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Cancer biomedicine / Cancer Science degree job prospects

Hi, I've seen UCL and Nottingham have these courses which according to UCAS have a high average grad salary (mid to high 30ks).

This surprised me as biology / biomedical degrees usually don't pay high, so if anyone knows what careers people with this degree usually go into and if these high salaries are accurate or not, please reply :smile:
Reply 1
Original post by dondonj
Hi, I've seen UCL and Nottingham have these courses which according to UCAS have a high average grad salary (mid to high 30ks).

This surprised me as biology / biomedical degrees usually don't pay high, so if anyone knows what careers people with this degree usually go into and if these high salaries are accurate or not, please reply :smile:


I did a MSc(Res) Translational Oncology at Sheffield and went into medical writing- on a permanent role I'm earning 37k- this is just above an entry level associated medical writer. However there is a chance to progress up to director where I can earn up to 100k
Original post by lilGem
I did a MSc(Res) Translational Oncology at Sheffield and went into medical writing- on a permanent role I'm earning 37k- this is just above an entry level associated medical writer. However there is a chance to progress up to director where I can earn up to 100k

Hi! :smile: (I know this thread is 2 months old :tongue:) I'm interested in cancer biomedicine/oncology as well, and wanted to know what's it's like? Which unis are good for an undergrad?

Also, medical writing sounds really interesting, could you tell me a bit more about it?

Thanks! :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by sleep_supremacy
Hi! :smile: (I know this thread is 2 months old :tongue:) I'm interested in cancer biomedicine/oncology as well, and wanted to know what's it's like? Which unis are good for an undergrad?

Also, medical writing sounds really interesting, could you tell me a bit more about it?

Thanks! :smile:


Hey,

no worries :smile:

for my undergraduate degree I did Biological Sciences before specialising for my masters. Sheffield is renowned for oncology due it it's links with specialist cancer hospitals, charities and research. The course was split between 6 months theory and 6 months research. Link attached below

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses/2023/translational-oncology-mscres

In terms of medical communications it's broadly split into medical writing and account management (budgeting, project management, client facing). On the writing side, projects vary massively by client and therapy area. I've worked on projects with charities and getting an app developed and approved on the NHS, to working with global pharmaceutical clients developing symposia content, patient materials, educational decks.

It's a very fast paced industry with a chance to explore multiple therapy areas and be exposed to the different sides of pharmaceutical companies including medical affairs, product launch and strategy.

I do recommend it, however I will be leaving it in the new year and continuing to do it on a freelance basis.

Please let me know if you have any other questions :smile:
Original post by lilGem
Hey,

no worries :smile:

for my undergraduate degree I did Biological Sciences before specialising for my masters. Sheffield is renowned for oncology due it it's links with specialist cancer hospitals, charities and research. The course was split between 6 months theory and 6 months research. Link attached below

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses/2023/translational-oncology-mscres

In terms of medical communications it's broadly split into medical writing and account management (budgeting, project management, client facing). On the writing side, projects vary massively by client and therapy area. I've worked on projects with charities and getting an app developed and approved on the NHS, to working with global pharmaceutical clients developing symposia content, patient materials, educational decks.

It's a very fast paced industry with a chance to explore multiple therapy areas and be exposed to the different sides of pharmaceutical companies including medical affairs, product launch and strategy.

I do recommend it, however I will be leaving it in the new year and continuing to do it on a freelance basis.

Please let me know if you have any other questions :smile:

Thanks for such a quick reply :smile: Will definitely look into medical communications more. Sounds cool!

I have a lot of questions (sorry!) so here goes :tongue:

I'm applying to biomed at 4 of my unis, but UCL recently changed some of their biomed entry requirements, so I'm looking for a new course. I'm applying to Sheffield too, I've heard great things about its research. If you don't mind could you tell me a bit about how Sheffield is as a place? I couldn't find much info on it.

I'm applying to UCL (cancer biomed?), KCL, Birmingham, Bath and Sheffield (all biomed). Do you happen to know anything for UCL's course?

If you don't mind me asking, where did you do your placements/internships from, if any? I'm looking for relevant places but I don't know what's a good place to apply to and what isn't for work experience.

