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MScCancer Therapies

Why this course?

This course will enhance your knowledge and understanding of cancer therapies and provide you with the skills to assess, analyse, critically appraise and evaluate current and emerging anti-cancer therapies and the drug discovery cascade, from target evaluation and engagement to clinical trials.

The programme was developed in response to the increasing demand for a course which focuses on current and emerging cancer therapies. It is the only programme in the UK which combines a focus on cancer biology with the practical, ethical and economic implications of personalised cancer therapy, along with its biology and the discovery and development of drugs.

It has been constructed to produce world-class graduates with the skills to contribute to the global drive in advancing cancer treatment through research, teaching, industry and public sector employment.

What you'll study

You'll focus on anti-cancer treatment therapies, with a particular emphasis on personalised medicine, covering the therapeutic target and the biological mechanisms of current and emerging anti-cancer therapies. You'll also explore radiotherapy as a diagnostic and as a single or combinational treatment with drugs in anti-cancer therapy.

You'll be introduced to the discovery and development of new drugs and the challenges associated with this process. You'll be able to evaluate the drug discovery pipeline including medicinal chemistry, screening, secondary assays and other drug discovery and development technologies. Through a virtual drug discovery programme, you'll have the opportunity to develop anti-cancer agents and progress these through the drug discovery cascade, from target engagement to clinical trials.

The programme will equip you with a range of skills including scientific writing, critical analysis, problem-solving, teamworking, as well as advanced data set analysis and interpretation. You'll experience a wide range of scientific topics from molecular biology, to cell biology and genetics, medicinal chemistry to formulation and radiobiology to nuclear medicine. You'll have the opportunity to conduct independent research and working as part of a multidisciplinary team you'll gain an appreciation of the contributions other disciplines make to cancer drug discovery. 


The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences is recognised as one of the foremost departments of its kind in the UK. It's a leading research centre in the search for new and improved medicines. You'll benefit from the advanced facilities of a new £36 million building. The Institute is ranked no 2 in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2018 and the University of Strathclyde has recently been one of the few UK institutes to be awarded the status of 'Emerging Centre of excellence for radiobiology research' in the UK.

Course content

Advanced Techniques in Biomedical Research 1 & 2

These two compulsory laboratory classes expose you to the key research skills relating to the biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology fields, help develop your skills in data analysis and report writing, and pave the way for a smooth transition into your Summer Research Project Advanced Topics in Biomedical Research.

Generic Research Skills

Refine your core skills in statistics, data presentation and career development while also learning about the ethical choices and dilemmas that you might face in your scientific careers. These skills are particularly relevant in the field of cancer therapies and drug discovery.

Entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialisation

Find out from the experts what it takes to translate bright ideas in cancer science into patents, business plans and spin-out companies. This is another key skill in cancer research as often the route to translation of your big idea from the laboratory is to engage with companies to enable funding to take these concepts forward in to the clinic. This class offers a unique opportunity for you to bring this knowledge to the benefit of any cancer therapies development team and enhances your skill set and employability.

Development and design of anti-cancer drugs

This class is a virtual drug discovery programme which will take you on a drug discovery journey beginning with target and target validation to developing and testing a new anti-cancer drug in clinical trials.

You'll work in groups, each of which represents a pharmaceutical drug company. Facilitated by a tutor, you'll undertake the following tasks:

  • target identification and exploration of the rationale for the development process
  • justify the target and explore the screening process and its lead compounds (a wide range of data sets and data types will be provided for analysis and decision-making)
  • test the top compounds in pre-clinical models (efficacy over toxicity)
  • design a clinical trial
Targeted cancer therapies for personalised medicine

The class will introduce the concepts of cancer incidence and the molecular basis of cancer before studying the hallmarks of cancer specifically to allow understanding of how targeting these hallmarks has the potential to create therapeutic differentials which maximise tumour kill and minimise toxicity.

You'll learn about the range of different cancer types and the various strategies of current and emerging cancer therapies including their mechanism of action.

In the final component of the class you'll gain an understanding of the needs and problems faced by the cancer patients and healthcare providers, with respect to the practical and financial implications of cancer treatment.

Radiobiology and radiation oncology: from beam to bedside

Radiotherapy is used in the management of over 50% of patients with cancer and most new cancer therapies are introduced in combination with radiotherapy. Using a mix of lectures and workshops you'll gain an understanding of the current clinical modes of radiotherapy and the emerging technologies most likely to provide the next generation of radiotherapy methods such as proton and radiopharmaceutical therapies. You'll gain an understanding of the cellular effect of radiation including the strengths and limitation of different radiation methods and the use of nuclear medicine in therapy and diagnosis. The class will also provide a working knowledge of the mechanism and potential therapeutic use of combination treatment with radiation and chemotherapy or other therapeutic methods such as nanoparticles and biological therapies.

Drug discovery and development in cancer

This class will provide you with an overview of medicinal chemistry principles and consideration of what is a 'drug' and how to develop one by understanding the importance of ADMET and PK in drug development. You'll examine the key overriding issues in cancer drug formulation and delivery providing you with an understanding of the cancer drug discovery pipeline.

Scientific writing

This class provides postgraduate-level instruction in academic writing skills around a cancer-specific topic that will enhance employability and add to skills that may be relevant to any future career. The class uses methods such as scenarios, evidence-based medicine and use of research and reference materials to teach a range of scientific writing skills such as critical analysis, advanced literature and data set searching and proposal organisation and writing skills.

Research project

Over a 10-week period from May until the end of August, you'll undertake a research project of your choice under the supervision of a leading researcher in their field.

Learning & teaching

The course is delivered through lectures, workshops, tutorials and hands-on practical sessions.

If you successfully complete the required taught classes you may undertake a laboratory project on the subject of cancer therapies for the MSc.


Written examinations, course work with formative and summative approaches are taken in different aspects of the course. Written reports, oral presentations, scenario-based learning and moderated peer assessment are all included in the course.

Entry requirements

  • Minimum second class honours degree or international equivalent

Students with alternative entry standards or professional experience may also be considered and are usually admitted in the first instance to the diploma course. Upon satisfactory completion of all semester 1 assessment, these students will be offered the chance to transfer to the MSc programme.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with no component below 5.5).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.0. Please see ELTD for full details.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit International Study Centre and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • £7,800

Rest of UK

  • £7,800


  • £18,750

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Graduates will have a number of potential employment opportunities: large and small pharma companies, SMEs, within health services and providers, their home institutions and as academics in UK, EU or international Universities.

The course will enable careers in research, academia industry and the health sector and offers you a unique exposure to the entire drug discovery and development cascade while keeping patients' needs at the forefront of the learning process.


Cancer Therapies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Cancer Therapies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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