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Cancer Medicine

Overview
The MSc in Cancer Medicine will provide students with new knowledge of how precision medicine can improve and shape future healthcare. Students will gain hands-on experience of molecular techniques and the equipment/devices used in a modern molecular laboratory; the course will provide training in laboratory and research skills that are applicable across multiple scientific disciplines in a supportive learning environment. Students will be able to evaluate how novel therapeutic approaches can be used to stratify patients into treatment groups for better clinical management (stratified / precision medicine). They will observe the delivery of precision medicine through tours of the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.

There are optional modules in the second semester allowing students to explore the fundamental principles of Carcinogenesis and the translational approaches (including cutting edge technologies) which allow cancer scientists and clinicians to advance our understanding and treatment of cancers. The Precision Cancer Medicine stream provides a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of the Hallmarks of Cancer from the role of genetic/epigenetic alterations, cell cycle control and metastases/angiogenesis to the development of applications to help diagnose cancers earlier, improve treatments, rationally design clinical trials and reduce chemotherapy drug resistance.

The Radiation Oncology stream will develop skills in understanding the biological principles of radiotherapy and its clinical applications in the treatment of cancer. This will include the physical and chemical basis of radiation interactions and the biological consequences of radiation exposures. Clinical aspects of Radiation Oncology will be covered including principle of advanced radiotherapy delivery, cancer imaging techniques and biomarker discovery.

Importantly, both streams show how our improved understanding of the molecular processes driving cancer growth and spread can be 'translated' through research-intensive MSc projects to improve the treatment and survival of cancer patients.

Entry requirements

Graduate
Normally a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant biological subject. Evidence of equivalent professional qualifications (MBBS, BDS or BVSc) or experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Intercalating Applicants
• Intercalating medical and dental applicants from within QUB will also be considered if they have successfully completed the third year of their course at first attempt and achieved at least an upper second class Honours standard. Intercalating applicants should also ensure they have permission to intercalate from either the Director for Medical Education or Dentistry as appropriate.

• An external medical or dental student wishing to intercalate must be ranked in the top half of their year cohort to have their application considered. Applicants must have passed all assessments at first attempt for the year in which they are applying.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

English language requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
• Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Duration

1 year full-time.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Introduction
This programme will equip you with the skills to work in a translational medicine setting in an academic or hospital environment and in the biotech/ pharmaceutical industries. You'll gain an insight into the financial, management and entrepreneurial aspects of translational research, so you may end up working in industry or potentially initiating a spin-out company of your own. You will also be able, should you wish, to progress to a PhD in a biomedical discipline.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally. In addition to the comprehensive training offered by this Master's programme, the Graduate School at QUB offers a range of supplementary courses ranging from Project Management and Leadership qualifications to development of personal proficiencies such as Academic Writing and Presentation skills.

Employment after the Course
As this is a research intensive degree many of our students go on to pursue further PhD study in healthcare research within the Institute of Health Sciences here at Queen's and further afield at other academic institutions. Others go on to work in a wide variety of roles in both the private and public sector here in Northern Ireland and internationally. The following are some of the jobs they have taken on:
• Scientist, Randox
• Research Assistant Curtin University, Perth, Australia
• Assistant Peer Review Officer- BBSRC
• Project Coordinator Almac Group
• Research Project Coordinator, Almac Diagnostics
• Graduate Software Engineer BT TSO

Further enquiries

Dr Paul Mullan
Programme Co-ordinator
School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Email: P.Mullan@qub.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Semester 1
Research Translational: from Concept to Commercialisation (Full Year)

This module covers the principles of disease biology and new technological developments that increase our understanding of disease processes. It develops an appreciation of the importance of innovation, business awareness and leadership skills in the translation of discovery science to clinical implementation.

Diagnosis and Treatment (Semester 1)

This module provides a comprehensive overview of the diagnosis and treatment of the common solid and haematological malignancies, including breast, ovarian, genitourinary and gastrointestinal cancers as well as the leukaemias. An overview of the common diagnostic pathways in clinical practice will be provided, and this will including gaining an understanding of imaging modalities and histopathological techniques in routine use.

