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Oncology MSc by Research

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£6,300 (UK) *
£15,700 (INT) *
Course leader
Dr Helen Roberts
Dr Beata Burczynska

Cancer is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.There are around 363,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, which is more than 990 every day (Cancer Research UK, 2019). Understanding the mechanisms of tumour formation and developing new therapies are therefore high priority areas, not only due to the human cost of this disease, but also due to the high economic burden on the NHS. This MSc by Research programme will allow you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to prepare for a career in cancer research, and is one of only a few MSc by Research Oncology courses available in the UK.

Why study Oncology MSc by Research at Middlesex University?

During the course, you'll gain an understanding of the scientific basis of cancer and its treatments, and will learn the laboratory skills needed to evaluate the potential efficacy of new therapeutics.You'll be encouraged to attend workshops, tutorials and seminars covering the range of specific skills and resources you'll need during your research journey.

Our academics are internationally recognised researchers in the field of cancer research and have expertise in a variety of different research areas (such as immuno-oncology, epigenetics, genomics, chemoresistance, metastasis and cancer stem cells) and cancers (osteosarcoma, ovarian cancer, leukaemia, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer). You'll have access to an exceptionally wide range of research projects in cancer biology and can pursue a specific research project in collaboration with experts in the field.

Course highlights

  • Be equipped with the knowledge and research skills to pursue a research career in the field of oncology
  • Gain hands-on research experience whilst working with experts in the field
  • Have the opportunity to publish your work and attend conferences.

Find out more

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What will you study on Oncology MSc by Research?

This programme is a unique, research-based course, which does not follow the traditional model of lectures and exams. You'll have the opportunity to pursue specific study areas in oncology such as:

  • Epigenetic regulation of cancer
  • Immuno-oncology
  • miRNAs and cancer
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Genome-wide regulation of cancer
  • Mechanisms of metastasis
  • Chemoresistance

In addition to an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, you'll also learn the practical skills and analytical skills required for a research career in oncology. You'll join the postgraduate student research community through an ongoing series of workshops and seminars, building to your final thesis.

How is the Oncology MSc by Research taught?

This programme is a unique, research-based course, which does not follow the traditional model of lectures and exams. Instead, you'll undertake a year-long research project in the laboratory, supervised by one of our internationally recognised academic researchers.


Assessment will be based on a final dissertation of approximately 20,000 words, and an oral defence of your work (Viva Voce). Two independent examiners will be appointed to read and evaluate the dissertation and will also attend and examine your oral defence.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the Oncology MSc by Research support your career?

This programme is well suited to those who wish to pursue a research career in academia. However, the skills acquired can be applied to a broad range of different careers, including working in industry or in public service.

Dr Helen Roberts
Senior lecturer

Dr Roberts coordinates a research track investigating the epigenetic regulation of aberrant cellular behaviour and subsequent skeletal tissue morbidity. She has a particular interest in the role of epigenetics, miRNAs and autophagy in the regulation of osteosarcoma metastasis and chemoresistance. Dr Roberts also has research projects investigating the mechanisms of chemoresistance in canine osteosarcoma and utilising CRISPR/Cas9 technology to investigate osteosarcoma chemoresistance.

Dr Beata Burczynska
Senior lecturer

Dr Burczynska's primary research interests include: biomarkers, identification of the genetic basis and structure of the “hCG-like” tumour growth factors, glycan analysis of hCG variants, gene silencing, CRISPR/Cas9 technology and chemoresistance. She also has an interest in the gut microbiome, disbiosis, autistic children, and the milk microbiome.

Dr Britta Stordal
Senior lecturer

Dr Stordal investigates chemoresistance in ovarian cancer. She has a particular interest in the role of epigenetics, in particular methylation of BRCA1 and how this can predict survival outcomes. Dr Stordal has research projects investigating mechanisms of chemoresistance relating to apoptosis, autophagy, epithelial to mesenchymal transition and the Wnt Signalling pathway with the aim of finding a reliable biomarker to guide the choice of chemotherapy.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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