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Graduate Admissions

The MRC Cancer Unit (CU) is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre - a state-of-the-art cancer research facility.  The Unit provides a world-class environment for academic and clinical research and an excellent education and training programme for prospective students.

Our mission is to study the earliest steps in the emergence of cancer, particularly epithelial cancers, and translate this knowledge to clinical application for the benefit of patients.  Our focus is (a) to improve the early detection of cancer, (b) to help identify individuals who are most at risk of developing cancer, and (c) to create more effective strategies for intervention.

We believe that improved understanding of the earliest steps in the transformation of normal cells into cancers - a relatively less well-studied area - will lead to new, improved and cost-effective methods with fewer side effects that ultimately benefit the care and survival of patients with common and serious malignancies such as oesophageal, skin, lung, kidney and pancreatic cancer.  Our Unit is one of only a few centres worldwide whose mission is to address this priority.

The research programmes within the Unit approach this mission collectively and routinely collaborate with each other using complementary approaches involving preclinical and clinical models for pathogenesis, imaging and the use of chemical tools, data integration & modelling to focus on the key questions of:

What molecular events underlie tumour initiation?  When do these events occur?  How do they determine cancer progression and therapeutic responsiveness?  And finally, how can they be exploited in new interventions?

Our location in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and connections with the University Clinical School places us at the hub of biomedical research in the University, where we benefit from extensive collaborations with our partner institutions in the Cambridge Cancer Centre and other MRC laboratories.  We also have extensive and highly productive scientific cross-disciplinary collaborations spanning the faculties of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Engineering and Biological Sciences from within the University as well as the ever-growing commercial biotech and pharmaceutical company landscape in and around Cambridge.

We pride ourselves as being a dedicated Unit that provides excellent facilities and a unique multi-disciplinary environment that enables the best possible training for the next generation of world-class researchers.

Please visit the MRC Cancer Unit website to find out more about the research programmes at the Unit.

Learning Outcomes

As part of our Graduate Education programme, we offer both PhD and MPhil by research courses.  Our postgraduate students play a pivotal role in the research output from the Unit.  Apart from rigorous research training, postgraduate experience at the CU also provides a wide range of professional and personal development as well as public engagement opportunities.  All students have a support framework including their Principal Supervisors and Advisors alongside their peers in the Graduate Society as well as access to a dedicated Graduate Administration team.  The Graduate experience offers not just laboratory experience but the opportunity to develop numerous transferable skills and a platform to engage widely with the scientific community at the University and beyond.  Graduate life at the CU has been a stepping stone for many a diverse fulfilling career, ranging from post-doctoral research to industrial positions to engage with policy-makers and government bodies, to name a few career paths taken by our students in the recent past.


Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Apply Now

Key Information


3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

MRC Cancer Unit

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2019
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2020

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

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2020
Course Starts
April 11, 2020

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

Michaelmas 2020

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
June 30, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

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

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2020
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2021

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

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2021
Course Starts
April 17, 2021

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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