Cancer Biology (Semester 1)

This module provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamental principles of carcinogenesis highlighting how normal control processes are bypassed during tumour formation. The pathogenic mechanisms to be discussed will range from genomic alterations in key gene families, to epigenetic mechanisms of gene control, alterations in kinase activities or protein turnover, or activation of aberrant phenotypes such as invasion and angiogenesis.

Semester 2
Students will make a selection from the following modules:
Precision Cancer Stream

Cancer Genetics & Genomics
This module will provide students with a comprehensive foundation of concepts in genetics and genomics pertaining to cancer aetiology and molecular pathology with emphasis on both inherited predisposition to cancer mediated by germline genetic variation and consideration of the contribution of the tumour genome to disease pathogenicity.

Translational Cancer Medicine
This module provides a comprehensive overview of current cancer treatments and their limitations. The principles of resistance to standard chemo- and radio-therapies will be addressed and how new targeted therapies are being developed to overcome this resistance. Students will also be introduced to the principles of stratified or precision medicine, using molecular biomarkers to select patients most likely to respond to particular therapies.

In addition, students will learn how high throughput technologies such as transcriptome profiling and next generation sequencing can be utilised to identify new biomarkers and anti-cancer drug targets. The module will also cover how novel pre-clinical discoveries are developed and applied in prospective clinical trials.

OR

Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics (ROMP)

Biology of Radiotherapy
This module is taught through a series of lectures and tutorials and will enable students to develop knowledge and skills in understanding the principles of radiation interactions and the molecular basis of radiation response in cells, tissues and tumours. Through the delivery of a multidisciplinary taught programme, students will cover how radiation affects and disrupts cellular processes and use established theoretical models to explore the concepts behind the use of radiation for cancer treatment.

Clinical Radiation
Building on the biological basis of radiotherapy, this module will develop knowledge and skills in understanding clinical radiotherapy and medical imaging. Through the delivery of a multidisciplinary taught programme, students will cover clinical tumour and normal tissue biology, radiological imaging and the design of radiotherapy treatment plans. This will develop the clinical rationale for radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer and highlight emerging treatment combinations and techniques for biomarker discovery in radiation oncology.Biology and Imaging

Research Project
You will undertake a project in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

Dissertation
This module comprises the write-up contribution to the overall research element of the programme, with the Research Project (SCM 8067). The Dissertation will represent the student's personal studies in the literature, a description of their experimental execution of their project, data presentation, analysis and interpretation, followed by critical discussion and conclusions.

Comment

Introduction
At Queen's, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.

On this course we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

Class times vary throughout morning, afternoon and evening, and through a combination of course lectures, practical experiences and Self-directed study to enhance employability.

Students perform their research project throughout the programme, which may necessitate working (under supervision) at out-of-hours times, including weekends.

Cancer Medicine highlights
The strong links between us and the biotech and biopharmaceutical sectors provides a stimulating translational environment, while also expanding your career opportunities.

Global Opportunities
• Our partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides opportunity to study in the USA. Further information is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Course-Finder/PCF1718/PTCF1718/Course/CCRCB4Y...

Industry Links
• The strong links between us and the biotech and biopharmaceutical sectors provides a stimulating translational environment, while also expanding your career opportunities.

World Class Facilities
• The Programme will be taught in the Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology a purpose-built institute at the heart of the Health Sciences Campus, boasting state-of-the-art research facilities

Internationally Renowned Experts
• We have an international reputation in this area, achieved through; high-impact peer review publications; significant international research funding and the establishment of successful spin-out companies.

Assessment method

Assessment is by a combination of oral presentations and written assignments. The research project is written up as a dissertation.

Application date

Postgraduate Taught
Closing dates do apply for some of our courses, and details of these are available on our Course Finder. We advise you to apply as early as possible, particularly for those courses where there is a high demand for places. Early application is also important for international applicants to allow sufficient time to obtain a student entry visa.

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply. See application weblink below.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year: 2018

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