Cancer is a leading cause of death in the western world and accounts for a quarter of all mortalities. For this reason cancer research is one of the largest and fastest developing and thus best funded areas of the biomedical sciences. Currently, over 20% of all jobs advertisements in the area of life sciences are in the area of cancer biology, and 10% of all scientific publications are in the field of cancer research. A career in cancer research can ber very rewarding, but it is a complex and highly competitive area, and thus state-of-the-art training that is tailored to this research area is a major advantage to those wishing to follow such a path. 

This MSc programme provides relevant, hands-on training in a research setting and is aimed at life science and medical graduates who wish to specialise in the field of cancer research. The purpose of the programme is to provide these graduates with a broad and deep theoretical foundation of cancer biology, on top of which the key research laboratory skills and practical experiences are built. This knowledge and skillset will enable them to pursue a career as a research scientist in academia, in the medical field or in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.

Specifically the programme aims to:

  1. Provide a broad and in-depth background in molecular, cellular and clinical cancer biology that will allow the graduates to develop a thorough understanding of cancer biology.
  2. Provide knowledge in classic and state-of-the-art research technologies applied in cell and molecular biology research with specific emphasis on technologies applied in cancer research.
  3. Provide training in laboratory and research skills both at basic and advanced levels by introducing students to a research environment; assigning students a research project through which they will develop both technical competencies and critical thinking abilities.
  4. Facilitate the interdisciplinary approach of cancer research by engaging clinical and non-clinical scientists, enabling the cross-fertilisation of ideas and thus promoting medically-focused basic research as well as translational cancer research. 

On completion of this programme, graduates will have a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and technical skills: 

  1. To go on to study for a PhD and pursue an academic career.
  2. To pursue specialist registrar training in medical and academic environments
  3. To follow a career in pharmacological and/or biotechnology industry. 



Ziyanda Shologu |   MSc in Cancer Research

This course covers a great range of specialised modules which provided me with significant theoretical and practical knowledge. Modules such as molecular biology covered fundamental insights to cellular signalling pathways, gene expression, oncogenes and tumour suppressors. Specialised modules such as clinical oncology and haematology presented by pathologists and other medical specialists were quite enlightening, and also brought a different dimension to the course. There is a combination of three month interactive teaching programme and an eight month research project within a research group of your choice, furthermore gaining invaluable research experience on my own area of interest. I found both the theoretical and practical aspects of the programme very stimulating and inspiring, in addition to developing my communication, critical thinking skills and understanding of the field. The small class sizes and ease of staff to student relation was one of the major elements that attracted me to the course. Talks from industry about the most up-to-date research techniques and equipment available for research use also brought a nice balance to the diverse spectrum.

Mark Watters |   MSc Cancer Research Student

The Cancer Research MSc in NUIG is a well-developed and flexible Master’s programme which encompasses all areas of Cancer Research. The programme is comprised of both theory and research components, which complement nicely to ensure we the students acquire an in-depth knowledge of the topics which are required for careers in this area. This structure allowed me to gain the confidence from knowing the scientific basis of cancer research, and I could then apply this knowledge in the research component of the programme. The small class size is a great opportunity to make some close new friends and it allows for easy discussion of the course, and aids in any problems we may encounter. My particular research project took place in the Apoptosis Research Centre in the state-of-the-art Bioscience Building on the scenic North Campus. This placement allowed me to work alongside others who are passionate about their fields of study and motivated me to gain more knowledge and work harder. It also allowed me to learn from scientists who are considered experts in their field, an experience I’m truly grateful for.