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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
clinical trial co-ordinators

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.

The programme is studied part time over 2 years and includes a taught element plus a work place based dissertation. This is made up of 4 residential taught modules per year (8 in total). Taught modules consist of one or two 5 day blocks Monday to Friday approximately 9am - 5.30pm. The total taught element consists of 45-55 days of attendance over the whole programme depending on your choice of optional modules.

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.

About the College of Medical and Dental Sciences

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is a major international centre for research and education, make huge strides in finding solutions to major health problems including ageing, cancer, cardiovascular, dental, endocrine, inflammatory diseases, infection (including antibiotic resistance), rare diseases and trauma.
We tackle global healthcare problems through excellence in basic and clinical science, and improve human health by delivering tangible real-life benefits in the fight against acute and chronic disease.
Situated in the largest healthcare region in the country, with access to one of the largest and most diverse populations in Europe, we are positioned to address major global issues and diseases affecting today’s society through our eight specialist research institutes.
With over 1,000 academic staff and around £60 million of new research funding per year, the College of Medical and Dental Sciences is dedicated to performing world-leading research.
We care about our research and teaching and are committed to developing outstanding scientists and healthcare professionals of the future. We offer our postgraduate community a unique learning experience taught by academics who lead the way in research in their field.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

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 website 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.


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.

Last Updated

26 April 2017

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