Online course

Transformative Oncology

  • Qualification: MSc, PGDip, PGCert
  • Duration: 12 - 36 months, depending on the qualification level
  • Delivery: 100% online
  • Workload: Approx 15-20 hours per week
  • Next enrolment: September 2024
Cancer cells


Shaping the future of cancer treatment

In 2020, there were an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases worldwide. There is a global need to better understand the underlying biology of cancer and the diversity of tumours and patients through multidisciplinary, innovative approaches. Adopting a holistic view to develop personalised strategies for cancer treatment is vital.

This pioneering, patient-focussed course brings together the excellence and global approach of The University of Manchester, The Manchester Cancer Research Centre and The Christie Hospital among other organisations to empower you to take the next step in your career.

Whether you are keen to further develop your understanding of the current models you are using in a pre-clinical setting or are looking to move towards discovery, translational or data science or even into a patient-facing role, this programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the oncology field.


Key features

Build a global network

Learn from the leading lights in oncology from across the world

Learn on the job

Combine your studies with your work and implement change from day one

Practise new skills

Use state-of-the-art simulations to experience and practise real-world scenarios

This degree is delivered in collaboration with the Manchester Cancer Research Centre

The University of Manchester

Benefits of our collaborative approach

  • Draw on the strengths of world-leading specialist oncology researchers, scientists and clinicians.
  • Develop skills from a multi-disciplinary team, linked to The Christie Hospital and other leading cancer organisations.
  • The Division of Cancer Sciences is home to world experts in radiotherapy, early detection of cancer and personalised medicine.
  • Build diverse, global relationships and open doors to the future.

Key information

  • Delivery

    100% online courses developed to fit around your lifestyle and circumstances.

  • Duration

    1-3 years to complete the PGCert, 2-4 years to complete a PGDip and up to 3-5 years to complete the MSc.

  • Enrolment dates

    September 2024

  • Apply

    Apply here or complete the contact form below and we'll email you with the details about the course.

  • Workload

    Approx 15-20 hours per week

  • Course director

    Dr Suzanne Johnson

Fees and funding

Total course tuition fees for September 2024 are:

  • MSc - £16,000
  • PGDip - £10,667
  • PGCert - £5,333

Course fee discounts are available.

Please see our fees and funding section below for more details. We offer payment by instalments , so you can spread the cost of studying with us.

Explore a range of scholarships and bursaries available for this course below.

Find out more about fees and funding

Entry requirements

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or overseas equivalent in:

  • medical
  • dentistry
  • subject allied to medicine such as biosciences, nursing or pharmacy

with sufficient evidence of the relevant units taken.

Find out more about entry requirements

Contact us today

Complete the form below and our Course Advisor will contact you with the additional course information and relevant event invitations. 

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Course overview

Hear from our students

The main thing that attracted me to this course was its accessibility and autonomy. I was able to access outstanding educational resources from leading industry professionals without geographical or time zone barriers. 

Cathy Tsang, Registered nurse at The University of Hong Kong

picture of cathy
Enhancing global cancer outcomes

Who this course is for

“Our flagship Master's in Transformative Oncology is unlike other courses. It’s a portal to Manchester’s leading cancer researchers and offers inspirational insights into how research and clinical decision making work synergistically to improve outcomes for cancer patients" - Professor Stephen Taylor, Head of Division of Cancer Sciences, The University of Manchester

If you want to make a significant impact to the future of healthcare by delving into the world of translational cancer research, this course is right for you. This course is designed to provide training and skills to scientists interested in gaining a greater understanding of the clinical implications of cancer treatments and patient experiences, and appealing to clinicians who want to develop their understanding of tumour biology and how this translates into successful treatments. 

Whether trainee doctor, a biomedical scientist, a clinical nurse specialist or another clinical care professional, studying this course will empower you to specialise and branch out professionally and upskill, transforming clinical outcomes for patients with cancer in the process. Whichever pathway you choose, studying Transformative Oncology will give you the tools to lead the next wave of cancer specialists and revolutionise the oncology field to effectively transform clinical outcomes for patients with cancer.

What you will learn

  • You will develop a solid understanding of tumour biology and why that is important to understand specific tumour composition to inform treatment strategies.
  • You will explore the role of cancer genomics and why the ability to understand genetic diversity is an important breakthrough in the cancer field.
  • This course covers the principles and real-world clinical applications of established and innovative treatments but also focuses on how multi-disciplinary team approaches, including patient engagement, can be used to effectively deliver personalised care.
  • You will understand the patient pathway to develop personalised strategies for cancer treatment.
  • This course will enable you to develop critical insight into the physical principles underpinning radiotherapy, medical imaging for radiotherapy, treatment planning and future developments of radiotherapy.

