MSc in Cancer Biology


Program Description

Gain an in-depth understanding of modern cancer biology, and work towards a career that will make a difference.

  • Examine the processes underlying the development of malignancy.
  • Develop applied research techniques using state-of-the-art lab facilities.
  • Design, execute and interpret practical work within the field of neoplastic transformation, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Build confidence in presenting your work to academic and professional audiences.

This course provides a stimulating, challenging and enjoyable experience of studying cancer biology with practical applications at the forefront of the cancer field. Led by research-active cancer biologists, you will develop an understanding of the pathogenesis of malignant transformation from cellular to whole system level, discussing methods for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Cancer biology plays a pivotal and essential role in healthcare. This course is designed in response to the demand across industries for highly skilled researchers.

The component subjects are at the forefront of modern science and attract leading-edge research activity. The programme aims to explore normal and pathological cell processes, relating these to clinical features, diagnostic procedures and responses to therapy in neoplastic disease. You can customise your learning by selecting a speciality from translational research, genomics and proteomics and current laboratory applications.

Course content

Compulsory Modules

Hallmarks of Cancer

This module will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the hallmarks of cancer, allowing you to relate these key features to the biological basis of neoplastic disease and the transformation process.

Therapeutic Targeting in Cancer

During this module, you will review the hallmarks of cancer and specifically evaluate how these are driving forward the new generation of targeted therapeutics.

Applied Laboratory Practice

This module aims to equip you with both practical skills and theoretical knowledge of laboratory-based research and examine the important issues that make good laboratory practice.

Advanced Laboratory and Research Methods

This module will build the skills of the student ready to undertake independent research. Project planning will prepare the students for their research projects by placing health and safety, ethics etc. into the context of their own project. Practical skills needed for the research project will be developed through course specific labs that allow the students to plan a short programme of work.

Cellular and Molecular Basis of Cancer

This module will highlight the importance of the complexity of the tumour microenvironment, concepts will be related to your increasing understanding of tumour growth mechanisms, with an emphasis on both the cancer stem cell and stochastic models of tumour development.

Research project

During this module, you work with an individual tutor to design and carry out a research project. This includes a critical review of the literature, considerable laboratory work, analysis of data and an appreciation of the meaning and application of your work.

Optional modules in Semester 1

Cell Biology

This module aims to provide a background in cellular structures and processes and explore how dysfunction leads to disease.

Cell and Molecular Biology

This module aims to provide a background into the molecular regulation of cell function and explore how dysfunction leads to disease.

Optional modules in Semester 2

Translational Research

This module provides a background into the process of drug development, the challenges associated with this, and translational experimental methods for predicting response. Understanding of the theory of the drug development process will be supported by exploring experimental approaches used in the laboratory to evaluate the efficacy of a drug and how this is relevant to the patient population.

Genomics and Proteomics

You will learn how to analyse next-generation sequencing data and proteomics datasets. We will examine a range of ways genomics can identify genetic changes that alter an organism's characteristics, particularly in respect of disease.

Current Laboratory Applications

The aim of this module is to develop skills in practical laboratory applications/techniques such as SDS PAGE/Western blotting lab, ELISA, enzyme optimisation, PCR and microbiology.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 in a relevant honours degree is normally accepted as the entry requirement for the course. Applicants with a 2:2 are also actively encouraged to apply and will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants with alternative qualifications with academic attainment or skills in subjects which are directly relevant to the course will also be considered.

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. You can find out more about the country-specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Live projects

You will have the opportunity to conduct an 8-week investigative research project within the cancer biology field. This will be aligned with the current research interests of an academic member of staff within the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre. The project will include a critical review of the literature relevant to your research project, the development of a project proposal, the development of research methods and the analysis, presentation and interpretation of experimental data.

Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology and other related techniques such as genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. All practical classes are led by academic staff whose research incorporates the latest research techniques. Research skills and statistical analysis are developed throughout the programme and applied to relevant cancer-based problems and case studies.

Future careers

As a graduate, you can start or develop your career within the cancer biology field. This may be as a researcher within the healthcare, pharmaceutical or biotechnology sector or within academic research as a PhD student. The skills that you acquire through the course would also facilitate progression into a career in medical sales, scientific writing or scientific consultancy.

This course prepares you for a career in:

  • research in healthcare, pharmaceuticals or biotechnology
  • academic research
  • medical sales
  • scientific writing
  • consultancy

Previous graduates of this course have gone on to work for:

  • NHS
  • Public Health England
  • Novartis
  • ThermoFisher Scientific

Equipment and facilities

On this course, you work with:

  • industry-standard instrumentation
  • a mass spectrometry unit
  • cell culture and tissue engineering facilities
  • multicoloured flow cytometry
  • a state-of-the-art microscopy suite

Duration and fees

  • Start dates: September
  • Duration: One year
  • Fees:
    • EU students 2019/20 academic year £7,200 for the course
    • International students 2019/20 academic year £13,500 for the course
  • Deadline: Request info
Last updated August 2019

About the School

Sheffield Hallam University is a welcoming community of students and staff from more than 120 countries. We offer exceptional teaching across 700 programmes at foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate ... Read More

Sheffield Hallam University is a welcoming community of students and staff from more than 120 countries. We offer exceptional teaching across 700 programmes at foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree level. With more than 31,000 students, we are among the largest universities in the UK. Read less