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Postgraduate Admissions

The MRes is offered by the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre (CRUK CC) as a part-time course incorporating two long research placements with three short (1 week) periods out of the lab; one week to undertake an intense taught course in cancer genomics, one week to attend ‘Transferable Skills’ sessions and the third week offering industry shadowing opportunities. There is also a 36 week course (1 lecture per week) covering general principles of cancer biology as well as insight into how cancers that arise at different sites differ. The programme aims to introduce clinicians to research skills and specialist knowledge as well as a more general grounding in cancer biology. Its main aims are:

to give clinicians with relevant experience the opportunity to carry out focussed research in the discipline under close supervision; and

to give them the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests; and

to give clinicians a broad grounding in both the theory of cancer genomic medicine and also more insight into cancer research in an industrial setting.

The CRUK Cambridge Centre's innovative part-time MRes/PhD programme will train the cancer research leaders of the future across the widest possible range of disciplines, working together to make meaningful progress in this challenging and rewarding area.

At the end of the MRes/PhD programme, candidates will be prepared for a career at the forefront of clinical cancer research.  The course design reflects our belief that, for this to happen, students need a much deeper and broader knowledge of cancer biology and its relationship to the clinic, as well as a breadth of experience of experimental work to make an informed choice of research area. 

Learning Outcomes

Students should leave the MRes course with an overview of the basic biology of cancer and of diagnosis, treatment and research frontiers across the range of different tumour types covered by the CRUK Cambridge Centre. Students should also obtain a better understanding of the relationship with industry for the treatment of cancer.

By the end of the MRes programme, students will have:

  • An understanding of the molecular basis of cancer formation.
  • Experience of research in two different cancer-related laboratories.
  • Written two research reports describing their research placements.
  • Written a PhD proposal that will form the basis of their PhD in the CRUK Cambridge Centre, the expected next destination for the vast majority of this MRes cohort.

Students will also acquire enhanced technical skills from their rotation project and a broad appreciation of the literature and scientific methods and techniques applicable to their own projects. They will have developed their ability to critically evaluate research methodologies and outcomes. They will also have developed their project planning and management skills and should be able to formulate their own research questions.

At the end of their PhD, students should additionally:

  • have a thorough grasp of the literature and research methodologies pertinent to their own research project;
  • show the ability to undertake planning and execution of a research project independently;
  • demonstrate originality in their ability to create and interpret new knowledge; and
  • have gained skills in oral and written presentation.


The MRes is a part-time 24-month programme that, upon successfully completing to a satisfactory standard, including submission and examination of a suitable PhD proposal, leads directly on to a three-year PhD.

Open Days

The Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. The event is suitable for those considering applying for postgraduate study at the University. It provides opportunities to meet with academics, explore the Colleges, and find out more about the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

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Key Information

2 years part-time MRes + 3 years full-time PhD part-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Oncology

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2021

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
June 30, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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