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Postgraduate Admissions

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Cancer Biology (part-time) is not currently open for applications. Please check the sidebar for the relevant dates.

Teaching

The MRes students will attend the compulsory, but unexamined, 'Lectures in Cancer Biology & Medicine' series. The course comprises of one lecture per week for 36 weeks. The first (approximately) ten lectures will cover the basic biology underpinning cancer, including cell cycle, DNA repair and metastatic mechanisms. The remaining lectures will be taught by researchers from all the CRUK Cambridge Centre Programmes and will cover both diagnosis and treatment of site specific-cancers as well as more general areas, including cancer imaging and drug development.

The students will also take part in an intensive teaching in genomic medicine of cancer (lectures and computer-based) alongside the students who are undertaking the MPhil in Genomic Medicine.

The students will also receive training in core transferable skills such as presenting data, statistics, and time management.

Students will, in addition, receive practical research training in their laboratory rotations. They will then be supported in writing up their own lab reports and in presenting their work to their peers. Their write-ups will be independently examined by an assessor. Finally, MRes students will receive support from their potential PhD project supervisors when developing their PhD project proposal, which will be formally examined by viva.

One to one supervision

Students will be assigned a principal supervisor for each rotation, whom they should expect to see on a regular basis during the student's time with them.

Each supervisor will provide written feedback to the student each term with progress reports submitted online. The feedback will relate to the progress the student has made and include a specific comment on their research project. This will be discussed with the student in advance of the submission of the report to the University.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice for research students which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Students will have the opportunity to attend non-compulsory departmental and CRUK Cambridge Centre seminars.

Lectures

During the MRes years, students will attend a one-hour lecture per week (Thursdays 9.30–10.30am), for 36 weeks and also participate in an intensive cancer genomics medicine course, which will comprise of lectures with some computer-based work.

Practicals

Students participate in two 16-weeks laboratory-based rotations, assessed by a report at the end of each one. 

Small group teaching

None

Journal clubs

None but their host rotation laboratories may run their own journal clubs that they will be expected to attend.

Literature Reviews

None

Posters and Presentations

Oral presentations are given at mini-symposia at the end of each rotation period. Posters will be presented at the CRUK Cambridge Centre Student Symposium, held annually at the end of the academic year.

Placements

During the MRes, students will undertake a short placement in industry, as a shadowing opportunity. This will be organised by their host CRUK Cambridge Centre Programme.

Feedback

During the MRes, project supervisors will provide written feedback as an ongoing part of rotation project supervision and will also give additional feedback on students’ mini-presentations. 

Students will receive written feedback on their rotation project write-ups from independent examiners.

During the PhD, students will receive termly online feedback from their supervisors.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The portfolio of work submitted for the MRes degree consists of:

  • Three formal written components, including two research reports on laboratory work during the rotations and a PhD project proposal.
  • An oral examination of the PhD project proposal and the general field of knowledge around the project.

Candidates must pass all of the assessments to be awarded the MRes degree.  To progress to the probationary PhD, see the information in 'Other Assessment', below.  

For the PhD degree, a thesis, not exceeding 60,000 words, will be submitted. This limit excludes figures, figure legends, tables, appendices, and bibliography.

Essays

For assessment of the MRes degree, students will submit a portfolio of written work.  The portfolio shall consist of two research reports based on research undertaken during lab-based rotations, of up to 5000 words each, and a cancer-relevant PhD project proposal, of not more than 6000 words.  Word counts are exclusive of tables, figure legends, bibliography, and appendices.  

Written feedback will be provided to the student. 

Practical assessment

Students participate in two 16-weeks laboratory-based rotations, assessed by a report at the end of each one. 

Other

During the MRes course, each candidate is required to submit a portfolio of written work.  The portfolio shall consist of two research reports based on research undertaken during lab-based rotations, of up to 5000 words each, and a cancer-relevant PhD project proposal, of not more than 6000 words.  Word counts are exclusive of tables, figure legends, bibliography, and appendices.  

Two independent assessors, nominated by the rotation project supervisor(s) and approved by the Course Director, will mark each of the research reports. An oral examination covers the cancer-relevant PhD project proposal and the general field of knowledge within which it falls. This is marked by one Internal Examiner and one External Examiner, as agreed by the Course Director and Training Management Committee. 

To pass the MRes a student will have completed all three written components and the oral examination with a total overall average of 60% and above. To progress to a probationary PhD, a candidate must achieve at least 75% in the PhD proposal and oral defence thereof, and an overall average of 70% across all three components, as agreed by the Course Director and Training Management Committee.  

The portfolio shall provide evidence to satisfy the Course Director(s) and Examiners that a candidate can design and carry out original cancer research, assess and interpret the results obtained, and understand their work in the wider context of the field.

All students are probationary in the first year of their PhD course and are required to undergo formal assessment (by written report and viva) at the end of their first year in the stage of the programme. If successful, the student moves from being "probationary" to being registered for the PhD and can proceed with their project.

The PhD is examined by viva and the end of their degree course.

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:

Applications open
Oct. 1, 2022
Application deadline
Nov. 15, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.


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