Postgraduate taught 

Precision Medicine (with specialisms) MSc

Hallmarks of Cancer BIOL5341

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cancer Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course will provide an introduction of background knowledge to cancer by integrating the teaching of hallmarks of cancer, basic biology, signal transduction, molecular biology, cell biology and pathology of cancer. It will provide an introduction to the principles of preventive measure and standard treatments, surgical, radiation and medical oncology, and describes how all these disciplines communicate and work together in the fight against cancer.


Teaching takes place over 5 weeks in Semester 1 with students attending lectures and tutorials.

Excluded Courses





1. Design a poster on a hallmark of cancer (40% weighting) ILO1, 3


2. Oral presentation of poster (20% weighting) ILO4


3. Short answer questions based on case study (40% weighting) ILO1, 2

Course Aims

The course aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the molecular and cellular events that drive cancer development and progression and to demonstrate how an understanding of these events underpins current and future approaches to cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Critically discuss how cancer aetiology, development, progression and recurrence can be described in the context of the New Hallmarks of Cancer, with reference to the major pathways involved;

2. Critically discuss the scientific rationale underlying standard chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, and their role in management of the cancer patient in general. This is from the perspective of a research scientist rather than a clinician, and students will not be required to make decisions regarding detailed treatment regimens arising in a clinical situation;

3. Analyse, interpret and critically evaluate data from published molecular, cellular and clinical research;

4. Prepare and deliver effective oral presentations on their poster using appropriate software to a scientific audience.

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.