Course specification and structure
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PMCAPHIM - MSc Cancer Immunotherapy

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Human Sciences
Subject Area Biosciences
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time Day 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The principle aim of this MSc is to promote a deep learning of cancer and interactions of the immune system in cancer biology as a basis for understanding the development of cancer immunotherapy. Activating the immune system for therapeutic benefit in cancer has long been a goal in immunology and oncology. Students will learn the skills needed to equip them for future careers in the growing immuno-chemo therapy industries as well as immunotherapy research and development. The personal skills students will develop will ensure they operate as effective learners.

Problem-based and self-directed learning will be used through the course in which delivery will rely on lecture, practical classes, tutorials and a research project. Case studies will be used to encourage students to use high levels of critical understanding and reasoning in a professional context and to enable students to draw together their different learning strands in both pharmacology and immunology/immunotherapy. Students will also be expected to become proficient at data collection, analysing data and interpreting it in relation to current understanding. This will be especially developed in practical classes and in the research project.

To provide students with a feedback on their progress throughout the course, they will be carrying out tutorial question and answer sessions and be carrying out progress tests throughout their studies. Further summative assessment will involve essays, dissertations, presentations, and in-course testing. Formative assessment of students’ approach in literature research is incorporated in group activities and project seminars.

The Daniel-Liebeskind designed Graduate Centre with access to IT facilities and several computer terminals provides students with a venue to study and discuss their studies. The Learning Centre (library) was recently refurbished to a very high standard and also presents an optimal venue for studying with a comprehensive range of text books and access to e-journals. There are also study areas in the green lounge in the Benwell Road area and the ground floor area near the entrance of the Tower building.

The Science Centre lab facilities on the second and third floors present unrivalled facilities for students to learn the practical skills needed to work in the new cancer pharmacology/immunotherapy fields. This venue will also present an inspirational environment in which students will carry out their final research project, which will be supervised by staff with world-leading expertise in applying pharmacology and immunology/immunotherapy to the cancer field. The research project will be presented as a dissertation and also examined by viva voce.

Course aims

  • provide a programme of advanced study for graduates that will equip them for future careers in the area of cancer pharmacology and immunotherapy;
  • foster a comprehensive and critical understanding of the existing state of knowledge in the fields of cancer, traditional cancer therapies and cancer immunotherapy;
  • enhance intellectual and practical skills necessary for the collection, analysis, interpretation and understanding of scientific data, culminating in an independent research project;
  • provide practical opportunities in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • enable students to become effective learners/practitioners by developing a variety of personal skills and capabilities;

Course learning outcomes

The MSc, PgDip and PgCert have common core units.
Delivery and assessment of the common core provides opportunities for students to achieve and demonstrate the learning outcomes listed below.

Knowledge and Understanding:

Learning outcomes:
By the end of the course the student is expected to have developed:

  • an advanced systematic knowledge of the theoretical aspects of scientific topics studied, and an awareness of current issues and insights
  • an ability to apply knowledge in new contexts and in practical settings involving aspects relating to oncology, pharmacology and immunology/immunotherapy.
  • the capacity to design, execute and critically evaluate research relevant to cancer pharmacology and immunotherapy.

Teaching/learning strategies and methods:
A range of teaching methods will be employed including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals and self-directed learning. Problem-solving and literature analysis exercises will be included. Research skills are developed through the taught module Scientific Framework for Research, and also through the Research Project module (MSc only).

Summative assessment of the students’ work is based on elements drawn from the whole range of their learning experience. The variety of assessment methods include problem solving assignments, unseen tests, practical work and reports, poster and seminar presentations, dissertation and unseen examinations. The coursework assessment elements are used formatively where possible, and additional formative assessments will be used in support of students’ development.

Cognitive skills

Learning outcomes:
By the end of the course the student is expected to have developed higher-level skills that are reflected in their ability to:

  • assimilate information and develop ideas on issues, methodologies or development of investigations;
  • explain how a working hypothesis may be devised and tested within the constraints of a oncological and/or pharmacological context;
  • critically analyse different situations and problems showing a high level of understanding and reasoning and providing their own interpretation of information;
  • organise and apply knowledge in a logical and systematic manner appropriate to the purpose or question in hand

Teaching/learning strategies and methods:
Topic presentation in taught units will be largely evidence-based; areas of relevant current developments will be highlighted. Quantitative methods are taught explicitly in the Scientific Framework for Research module, and are embedded in other taught units. The Research Project provides an opportunity to utilise knowledge gained throughout the course in pursuit of an individual, self-directed and focussed investigation.

Cognitive skills are summativly assessed by, inter alia, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, problem solving exercises, essays requiring the ability to sustain an argument, and the Research Project report (MSc only) and its oral defence. Poster and seminar presentations provide scope for both peer assessment and immediate formative feedback.

Transferable Skills

Learning outcomes:
By the end of the course the student is expected to be able to:

  • display the interpersonal skills required to work in a scientific, particularly laboratory, based environment;
  • implement an advanced information search and to extract relevant information;
  • communicate a subject clearly and accurately orally, and in a variety of forms of written English;
  • select and obtain information and to interpret that information, drawing conclusions from and recognising the limitations of the available data;
  • employ a full range of investigative skills which can be applied to any set task;
  • use analytical and reviewing skills in order to produce accurate summaries based on a body of literature.

