Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

We have 266 Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



Biological Sciences



All locations



All Institutions

PhD Type

PhD Type

All PhD Types



All Funding

Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 266 Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

A PhD in Cancer Biology would provide you with the opportunity to research a specific cancer in great detail. Whether you’re developing a new treatment, understanding the factors that allow a tumour to arise or innovating better diagnostic tests, you’ll be improving our understanding of cancer and saving lives.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Cancer Biology?

Doing a PhD in Cancer Biology, you’ll develop excellent laboratory skills, particularly in cell culture, working with RNA and studying the proteome. Most Cancer Biology projects link to other subjects and as such, you’ll have experience working with techniques from Cell Biology, Immunology and Genetics.

Some typical research topics in Cancer Biology include:

  • Developing novel diagnostic tests
  • Understanding a potential trigger of metastasis
  • Developing novel therapeutics to treat a specific cancer
  • The immune system and cancer interactions
  • Characterising the role of a specific tumour suppressor or oncogene in a certain cancer

Generally, Cancer Biology programmes are advertised on the university website with the research proposal, including the scope and primary aim of the research pre-determined by the supervisor. These projects are usually fully-funded.

It’s uncommon to propose your own research in Cancer Biology since the additional bench fees make self-funding difficult. It can also be tricky to find a supervisor with the interests that line up well with your suggested project that also have the equipment and expertise to supervise you through your PhD.

In your daily life you’ll be in the laboratory conducting experiments, reading the literature for new methods you could try, analysing old data, and talking to colleagues and your supervisor about your work. In the final year of your PhD you’ll submit a thesis of around 60,000 words that will contribute to the knowledge of your field and you’ll defend your work during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Cancer Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Cancer Biology funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Cancer Biology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Cancer Biology PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

read more
PhD saved successfully

Investigating the mechanisms of collective cell migration

Cell migration plays an important role in the normal development of multicellular organisms and also in cancer metastasis. While many kinds of individual cell movements have been characterised, we understand much less about how clusters of cells migrate in a coordinated fashion. Read more

(WIS) How do mutations in the spliceosome protein SRSF2 contribute to clonal haematopoiesis and myeloid blood cancers, and how can patients with such mutations be better treated?

This project will take advantage of internationally leading expertise in myeloid blood cancer research in Manchester UK (Somervaille, Wiseman and Batta) and Israel (Shlush) and provide the student with a fantastic opportunity to study in two world-leading myeloid blood cancer research centres as part of an integrated programme. Read more

Roles of negative transcriptional regulators in cancer cells

The aim of the project is to investigate how factors involved in mRNA synthesis alter gene expression in human cells. Precise control of transcription and RNA processing is essential for the correct regulation of gene expression in all eukaryotic organisms. Read more

Understanding what makes a new class of memory natural killer (NK) cells an optimal candidate for cancer immunotherapy

Immunotherapies have changed the paradigm of cancer treatment away from conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, immunotherapy outcomes remain more limited in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) than in other settings, e.g., acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Read more

Identifying novel therapeutic targets in CMML

Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML) is a clonal stem cell neoplasm defined by abnormal monocytosis and dysplasia. A quarter of CMML patients progress to acute myeloid leukaemia and these patients have dismal prognosis. Read more

Filtering Results