Where and when you will study

Studying part-time alongside your current role will enable you to integrate your learning directly into your practice. Overall, this fully online MSc course provides a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the field of oncology and where it is going.   

You can take 1-3 years to complete the PGCert, 2-4 years to complete a PGDip and up to 3-5 years to complete the MSc. You'll learn through a mix of interactive teaching and have plenty of opportunities to work collaboratively with your peers.

How it will benefit your career

  • Build a professional network across the globe and be in prime position to hear about the latest international opportunities.
  • Through our highly-interactive teaching platform, learn from the experiences of researchers and colleagues in diverse settings and gain a broader perspective.
  • Use skills and knowledge acquired through the course in your job from day one to start advancing in your role and beyond.
  • Practise applying your skills in real-life scenarios through our simulation platform, and be prepared for a range of situations.

Course units

  • Understanding the Challenges of Tumour Biology (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip, PGCert

    • Gain critical insights into diverse tumour types and how tissue, stage and cell of origin can affect both detection and treatment success.
    • Appreciate the impact and effect of toxicity resulting from different therapeutic strategies and combinations.
    • Consider the differences in the biological understanding and detection of rarer cancer types and non-palpable tumours.
  • Cancer is an Individualised Disease (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip, PGCert

    • Appreciate the underlying complexity of the human genome and how it can impact treatment success.
    • Explore the implications of underlying health issues on choosing the correct cancer therapy and predicting outcome.
    • Explore the influence of underlying molecular characteristics and lifestyle choices on treatment options.
  • Established and Experimental Therapeutics (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip, PGCert

    • Gain a valuable understanding of the relationship between the immune system, prognosis and treatment outcomes.
    • Evaluate the principles and applications of targeted therapies in cancer treatment.
    • Consider how existing drugs might be repurposed for the effective treatment of cancer.
  • The Branches of Oncology (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip, PGCert

    • Learn the key approaches to non-surgical management of malignant disease (curative and palliative).
    • Explore the essential balance between radiotherapy and systemic therapies.
    • Learn about innovations in surgical oncology from prehabilitation to robotics to artificial intelligence.
  • The Science of Radiotherapy (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip

    • Learn critical insights into the technical principles underlying radiotherapy.
    • Understand the rationale underpinning current radiotherapy technologies, scheduling and delivery to limit toxicity.
    • Explore the technical and operational requirements of imaging in radiotherapy.
  • Strategies for Early Detection (15 credits)

    Optional for: MSc, PGDip

    • Gain critical insights into the key considerations when establishing cancer screening programmes for early detection.
    • Understand how molecular imaging techniques can directly improve quantitative measurements of physiological functions and assessment of molecular pathways in cancer.
    • Learn how imaging biomarkers can enable more rapid and precise diagnosis and inform decision making in drug development programmes.
  • Principles of Personalised Medicine (15 credits)

    Optional for: MSc, PGDip

    • Explore the key concepts of personalised medicine: more precise diagnosis, prognosis and prevention.
    • Learn how identifying distinct mechanisms of disease or treatment response in a population can improve individual outcomes.
    • Understand the basic mechanisms of drug resistance and how it can affect treatment planning.
  • Experimental Cancer Medicine (15 credits)

    Optional for: MSc, PGDip

    • Develop an overview of the stages of clinical drug development in oncology
    • Gain an understanding of key concepts in first in human trial design
    • Understand the phases of preclinical drug development and how the data informs first in human trial design
  • Understanding Advanced Therapies in the Cancer Setting (15 credits)

    Optional for: MSc, PGDip

    • Gain critical insights into tumour biology and the microenvironment and their impact on Advanced Therapy development
    • Learn about viral and non-viral vectors and their production and use in cell and gene therapy manufacturing
    • Appreciate the challenges of clinical deployment and management of an Advanced Therapy 
  • Delivering the Best Cancer Care (15 credits)

    Mandatory for: MSc, PGDip

    • Appreciate the importance of patient involvement throughout a cancer journey.
    • Explore the approaches to achieve effective treatment delivery and response.
    • Learn the key principles for an effective multidisciplinary team.
  • Practise-based placement (60 credits)

    The final project or practise-based placement must align with a chosen theme (60 credits) 


    Research Skills in Practice (60 credits)

Course structure

Taught from a progressive, patient-focussed and research-guided perspective, Transformative Oncology aims to equip you with the skills to effectively transform clinical outcomes for patients with cancer. The course is designed to reflect the changing needs of healthcare and appeal to a global audience consisting of clinicians, registered nurses, radiographers and other allied health professionals who wish to upskill and specialise in the field of oncology.

