Radiobiology and Radiotherapy PhD / MPhil / MD

The University of Liverpool has invested £20 million to support the acquisition of the Cancer Research Centre, and develop new academic posts supporting Oncology and Radiobiology to augment existing strengths within Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine.

Why study with us?

This course has given me invaluable opportunities to work alongside renowned experts who have guided and taught me throughout the course, and this work has led to oral presentations at international conferences and publications in peer reviewed journals which have certainly improved my CV.

Joachim Chan - Radiobiology and Radiotherapy PhD student
  • 100%

    4* and 3* in research environment in Clinical Medicine REF (2014).

  • 359

    postgraduate research students.

  • 309

    academic members of staff.


Radiotherapy is one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment and research in the Department. We aim to develop both a greater understanding of the interaction between biological materials with radiation and to develop improved delivery of radiation for therapeutic purposes.

Scientific research in the Department is performed in an environment that has a wealth of clinical expertise and research which ensures that basic scientific research is always performed with insights of relevance to patients provided by leading clinical teams and an awareness of detailed clinical issues.

The broad range of fundamental research interests within the Department provides for world class research in cancer biology with translational links supported by world class clinical research into several major types of cancer. The Department plays a leading role in the activities of the Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and radiation research in the Department has access to extensive radiotherapy treatment expertise including access to the proton beam facility at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Radiotherapy is one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment and research in the Department aims to develop both a greater understanding of the interaction between biological materials with radiation (radiobiology) and to develop improved delivery of radiation for therapeutic purposes. Fundamental studies of the radiobiology of cancer cells and cellular responses to radiation including ionizing radiation and proton beams research in the Department benefits from the almost unique access to the proton beam facility at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Our research interests

Our research interests include:

  • Fundamental research into the cellular responses to DNA damage induced by radiation with the aim of understanding the processes that lead to cancer development and which constitute potential therapeutic targets
  • Clinical studies conducted with the intent to improve radiation therapy by improving models and developing more effective treatment protocols
  • Investigations in humans and human materials which examine the radiation responses of cells and tissues to better understand the biology of disease and provide the scientific foundation for the development of new or improved therapies for human disease
  • Translational research taking advantage of new and on-going clinical trials in cancer often of novel and modifications of existing therapies and also to develop novel predictive and prognostic biomarkers.

Research themes

Our research themes include, fundamental basic reseaerch studies of the radiobiology of cancer cells and cellular responses to radiation. As well as translational research and tumour specific research including clinical trials activity developing and utilising radiotherapy in many areas of relevance to radiotherapy including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Head and Neck cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gastro-oesophageal cancer
  • Ocular cancers.


The Institute of Translational Medicine research infrastructure is designed to give researchers access to world class facilities in the best possible environment.

Our facilities give us the ability to drive biomedical research from patient samples to the laboratory bench and vice versa from newly generated drug compounds into clinical trials. The departments of the institute have the following facilities and resources:

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Centre for Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics
  • Centre for Drug Safety Science
  • Health Data Science Network
  • Centre for Preclinical Imaging
  • Clinical Trials Research Centre
  • Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre
  • Liverpool Bio-Innovation Hub (LBIH) Biobank
  • Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit
  • MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research
  • North West Cancer Research Centre – University of Liverpool
  • Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit
  • UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children
  • Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine.

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD / MD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* This excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^ Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

If an EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 August 2021.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

Applicants for postgraduate research study at Liverpool are normally expected to hold a UK first degree with a First Class or Upper Second Class degree classification, or a Second Class degree plus a Master’s degree. Equivalent international qualifications are also accepted, and their equivalence will be evaluated on the basis of the information provided by the National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (NARIC) as well as internal guidance based on our experience of a qualification’s suitability as a preparation for our programmes.

We welcome applications from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those required to study for this research degree. See our guidance on international qualifications.

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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