And the million-dollar question- is it easy to find a job with a masters level in a cancer/biomed degree? I don't want to do a cancer biomed degree only to find out no one accepts in anywhere. I'm looking to go into research. Is that viable?

Thanks again! :smile:
Reply 5
Original post by sleep_supremacy
Thanks for such a quick reply :smile: Will definitely look into medical communications more. Sounds cool!

I have a lot of questions (sorry!) so here goes :tongue:

I'm applying to biomed at 4 of my unis, but UCL recently changed some of their biomed entry requirements, so I'm looking for a new course. I'm applying to Sheffield too, I've heard great things about its research. If you don't mind could you tell me a bit about how Sheffield is as a place? I couldn't find much info on it.

I'm applying to UCL (cancer biomed?), KCL, Birmingham, Bath and Sheffield (all biomed). Do you happen to know anything for UCL's course?

If you don't mind me asking, where did you do your placements/internships from, if any? I'm looking for relevant places but I don't know what's a good place to apply to and what isn't for work experience.

And the million-dollar question- is it easy to find a job with a masters level in a cancer/biomed degree? I don't want to do a cancer biomed degree only to find out no one accepts in anywhere. I'm looking to go into research. Is that viable?

Thanks again! :smile:

If you are interested in med comms then I recommend checking out medcommsnetwork, there are often a lot of graduate level jobs advertised and more recently summer internships

I loved Sheffield, it's big enough to feel like a city, but small enough that you can walk from one end to the other (as long as you like hills). There's lots of lovely independent coffee shops and it's such a friendly place. I miss it!

During my undergrad at UEA, I did a summer internship at the university of Southampton in their biosciences department., this was approx 12 weeks lab based. In addition to this I did a lot of science communication work such as pint of science, freelance writing, helping out at open days etc.

At the end of the day it's not the degree that gets you the job, it's the experience you gain alongside it. That said, from my cohort everyone bar one got a job fairly quickly in a variety of industries including clinical trials, med comms or gone onto further education i.e. PhDs.

Often those going into research need a PhD, so yes it is perfectly possible. I recommend don't specialise in undergrad as your interests are likely to change and specialise in your masters- this will give you exposure to research and allow you to figure out what areas you'd like to explore in a PhD as it's more about the topic area and university supervisor rather than the university
Original post by lilGem
If you are interested in med comms then I recommend checking out medcommsnetwork, there are often a lot of graduate level jobs advertised and more recently summer internships

I loved Sheffield, it's big enough to feel like a city, but small enough that you can walk from one end to the other (as long as you like hills). There's lots of lovely independent coffee shops and it's such a friendly place. I miss it!

During my undergrad at UEA, I did a summer internship at the university of Southampton in their biosciences department., this was approx 12 weeks lab based. In addition to this I did a lot of science communication work such as pint of science, freelance writing, helping out at open days etc.

At the end of the day it's not the degree that gets you the job, it's the experience you gain alongside it. That said, from my cohort everyone bar one got a job fairly quickly in a variety of industries including clinical trials, med comms or gone onto further education i.e. PhDs.

Often those going into research need a PhD, so yes it is perfectly possible. I recommend don't specialise in undergrad as your interests are likely to change and specialise in your masters- this will give you exposure to research and allow you to figure out what areas you'd like to explore in a PhD as it's more about the topic area and university supervisor rather than the university

That sounds wonderful :h: Also coffee :tongue:

Depends. How tall are these hills? :laugh:

How'd you manage the freelance writing? I write too (as a hobby) for loads of school magazines and stuff, but I want to be able to continue writing at uni.

At the end of the day it's not the degree that gets you the job, it's the experience you gain alongside it- That's something I've heard a lot. It's sometimes difficult to unlearn the 'prestigious is better' mentality we all have! I'm trying to find a uni that will make me feel happy and accepted, and it is so difficult :exhale:

If you're still in contact with/ know anyone who went into further education, where are they now?
Reply 7
Original post by sleep_supremacy
That sounds wonderful :h: Also coffee :tongue:

Depends. How tall are these hills? :laugh:

How'd you manage the freelance writing? I write too (as a hobby) for loads of school magazines and stuff, but I want to be able to continue writing at uni.

