Emma Reeves and Dean Bryant
Programme Co-Leads: MSc Cancer Biology and Immunology

In 2022, the School of Cancer Sciences embarked on the development of a new post-graduate taught (PGT) programme in the field of cancer biology and immunology, with a view to having our first cohort of students in October 2024.

After an extensive review of the existing UK PGT market in the ‘Cancer’ and ‘Immunology’ themes, we opted for a holistic approach utilising our School wide expertise in cancer research, combining the fields of cancer biology and cancer immunology as the core theme of the programme. By doing so, we aim to target the existing and well-established cancer biology market whilst combining our international reputation in cancer immunology, a newer and upcoming field of study.

After initial strategic planning and approval by the Faculty in February 2023, we were one of the first programmes to enter the new programme approvals process. During this time, we have been well supported and have drawn on expertise and guidance from our faculty Associate Dean, Education and PGT programme leads to consider the components of programme development, whilst utilising student collaborators to allow us to refine and maximise the student experience. We are pleased (and very relieved) to say that the MSc Cancer Biology and Immunology was approved in October 2023!

The content of the MSc programme relies on key modules in semester 1 which provide foundation knowledge in cancer biology, immunology and cancer genomics. This knowledge will be applied in semester 2 in the cancer immunology and immunotherapy and stratified medicine modules. Since obtaining transferrable and subject specific skills are an important consideration for students when choosing a PGT programme, research and laboratory skills modules will provide a foundation for the 18-week research dissertation project where students will be embedded within a cancer focussed research group.

So what comes next after programme approval? We are excited to be reviewing applications ready to welcome our first cohort in October, but in the meantime, we will be working on developing the specific programme content and delivery. We are in the process of building several new modules and are appointing modules leads for Cancer Biology, Cancer Genomics, Research Skills, Laboratory skills and Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy. This will be where we get to utilise our expertise to drive the content of the programme, imparting our knowledge to train the leaders of the future. We are working with the marketing team to build a roll-out plan for marketing and advertising, as well as being part of the Successful Futures strategic major project on transferrable skills to ensure we embed employability within the programme to maximise the knowledge and skillset our students will gain for their future careers.

Finally, we hope that by including these core research areas, as well as incorporating our commitment to enabling students to develop key transferrable and scientific skills within the programme, there will be a broad range of opportunities for members of the faculty to gain essential skills and experience in education and leadership. So if you are interested in getting involved with the programme, please get in touch at CBI@soton.ac.uk.

A new MSc comes to Southampton

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