected to take a lead role in developing a research project with regular support, input, and mentorship from your project supervisor.

Coursework and assessment

Formative assessments will be given throughout the taught component of the course and will take the form of MCQs, short answer questions, verbal presentations, data and method analysis exercises.

A range of summative assessments will be employed to assess your knowledge and understanding, and the development of your intellectual and transferable skills including:

  • verbal presentations;
  • written assignments;
  • data analysis and interpretation exercises;
  • analytical method analysis;
  • written examinations consisting of short answer questions and essays.

The assessment methods employed by each unit will vary and will be tailored to match the material delivered and stated ILOs of that particular unit.

Your ability to gather information from a wide range of sources, evaluate and critically analyse information, make considered judgments about that information and synthesise material into logical and coherent pieces of work will all be assessed.

Examples of the marking proformas used in the assessments will be provided in student handbooks and on Blackboard, the University's virtual learning environment.

As per the postgraduate taught degree regulations, students exiting with a postgraduate diploma (or postgraduate certificate) may be permitted to rescind this award and upgrade to a master's (or postgraduate diploma) by successfully completing the appropriate further component of the course, providing the following conditions are met:

  • the rescinding occurs within five years of your initial registration on the original course, subject to the course still being available;
  • an overall pass at the appropriate standard to assure admission to a master's course has been obtained for the postgraduate diploma (or postgraduate certificate), including any capped or compensated grades.

Course unit details

The following core units will be spread over Semesters 1 and 2:

  • Research Methods (Semester 1)
  • Understanding the Challenges or Tumour Biology * (Semester 1)
  • Cancer is an Individualised Disease * (Semester 1)
  • Proteomics and Chemical Pathology (Semester 1)
  • Principles of Personalised Medicine * (Semester 2)
  • Diagnostic Molecular Pathology of Haematological Malignancies (Semester 2)
  • Diagnostic Molecular Pathology of Solid Cancers (Semester 2)
  • Molecular Pathology of Cancer (Semester 2)
  • Research Project (Semester 2)

*These units are delivered online, across a period of 8 weeks each.

Remaining units, except the research project, are delivered using a blended approach with a combination of face-to-face sessions held on-campus and online synchronous and asynchronous sessions. You are expected to attend all the on-campus sessions.

Research Project spans over 12 weeks and is assessed as a dissertation at the end of the year.

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
Molecular Pathology of Cancer BIOL67482 15 Mandatory
Diagnostic Molecular Pathology of Haematological Malignancies MEDN67542 15 Mandatory
Proteomics and Chemical Pathology MEDN69731 15 Mandatory
Research Methods MEDN69910 15 Mandatory


The on-campus face-to-face taught components of the course will be delivered on the main University campus and at Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT).

You will be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

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