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A one-year, full-time, MSc in Radiation Biology awarded by the University of Oxford. This established state-of-the-art course, run by the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, combines traditional and molecular radiation biology principles along with clinical and practical applications. This established multidisciplinary course is delivered by international leading academics and clinical scientists and is complemented with tutorials, practical sessions and a 5-6 month research project in an internationally competitive research laboratory. This course is suitable for people from a broad range of backgrounds who wish to go into academia, medicine or industry.

Course Structure:

The course structure consists of 12 modules (see below) with lectures delivered by international leaders in the field covering fundamental and emerging areas of radiation biology, radiotherapy and protection (October to February). Lectures are supported with tutorials, laboratory demonstrations and practical sessions followed by a basic or clinically-applied research project addressing a key research question in a state of the art laboratory (March to August).

           1.   Physics and Chemistry of Radiation Action

          2.   Molecular Radiation Biology

          3.   Cellular Radiation Biology

          4.   Normal Tissue and Applied Radiation Biology

          5.   Whole Body Exposure and Carcinogenesis

          6.   Radiation Epidemiology

          7.   Imaging Technologies

          8.   Tumour Microenvironment

          9.   Applications of Radiation Therapy

      10.    Translational Radiation Biology

      11.    Clinical Radiation Biology

      12.    Radiation Protection

The MSc can also provide the first year of training for students interested in studying academic research at DPhil level and forms the first year of training for students enrolled on the DPhil in Radiation Oncology (1+3).

Examples of Projects:

The research project element of the course covers a wide range of topics. Projects which have previously been offered include:

  • Targeting Tumour Hypoxia to improve Radiotherapy Outcome
  • Ubiquitin signalling in the pathogenesis and treatment of glioblastoma
  • Imaging DNA damage repair of neuroendocrine tumours during radionuclide therapy
  • Modelling Disrupted Transcriptomic Networks in Hypoxic Tumours
  • Mechanisms linking transcriptional control of the circadian clock and radiation-induced leukaemia
  • Adaptive radiotherapy for rectal cancer - what are the benefits?
  • The role of SPRTN (SPARTAN) in genome stability, ageing and cancer
  • Macrophages and the Radiation Response
  • A search for a gene signature predictive of radiation response in multiple cancer types
  • Selective modulation of tumour extracellular pH using glucose measured by amide transfer magnetic resonance imaging
  • Radiation, diet and hypoxia: Investigating the potential of a ketogenic diet to improve radiotherapy response
  • Exploiting the immune system via IL-6 as a radiosensitising mechanism in bladder cancer
  • Application of a Compartmental Model to I-131 Therapy Dosimetry
  • High LET radiation effects related to protection for the lens of the eye
  • Dosimetric differences between margin-based and robust optimisation VMAT plans in NSCLC

Visit the MSc in Radiation Biology page on the University of Oxford, Department of Oncology website for more details.

Career Prospects:

It has been designed to equip students with the scientific knowledge and understanding of the field, along with technical and critical assessment skills to become to become academics and clinical scientists of the future. Previous students have continued in academic research (59%), medicine (31%), the commercial sector (7%) and teaching (2%). 

Funding Opportunities:

The University offers a variety of scholarship programmes based on academic excellence, to give the brightest applicants from around the world the opportunity to pursue graduate study. Over 1,100 fully-funded or partial-funded scholarships are available for new graduate students in 2020 from the University, our colleges and supporters.

All complete applications received by 12 noon (UK time) on Friday 10 January 2020 will automatically be considered for relevant competitive University and other funding opportunities, including the Clarendon Fund and various College funds.

Application deadline:

Applications for 2020/21 entry are now open. Please refer to MSc in Radiation Biology for details of entry requirements and how to apply. The deadline to be considered for funding is 10th January 2020. However, the course will remain open after this date for those who can secure their own funding. The final closing date varies but applicants are advised to apply as early as possible, while places are available. A one week warning of the closing date will appear on the website.

Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology

The mission of the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology (OIRO) is to explore and utilise aspects of radiation biology research to improve the role radiation plays in cancer cure rates. As a world-leading centre dedicated to radiation oncology and biology, the Institute now has over 200 staff and postgraduate students - both clinical and non-clinical - and brings together research and clinical groups from a range of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, medicine and computational biology.

The Institute sits within the Department of Oncology in the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division with research groups based in the Old Road Campus Research Building, the Radiobiology Research Institute and the NHS Cancer and Haematology Centre. Much of the research of the Institute and Department is achieved through collaborations with the Hospital, other Departments across the University, along with the wider national and international scientific community.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has an outstanding global reputation for its teaching, research and contributions to society, combing a rich history and tradition with the innovative and forward-thinking approach of a modern university.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 rank Oxford as the best university in the world for the fourth year running. The QS World University Rankings 2020 place Oxford as the fourth best university in the world, and the best university in Europe.  The University was also first in the UK overall in the latest Research Excellent Framework (REF), with the highest volume of “world-leading” (4*) research of any UK institution.

There are over 11,000 graduate students at Oxford, almost half of the University’s student body. A graduate degree from Oxford can greatly enhance your skills and career prospects. What's more, you'll have access to outstanding careers support and advice for life, as well as exclusive resources and opportunities.


Visit the MSc in Radiation Biology page on the University of Oxford website for more details!

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