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Clinical Oncology MSc/Diploma - Part-time

Course Description


For health care professionals from diverse backgrounds who wish to expand their knowledge of theoretical and practical aspects of oncology, including:

- medical and clinical oncology SpRs
- nurses
- pharmacists
- radiographers
- vets
- clinical trial co-ordinators
- dieticians

A full-time programme is also available.

This programme aims to give you a scientific understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of cancer, its epidemiology and pathology, and to place this in a clinical context. You will then address how this knowledge effects therapeutic approaches and disease management.

It aims to allow you to understand the research process by drawing on examples within the department and its associated clinical trials unit. A key part of this Masters programme is the planning, execution and reporting of a piece of independent study leading to submission of a dissertation.

At all levels we aim to encourage interactive rather than didactic learning and lecturing. Therefore, in addition to assembling and learning facts you will also to consider some of the philosophical challenges which underlie the treatment of cancer.

You can opt for a Postgraduate Diploma on completion of the core modules and 40 credits of optional modules, or an MSc on successful completion of the taught programme and an independently researched dissertation.

Why study this course

This course:

- is run at the Birmingham Cancer Research UK Centre
- draws on expertise from staff within the School and clinical staff from Birmingham Hospitals plus invited speakers from across the country
- meets the training requirements of the FRCR part I exams
- can contribute towards career development and open up further career progression opportunities
- can be tailored to suit your own interests by selecting from a choice of optional modules
- has part-time or full-time versions available
- is taught in week long blocks of study for ease of travel and freedom from competing work commitments
- will increase your personal knowledge of the practices and principles of clinical oncology
- will give you the ability to improve the standards of clinical oncology practiced at your institute or place of work

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open day (Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Visit the Clinical Oncology MSc/Diploma - Part-time page on the University of Birmingham web site for more details!

(Student Profile)

Gillian Hornzee

MSc Clinical Oncology, part-time 2011

Current role - Cancer Trials Team Leader, Imperial College

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I had previously been working as a trials coordinator, but after graduating I was promoted to Team Leader, heading up a team of 5 people and running all the cancer trials run at St Mary’s Hospital site of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

What is the best thing about the job you are doing now?

I enjoy speaking to patients about trials, discussing with the clinicians which trials should be opened at the hospital and making sure that all trials data is accurate and medically correct.

Why did you originally apply to do your chosen course at Birmingham?

One of my colleagues had done the course and recommended it, especially as several of the lecturers are at the cutting edge of cancer research in terms of developing the vaccine for cervical cancer.

What did you think were the best points of the course and the University?

I loved the fact that clinicians were lecturing us about what happens in the real world of treatment of cancer. Also it was great to have lectures on the latest research into cancer. It fit in really well with my job too, because having lectures condensed into a week-long block made it possible for me to attend a course which was a long way away from where I work, but was better than other courses available locally.

What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

Make the most of all the learning opportunities as they will stand you in good stead for the future.

How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?

I became more confident, especially in dealing with the clinicians and professors making important decisions about recruiting to clinical trials.

(Student Profile)

Rachel Hoare

Current role - Research Technician at the University of Birmingham, School of Cancer Sciences

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

The MSc course enabled me to further develop my skills as a researcher, helping me to conduct research in a more informed way, taking into acount the downstream processes required to translate research for a patient’s benefit. The disseration project enabled me to become a more independent researcher by intercalating my laboratory-based job with the planning, execution and reporting of a piece of independent study for this purpose (which I subsequently presented at a conference). This Masters level programme benefited me in many ways. I not only assembled and learnt facts, but also considered some of the philosophical challenges which underlie the treatment of cancer. I gained a greater understanding of how the research and trials processes fit together in the context of oncology and through engaging in continuing professional development, I gained increased confidence and self esteem.

What is the best thing about the job you are doing now?

I am committed to cancer research and enjoy making a positive contribution to cancer research fields through my laboratory work, which is what I enjoy doing.

What did you think were the best points of the course and University?