The course content is medically applicable, balanced with cutting edge research, therapeutic strategies and approaches to achieve effective personalised cancer care. The format allows flexibility of learning at a time and pace which suits you. You can choose to take 1-3 years to complete the PGCert, 2-4 years to complete a PGDip and up to 3-5 years to complete the MSc.  You’ll learn through a mix of interactive teaching and self-study. There will be plenty of opportunities to work collaboratively with your peers.

Teaching and learning

You will be provided with a comprehensive set of course materials at the beginning of each course unit from the institution teaching the unit. These interactive, specially designed materials provide an introduction to the issues and skills central to each unit and direct you to other study components such as further reading.

Each unit is supported by a virtual learning environment (VLE) where you can access all course materials, online reading lists, podcasts, and the University's extensive  online library  .

Academic teaching start dates:

September 2024 entry for MSc/PGDip/PGCert - 2 September 2024

The welcome event and induction take place one week before the academic teaching start date. Our admissions team will confirm your induction date closer to the time.

Please ensure that you complete your registration ahead of your chosen entry date to gain access to the online learning material and library services.

Admissions information

From your initial expression of interest right through to graduation, you’ll receive all the support you need. We can support you with enrolment and subject assistance, administrative logistics and fee options, online learning skills, workload management and special circumstances including a possible professional entry route.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or overseas equivalent in:

  • medical
  • dentistry
  • subject allied to medicine such as biosciences, nursing or pharmacy

with sufficient evidence of the relevant units taken.  We may also consider exceptional applicants with a Lower Second if you have research experience or equivalent professional experience.

Please provide a copy of your CV detailing your full work experience.  You will also need to provide a personal statement (approx. 500 words) detailing why you're interested in studying on the course.

As part of the application process you will be asked to provide contact details for one referee, professional or academic.  The University will contact your referee directly after you submit your application and direct them to complete our online reference form.

AP(E)L will be considered on a case-by-case basis for whole course units and specify the limits for this specific 15 credit structure. Please refer to the University APL regulations here which outline the limits.

English language

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through a secure and approved testing system. We ask for English language proof if you are from non-majority English speaking countries (a list of majority English speaking countries, as defined by the UK Home Office, can be found here ).

Specifically, we require a minimum of:

  • IELTS (Academic): 6.5 overall (and a minimum of 6 for writing) or equivalent
  • TOEFL Internet Based Test 90 overall with 20 in writing 

English language test validity
Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online

Early application discount : 10% early application discount off the tuition fees for the course

Advice to applicants

Please use the  online application form to apply.

You'll need to submit:

A completed application form

Personal statement (maximum 500 words) answering the following questions:

  • What attracts you to apply to this course?
  • How does your work experience support you in applying for this course?
  • What do you hope to gain from this course?
  • How will this help you achieve your future aims and aspirations?

A recent copy of your CV detailing your professional experience

Degree certificate and official transcripts

Evidence of English language (if applicable, see entry requirements above for more information)

As part of the application process you will be asked to provide contact details for one referee, professional or academic.  The University will contact your referees directly after you submit your application and direct them to complete our online reference form.

If you have any questions regarding the course or application process, please contact us on  

Scholarships and bursaries

Postgraduate loans (UK/EU)

If you're an English or EU student living in the UK, you may be eligible for a loan.

Manchester Master's Bursary (UK)

We're committed to helping students access further education.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health alumni discount

This scholarship is available to graduates from The University of Manchester. You must have graduated in the previous year or be graduating currently with a first-class honours degree.

Equity and Merit Scholarships

If you're joining us from Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda or Tanzania, you can apply for this scholarship.

Funding for students with disabilities

If you have a disability, we can help you apply for relevant funding.

Explore more funding opportunities

Fees and funding

Total course tuition fees for September 2024 are:

  • MSc - £16,000
  • PGDip - £10,667
  • PGCert - £5,333

Tuition fee discounts

  • Early application discount (10%): Apply on or before 19 May 2024 to receive 10% reduction on your tuition fee. To be eligible, you will need to submit a complete application on or before 19 May 2024 and if offered a place, you will need to accept your offer within two weeks from the date of the offer.
  • NHS employee discount (10%)
  • Corporate discount (up to 10%): Contact us at to find out more.
  • Alumni discount (Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health): To check your eligibility, click here.

One-discount policy: Discounts and scholarships are not accumulative. If you qualify for more than one, you will be awarded the one that is the highest amount.

Employer funding

If you are looking to secure funding from your employer, we can help you build a business case or talk to your employer directly. Contact us on to arrange a consultation.

Payment by instalments

During registration you will have the opportunity to pay your fees in three equal instalments. Learn more.

Additional cost information

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Regulated by the Office for Students

The University of Manchester is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS aims to help students succeed in Higher Education by ensuring they receive excellent information and guidance, get high quality education that prepares them for the future and by protecting their interests. More information can be found at the OfS website.

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Manchester, including our Degree Regulations and Complaints Procedure, on our regulations website.