Logo close icon
Studying with us during coronavirus in 2021
Section navigation
Main Baner Image

Cancer Biology and Therapeutics MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Learn about the course below
October 2021
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,400 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Song Wen

Our MSc programme will develop your knowledge and understanding of cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. The course will focus on up-to-date diagnostic techniques and emerging tumour markers and their potential applications in specific diagnostics for various types of cancers. In addition, you will be exploring drug delivery systems and learning to make drug carriers for targeting cancers using nanotechnology. You will also be trained to perform a range of molecular, cellular and proteomics laboratory techniques used for detecting tumour markers and monitoring therapeutic effects.

Why study MSc/PGDip/PGCert Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at Middlesex University?

This programme will provide not only the necessary framework and general concepts in the cancer research field, but also an updated advanced knowledge of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, you will be led by experts who are in the front line of drug development and drug delivery and acquire useful novel laboratory skills using nanotechnology and Multiplex Immunoassay-NALIA system, which will equip you with the necessary/essential skills for pursuing a range of career options. You could also proceed to further scientific training or you would be well-equipped to carry out research.

A final dissertation project will be supervised by experts focusing on a variety of cancer research areas. You will be working in laboratories equipped with up-to-date instrumentation including matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI- Tof MS), liquid chromatography (LC)- MS, gas chromatography (GC)- MS, conventional and quantitative PCR, flow cytometry, Confocal microscopy, Licor Imaging system and fully equipped histopathology laboratory and tissue culture facilities.

Course highlights

  • Acquire laboratory research skills in drug delivery using nanotechnology and multiplex immunoassays which stand at the frontline of the cancer clinical research arena
  • Be taught by experts in the field of cancer research including academics and those working in the clinical area
  • Develop expertise in a variety of laboratory techniques in our modern and well equipped laboratories forming part of the Centre for Investigative & Diagnostic Oncology led by Prof Ivan Roitt and Prof Richard Bayford.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Cancer Biology and Therapeutics?

The course content of this MSc programme comprises five core modules; advanced bio-analytical techniques, ethics, leadership, research methods and research project modules. Additionally, there are four 15-credit specialised cancer modules, covering cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The specialised modules are arranged as follows: you will take two modules in Term 1, which will provide you with the basic concepts of cancer, biomarkers, and general principles of cancer diagnosis and management and haemato-oncology. Then you will progress to Term 2 with a further exposure to the advanced knowledge and techniques in cancer diagnostic theories and laboratory practices along with drug delivery systems using nanotechnology. Finally, the research project that takes place in Term 3 will be based around the theme of cancer and your supervisor will be drawn from the University’s  research active staff with the appropriate expertise in cancer research.

  • Modules

    • Biomedical Ethics and Law (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module will provide you with an insight into a range of ethical and legal issues that relate to professional practice, to research with human and animal subjects and to human reproduction, particularly various forms of reproductive technology. It will also give you a broad overview of the relevant current UK ethical and legal regulations for research using human tissues. The module will further explore the ethical issues present in the rapidly developing area of genetic technology, including genetic testing and selection, genetic engineering, and the concept of genetic disease.

    • Advanced Bioanalytical Techniques (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      Through this module you will examine advanced bioanalytical techniques that are used in biomedical research, for the analysis of products, for improving disease understanding and for the analysis of disease biomarkers. It also will provide you with a detailed understanding of the principles, theory and practice of bioanalytical techniques, including safety, instrumentation, sample preparation techniques together with analysis and interpretation of analytical data.

    • Leadership and Management (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module will provide you with current theories and approaches to leadership and management in order that they can bring about effect positive changes in the team or organisation that they lead or manage.

    • Experimental Design and Statistics (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will provide you with the tools required to design effective and efficient experiments and to test scientific hypotheses. The module will also equip students with the tools necessary for statistical analysis in a hypothesis testing context.

    • Advances in Tumour Diagnosis (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with an understanding for tumour pathogenesis, screening programme for cancers, and an advanced knowledge of cancer diagnostics. You will explore different types of tumour markers, both existing and emerging, and their applications with regard to diagnosing different types and stages of cancers. A variety of diagnostic techniques will be introduced, examined and evaluated including mass-spectrometry and Multiplex Immunoassay. Data interpretation following the diagnosis are explained.

