Taught course

Cancer Research & Precision Oncology

University of Glasgow · School of Life Sciences

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Entry requirements

A very good degree in biochemistry, biotechnology, medicine or other relevant biological/biomedical science. Alternative qualifications will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

An IELTS score of at least 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (or equivalent qualification) is required for students who do not have English as their first language.

When applying, please include a CV and personal statement that explains how your previous studies provide a suitable background for this programme.

Months of entry


Course content

This Masters in Cancer Sciences will prepare you for a career in cancer science, whether you aim to pursue a PhD or further medical studies, or seek a career in the health services sector, in the life sciences, biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries. Our programme takes a 'bench to bedside' approach, enabling graduates to work within a multidisciplinary environment of world-leading scientists and cancer-specialists to address the latest challenges in cancer research.

  • University of Glasgow is rated in the UK top five and best in Scotland for cancer studies. You will be taught by a multidisciplinary team of world leading cancer scientists and clinicians within the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre.
  • This MSc in Cancer Sciences programme is unique in the UK as it delivers integrated teaching in molecular biology, pathology and clinical service.

  • The Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre brings together scientists and clinicians from research centres, universities and hospitals around Glasgow to deliver the very best in cancer research, drug discovery and patient care. The centre’s world leading teams have made major advances in the understanding and treatment of many cancers. For more information, please visit: http://www.wecancentre.org/
  • In the first semester, each week is focused around one of the new Hallmarks of Cancer, with the focus on the molecular/cellular biology of this hallmark. A tutorial session will enable you to discuss and integrate your learning from the week. This will enable you to understand how research into the fundamental principles of cancer cell biology can translate to advances in cancer treatment.
  • The aim of this MSc in Cancer Sciences is to train cancer researchers who can break down the barriers that currently prevent discoveries at the bench from being translated into treatments at the bedside. By understanding the science, methodology and terminology used by scientists and clinicians from different disciplines, you will learn to communicate effectively in a multidisciplinary environment, to critically evaluate a wide range of scientific data and to research strategies and learn how to make a significant contribution to cancer research.

Core courses

  • Hallmarks of Cancer
  • Cancer Research Distinguished Seminar Series
  • Core Skills in Cancer Research
  • Cancer Stem Cells, Metastasis and the Microenvironment
  • Drug Discovery
  • Cancer Clinical Trials
  • Designing a research project: biomedical research methodology
  • Bioscience Project**

Optional Courses

  • Immunotherapy and Precision Oncology
  • Omics Technologies for Bioscience
  • Clinical Genomics

Programme structure

Semester 1:

Hallmarks of Cancer

This 5 week core course aims to:

  • provide an introduction of background knowledge to cancer by integrating the teaching of hallmarks of cancer, basic biology, signal transduction, molecular biology, cell biology and pathology of cancer.
  • provide an introduction to the principles of preventive measure and standard treatments, surgical, radiation and medical oncology
  • describes how all these disciplines communicate and work together in the fight against cancer.

Cancer Research Distinguished Seminar Series

This course will run during the full of semester 1 and will enable you:

  • to gain in depth knowledge from world experts in the cancer research field by attending seminars held at the Beatson CR-UK and Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centres.
  • It will include writing a brief summary of each seminar attended and an essay on a topic of choice to reinforce the knowledge gained from the seminar series.

Core Skills in Cancer Research

This 3 week course aims to:

  • provide a basic understanding of the core skills required to undertake cancer research.
  • It will include lectures on the fundamental techniques required in the laboratory
  • It will provide laboratory practical experience to reinforce the knowledge gained from lectures.

Cancer Stem Cells, Metastasis and the Microenvironment

This 4 week course will provide:

  • knowledge on cancer stems in leukaemia and solid tumours, the role of the tumour microenvironment in sustaining the disease and promoting disease progression.
  • Tumour invasion, metastasis and cancer metabolism will be studied in-depth.
  • This course will highlight the complexities of cancer and the challenges cancer clinicians face in treating patients.
  • Teaching methods will consist of lectures, journal clubs and tutorials.

Semester 2

In semester 2, you will do the core courses Drug Discovery and Drug Development and Clinical Trials, you will then choose from a range of optional courses, before taking the core course, Designing a Research Project.

Drug Discovery:

This 3 week course aims to teach you:

  • about the stages of pre-clinical drug discovery, including target identification and validation, assay development, identification, validation and optimisation of a lead compound.
  • how to critically evaluate literature on current methods, techniques, and strategies used for drug discovery, and to appraise their advantages and disadvantages for targeting a specific disease.

Cancer Clinical Trials

This 4 week course aims to teach you:

  • about the key issues involved in developing a candidate drug from late stage pre-clinical drug discovery through to clinical implementation.
  • about the clinical components of target validation and disease linkage, the use of pharmacodynamic biomarkers in early clinical trials and the development of companion diagnostics to enable personalised medicine strategies.
  • how early stage clinical trials are designed to achieve key milestones in early drug development including proof of mechanism, proof of principal and proof of concept.
  • how statistical, clinical and regulatory considerations influence study design.

Omic Technologies for the Biomedical Sciences: From Genomics to Metabolomics

This 5 week optional course aims to teach you how to:

  • develop a critical understanding of a range of modern 'omics' technologies and applications.
  • about genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic techniques, and the analytical approaches that can be employed to examine the data output from these approaches.
  • have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your understanding and proficiency through the critical analysis of real data sets.

Immunotherapy and Precision Oncology

This 5 week optional course will enable you:

  • to gain in depth knowledge on the use of state of the art ‘omic’ technologies in stratifying patients into prognosis and treatment groups, the use of personalised medicine, latest targeted treatment regimens and the rapidly developing field of immunotherapy to target cancer.

Clinical Genomics

This 5 week optional course aims to provide you with:

  • an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relations to clinical genetics, discussion of the methods and capabilities of new technologies.
  • hands-on experience in data analysis and teach you about interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Designing a Research Project: Biomedical Research Methodology

This 6 week core course you will:

  • develop a critical understanding of research methodology as applied to modern biomedical research.
  • have the opportunity to appraise the different types of scientific research, and to examine critically the different steps within a research project.
  • develop your understanding and competence through the development of the study design for your research project, including hypothesis setting, literature review and project work plans.

Semester 3

Bioscience Research Project

In this 14 week core course you will

  • have an opportunity to perform a piece of original research to investigate a hypothesis or research questions within the area of cancer research. The project may be 'wet' or 'dry', depending what projects are available.
  • develop practical and/or technical skills, analyse data critically and draw conclusions, and suggest avenues for future research to expand your research findings.

**Note: students must have a minimum of grade C in semesters 1 and 2 in order to proceed to the research project.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Information for international students

Please see the English language Requirements.

This one-year masters programme is eligible for a new, streamlined visa application process: find out more



Fees and funding

UK students
Full-time fee: £8450
International students
Full-time fee: £22500

For funding opportunities search the scholarships database


Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions