Postgraduate taught 

Cancer Research & Precision Oncology MSc

Cancer Stem Cells, Metastasis and the Microenvironment BIOL5339

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Cancer Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course will provide knowledge on cancer stems in leukaemia and solid tumours, the role of the tumour microenvironment in sustaining the disease and promoting disease progression. Tumour invasion, metastasis and cancer metabolism will be studied in-depth. This course will highlight the complexities of cancer and the challenges cancer clinicians face in treating patients. Teaching methods will consist of lectures, journal clubs and tutorials.


Teaching takes place over 4 weeks in semester 1 with students attending lectures and tutorials.

Excluded Courses





1. Critically review a scientific manuscript and demonstrate the ability to interpret results (2000 words). (70% weighting).


2. Oral group presentation (30% weighting)

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with detail knowledge on how tumours are influenced by altered cell signalling, the tumour microenvironment and changes in cellular metabolism. It will explore how these processes contribute to treatment resistance, genetic instability and ultimately to disease progression.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Critically discuss with reference to the primary literature, the role of stem cells, microenvironment and metabolism in cancer invasion and progression.

2. Illustrate in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced when preventing disease progression.

3. Communicate and work effectively within a group of colleagues to deliver a set task.

4. Critically reflect on individual and group performance in a task.

5. Prepare and deliver effective oral presentations using appropriate software to a scientific audience.

6. Critically review a scientific manuscript and demonstrate the ability to interpret results.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.