    • Cancer Therapeutics (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and understanding of management strategies for cancers. Gene therapy, immunotherapy and adjuvant complementary therapy will be introduced and discussed together with conventional therapeutics for cancers. You will be introduced to nanotechnology as a method for facilitating drug delivery and explore various drug carriers that can be used as drug delivery systems. You will also explore various molecular cellular pathology techniques used for evaluating the treatment outcomes.

    • Haemato- Oncology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      You will be  introduced to specialist diagnostic techniques used in Haemato-Oncology, providing deep appreciation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of leukaemias, lymphomas and myelomas. It will empower you with techniques to analyse the roles of the haematology laboratory in diagnosis and treatment of patients with these conditions.

    • Cancer (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      You will be provided with the knowledge and understanding of the principles of carcinogenesis, malignancy and metastasis. You will understand how to apply molecular techniques to the diagnosis and management of a range of common cancers and to apply cellular pathology techniques in cancer and gain experience of interpreting results from patient investigations.

    • Research Project (60 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will empower you to develop your skills in planning and execution of an analytical, laboratory-based study and critical evaluation of real research results drawing on their acquired knowledge from other modules. In addition, it will enable you to develop your communication skills to enable them to communicate their findings in written and oral form.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are not offered on every course. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How will the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Cancer Biology and Therapeutics be taught?

Lectures will introduce you to key information and knowledge, which seminars will reinforce through group discussions and problem-solving exercises. Group or individual tutorials will be tailored addressing specific subject areas as the need arises with individual projects taking place in Term 3 and all projects will be supervised by experienced researcher actively working in a cancer research field. You’ll submit written work and give presentations, learn to carry out literature searches and analyse research literature, and undertake your own independent study in your spare time. This will include using a range of online resources which will be designed, to support the teaching provided by the lecturers.


As well as practical and theoretical exams and your research project and dissertation, you will be assessed through presentations and written assignments. These will include essays, laboratory reports, data analysis exercises, and papers made up of a literature review, hypothesis and research question.

Changes for students in 2021

If you have travel restrictions to the UK due to coronavirus, this course can be started fully online with support to learn from your home country for the first term.

We are back on campus for the majority of teaching in Autumn 2021, as long as restrictions allow. Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

In case of any changes to government guidance, we‘ll be ready to move to teaching with more restrictions in place and continue to give you an excellent learning experience. In this scenario, on campus teaching should continue although more of your course will take place online.

The table below gives you an idea of what your learning will look like across a typical week. Some weeks might be different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information may change slightly as we receive further guidance from the government. You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario A: Without social distancing

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

10 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

7 hours

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

4 hours

Scenario B: With social distancing and/or with restrictions on travel to campus

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

2 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

15 hours

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

4 hours

Hours may vary for weeks containing practical classes. Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1800 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our plans for in-person on campus teaching following government advice to keep you safe. If more restrictions are put in place in the future, or there is another lockdown, we’ll deliver your learning and support fully online for a temporary period. We’ll make alternative arrangements for any required placements if they can’t go ahead as planned. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching and learning in 2021/22

Read our guide to what you can look forward to when you study your subject with us including more information about your teaching experience this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees from October 2021
  3. EU/International
  4. Additional costs
  5. Scholarships and bursaries

Dr Song Wen
Senior Lecturer

Dr Wen is medically qualified and has extensive experience in HPV associated cancer therapeutics and drug delivery using liposomal nanotechnology.

Professor Stephen Dilworth

Professor Dilworth graduated from Cambridge University and worked as a researcher at a few prestigious universities before joined Middlesex University. Stephen's research focusses on identifying the essential changes that occur in cells as they become cancerous, using the oncogenic viral proteins made by the mouse polyoma virus as a model system.

Professor Richard Bayford

Professor Bayford- is a bio-physicist and has enormous knowledge and vast experience in both teaching and the research in designing devices in diagnosing and monitoring cancer development and therapeutic effects from drug delivering system using nanotechnology.

Other courses

Biomedical Science (Cellular Pathology) MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Start: October 2021, September 2021 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGB90A

Biomedical Science (Haematology and Transfusion Science) MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Start: October 2021, September 2021 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGB90X

Biomedical Science (Clinical Biochemistry) MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Start: October 2021, September 2021 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGB90B

Back to top