MSc Oncology Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our MSc Oncology research 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 MSc has both taught and research components and is suitable for those with little or no previous research experience.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.


Our MSc 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

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 MSc 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 September.

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:

  • Understanding the Challenges of Tumour Biology * (15 credits)
  • Cancer is an Individualised Disease * (15 credits) **
  • Established and Experimental Therapeutics * (15 credits) **
  • The Branches of Oncology * (15 credits) **
  • Clinical Masterclass (15 credits)
  • Tutorials (15 credits)
  • Research Project 1 (30 credits)
  • Research Project 2 (90 credits)
* Units are delivered online ** Students must choose one of the optional units

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

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
Research Project 1 MEDN66640 30 Mandatory

Course collaborators

Our MSc 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. Email: