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Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research MSc

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Mode of study

1-year full-time; 2-year part-time

PG Code


Start date


Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research MSc


Please note that there is still time to apply for courses starting in September 2017, subject to course availability.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2016, students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2016/17 of up to £10,000. Find out more

About the course

The MSc course in Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research aims to provide specialist theoretical and practical knowledge in molecular and cellular genetics relevant for human diseases in the context of the scientific and clinical problem of human cancer.

It focuses on the development of research skills in medical genetics and human diseases, and is designed to enable you to develop the ability to become an independent and creative scientist, able to form useful working hypotheses and to analyse data appropriately.

Taught modules will focus on how a greater understanding of these processes has created new avenues and targets for the therapeutic intervention in various forms of cancer.


Cancer is a complex and multi-factorial disease. For the development of any novel and specific therapeutic strategy, it is important to understand the complexity of pathogenesis and genetics that can lead to cancer. This course addresses various molecular and cellular aspects relevant for cancer research.


Dr Uday Kishore
Email CHLS-TPO-Biosciences@brunel.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1895 266362

Course Content

The course is offered on a one-year full-time basis, taught over three terms, or on a two-year part-time basis, taught over six terms.

You will complete six modules in total. Four modules will each be taught over a two-week period in a ‘block’ mode. These taught modules will not run concurrently allowing you to focus on one module at a time and will help promote better time management skills. All lecture material will be available via Vista and will be accessible from your home computer.

You will take a Research Planning module to develop skills required for your dissertation. You will then study a unique Research Dissertation module over a 9 month (full-time) or 18 month (part-time) period, to allow you to conduct a detailed investigation into a research question of your choice.

If in full-time employment, and attending the course on part-time mode, it may be possible to conduct the research dissertation at the workplace.

Typical Modules (all compulsory)

Research Planning*

This module aims to develop knowledge and critical awareness of various research methods and appropriate methods of data analysis. You will enhance your skills of designing and evaluating research studies and data presentation.

Cytogenetics and Cancer*

This module will teach up-to-date practical technologies, methodologies and skills used in clinical cytogenetics for the diagnosis of cancer.

Main topics of study: prenatal, postnatal and acquired chromosomal abnormalities; clinical sample type and referral reasons; karyotyping; genetic counselling and ethical issues; ethics associated with genomic studies; methodology of fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH); diagnostic applications of FISH; other molecular techniques used in clinical cytogenetics and diagnosis including multi-colour FISH, Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (CGH), Microarray CGH; modern day light and fluorescence microscopy; digital imaging; fluorescence image analysis; FISH data analysis.

Genomic Technologies and Cancer Research*

This module aims to provide an understanding of the modern biotechnology in functional genomics and cancer biology.

Main topics of study include: general knowledge of genomic and proteomic technology; microarrary technology; transgenic technology; drug discovery technology; RNA interference technology.

The Biology, Genetics and Treatment of Human Cancer*

This module aims to provide a detailed understanding of cancer to include the epidemiology and causes of cancer, diagnosis and treatment. The module will provide detailed information of the genetic basis of cancer and demonstrate how the genome project has led to novel treatments for the disease.

Main topics of study: the multistage nature of cancer; oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes and specific metabolic pathways; epidemiology of cancer; principles of cancer diagnosis; basic methods of cancer chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery; the role of translational research in cancer genetics and therapy – development of new therapies; the causes, genetics and treatment of breast, colon and melanoma as specific models.

Intracellular Signalling and Cancer*

This module aims to provide an understanding of the principles and current knowledge of the cellular signalling pathways that are misregulated in human cancers. Attention will be given to how knowledge of these signalling pathways and their targets can be used in therapeutic intervention in human cancer.

Signalling pathways resulting from activation of membrane, intracellular or nuclear receptors including G-Protein coupled receptor signalling; Wnt signalling; JAK/STAT signalling and cytokine signalling; Steroid signalling

Research Dissertation

The dissertation allows you to undertake an in-depth study from a choice of research topics and will normally be associated with a number of research groups within Biosciences led by international experts in the field.

*These modules are also available as CPPD (Continuing Personal and Professional Development) courses. To find out more information and to apply, please click here.

Course Structure

Full Time

Autumn termCreditsSpring termCredits

Research Planning


Research Dissertation


The Biology, Genetics and Treatment of Human Cancer


Cytogenetics and Cancer


Genomic Technologies and Cancer


Intracellular Signalling and Cancer


Part Time Level 1

Autumn termCreditsSpring termCredits

Research Planning


Research Dissertation (start research dissertation)


The Biology, Genetics and Treatment of Human Cancer


Cytogenetics and Cancer


Part Time Level 2

Autumn termCreditsSpring termCredits

Genomic Technologies and Cancer


Intracellular Signalling and Cancer


Complete Research Dissertation

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.



Our graduates will be highly skilled in a variety of research methodologies and will be equipped for a range of career opportunities. These could include health-related professions; pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries, PhD study or research assistantships in cancer and genomic research.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry Criteria 2017/18

  • A recent UK first or second class Honours degree in the field of Biosciences.
  • Other qualifications including equivalent internationally recognised qualification or relevant experience from health professionals (eg doctors; nurses; MLSOs) will be assessed on an individual basis and a request for completion of an online biological test in molecular and cell biology may be required.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.

Teaching and Assessment


The course is structured around a programme of lectures, seminars, practical classes, directed reading and coursework. You will be assessed by written examination and coursework, laboratory reports, oral and poster presentation and dissertation thesis writing.

A master’s degree is awarded if you reach the necessary standard on the taught part of the course and submit a dissertation of the required standard. The pass grade for all modules and the dissertation is 50%.

A master’s degree requires 180 credits, of which 75 are accounted for by the dissertation. A Graduate or Postgraduate Certificate can be awarded if between 60 and 105 credits are gained in the taught part of the course. The name of the certificate will be determined by the actual grades achieved.

Special Features

  • Through an enthusiastic, innovative and research-driven approach, our teaching will reflect the fast changing nature of the biomedical research (with specific emphasis to human genome, molecular medicine and cancer research).
  • Brunel University London is research led and students attending either course will have the opportunity to conduct a 9-month research dissertation as a part of the MSc course.
  • Students will be given a choice of research topics and will be normally associated with one of the research centres within Biosciences.

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students: £8,500 full-time; £4,250 part-time

International students: £17,500 full-time; £8,750 part-time

Additional course related costs

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).