Clinicians, scientists and students engaged in cancer research at Newcastle share a common purpose: to improve treatment outcomes for patients with cancer. Work covers a broad spectrum - understanding the biological and molecular differences between normal and malignant cells and using this knowledge to develop new anti-cancer drugs.
Our staff and postgraduate students are based in the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) or the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. The NICR incorporates the Newcastle Cancer Centre, a unique collaboration between Cancer Research UK and the North of England Children's Cancer Research Fund.
We are a major training base for the next generation of cancer researchers. Our Institute covers many areas of cancer research, including:
- solid tumours and leukaemias
- childhood and adult cancers
- drug discovery and early phase clinical trials
We offer approximately 15 MD, PhD and integrated MRes/PhD studentships each year, including the Newcastle Cancer Centre training programme. Projects in all research areas are available to fully-funded international students.
Members of our postgraduate community come from a variety of subject backgrounds including biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, genetics, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.
We hold regular postgraduate seminars which you will be required to attend and where you will deliver presentations. You will also attend and present your data annually at national cancer research meetings and at least one international meeting.
MPhil, PhD and MD supervision is normally available in the following research areas:
Exploratory biology, target and biomarker discovery
Molecular genetic and mechanistic studies are used to identify critical molecular changes in cancer and their relevance to disease development and progression, and to validate these as biomarkers and targets for therapeutic intervention. A wide range of contemporary genomic, bioinformatic, molecular biology, biochemical and cell biology techniques are used.
Studies focus on haematological malignancies (leukaemia and lymphoma), paediatric solid tumours (neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma), and adult solid tumours (eg breast, ovarian, prostate, bladder and liver cancers).
We exploit critical molecular defects as biomarkers to enhance disease detection and diagnosis, prediction of disease course, sensitivity to specific drugs and therapeutic monitoring. We play leading roles in molecular diagnostics, biomarker assessment and therapeutic monitoring for national and international clinical trials.
The exploitation of novel targets is achieved by the use of rational drug design, notably the use of structure-based design, in conjunction with medium-throughput screening. Target molecule synthesis and multiple parallel synthesis approaches are used for lead optimisation, and candidate drugs are evaluated in cell-free and whole cell target-based assays.
Clinical trials (Phase I/II/III) are undertaken in both adults and children. Trials have a strong hypothesis-testing translational research component and are performed under the auspices of national or international research networks (eg CR–UK, Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer), as well as directly in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry.
We are one of the few academic centres in the UK able to undertake this specialist cancer research. Our expert staff, facilities and our close working relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and with clinical trials networks, helps us achieve this.
Read more about staff specialisms.
Our new School of Pharmacy has scientists and clinicians working together on all aspects of pharmaceutical sciences and clinical pharmacy.
We will be offering the following PhD projects:
- Targeting Biosynthetic and Regulatory Pathways of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis as Novel Drug Targets
- Design, Synthesis and Target Identification of Novel Anti-Tubercular Agents
- Activity-Based Chemical Probes for the Profiling of Cytochrome P450s
- Development of Novel Silanediol HDAC Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancer
Our Institute has close working relationships with companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
A number of our studentships are direct collaborations with industrial partners, with opportunities to spend placements with these partners.
Our staff and postgraduate students are based in the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) or the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (medicinal chemistry students).
Our laboratories contain a full range of contemporary genomic, bioinformatic, proteomic, synthetic chemistry and pharmacology equipment, and clinical research facilities.
In the news
Student blogger Lydia's story of why she chose to take on postgraduate study.
published on: 18 April 2018
Want to know what its like to be a Newcastle University student? Join us online for one of our PG Café virtual events.
published on: 16 April 2018
Training & Skills
As a research student you will receive a tailored package of academic and support elements to ensure you maximise your research and future career. The academic information is in the programme profile and you will be supported by our Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School.
Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School
Our Medical Sciences Graduate School is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. We can help and advise you on a variety of queries relating to your studies, funding or welfare.
Our Research Student Development Programme supports and complements your research whilst developing your professional skills and confidence.
You will make an on-going assessment of your own development and training needs through personal development planning (PDP) in the ePortfolio system. Our organised external events and development programme have been mapped against the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to help you identify how best to meet your training and development needs.
Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Partnership
The Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and offers:
- researchers the opportunity to address scientific biosciences questions
- an exceptional programme of research training, emphasising the interdisciplinary nature of modern biology
- the latest technologies and facilities to deliver world-class results
Each year we award around 22 fully-funded studentships across the partnership on the following research themes:
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
- Bioscience for Health
- World Class Underpinning Bioscience
Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per year.
MPhil, PhD, MD
Full time: £4,800 - £15,300
Part time: £2,400 - £7,650
Full time: £4,800 - £15,300
Part time: £2,400 - £7,650
Full time: £21,000 - £31,500
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
Our fee range takes into account your research topic and resource requirements.
Your research topic is unique and as such will have unique resource requirements. Resources could include specialist equipment, such as laboratory/workshop access, or technical staff.
If your research involves accessing specialist resources then you're likely to pay a higher fee. You'll discuss the exact nature of your research project with your supervisor(s). You'll find out the fee in your offer letter.
A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a science or medicine related subject.
A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent. Further research experience or a master’s degree would be advantageous.
A MBBS, or an equivalent medical degree.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
English Language Requirements
To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).
Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.
You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.
How to Apply
You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step-by-step guide can help you on your way.
There are usually three possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:
There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.
We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.
If you live outside the UK/EU you must:
- pay a deposit of £1,500
- or submit an official letter of sponsorship
The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.