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Cancer Studies (MSc/ PGDip/ PGCert)

Course Description

This MSc course offers an innovative interdisciplinary perspective on the study of cancer.

Three core modules encompass biological and social sciences. These equip you to apply key theories and concepts critically, and to develop the skills required to engage in debates about the impact of cancer on the individual, the family and society.

A wide range of additional modules offers the opportunity to examine aspects of cancer in greater detail from different perspectives, ranging from professional practice to historical perspectives, from epidemiological and medical research to biotechnology.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/cancer-studies/

Why choose this course?

- Our lecturers maintain excellent practice links in their specialist areas locally, regionally and nationally.

- You will have access to state-of-the-art clinical skills simulation suites and resources.

- The department hosts the prestigious HRH Prince Sultan Chair in Cancer Care and the Cancer Care research group.

- In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 98% of our research in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy was rated as internationally recognised, with 82% being world leading or internationally excellent.

- You will be undertaking advanced study in Oxford, which has a new Cancer Centre and a range of expert practitioners working in the cancer field.

- "Students on this course will gain important insights into the nature of cancer research and its broader implications." Sir Paul Nurse

Teaching and learning

You will be given opportunities to be involved in all aspects of your programme - its management and delivery.

Different students will bring varied experiences and cultures and will be encouraged to share these with each other. You will be expected to take responsibility for your own learning and also to contribute to the learning of your fellow students.

The programme includes a taught element, informed by relevant national and international research and evidence-based literature, designed to be a starting point for critical reading and reflection. Mutual support between students enhances the learning experience and will be strongly encouraged.

In order to make the most of the range of experience, skills and knowledge within the group, a variety of teaching and learning strategies will be employed.
- Lectures introduce you to new areas of study and provide the context for further independent reading and practical work.

- Group activities (eg seminars, workshops, presentations) are used as a means of sharing knowledge and experience, developing critical skills, and emphasising the inter-disciplinary nature of the course.

- Presentation skills are developed through student-led seminars, presentations to your fellow students for some of the assessments.

Studying on this course will give you in-depth knowledge of cancer from the molecular level to the personal, social, societal and international levels. In doing so, you will draw on knowledge from life sciences, psychology, sociology, history, and the health care professions. This means that the course requires a flexible mind and a willingness to see familiar subjects in challenging new ways.
This course does not provide a specialised clinical training in medicine or any other health profession, but it does provide professionals with an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of cancer.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is designed to ensure that you develop and demonstrate the required knowledge and skills to successfully complete your programme. Types of assessments within your programme are varied and appropriate for individual module and programme learning outcomes and content, the academic standard expected and different learning styles.

Assessment is mainly by essay writing, helping you to develop high levels of critical analysis, original thinking and clarity of expression.

Assessments are used to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge as well as the critical and reflective analysis required for professional practice. You will be given the opportunity to submit draft work for feedback and formative assessment.


Sir Paul Nurse (Nobel Laureate and former chief executive of Cancer Research UK)

"Students on this course will gain important insights into the nature of cancer research and its broader implications. As the influence of science on society continues to grow, such insights are as important to scientists as they are to the wider public."

Jon Snow (Journalist, broadcaster and former Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University)

"Cancer and how it is dealt with needs to be seen in its wider social and political context. Oxford Brookes University provides a great environment in which students can engage with these issues."

Attendance pattern

Most modules on the programme involve attendance in the classroom once a week over a 12-week semester period.

How this course helps you develop

You will be given opportunities to develop your academic abilities at master's level, including critical reading and writing skills, digital literacy, communication and teamwork skills. Your contact with other students from different disciplines will provide you with networks that may be of value to you in the development of your future career.


You will be provided with additional knowledge and expertise to enable you to pursue your chosen career, whether this is in the biological, social sciences or humanities.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Research highlights

Cancer research is a key focus and the department hosts the prestigious HRH Prince Sultan Chair in Cancer Care. This is a very exciting addition to our portfolio, as it enables us to play a leading role in research development and education to improve the experience of patients undergoing cancer treatment and palliative care.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 98% of our research in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy was rated as internationally recognised, with 82% being world leading or internationally excellent. The university has been careful to nurture emerging research strengths, and the international standing achieved by subjects allied to health demonstrates significant progress since 2008.

Visit the Cancer Studies (MSc/ PGDip/ PGCert) page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must normally hold a UK honours degree or equivalent overseas degree from a recognised institution. If you do not hold an honours degree or equivalent, you will be required to submit work which will be taken into account as part of your application. If you have not previously studied Biology above A-level (or equivalent), you will be asked to complete an online study package in Cancer Biology before you take the Applied Cancer Biology module.

Course Fees

Home / EU: £1,000 per single module; International: Full-time £13,460 Part-time £1,430 per single module

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