At the end of the day it's not the degree that gets you the job, it's the experience you gain alongside it- That's something I've heard a lot. It's sometimes difficult to unlearn the 'prestigious is better' mentality we all have! I'm trying to find a uni that will make me feel happy and accepted, and it is so difficult :exhale:

If you're still in contact with/ know anyone who went into further education, where are they now?

Sheffield is known for its hills too and it's on the edge of the peak district!

So freelance writing is a bit more than writing as a hobby- there are much higher expectations when it comes to employers. I reached out to several companies and got taken on that way both as an editor and writer. This helped me to develop a strong portfolio when it came to applying for jobs. I know sheffield has a science specific writing society too :smile:

Of those I know who went on to do a PhD: one is now doing GEM, multiple are post-docs around the world, a few have gone into industry and a few are in the process of writing up and submitting
Original post by lilGem
Sheffield is known for its hills too and it's on the edge of the peak district!

So freelance writing is a bit more than writing as a hobby- there are much higher expectations when it comes to employers. I reached out to several companies and got taken on that way both as an editor and writer. This helped me to develop a strong portfolio when it came to applying for jobs. I know sheffield has a science specific writing society too :smile:

Of those I know who went on to do a PhD: one is now doing GEM, multiple are post-docs around the world, a few have gone into industry and a few are in the process of writing up and submitting


Hi, if you don't mind me asking, how did you go about securing a freelance position? A lot of the ones I read about either require previous experience or a masters/PhD.
Reply 9
Original post by RandomMelodrama
Hi, if you don't mind me asking, how did you go about securing a freelance position? A lot of the ones I read about either require previous experience or a masters/PhD.


As above, I developed a portfolio and provided that as experience to employers.

Now I am a FT freelancer I have developed a network of connections through various companies I've worked for
Original post by lilGem
Sheffield is known for its hills too and it's on the edge of the peak district!

So freelance writing is a bit more than writing as a hobby- there are much higher expectations when it comes to employers. I reached out to several companies and got taken on that way both as an editor and writer. This helped me to develop a strong portfolio when it came to applying for jobs. I know sheffield has a science specific writing society too :smile:

Of those I know who went on to do a PhD: one is now doing GEM, multiple are post-docs around the world, a few have gone into industry and a few are in the process of writing up and submitting

Could you tell me a bit more about the expectations employers have for freelance writing? And which companies did you reach out to, if you don't mind me asking?

Really? A science-specific writing society sounds so cool! :biggrin: What all do you do in there?

Oh wow, that's diverse. I'm aiming to do a PhD too, hopefully I can end up with something :laugh:
Original post by lilGem
As above, I developed a portfolio and provided that as experience to employers.

Now I am a FT freelancer I have developed a network of connections through various companies I've worked for

What all would you include in a portfolio? Just samples of your writing/editing? Any particular format to be followed?
Original post by sleep_supremacy
Could you tell me a bit more about the expectations employers have for freelance writing? And which companies did you reach out to, if you don't mind me asking?

Really? A science-specific writing society sounds so cool! :biggrin: What all do you do in there?

Oh wow, that's diverse. I'm aiming to do a PhD too, hopefully I can end up with something :laugh:


In med comms, you need to be aware of the ABPI code and confidently integrate it into your writing, be able to understand new therapy areas and drugs very quickly, time management, managing client expectations. I started with a small company called Azonetwork and then Pastest. Now I'm working with established agencies and leading global pharma and charities

In the society it was just writing short articles on latest topics in science :smile:
Original post by sleep_supremacy
What all would you include in a portfolio? Just samples of your writing/editing? Any particular format to be followed?


For my portfolio I made sure to include a variety of deliverables: structured writing e.g. dissertations or literature review extract, presentation/ slide deck, patient- centred piece, congress abstract, articles
Original post by lilGem
For my portfolio I made sure to include a variety of deliverables: structured writing e.g. dissertations or literature review extract, presentation/ slide deck, patient- centred piece, congress abstract, articles

Thanks so much, and PRSOM :smile:

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