The lectures are given by world-class researchers and clinicians working at the university/experts in their field, and the information is very current and very relevant. One highlight is to hear the views of clinicians and others who are working at the leading edge of their specific fields, which often opens up discussions in the lectures.
Very relevant course for anybody working in the cancer field.
Broadens knowledge, not only clinical but also research methods and statistical analysis.
Teaches you how to critically appraise published work and analyse the statistical methods used in clinical studies, which is a very important skill.

What advice would you give to current students?

Ask questions and don’t be afraid to express an opinion during lectures. Enjoy learning!!

How did you grow as a person by studying at University?

I have gained increased confidence and self esteem, as well as become much more independent in my research skills. I have gained skills and expertise from studying (and working) at the University, which will be paramount for directing my career in cancer research and maximising its impact on improving patient treatment and care.


CRUK Scholarship (part-time programme) - 6 Awards


Scholarships (covering tuition fees only) will be awarded competitively for up to 6 candidates based on the following selection criteria:
• Must meet the course entry requirements e.g. a 2:1 degree or equivalent plus a minimum of 6 months postgraduate oncology experience.
• Must be currently employed within a human oncology environment, with preference given in the following order:
1. Candidates working within the Birmingham Centre Partnership organisations (currently: University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Children’s Hospital)
2. Candidates working within the West Midlands Region
3. Candidates working within the UK.
• Must be from one of the following professions: Clinician, Nurse, Pharmacist, Clinical Trials Co-ordinator, other allied health professional, Biomedical Scientist working within a clinical context. Other candidates may be considered if they can demonstrate that this course will allow them to undertake clinical research training.
• Must be prepared to undertake the research dissertation as part of their Clinical training
• Preference will be given to students whose research interests match CRUK’s strategic priorities, which are:
• Basic Research;
• To catalyse and facilitate effective translation;
• To support improved prevention & early diagnosis;
• To address the cancers of unmet need.
Candidates best able to demonstrate alignment with the strategic themes will be considered favourably.

Value of Scholarship(s)

To cover tuition fees


For full eligibility criteria please see full details below.

Application Procedure

Th efull application form can be found on our web pages.

Please ensure that you have also applied for a place on the course, via the University’s Online Application form. Scholarships will only be considered for applicants applying to the programme for that academic year.

The closing date is 31st July and the outcome will be communicated to applicants by the end of August.

Further Information



Global Scholarships for Excellence - 12 Awards

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is offering a number of Global Scholarships for Excellence for outstanding students on our postgraduate taught programmes.

Value of Scholarship(s)



This award is open to all applicants who have applied to study on one of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences Masters courses (full-time or part-time) or the Postgraduate Diploma Physician Associate programme starting in 2015/16.

Application Procedure

Scholarship selection will be based on your programme application. There is no separate application required for the scholarship but candidates should be in receipt of an offer by 29 May 2015. Any admissions application submitted later than six weeks before the scholarship closing date is not guaranteed to be processed in time.

Further Information



Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme - 20+ Awards

For 2015 entry the Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme offers 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Domiciled in the UK or EU
- Progressing from an undergraduate course for which they were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
- Studying full time or part time for a maximum of two years
- Undertaking a Masters course in an eligible subject (exclusions include Nursing and teacher training)
- From a group that is evidentially under represented among the institution’s taught-Masters population. Please view the 'under represented group guidance' below for additional information on this guideline.

Application Procedure

Round 1 Scholarship Application deadline: 23:59 BST, 31 March 2015

To be considered for a Birmingham Masters Scholarship, applicants must, by the 31 March deadline, have:

Made an application to their intended Masters programme. Please apply through the relevant programme page on the Course finder section of the University of Birmingham website. Before applying, applicants are advised to read the guidance notes.

Completed the Birmingham Masters Scholarship application form. Applicants should enter the application ID number that they were given during their application to the Masters programme.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A relevant degree (eg, Medicine, Radiography or Pharmacy), plus at least six months' experience working in an oncology environment. This may include experience in medicine, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry, nursing, radiography, clinical trials, scientific research, veterinary medicine, biostatistics and other related disciplines.

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