Teaching/Learning Strategies and Methods:
Communication skills will be developed through formative feedback of student work, and analysis of published literature. Use of appropriate technologies pervades all the modules. There is a significant element of independent learning in all modules. Self-evaluation of work follows on from the critical, evidence-based approach adopted in the taught units.

All assessment is in oral or written form, and throughout the course emphasis will be placed on development of both general communication skills and also on the requirements of formal scientific writing. Systematic and consistent referencing will be a requirement. Use of technology is implicit in all work requiring literature exploration, and in the written or oral presentation of work. Use of laboratory equipment is also heavily dependent on computer skills.

Subject-specific Practical Skills

Learning Outcomes:
Students should be able to demonstrate development of practical skills, through

  • experience of advanced or novel practical methodologies;
  • the application of knowledge to practical problems, including test selection and the design of appropriate experimental protocols with due regard to safety and quality control issues;
  • experience of IT software and databases, for example in methods development and searching scientific literature;
  • the organisation and execution of practical work in the Laboratory Practice and Research Project (MSc only) modules.

Teaching/Learning Strategies and Methods:
Practical laboratory skills will be taught through hands-on-experience, reflection and problem solving in laboratory sessions. Some observation of demonstration material will also be utilised. Problem-based exercises will require exploitation of practical issues in forensic science.

Formative assessment is given continuously during the sessions in the dialogue between the demonstrating staff and the students. Practical skills will be assessed in the Research Project and the Laboratory Practice module by the results obtained and their contribution to the overall standard of achievement.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Although there are no QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) benchmark statements for Cancer Immunotherapy at Postgraduate level, course outcomes are in line with Generic QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) guidelines on Masters level qualifications and refer to UG Biological Sciences benchmark statements.

Assessment strategy

Students are assessed through a variety of methods including problem solving exercises, in-class tests, data analysis, practical reports, case studies, oral presentation, extended essays, examinations, research project interim report, oral examination and dissertation.
Practical skills are summatively assessed through the coursework assignments, including those in the final Project module. Data handling skills are summatively assessed by, practical reports, problem solving exercises, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, oral presentations and examinations.
Formative assessments include group activities in tutorial classes, pre-laboratory exercises and project workshops.

Course specific regulations

The course conforms to both the University’s Postgraduate Scheme and the University Academic Regulations.

Modules required for interim awards

PGCert – 60 credits; any 3 modules;
PGDip – 120 credits; 6 modules (not including Research Project);
MSc – 180 credits; 6 modules plus Research Project

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

During the induction phase of the programme students will be introduced to structured reflection on their development of Postgraduate Skills which constitute much as the substance of personal development planning. Progress with Postgraduate Skills will be articulated to students as the programme progresses through feedback from tutors and peers enabling them to reflect on their progress based on the evidence available. Other activities outside of the academic aspect of university life will also contribute to aspects of Postgraduate Skills. Within each module students will be encouraged to develop their personal portfolio to critically review their learning experiences, set their future personal and academic goals and evaluate their progress towards these goals.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

The resources of the Careers Service are available to all Students, who, as Postgraduates, may already be pursuing defined career goals. Students are also made aware of the advantages of membership of, for example, The British Association for Cancer Research, the British Pharmacological Society, the British Society of Immunology, and related careers information and employment opportunities advertised in their publications.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

External speakers are utilised to enhance delivery and maintain currency of laboratory practice within the fields’ studies on this course. Members of academic staff teaching on modules have appropriate academic and research-based backgrounds and are actively involved in cancer research (Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre;

Career opportunities

As a graduate of this course, you’ll be well prepared to work for companies that are developing cancer immunotherapies. Such companies include global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibbs, MERCK, AstraZeneca and Roche. There are also an an ever-growing number of start-up companies that are tackling cancer, including Vyriad, UNUM Therapeutics and Alpine Immune Sciences.

You’ll also have ample opportunity for future postgraduate study within the School of Human Sciences and the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre at the MPhil/PhD level, as well as research opportunities with partners within the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • at least a lower second (2.2) UK first degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, for example pharmacology, biomedical science, biological science or medical genetics (these will be considered on an individual basis)

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2016/17 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 05 Sep 2016 Last validation date 05 Sep 2016  
JACS codes
Route code CAPHIM

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BM7001 Scientific Frameworks For Research Core 20 NORTH SPR WED AM
          NORTH AUT TUE AM
BM7004 Advanced Immunology Core 20 NORTH AUT WED AM
BM7045 Cancer Pharmacology Core 20 NORTH SPR WED PM
BM7046 Cancer: Diagnosis and Therapy Core 20 NORTH AUT WED PM
BM7047 Molecular Oncology Core 20 NORTH AUT TUE PM
BM7048 Cancer Immunotherapy Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
BM7P05 Research Project Core 60 NORTH AUT NA  
          NORTH SPR NA  
          NORTH SUM NA  

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BM7001 Scientific Frameworks For Research Core 20 NORTH SPR WED AM
BM7004 Advanced Immunology Core 20        
BM7045 Cancer Pharmacology Core 20 NORTH SPR WED PM
BM7046 Cancer: Diagnosis and Therapy Core 20        
BM7047 Molecular Oncology Core 20        
BM7048 Cancer Immunotherapy Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
BM7P05 Research Project Core 60 NORTH SPR NA  
          NORTH SUM NA