Course Overview

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.

The MSc (Cancer Research) is a modular course consisting of 30% taught material and a 70% research element. The taught modules will be developed with an input from a number of academic disciplines and structured in a way that ensures that students will be provided with a comprehensive and overarching knowledge in cancer biology. The research element will encompass two full semesters. After an induction phase, the students will work on one research project throughout the two semesters, allowing them to acquire a broad range of research skills including use of state-of-the-art technology, experience in experimental design, data interpretation, and data presentation.

Apply now 


Applications and selection information

Applicants will submit an online application online via comprising of a CV (of maximum three pages) and personal statement (maximum one page) describing career plans and reasons for applying for this programme. Applicants will be shortlisted according to their third level degree, relevant experience and motivation. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview either in person or by telephone/Skype. Shortlisted applicants will be encouraged to attend the interview in person if possible and meet the course co-ordinator and take a site tour. Those who cannot attend will be interviewed by telephone/Skype. During the interview scientific knowledge and suitability of the applicants will be assessed. Places will be offered on the basis of the written applications as well as the interview.

Closing date

Please refer to the review/closing date website.

Programmes Available

Structured MSc. Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System. Helpful step-by-step application guide here.


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

Graduates who have a Level 8, honours BSc degree (First class or second class honours, H1, H2.1, H2.2) in a relevant biological, biochemical or biomedical science field (e.g., pharmacology, biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics) will be eligible to apply for this programme. Medical graduates with honours grade will also be eligible to apply for the programme. Where an applicant has a lower than honours grade BSc degree qualification (i.e., a Level 7 BSc), but at least three years’ relevant work experience (e.g., molecular biology/cell biology/biochemistry laboratory technician, biotechnology industry research laboratory staff, etc.), a special case for admission will be considered. International students, whose first language is not English will be required to prove their English competency through their school leaving or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English language test, as outlined in the NUI Galway entry requirement documentation.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

1. Study of death receptor oligomerisation on the cell surface and its role in regulating tumour cell apoptosis

2. The role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in chemoresistance of multiple myeloma

For further examples of ongoing projects, please visit: or


Current funded research opportunity

Work Placement

Related Student Organisations

Career Opportunities

Find a Supervisor / PhD Project

If you are still looking for a potential supervisor or PhD project or would like to identify the key research interests of our academic staff and researchers, you can use our online portal to help in that search

Course Outline

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Research Areas

Cancer research is one of the main thematic research areas in the Discipline of Biochemistry and the other academic units associated with the MSc in cancer Research programme. The over 200 researcher in Biochemistry and the adjacent National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) work on developing a comprehensive approach to cancer research and treatment, from basic, translational and clinical research, through to the ultimate goal of discovery-led improved patient care. The Centre for Chromosome Biology (CCB) led by Prof. Noel Lowndes and the Apoptosis Research Centre led by Prof. Afshin Samali (ARC, focuses on basic cancer research. 

The Centre for Chromosome Biology studies chromatin structure, DNA replication and DNA damage response and the regulation of mitotic chromosome structure and segregation. Scientists within the Centre use key model organisms and cellular models of human diseases, especially cancer.

The Apoptosis Research Centre is active in both basic and clinically relevant investigation of this key biological pathway. Research areas include stress-induced apoptosis in relation to cancer and other diseases, and targeting the apoptotic machinery for cancer therapy. Significant biotechnology applications have arisen from the research of this unit through its efforts in cancer research and treatment, from basic to translational and clinical research, with an ultimate goal of discovery-led improved patient care. Inflammation and cancer research is a focus in the department of Pharmacology.

The National Breast Cancer Research Institute headed by Prof. Michael Kerin is affiliated with the Discipline of Surgery while the Discipline of Pathology is focused on both the molecular pathology of breast cancer and the identification and high-throughput validation of prognostic and predictive markers in breast cancer. The recently established Prostate Cancer Institute ) concentrates on developing better therapies for patients with prostate cancer and the pre-clinical testing of such novel therapeutics. 

The research teams have a wide range of international collaborations. These collaborators visit the University regularly in the frame of a research seminar programmes running every year. The Discipline of Biochemistry with the other Departments and Institutes associated with the MSc in Cancer Research provide a cadre of scientists with the knowledge, research training and team-working skills, which produces a creative research environment where the students participating in the MSc in Cancer Research programme can learn and develop.

Researcher Profiles

Corrado Santocanale 

Howard Fearnhead


Michael Kerin (

Richard Flavin (

Sanjeev Gupta (,

Prostate Cancer Institute

Frank Sullivan (

Sharon Glynn (

Centre for Chromosome Biology

Michael Carty (

Andrew Flaus (

Bob Lahue (

Noel Lowndes (

Brian McStay (

Ciaran Morrison (

Stephen Rea (

Heinz-Peter Nasheuer (

Kevin Sullivan (

 Apoptosis Research Centre

Afshin Samali (

Adrienne Gorman (

Eva Szegezdi (

Michael O'Dwyer (

 Glycoscience Group

Lokesh Joshi (

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,890 p.a. 2023/24 (incl. levy)

Fees: Non EU

€24,740 p.a. 2023/24 (incl. levy)

Contact Us

Course Director:
Dr Eva Szegezdi

Course Co-ordinator:
Dr Mary Ní Fhlathartaigh
T: +353 91 495 323

What Our Students Say


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 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.

Mark Watters |   MSc in Cancer Research

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 the students acquire an in-depth knowledge of the topics. 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. 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. The Cancer Research MSc programme at NUIG is an extremely worthwhile and rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone interested.