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Graduate Admissions

About the Department of Oncology

The Department of Oncology comprises around a hundred staff based within 7 sites on or close to the Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus:

  • Cambridge Breast Cancer Research Unit
  • Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre
  • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
  • Clifford Allbutt Building
  • Hutchison/MRC Research Centre
  • Strangeways Research Laboratory
  • The Oncology Centre

Our research covers a wide range topics aimed at development and implementation of methods for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers. Being based on the Biomedical Research Campus ensures our students have access to state of the art research and clinical facilities. In addition, many of our student supervisors are research group leaders and practicing clinicians, facilitating strong links between our laboratory science and its clinical application.

The graduate courses we provide are designed to produce the next generation of world class researchers, with the department admitting approximately 5 students each year (80% PhD and 20% MPhil). Our students undertake a full-time research project based on the specific interests of their supervisor. During their course, students have the opportunity to acquire a variety of skills, from specialised scientific techniques to personal and professional development, in a supportive environment. 

Please visit the Department of Oncology website to find out more about the department and our research interests: http://www-falcon.csx.cam.ac.uk/site/ONCOLOGY

 

4 courses offered in the Department of Oncology

The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre is a dynamic collaboration of academic researchers, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries based in the Cambridge area. We combine world-class science and technology with excellent patient care to pioneer new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. By working together across different disciplines, we are breaking down the barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science.

The CRUK Cambridge Centre has an innovative MRes/PhD programme, with the aim of training 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 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. 

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The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre is a dynamic collaboration of academic researchers, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries based in the Cambridge area. We combine world-class science and technology with excellent patient care to pioneer new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. By working together across different disciplines, we are breaking down the barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science.

The CRUK Cambridge Centre has an innovative MRes/PhD programme, with the aim of training 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. 

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The MPhil course lasts for 12 months, during which time the student is expected to complete a research project and produce a written thesis of up to 20,000 words. The student will then undergo an oral examination based on both their thesis and a broader knowledge of their chosen area of research. Students are provided with information which clearly sets out what is expected of them during their period of research in order to obtain their degree.

Most research training is provided within the structure of the student’s research group and is overseen by their principal supervisor. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring by other members of staff and fellow students.

All students are encouraged to attend scientific meetings, seminars and graduate courses relevant to their area of interest. They are also expected to participate in journal clubs and lab meetings and to take advantage of the numerous and varied opportunities including transferable skills training offered by the University. 

Each student has a principal supervisor and is also assigned an adviser who provides additional support. In addition, our graduate student administrator acts as the first point of contact for any student with a query or difficulty that is not directly related to their scientific work.

All student matters in the department are overseen by our director of graduate education and the Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee.

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The PhD degree is fully research-based and can be undertaken as a 3-4 year full-time course, or 5-7 year part-time course. PhD students are initially on probation, with registration for the PhD degree being dependent on successful completion of a registration assessment, which involves producing a written report followed by an oral examination with two examiners. Full-time students are on probation for their first year, completing their registration assessment towards the end of their first year and registering for the PhD degree before entering their second year. Part-time students are on probation for the first two years, completing their registration assessment before they enter their third year.

Full-time students are also required to produce written progress reports at the end of year two and a thesis plan halfway through year three (if they have not already started writing their thesis at this stage, a full progress report is submitted at the end of year three and a thesis plan half way through year four). Part-time students are expected to submit regular progress reports and a thesis plan six months before they are due to submit their final thesis.

At the end of the course, students produce a written thesis of up to 60,000 words, followed by an oral examination based on both their thesis and a broader knowledge of their chosen area of research. Students are provided with information which clearly sets out what is expected of them in order to obtain their degree.

Most research training is provided within the structure of the student’s research group and informal opportunities to develop research skills are available through mentoring by other members of staff and fellow students. All students are encouraged to attend scientific meetings, seminars and postgraduate courses relevant to their area of interest. They are also expected to participate in journal clubs and lab meetings and to take advantage of the numerous and varied opportunities including transferable skills training offered by the University. 

Each student is assigned a principal supervisor who oversees their research project and an adviser who provides additional support. Our graduate student administrator acts as the first point of contact for any student with a query or difficulty that is not directly related to their scientific work. All student matters in the department are overseen by our director of graduate education and the wider engaging Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee.

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2 courses also advertised in the Department of Oncology

From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

The Cambridge MRC Doctoral Training Programme  is a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Babraham Institute. Included as associate partners are the MRC institutes and units in Cambridge, and other University Partner Institutes.

The Programme is offering at least fifteen fully funded PhD studentships for projects commencing in October 2020.

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From the Department of Medicine

This innovative programme was established in 2002 as a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US. Its aim is to train outstanding students in biomedical research, taking advantage of the outstanding research environments. Students work on collaborative projects organised by co-supervisors at both Cambridge and the NIH, spending two years at each institution. Students have access to all NIH facilities and are paid by the NIH. The PhD is awarded by the University of Cambridge.

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Department Members


Professor Richard Gilbertson
Head of Department

Dr Anna Philpott
Deputy Head of Department

  • 13 Academic Staff
  • 18 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 8 Graduate Students

http://www-falcon.csx.cam.ac.uk/site/ONCOLOGY

Research Areas